TrashHawk’s LS Power Waves Digit At Mopar’s TrackHawk

There are two types of people in the world; those who simply buy what they want, and those who own tools. These guys definitely had the right tools to build what might be the consummate “hold my beer” answer to Mopar’s high-dollar, all-wheel-drive, supercharged, TrackHawk.

Okay, even we have to admit that tossing a 707-horsepower Hellcat engine into a Jeep Grand Cherokee sounds so much like a good thing. The downside, is you gotta pay the wages for all those engineering hours and dyno time with the EPA. A better (cheaper) alternative is to scour your local marketplace ads in search of a donor car with enough patina to be cool, but enough road rash to seriously degrade its resale value.

That, my friends, is where the TrashHawk leaps head and shoulders above your standard showroom fare. Marc Christ and Brandon Burke from PowerNation TV’s Music City Trucks found this 1986 Jeep Cherokee and began to build a cost-conscious answer to the TrackHawk conundrum.

The base of the build is housed around TrashHawk’s engine. Instead of the “got a hemi in it?” cliché, Marc, Brandon, and the team over at PowerNation’s Engine Power uncrated a Bowtie-wearin’ 427 cubic inch LSx crate engine to swap into their corner-carvin’ Cherokee. Of course, they weren’t going to be outdone by the original’s 707-horsepower mill, so they plopped an intercooled Magnuson TVS2300 supercharger atop the already potent mill. Fuel to the engine was upgraded with DeatschWerks 90 lb.-hr. injectors and gets its marching orders from a FiTech Ultimate LS Engine ECU and Force Fuel sump system. A Holley Mighty Mite fuel pump feeds fuel to the Force Fuel sump, which uses dual 340 LPH pumps to directly feed the engine.

The boosted beast finds its altitude with a three-bar MAP sensor which can handle up to 30lbs of boost. When all was said and done, the trashy version outgunned the Hellcat with over 785 horsepower and 680 lb/ft. of torque! As with many mid-80s cars, TrashHawk originally had a slushbox to sorta find a gear now and again. For more positive shifting behind the potent LS, it now uses an American Powertrain T-56 with a Centerforce DYAD DS, dual-disc clutch inside a Quicktime bell housing.

The guys plopped a 427 cubic inch LS engine into TrashHawk with a Magnuson supercharger. How'd it fit? If the hood is any indicator, just barely.

Since the “Mopar or No Car!” bumper sticker had already been nullified, a Ford 8.8 rear axle was swapped into TrashHawks rear hinders, stoutly fitted with a Detroit Eaton Truetrac differential. The front Dana 30 axle was replaced with an axle from a two-wheel-drive 2001 Cherokee. Rolling stock comes by way of 18-inch Continental ExtremeContact rubber, mounted onto Konig Hypergram race wheels.

The Konig wheels barely make an effort to conceal those EBC brakes. With the sticky Contis grabbing the asphalt, we'd bet the TrashHawk throws anchor at LEAST as well as the high-dollar variant.

Stopping this beefy beaut is a hybrid set of brakes, featuring 12-inch discs using a combination of Jeep Grand Cherokee calipers, steering knuckles, and lower ball joints. A spanky-new set of EBC rotors and pads do the heavy lifting when the horizontal pedal sees dual footprints. The expatriated Ford rear was upgraded with EBC Stage 9 rotor and pad kit.

A FiTech fueling system feeds TrackHawk's LS-based engine. An American Powertrain T-56 now shares the shifting duties for TrackHawk.

As the dust settles from the initial drives of the TrashHawk, Brandon said it best when he said, “There’s no explaining this!” We can imagine that while driving TrashHawk may be slightly different than driving a Mopar variant, the smoke plumes and smiles attest it STILL gets the same results, and for a fraction of the cost!

We want to give a Shoutout to Alan at Summit Racing for the lead on this awesome vehicle.

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About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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