To achieve their stunning levels of the performance and driveability, modern performance vehicles are filled with complex systems and programming. While they still respond to hardware modifications like their more primitive predecessors, it’s the electronic modifications that really unlock the performance.
One of the easiest upgrades to improve the performance of EcoBoost-powered vehicles like the 2017 F-150 Raptor, is adding the plug-in enhancers from JMS Chip & Performance‘s BoostMax (PN BX600035V4 – $309) and PedalMax (PN PX1114F – $289).
JMS Chip & Performance offers two devices that plug in easily to enhance performance, the PedalMax and BoostMax. The two can be plugged in series to work together. The PedalMax intercepts the throttle by wire signal and enhances it to hasten throttle response and reduce turbo lag. Meanwhile, the BoostMax alters the signals from the manifold absolute pressure and throttle inlet pressure sensors and instructs the powertrain control module to add boost proportional to throttle input. The factory oxygen sensor can add up to 30 percent more fuel to compensate for the extra boost.
PedalMAX is a natural fit because it can be installed in a matter of minutes, and removes all traces of turbo-lag. — Brad Grissom, JMS Chip
“EcoBoost vehicles utilize more advanced sensors, and the control system offers a nice range of adjustment for fuel and spark. It can easily compensate for additional boost-pressure via BoostMAX activation, while staying well within the OEM envelope and design parameters of the powertrain and drivetrain,” Brad explained. “PedalMAX is a natural fit because it can be installed in a matter of minutes, and removes all traces of turbo-lag, while also upping the low to mid-range power and torque on EcoBoost vehicles specifically.”
The two modifications have become so mainstream that they are now part of the curriculum at the Universal Technical Institute, which trains its students to evaluate, install and test emerging aftermarket technologies on chassis dynos and on the street. And one reason they have become popular is that they don’t leave behind a trace like a in-PCM calibration can.
Sarasota Ford’s Senior Master Technician Rick Wiedneroth gets started by disconnecting the battery’s negative battery terminal and removing the Raptor’s factory engine cover.
“The biggest thing is the warranty-friendly approach we use for both BoostMAX and PedalMAX. You can simply remove both products in a matter of minutes, and there is no trace of the product ever being installed,” Brad said.
“In today’s new car dealer environment, warranty is a major concern, especially to the owners of these factory specialty vehicles. Dealers are now looking for OBD-based tuning upgrades via the ECU specifically, and in many cases noting it in the customer file for future reference should there be a major warranty claim.”
Of course, if you want to maximize performance, you can combine the JMS devices with a high-performance calibration.
Rick then assembles the BoostMax and harness before plugging the harness in series with the MAP sensor atop the manifold and the TIP sensor on the inlet tube in front of the throttle body. They then routed the harnesses and secured them with zip ties.
You can stack PedalMAX with any tuning hardware and custom tuning. — Brad Grissom, JMS Chip
“You can stack PedalMAX with any tuning hardware and custom tuning, in fact that’s fairly common. BoostMAX should only be combined with JMS proprietary custom tuning via an SCT device,” Brad detailed. “Both products are compatible with any type of aftermarket air intakes and exhaust systems.”
Not only do these products improve performance without recalibrating the factory programming, they seem to be accepted by dealers as viable modifications. Via a partnership with Roush Yates, the JMS products are sold directly through Ford dealerships around the country. In fact, we traveled to Sarasota Ford in Sarasota, Florida, to see just how easy it is to install these plug-in upgrades.
“Most of the installation is done in 15 minutes or less. Disconnecting the battery, plugging in the MAP/TIP sensor connectors and mounting the BoostMAX controller is very simple,” he said. “The more tedious part is running the secondary harness through the firewall, but the Raptor main body harness and grommet are right in the open so it’s simple to route through the grommet.”
You can mount the BoostMax anywhere in the engine compartment, but for the purposes of showing for our cameras, Rick mounted it in plain sight. You could hide it so people think it’s still stock.
