A Jeep Wrangler JL by any other name is just a Jeep Wrangler JL. But what happens when a company like ProCharger gets its hands on it? The answer – something incredible.
This exact thing happened earlier this year. It gave us the opportunity to check out what supercharging will mean for the future of off-roading and rock crawling. ProCharger had a 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL four-door, decked in an illustrious blue vinyl wrap, and beefed up with bigger tires and bonus accessories.
They sent the Jeep down from their NorCal facility in Mill Valley and handed us the keys. Popping open the hood, we knew we were in for a treat – therein lay the P-1SC-1 supercharger (PN 1JL214-SCI), a centrifugal-design machine compressing air for the good of driving on or off-road.
But it’s one thing to look at an installed kit, and totally another to design one. We spoke to David Turner at ProCharger to find out what it took to get it from square one to finished product.
Background Of The Supercharger
The first thing that we wanted to find out was what the vision was for this kit. Turner said, “The goal was to offer a complete bolt-on system for the Jeep JK, JL, and Gladiator. The system would give the 3.6-liter V6 a much-needed boost in horsepower, especially for owners that have lifted Jeeps with larger tires, have other heavy accessories, tow, or are at altitude.”
“After adding a ProCharger supercharger system, owners will enjoy the performance equivalent to a 425-horsepower, high-output V8 for a fraction of the cost of an engine swap,” continued Turner. Engine swaps certainly can be a headache, so making a system that works with the stock setup and bumps the power up is a big plus in any off-roader’s book.
The P-1SC-1 system was developed by ProCharger’s engineering team. “They’ve been designing supercharger systems for over 25 years, and this knowledge was put to use during the development of our JL system,” commented Turner. “We thoroughly test all of our kits on both on-road and off-road terrain. At ProCharger, we know firsthand the passion Jeep owners have for off-roading. So, our system will make them very pleased. For example, our system mounts high in the engine bay to accommodate the occasional water crossing.”
Learning From The Past
The P-1SC-1 didn’t make its debut on the Wrangler JL. In fact, back in 2015, we installed one on Project Sgt. Rocker, a 2013 Wrangler JK. It was a brand new kit for the time and one of the first to supercharge the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 found on JKs. No doubt it played a part in the development of the kit for the JL; after all, both are designed around the same V6.
Commenting on this, Turner said, “The Jeep JK and JL supercharger systems are very similar in powertrain options so, we developed our JL system using the same rugged and proven P-1SC-1 supercharger. The JK and JL are very similar with only minor changes.”
Now that the system is available for JLs, a new customer base is emerging for Jeeps. It’s to be expected that these new-to-Jeep owners will question what a supercharger can do for their rig. So, we asked Turner to explain what other benefits the kit will provide. He said, “There will be benefits to driving the Jeep both on-road and off-road.”
“On-road, with more power on tap, the customer will use less throttle to get the same performance,” he continued. “This should help with average fuel economy for daily driving, as well as added power for merging onto the highway and passing. Off-road, a ProCharger supercharger offers superior performance. When the extra power is needed for rock crawling, mudding, or any extreme situation where more power is required, the supercharger is there to give the Jeep a boost.”
Now that we knew the design and inner workings a bit better, we were curious as to what it takes to install the P-1SC-1. “The ProCharger JL supercharger system is one of our easiest-to-install, taking less than eight hours with common hand tools,” said Turner.
Aside from a rather involved installation process, there are other steps to consider before starting on the upgrade. One is that newer FCA vehicles (of which the JL is certainly one) require some extra steps to install the P-1SC-1.
“Anytime you need to mess with the factory tune on 2015 and newer FCA vehicles, it requires an unlocked PCM,” explained Turner. Once the Jeep has an unlocked computer, tuning can be loaded into the PCM. We recommend going through Diablosport, and having them take care of it professionally.”
“On the one hand, our Complete System includes all of the necessary items for supercharging a Jeep,” said Turner. “It includes the P-1SC-1 supercharger, an air-to-air intercooler, a handheld tuner, piping, hardware, and more. Conversely, the Tuner Kit is almost the same, but it doesn’t come with tuning or fuel system components. These kits are perfect for Jeeps running custom setups, like higher octane fuel or customized engine/exhaust modifications.”
Options, Choices, And Alternatives
On top of everything we’ve just covered, there are further avenues to explore when putting together a ProCharger P-1SC-1 system. These options have to do with internals, as well as aesthetic choices.
“We offer a ton of upgrade options,” said Turner. “Since our brackets are compatible with our entire range of nine-inch supercharger housings, a customer can swap in one of his choosing anytime. On the P-1SC-1 itself, we let customers choose a finish for the supercharger and bracket – satin, black, or polished.”
“We also offer the intercooler in a black finish or standard aluminum finish,” continued Turner. “Another cool upgrade we make is the helical gearset. It cuts down on the noise of the supercharger, in case the customer wants a more stealthy or quieter engine.”
Now that we had a better idea of the supercharger’s capabilities and design background, we felt it was time to take the Wrangler out for a joy ride – first on the asphalt, and then on the dirt.
On-road, the Wrangler was fair to middling. Bigger tires and lift tend to affect the center of gravity of any off-road rig, and the JL was not immune. I was able to travel at high speeds on the freeway, but it would come at the cost of lots of corrections in steering. Compared to driving a JK, the feeling was familiar – solid front axle suspension, wide turning radius, and a high center of gravity made the driving on-road a bit on the sketchy side.
But I could deal with all of that because under the hood, the P-1SC-1 was putting in work. With nearly 425 hp at the crank, I didn’t feel like the Jeep was lacking in power anywhere I went. On the freeway, it was nice to call upon when I needed to get around a semi truck and trailer.
Off-road, the Jeep was about what you’d expect, if you were expecting “incredible.” I decided it would be fun to take the rig out to Cleghorn Trail near San Bernardino to see what it could conquer, and I’m happy to report the answer is “just about everything.”
Combating high-speed winds and dangerous dropoffs while off-roading alone in a SEMA-ready vehicle was daunting enough, so I decided to stick to what I felt comfortable driving through. With a fuzzy memory on the proper routes, I opted to drive to a certain point and turn around and come back down. I still managed to get the Jeep up on three tires and over some sketchy obstacles, and if that isn’t what a Jeep is for, then what is a Jeep?
In low-speed situations, the supercharger didn’t have much time to shine. I like to take it nice and slow on these mountaintop trails, but I like to think that in a wide-open desert, the P-1SC-1 would have been a fantastic addition for spirited driving sessions.
From the cozy inside to the cunning outside, the Jeep Wrangler JL is a vehicle that has what it takes to carry on Jeep’s Wrangler legacy. It takes what the JK lacked or left unsatisfactory, and turns it into a vehicle that novice and expert alike can enjoy.
In my perspective, the JL would be a great fit for an off-roading enthusiast that has good money or credit to spare, and wants a warrantied vehicle to take out on the weekend and explore nature. And as we all know, the aftermarket support for Wranglers is the strongest of any make or model, so the options for upgrades are practically endless.
ProCharger makes the JL all the more fun with over 100 more horsepower to play around with, and gives it the pep in its step that often drops off from major upgrades like tires, lift, bumpers, and so on. The P-1SC-1 was a pleasure to experience on or off-road. I tip my hat to them for letting me check out their rad Wrangler for this review, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next!
If you found a JL bought and insured in your driveway tomorrow morning, what kinds of modifications would you go for? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out ProCharger on its website and Facebook page.