Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Feedback: 0 reviews
As you all know the stock 3.8 V-6 in a JK is no powerhouse. Add some weight from aftermarket mods like skid plates, body armor, bumpers and a set of big meaty tires and this lack of power really brings the suck to a whole new level….. This last week we installed a set of RIPP Long Tube Headers into our JK and a custom tune loaded with a DiabloSport InTune i1000 to see what kind of power we could actually get out of 6 pissed off squirrels in a box.
Our JK is running 40x13.5R17 Toyo Open Country M/Ts and other than re-gearing to 5.38 in the axles the only other drivetrain mods have been a K&N drop in air filter and a DynoMax muffler until this point.
Since our JK has a long arm suspension we went with the kit specifically designed for long arm Jeeps. This kit does not come with cats and is listed as an “off-road only” kit. Some people out there have bought the non-long arm kit with cats and made modifications to use with their long arm setup, we decided to not go that route and will run an inline cat in the future if needed.
My first impression of RIPP’s headers when we pulled them out of the box was that these things are a work of stainless steel art. American Racing Headers manufactures these headers for RIPP out of t304 stainless steel using ⅜ thick flanges and merge collectors with scavenger spikes to keep the exhaust gasses moving and come with preinstalled 02 sensor bungs. The merge collectors bolt to the exhaust pipes via a ball connector and come together in “y” under the drivers seat. These are fully welded and a completely bolt on application that can be accomplished in a few hours in any garage with basic hand tools.
Installation was straightforward. First thing was removing the factory restrictive exhaust setup from the JK. Unbolt the factory exhaust clamp and slip off the cat back section of the exhaust, disconnect and label the o2 sensors for future use, Disconnect and label the spark plug wires, unbolt the down pipes from the manifolds and remove manifolds and heat shields from the heads. RIPP’s instructions say to support the transmission and remove the transmission crossmember to clear room to remove the factory cats and down pipes which are one piece, we chose to leave the crossmember in place and dissect the factory exhaust with our trusty sawzall.
Before installing the headers it is important to note that you will need to modify the factory heat shields to use with the new headers to protect components of the engine bay from excessive heat which may cause severe damage. We began installation of the RIPP headers with the drivers side header and placed it in from the top. Getting this header into place required some twisting and turning to get it past the the steering shaft and into its mounting location. We found that unbolting the coil-pack from its mounting bracket made this go much easier. Once in place, re-use the factory exhaust gasket between the head and header and bolt the header in place with using the factory hardware. The heat shield is mounted with the two outermost upper header bolts. The passenger side header is installed from underneath the Jeep and is installed the same as the drivers side reusing the factory gasket, modified heat shielding and bolts. The passenger side proved to be a little more difficult to instal for us as we have limited access to the head bolts because of our PSC Steering reservoir mounting location to the side of the battery box.
After the headers were installed we hooked up the exhaust piping ball clamps to the headers and the band clamp connecting the left and right piping loosely to allow for adjustment of the exhaust system. Once the piping has been adjusted to clear the frame, everything was bolted up snug and the cat back was reconnected. We updated and registered the DiabloSport InTune and the stock tune was pulled front the PCM and sent to RIPP so that they could write us a custom normal aspiration tune for our new headers. After a few short hours RIPP had our new tune back to us and we flashed it to the PCM. The DiabloSport InTune is ridiculously easy to use. Adding the custom tune file to the InTune was as simple as hooking it up to your computer and dragging and dropping the file to the InTune icon. To program the PCM, you simply hook the InTune to the ALDL select the custom tune in the easy to navigate menus and follow the onscreen directions to load the new tune.
Immediately during the first test drive I could feel a significant difference. The Jeep had considerably more torque at lower RPM. I noticed a difference from 2000 RPM up in the amount of torque that the 3.8 makes with the RIPP LT Headers compared to stock. Before the header instal the Jeep didn’t seem to make much useable torque below the 3500 RPM range, I can now feel torque coming on at about 2600 RPM. Torque at lower RPM significantly increases the daily drivability of the vehicle and makes it much more fun to drive. RIPP claims these headers make “35lbs/ft or torque 600 RPM sooner than stock and 25 rear-wheel HP gains with excellent response throughout the RPM range” and by the seat of the pants, it feels like thats exactly what you’re getting. We can now hold 75-80mph on the highway without continually downshifting to hold speed as we had previously. In my opinion, these headers make the most power that you can get out of a naturally aspirated engine and are the best bang for the buck that you’re gonna get.
The downside is that with the increase in power comes an increase in sound, particularly rasp. RIPP recommends the Flowmaster Hushpower resonator to cure this issue, which hadn’t come in when we installed the headers. As mentioned before, we had a DynoMax straight through muffler to begin with and there was (as expected) a very loud very sharp rasp coming from the exhaust during acceleration starting around 2800 RPM and lasting through to 5000+ RPM. The JK now sounded like a straight piped Honda and we quickly realized the Hushpower was a MUST. After installing the Hushpower, the exhaust tone is considerably better although there is still an exhaust rasp from 3200 to 4000 RPM at wide open throttle but it is not nearly as harsh as it was with the DynoMax.
Overall I am very pleased with this product and would definitely buy it again. If you’re in Grand Junction and would like to see this product in action, hit me up.