The 5 Best 3.6 Pentastar Performance Enhancements. The Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar V6 engine, first introduced in 2011, has found a home in some of the most popular Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep cars over the previous decade. The 3.6 Pentastar engine is most notable in the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger/Challenger/Durango/Ram 1500, and Jeep Grand Cherokee/Gladiator/Wrangler. The Pentastar produces 285-305 horsepower and 251-269 lb-ft of torque depending on the vehicle. While that is more than enough to travel around town, it is grossly underpowered when compared to the much larger HEMI V8s available in the next-level up SRT trim. As a result, today we’ll examine at the top 5 3.6 Pentastar performance modifications for increased horsepower and torque.
Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar Engine Specifications
First, let’s go through the fundamentals of the 3.6 Pentastar. The Pentastar engine is a 3.6 litre (220 cid) V6 with aluminium block and heads. It is naturally aspirated and uses electronic port fuel injection from the factory. The open-deck block is deep-skirted and die-cast for strength and dependability. The Pentastar produces 285-305 horsepower and 251-269 lb-ft of torque depending on the vehicle.
The Pentastar’s valve train is a quad-cam dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) arrangement with variable valve timing (VVT). The engine has four valves per cylinder (two intake/exhaust) for a total of 24 valves.
Chrysler revised the Pentastar in a few areas in 2016. The compression ratio was changed from 10.2:1 to 11.3:1, and the engine received a few additional horsepower in some variants. Chrysler also improved the VVT to make it more effective and efficient. The 2011-2015 3.6 Pentastar is E85 flex-fuel capable, but the 2016+ 3.6 Pentastar is not.
Overall, the Pentastar is regarded as a dependable engine. One motorist even got over 626,000 miles out of his Pentastar before needing a complete overhaul. The 3.6 Pentastar has had a few frequent issues, including a difficulty with the oil filter housing. However, for the most part, the Pentastar has shown to be reliable.
Power Limits for the Pentastar Block and Internals
When evaluating the finest 3.6 Pentastar performance modifications, consider how much power the Pentastar cylinder block and internals (connecting rods, pistons, crankshaft, etc.) can withstand before failing. While no magic number exists, most people believe that 450-500 horsepower is around the limit of the standard internals. At that point, you should consider forged pistons, rods, and head studs for reinforcement.
The block is likely good for a few hundred more horsepower before being seriously jeopardised. Most persons that exceed 500-600 horsepower are either race teams with custom engines or use the larger HEMI V8 power plants. So you’re venturing into unfamiliar territory with the stock Pentastar. You’ll also need a custom blower system, as the ones on the market only produce around 450 horsepower.
5 Best 3.6 Pentastar Performance Enhancements
The following are the top five Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar Performance Upgrades:
- Fresh Air Intake
- Improved Exhaust
- Coil Packs with Upgrades
- ECU Programming
We’ll go into more detail below, but here’s a quick rundown of the top five 3.6 Pentastar performance improvements for your Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram.
Simple bolt-on modifications such as a cold air intake and cat-back exhaust are excellent starting points for a Pentastar project. They aid in the improvement of airflow into and out of the engine while (somewhat) improving gas mileage. The intake will increase power slightly, while the cat-back will primarily increase engine noise.
The 3.6 Pentastar coil packs will be upgraded next. The default coil packs are acceptable, but upgrading them not only boosts power but also prepares your car for larger mods like a supercharger.
The next 3.6 Pentastar performance modification we recommend is ECU tuning. While it may not appear to be significant, tweaking might mean the difference between a good and fantastic engine build. Tuning allows you to optimise ignition timing, air-to-fuel ratios, and other factors to make the most of your modifications. If you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on bolt-ons, you’ll want to make the most of them.
Finally, adding a supercharger package is the final of the five finest 3.6 Pentastar performance improvements. Adding a blower is by far the cheapest method to push the 3.6 Pentastar above 400 horsepower without requiring a lot of internal work. We would also recommend turbochargers, but there are currently no reputable kits on the market.
