Messing with electronics is not something everyone is a fan of. Measuring ohms and checking voltages, sorting through wires and popping fuses – it can be a bit of a nightmare when everything is tucked out of the way or into the dashboard. But not all electronics have to be invasive and complicated to use.
Superchips, one of the leading producers of programmers, monitors, and other devices for the aftermarket, has been in the game since 1983 when it was exclusively an England-based brand, working with professional racing teams and computer-controlled fuel injection. It’s evolved over time, and with its inclusion in the Powerteq family (including Edge Products and Diablosport), it has been able to focus on other automotive niches. One of them has been the 5.0-liter V8 made by Ford and offered in the 2011 to current F-150.
We recently got the chance to see Superchips’ Stage 1 Powerpaq kit (PN 1845-P12) go to work on such an application. In our case, it was a 2011 Ford F-150 owned by Andrew Goodner of Garden Grove, California. But first, let’s take a look at these products and find out what makes them worthwhile add-ons for the pickup.
Something about human nature makes us like it when two or more things go together – macaroni and cheese, Simon and Garfunkel, jets and airplanes, the list goes on. So it makes sense when companies take two things that address different issues and put them into a kit; in this case, a Superchip Flashpaq F5 tuner (PN 4845) and an Edge cold air intake system (PN 184141-D).
Even on its own, the Flashpaq F5 is a potent little piece of plastic. Superchips offers the tuner in two versions, with one that caters to California’s CARB restrictions and one that works for the other 49 states. Ours is the former, but that doesn’t mean the F5 is any less impressive with its capabilities.
“The Flashpaq is big on power and features, and low on install time and price point,” said Powerteq’s Jim McGinn. “It comes with the options for performance programming, but also has tire and gear options for those that have put 33s or 35s, and can even change the gear ratio if the owner has gone up or down. It also comes with a two-year powertrain warranty, so it helps to put people’s minds at ease. We want our customers to know that our products are something we stand behind.”
The F5 comes with a handful of tunes that work on different levels. “They’re options for the user to use recreationally or for work,” said McGinn. Four levels to choose from – Performance, Heavy Tow, MileageXS, and 87 Octane – would come in handy for the many situations that a truck faces in its lifetime.
As for the Jammer intake, its function is to be the flipside of the tuner, offering better airflow over stock to work with the new tunes. “The Jammer intake complements the electronic tuning,” said McGinn. “The quicker airflow brings the colder air to the engine, and the tuning is there to take advantage of it. On top of that, the intake filter is reusable, while the OEM filter is disposed of once it reaches a certain point.”
We kicked off the installation by deconstructing the stock intake. After removing the MAF sensor and undoing a few hose clamps, we had access to the tube, air filter housing, and air filter. We removed all three and then began assembling the Jammer system.
To assemble the kit, we started with the adaptor on the Jammer housing. It went in with five screws. Then the elbow coupling was installed using a hose clamp. Next, we attached the intake tube to the coupling, and had ourselves a new intake system ready to go in.
The assembly was fitted into the engine bay and reconnected to the lines. The stock MAF sensor went in its proper place and was held in place with a screw. Over on the intake housing, we applied the provided seal trim around the edges of the housing, and then fitted the new, larger filter onto the intake tube, securing it with a hose clamp. This completed the Jammer intake installation, and now we moved on to the F5.
Since the F5 is purely electronic and uses cables to do its job, we had no need for tools. Instead, we simply hooked up the F5’s provided USB cable to a computer and downloaded the necessary update from Edge’s Ignition software program.
Afterwards, we hooked up the F5 to the F-150’s OBD-II port under the dashboard. After following a few easy steps of turning the ignition on and off and waiting for the F5 to make the handshake with the ECU, we were good to go.
We navigated to the tunes and found them ready and waiting. As McGinn explained to us, each of these tunes has a purpose. “The Performance tune is max gains, and in some cases, you can get better fuel economy provided you keep yourself in check,” he said. “The Heavy Tow tune gives you power, about 60-75 percent of the max tune, but it emphasizes torque. It’s better suited to when you’re towing a load and don’t want to feel like you’re lagging, because the torque is there to help you out. Then the MileageXS tune takes care of stopping and going, or idling in city traffic. That is where it comes into play and helps with fuel mileage.”
With the Powerpaq kit installed, the truck is breathing well and driving with added power potential. We reached out to Andrew after some time had passed to get his thoughts on the truck and its performance thus far.
“I’m super stoked about it,” beamed Goodner. “I’ve gotten a considerable amount of gas mileage with the F5. Just last weekend, I was towing a trailer up to Lake Isabella for a final, end-of-summer camping trip. Usually, it takes me a half-tank to get there, and half-tank back. This time, it was only a quarter-tank there, and a quarter-tank back.”
And with the Jammer intake system, Goodner commented, “It’s getting better airflow and it feels like the throttle is more responsive. And on top of that, it’s nice to have a reusable filter that I can just wash out, let it dry, clamp it on, and go.”