The entire installation on a Raptor is still an hour or less and everything is very easy to access. — Brad Grissom, JMS Chip
We watched as Sarasoata Ford Senior Master Technician Rick Wiedneroth, who does the custom work for the dealer’s 707 Performance custom division, breezed through the installation. Obviously, he has installed a few before, but the process is really straightforward and JMS provides comprehensive instructions to ease the process.
“Maybe the most difficult part is routing the wiring harness over to the accelerator pedal and mounting the control knob — since you are paying closer attention to those fine details — and mounting the knob in area that suits the owner best,” Brad added. “BoostMAX and PedalMAX are also stacked together at the accelerator pedal, so you have to pay attention and make sure you’re plugging the connectors in the proper sequence. The entire installation on a Raptor is still an hour or less and everything is very easy to access.”
Sounds, good right? You might assume it’s too good to be true; but just because they are easy to install doesn’t mean they aren’t effective. Even with more conservative settings, the results have been impressive.
Rick routed the pedal-position wire through a rubber boot in the firewall and connected it to the PedalMax wiring which taps into the pedal-position sensor wiring. Then he hid the PedalMax under the carpet behind the center console (after ensuring it was functional) and routed the boost knob wiring through the dash. JMS recommends mounting the knob below the emergency brake release handle.
Rick then reinstalled the engine cover and reattached the negative battery cable. After ensuring the BoostMax and PedalMax had green lights indicating proper function, we were ready for a test drive. With the BoostMax set for 50 percent, we went for a ride in the Sarasota Ford Raptor and could really feel the seat-of-the-pants difference. The fast truck was even faster and more responsive, and we liked it. If you opt for the adjustable knob, JMS recommends only running at 50 percent with 87 octane and reserving the 100-percent setting for high-octane fuel.
The recipient of one of these test units was someone who definitely knows a thing or two about driving high-performance vehicles — and he loves it.
“As soon as I left Tindol Ford, I headed straight to the guys at Roush Yates to get my horsepower fix. They installed JMS BoostMAX and PedalMAX, threw it on the dyno, and we made great power,” Chris Buescher, driver of #37 JTG Daugherty NASCAR Monster Energy Series Chevrolet, said.
“Driving the truck is a whole new experience and man you can really feel the extra power, but the big surprise was PedalMAX. With BoostMAX turned off, the truck still feels like it has more power and the turbo-lag is gone, the throttle response can only be compared to my race car. Twist the BoostMAX knob and it’s go time. I love this technology!”
Now, if a NACAR driver is enthused about the results on his personal truck, you know these are mods you can truly feel.
“So far the results have been good, maybe better than expected since we have been really conservative in our approach. BoostMAX for the 2017 Raptor is specific to that vehicle, and we tested with boost increases that are only half (2-3 psi) of what we offer for the standard 3.5-liter F-150 truck (5 psi),” Brad enthused. “We were shocked to see average increases of 65 horsepower and 65 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels with such a small increase in boost. That’s the product we currently offer to Raptor owners, but we have a test vehicle in the capable hands of Roush Yates that is running a test BoostMAX controller that increases boost by a full 5 psi.”
“So far the tests have gone great, and we expect to offer a race version of the product that’s well capable of pushing the horsepower increase up to 100-plus horsepower and torque.”
With those kinds of results in such an easy-to-install package, these mods might be the ticket for your EcoBoost-powered Ford. For more information visit the official site here.
Dyno testing Raptors with stock calibrations is tricky because of the truck’s 10-speed transmission. It is preferred to run on the chassis dyno with a 1:1 ratio, but that means running a Raptor in Seventh gear. That means you will hit the factory speed limiter before you realize the engine’s full rev capabilities or performance potential. That said, JMS testing of its devices on the latest Raptor shows some impressive gains throughout the curve. As you can see here, with the BoostMax set at 50 percent, the truck picked up peak-to-peak gains of 65.24 horsepower and 62.48 lb-ft of torque, but there were chunky gains throughout the powerband and that’s what you will feel when you drive the truck.