1) Cold Air Intake 3.6 Pentastar Performance
If you’re just getting started with your 3.6 Pentastar build, one of the most typical first steps is to install a performance cold air intake. Installing a performance cold air intake will increase horsepower and torque by 5-15 percent. It will also make your engine bay sound better and boost your gas mileage slightly.
It’s worth noting that most 3.6 Pentastar equipped vehicles come standard with cool air intakes. A cold air intake system is one in which the engine filter is positioned outside of the engine compartment, near or in the fender. This allows your engine to pull in colder, denser air than usual, and the stock unit already does so. So, instead of installing a cold air intake, you’re upgrading your original one to a performance cold air intake.
The tube and air filter of a performance air intake are both bigger and less restrictive. This allows more air to pass through faster, allowing your engine to produce more power. The difference isn’t huge, usually around 5-15 horsepower, but it’s obvious for most people.
Cold Air Intakes for 3.6 MOPAR and Jeep Performance
Depending on your vehicle, we offer two recommendations for performance cold air intakes. The Mopar performance cold air intake is the best solution for people who own a Chrysler 300 or a Dodge Challenger/Charger. This is manufactured by Mopar, so you know it’s of high quality. It boasts a 20% increase in airflow and an open-box design with a dry rather than oiled filter.
Instead, we offer the Volant Performance cold air intake for Wrangler and Gladiator owners. The Volant resembles the Mopar in appearance, however due to the differing engine compartments, the filter is located on the opposite side. Unlike the Mopar, the Volant has a closed-box architecture with an oiled filter. Both are sturdy units that can be tuned to add 5-15 horsepower and torque.
2) Upgraded Cat-back Exhaust for Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar
The 3.6 Pentastar exhaust will be upgraded with a cat-back next. Normally, we would propose replacing the exhaust manifold with long-tube headers, but the 3.6 Pentastar doesn’t have that option. Chrysler engineers designed the exhaust manifold to be integrated into the cylinder heads. This means they cannot be improved (on their own), however they may be portable.
As a result, changing the cat-back is the only way to improve the exhaust. To be honest, adding a cat-back will not improve performance significantly. An updated cat-back will only provide 5 horsepower and torque, which is minimal. However, it will increase the sound of your Pentastar and may provide a little boost in gas mileage (0.5 mpg).
The piping diameter and silencer are what distinguishes a cat-back exhaust from a stock exhaust. Upgraded cat-backs will be somewhat wider than stock to allow for better flow, and they will also have performance mufflers that are designed to sound excellent while retaining air flow.
Best 3.6 Dodge and Jeep cat-back exhaust systems
We propose the RIPP cat-back exhaust systems from RIPP Superchargers for cat-backs. Though best known for their blower kits, RIPP has quietly been producing performance exhausts for several years. They are generally dual outlet T304 stainless steel exhausts. In addition, RIPP sells an optional resonator to eliminate drone.
RIPP supplies 3.6 Pentastar exhaust systems for a variety of vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger/Challenger, and Jeep Wrangler. They have received positive feedback for both their quality and sound, and they look great strapped under a Charger.
3) Performance coil packs for Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar
Our final suggestion for 3.6 Pentastar performance modifications is to replace the factory coil packs with upgraded coil packs. To be clear, the factory coil packs work perfectly and do not require replacement. However, improving them may offer some advantages.
A coil pack’s goal is to convert electric power from the battery into energy that the spark plug may use to start the engine. The stock coil packs provide adequate energy and power for stock performance, but as you begin to add upgrades (such as a performance intake or ECU tune), they can rapidly become outmatched. This can result in misfiring and other spark-related issues.
Coil packs that have been upgraded provide greater voltage more consistently than standard units. Even with no modifications, the improved voltage will result in an increase of up to 10 horsepower and torque. These are practically required if you intend to supercharge your 3.6 Pentastar. Along with more power, you’ll notice improved throttle response and faster starting.
3.6 Pentastar Performance Coil Packs Upgraded
We propose the RIPP performance 3.6 Pentastar coil packs for 3.6 Pentastar coil pack upgrades. They are fairly priced, even when compared to stock units, and have received positive feedback. They will also suit any 3.6 Pentastar equipped vehicle, which means your Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram will all be compatible. Furthermore, they do not require any adjustment.
