Our ORXtreme JL project has had a few twists and turns from our original build plan. Looking at where we started and where we are now, it has been a lot of fun. We also learned a lot! Part of this project’s scope was to enhance vehicle performance using reputable automotive aftermarket companies and components. We found one upgrade in the AWE Exhaust Suite for JL and JLU Wranglers. After looking at our options, I believe it is the best sounding Jeep exhaust system on the market.
Besides an exhaust system, our 2021 Rubicon JLU had originally prescribed plans to install a supercharger and other performance items. During the first phases of the project, it was revealed that our Jeep was packing a little surprise. We knew the vehicle was equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, but we did not realize this particular package also configured FCA’s eTorque mild hybrid system. This is not the 4XE or anything remotely similar. Simply put, Jeep’s eTorque is a belt-driven motor generator unit replacing the traditional alternator. It is designed to execute several different functions. Depending on the operating mode, it can produce electrical power for charging the 48-volt battery or provide an electrical power assist to the engine.
Gas Engine With Battery Power Assist. We Did Not Even Notice Until Now!
So what did the eTorque mean for our ORXtreme JL? Upfront, the eTorque motor generator takes up a good amount of room at the nose of the engine bay and effectively makes it non-compatible with any currently available supercharger system. Down below is a very large 430-watt lithium-ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC)-Graphite battery. The battery pack includes a 3-kilowatt DC-to-DC converter. This holds the battery’s charge and converts 48 volts to 12 volts and can be used to power Jeep Wrangler’s accessories, and charge its conventional 12-volt lead-acid battery. This suitcase-sized battery hanging amongst the undercarriage is placed where an aftermarket exhaust muffler normally would be situated.
With these new revelations dictating what modifications could and could not be made on our ORXtreme JL, we reset some of our build perimeters around this knowledge. The goal of the vehicle, however, would remain unchanged; create a trail-ready capable off-road daily driver.
For high-performance Jeep exhaust upgrades, we considered all the major brands. But, looking for an eTorque-compatible exhaust system, at the time, was a relatively quick process. We landed on the AWE Trail Edition Catback Exhaust for Jeep JL/JLU SKU: 3015-21003 because of its high clearance design, premium stainless steel materials, and hand-crafted precision fabrication. AWE always checks the boxes for us and is a top choice for any vehicle application. We were confident from the start that this was the way to go.
AWE Exhaust Suite For The Jeep JL And JLU Wranglers: Multiple Options
AWE actually has multiple options for the modern Jeep Wrangler. And as new models and engine options are produced, you can expect a working exhaust solution from AWE such as the SwitchPath for the 392 Hemi V8. They also have the most popular Jeep models covered including the JT Gladiator. I will note AWE offers modular systems as well as the loop delete replacement pipe. This is something that any JL with a long-arm crawler suspension system would require. We cover this in the Project ORXtreme JL: Our Jeep Wrangler Transformed With The Works article.
Keen on making most systems work for most vehicles, AWE landed on two versions and just a handful of part numbers that satisfy both the 2-liter I4 turbo and 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 powered Jeep Wranglers. The Trail Edition and the Tread Edition. For our ORXtreme JL, the AWE Trail Edition Catback Exhaust has all the features we were looking for including a pleasing audible note that was sporty, yet tolerable enough for running around town.
Since the new AWE performance exhaust has been installed, we have had the opportunity to get familiar with its charaterictics. I have thoroughly driven the Jeep around town chasing parts, down to Bolsa Chica State Beach for Jeep Bash, and up to the mountains for a weekend of wheeling trails. We clocked off the miles on the road and burned in hours behind the wheel off-road. I can admittedly say I think this is the best sounding Jeep exhaust for our application.
What Does The Best Sounding Jeep Exhaust Take To Install?
As with most AWE products, this is a highly engineered system and does not take much to complete the installation. Designed and built as a vehicle-specific direct bolt-on exhaust, the whole thing offers factory-like simplicity with no cutting required. Using the factory hangers and hardware fasteners makes for a simple removal and replacement. AWE’s instruction packet details the installation process, and we had the old exhaust off and replaced with the new performance system in less than one hour. Our shop technician rates the job as one out of four wrenches in difficulty and noted the ease with zero complications.
Pro Tip: Soak all hardware in penetrating lube overnight before removal.
AWE Trail Edition Exhausts Main Features:
- Designed specifically for crawling and off-roading
- Provides best-in-class clearance on even the most aggressive departure angles
- Clean, straight-through design maximizes performance
- Dyno-engineered and trail-proven
AWE Exhaust Jeep Suite Main Features:
- Handcrafted from 3” and 2.5” U.S.-made CNC mandrel-bent .065” wall T304L stainless steel
- Perfected for both 2-door (JL) and 4-door (JLU) applications
- Proudly engineered, designed, and manufactured in-house, in the USA
- Available as crawler-engineered Trail Edition and road trip-friendly Tread Edition
- Tread Edition features AWE’s proprietary, patented drone-canceling solution, 180 Technology®, and bespoke dual 4.5” slash-cut tips
- Adjustable tip outlets found on the Tread Edition allow accommodation for aftermarket bumpers
- Resonated and Non-Resonated Mid Pipes available separately
- Dyno-verified max gains of 5 hp and 10 ft-lbs of torque at the wheels
- Direct bolt-on for factory-like simplicity, no cutting required
- Less is more: clean, straight-through design maximizes performance
- Dual 4.5” slash-cut, double-walled tips available in chrome silver or diamond black (Tread Edition)
- Perfect fitment, guaranteed
- AWE No CEL Guarantee
- Lifetime warranty on exhaust
Important Fitment Notes:
- AWE Trail Edition Exhausts may not cooperate with lift kits using rear swaybar drop brackets.
- Wrangler 4xe fitments include Tread Edition Axelback systems only–no midpipes.
- AWE Tread and Trail Edition Exhausts are applicable to eTorque models.