How Much Boost Can A 3.6 Pentastar Handle (Power Upgrades)

If you’re interested in increasing the HP on your Pentastar then this article is for you. Many have enquired and are interested in increasing the 3.6 Pentastar in the form of a bolt-on Turbo or Supercharger kit to squeeze some extra ponies out of this lump. So what are your options and what is a safe amount of boost you can expect on the 3.6 Pentastar without forfeiting your reliability?

Many reputable performance shops who offer these upgrades all agreed that 10 to 12lbs is a safe zone without decreasing reliability. Once you push it over 14lbs you run the risk of suffering catastrophic cooling and head failure.

So exactly what kits are available to boost performance on these 3.6 Pentastar motors? Are there any upgrades or pre-boost modifications you should do prior to fitting a turbo or supercharger? In what order should you do the upgrades to get the most bang for buck?  What kind of power can we expect? We will discuss this and more, on how to make your 3.6 go faster.

How To Get More Power Out of a 3.6 Pentastar (Performance Upgrades)

Before you drop a load on upgrades that will return minimum performance gains, let’s first look at the top 5 things you can do to increase the HP on the 3.6. before you go Supercharged

Top 3 initial Mods

  1. Cold Air Intake
  2. Tires
  3. Catback Exhaust system (10-18HP claimed)
  4. Ignition Coils
  5. Custom Tune
  6. BOOST!!!

Cold Air Intake

Cold air intake is a very debatable performance addition. Some hate it, others love it. Whatever the case may be, your 3.6 will sound insane! Even if it’s just for an audio upgrade, it’s a worthwhile upgrade and doesn’t cost you much in terms of upgrades costs these days.

If you are pro C.A.I guy, then at least make sure you get the enclosed setup to avoid sucking in all the hot engine air. If this modification is done correctly, the Cold Air Intake mod is an inexpensive one that should release a few extra ponies and put a smile on that dial.

Tires

When you think performance mods, somehow tires don’t spring to mind immediately. Your rubber is one of the most important mods you’ll do. This should also be one of the first upgrades you do since power without handling is useless, as well as dangerous. You want to bridle those horses as best as possible.

Catback Exhaust

You can choose to simply change out the mufflers or do a complete system upgrade from the Catalytic converter all the way to the back. Either way, the exhaust system upgrade should be high up on your list. The purpose of a bigger diameter exhaust is to decrease the backpressure after you’ve done a few modifications to increase the HP. This is important to avoid restricting the flow of exhaust gases too much.

However, If your engine is factory stock, without any other modifications, you might not get the full potential from the Cat-back upgrade just yet. It is only once you start doing CAI, tunes, and other performance modifications that the CAT-back mod will come into its own, since the back pressure on your system won’t be too high or restrictive, therefore allowing for additional power. Besides, it sounds incredible!

Ignition Coils

Upgrading to high-output Ignition coils is a modification that returns better gas mileage and improved performance. Performance/Upgraded coils are a direct swap to all 3.6 Mopar Cars, Trucks, and Jeeps and will be a nice improvement over the stock factory coil packs.

How do they work?

Well, most conventional (petrol)/gas engines have ignition coils. The coils or coil packs sit above the cylinders and provide the spark energy in the combustion chamber by igniting the fuel and air mixture, creating an explosion, and ultimately creating the HP, which is sent through the drivetrain, and finally to the wheels.

Coil packs are fairly reliable components, and seldom fail. So why change them? 

Well, by increasing the spark with a high-output ignition coil, you essentially provide more spark energy to the spark plug and into the combustion chamber, resulting in a more efficient combustion process. When the energy in the combustion chamber is increased, your HP is essentially increased across the entire (RPM) rev-range. This results in a more responsive throttle and more fuel efficient vehicle.

Worth a look:

Custom Tunes

Custom tunes will extract more reliable HP than the canned tunes. Make sure you go to a specialist. Preferably somebody that has done this tune on a 3.6 and knows what they’re doing. Like the experienced guys over at RIPP!

Always make sure the vehicle is dyno tuned before and afterward to see the actual BHP readings on the wheels. They are slightly more pricey, but its a worthwhile expense. You’ll see exactly where your money went and you’ll get a completely customized tune for your specific vehicle.

Super Charger

This is an insane upgrade if you have the deeper pockets. Wow, simply slapping on a supercharger, without even doing any of the above mods will give on average, 330 RW BHP and about 440 BHP at the crank. Performance tuners even claim the 3.6 has proven to be stronger than the V8 once supercharged!!!!

RIPP Superchargers JK 3.6L Supercharger – 1214JKSDS-ARHD
TAKE MY MONEY!!!!

You have to watch this:

How Much Hp Can a 3.6 Pentastar Handle

Just how much is enough? Well, some say it’s not about the figures, but how the vehicle puts the available power to the ground? Also, how the transmission shifts and utilizes the available power, and that’s where your tune comes in.

Based on the averages being thrown around online, it appears you can get anything between 25 and 25 extra BHP from just a CAI + CATBACK + TUNE.

Once you start messing with headers etc that figure obviously increases to 35-45 additional BHP

As seen above with simply slapping on a supercharger on a stock 3.6, there’s a gain of 200BHP

Add some coil packs, a ported throttle body and few other bits and bobs and you’ll be well and truly in the 450+BHP zone.

How Much Boost Can a 3.6 Pentastar Handle

Reputable kit builders suggest that gaining 400+ RWHP is readily obtainable within safe boost levels.

Resources

RIPP Superchargers JK 3.6L Supercharger – 1214JKSDS-ARHD

Air Intake Kit

Extended Performance Oil Filter

K&N Premium Oil Filter

Complete Supercharger System

Performance Chip

ARB 3.6 v6 Snorkel

Conclusion

The v6 Pentastar engine is quite a robust lump and was designed to handle various configurations. Off the line they are detuned quite a bit so extracting more HP isn’t a mammoth task. As was shown above on a stock Pentastar, by simply slapping on a supercharger, increases the HP by over 200BHP without sacrificing reliability.

At the end of the day, it all depends on what you need the power for and where in the rev range you want it. For off-road use, you need more low down usable torque for rock crawling, and rough tracks that don’t require high-revving top-end power. Remember, if you are over-landing and off-roading, reliability is your number one concern, not speed or pushing the biggest numbers.

How much HP you can extract from a Pentastar basically boils down to how deep your pockets are.

Jade C.

4-Wheel drives and off-road driving techniques has been my passion for over 20 years. Here we strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, information about the functionality, common faults and latest technology built into most 4 Wheel Drives.

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