4) Chrysler Performance ECU Tuning 3.6 Pentastar
The next thing we propose for the 3.6 Pentastar is performance ECU tune. While past versions may have relied on “chips” to boost performance, the following generation is all about ECU tuning. Without any other hardware modifications, ECU tweaking alone can add up to 50 horsepower and torque.
A professional calibrator, known as a tuner, performs ECU tuning on specific automobiles or engine platforms. They change the computer commands that regulate the engine, adjusting characteristics such as ignition timing, camshaft timing, air-to-fuel ratios, and boost pressure (on forced induction engines). The tuner can increase the engine’s horsepower and torque output by modifying these components.
Top 3.6 Pentastar Tuning Alternatives
Livernois Motorsports is by far the most popular and well-known 3.6 Pentastar tuner. We’ve talked about them before for various MOPAR performance parts, and they’re clearly one of the industry’s more reputable names. They are based in the heart of muscle, Detroit, Michigan, and have been producing quality parts for dozens of automobiles for many years.
They offer tuning solutions for the 3.6 Pentastar in the following vehicles: Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Durango, Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Jeep Wrangler/Gladiator. Depending on the car, a Livernois Motorsports 3.6 Pentastar ECU tune can provide up to 50 horsepower.
It’s crucial to remember that if you have a 2018+ Pentastar, you’ll need to unlock the powertrain control module (PCM) before you can do any tuning. To get around it, Livernois Motorsports offers a PCM Unlock system for 2018-2022 automobiles.
5) Supercharger Kits for Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar
Our final suggestion for enhancing the 3.6 Pentastar is to install a supercharger. If you want to push the Pentastar above 400 horsepower, you’ll need forced induction unless you want to start porting manifolds, cylinder heads, throttle bodies, and pretty much everything else. Even still, 400 horsepower is approximately the limit for naturally aspirated engines.
By far the most cost-effective approach to add a lot of power is to install a blower. For the Pentastar, three types of blowers are available: centrifugal, roots, and twin-screw. The centrifugal kits will provide the most horsepower, but low-end torque will suffer slightly. Roots and twin-screw kits will provide a reasonable balance of low-end torque and top-end power, but they will not match a centrifugal unit’s peak output.
Which kit is best for you depends on your driving style and vehicle usage. Check out our previous post on the 5 finest 3.6 Pentastar Superchargers for a complete and in-depth explanation of forced induction on the Pentastar.
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3.6 Pentastar Supercharger Kits Recommendations
You can see our full list of suggested supercharger kits in our previous article, but for now, we’ll only discuss the top option from RIPP Superchargers. RIPP has supercharger kits for nearly every 3.6 Pentastar vehicle on the market, including Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram.
Their kits primarily employ centrifugal superchargers with Vortech V3 Si Trim blowers. Depending on the kit/vehicle, they produce between 350 and 450 horsepower at the wheels, with an additional 100-200 horsepower at the crank.
It’s a significant step to add a supercharger to your Pentastar, so make sure you upgrade your brakes and tyres if you plan on doing so. The factory brakes and tyres are insufficient for successfully transferring power to the ground and bringing the car to a complete stop. You’ll probably want some additional supporting mods – see our previous article for further suggestions – but at the very least, you should replace the brakes and tyres.
Conclusion of the Best Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar Upgrades
While the 3.6 Pentastar will never compete in terms of power output with the larger HEMI V8s, it is still capable of quite a bit of performance. The Pentastar produces 285-305 horsepower and 251-269 lb-ft of torque out of the box, but with a few simple tweaks, it can produce much more.
Two of the most typical alterations that individuals begin their projects with are a performance cold air intake and a cat-back exhaust. They can add up to 15 horsepower combined and significantly improve the sound of the Pentastar. Upgrading the coil packs is another nice choice because it can boost power to a stock vehicle while also making it safer to install more upgrades.
Our top two recommendations for increasing horsepower and torque are ECU tweaking and supercharging. With no other hardware changes, ECU tweaking can add up to 50 horsepower. With our recommended packages, a supercharger can boost the Pentastar to 450 wheel horsepower.