Sampling Livernois Motorsports’ Recipe For A Blazing Fast Trackhawk

It’s not easy coaxing a sub-10-second quarter-mile time out of a car weighing more than 4,000 pounds, let alone an SUV weighing north of 5,000 pounds. It seems the folks at Livernois have found a recipe to do just that with their 2018-2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk S1025 Performance Package.

The Dearborn Heights, Michigan-based Livernois is known for making late model muscle go fast, and the Trackhawk is no exception. Although Dodge’s ultra-high-performance SUV presents the crew with unique challenges because of its size and weight, it isn’t without its merits. The 6.2L all-wheel-drive powered platform boasts 707 horsepower from the factory. So, when it came time for the team at Livernois to develop a package for the Trackhawk, they swung for the fences and it paid off.

“The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is an incredibly capable vehicle and Livernois Motorsports’ Trackhawk tuning packages take an already stunning performer to the next level,” said Tom Millen, General Manager, Livernois Motorsports.

In 2018 they set an e.t. record for the Trackhawk with an impressive 9.96 quarter-mile pass. They did so with the top tier of the three Trackhawk packages the company offers. Tom Millen, General Manager of Livernois Motorsports said, “More than tuning on the dyno, we test our combinations at the track to ensure they deliver real-world performance gains that our customers can depend on.”

Ultimately, we know this to be true, but we just had to try to recreate it for ourselves. With access to a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk of our own in the shop, we sought to put the Livernois Performance Package to the test and experience similar results of our own. With only 5,800 miles on the bone stock Dodge, it would prove to be the perfect test mule.

When establishing the baseline numbers, we launched the Trackhawk using both the built-in launch control and the conventional method from idle.

Establishing Baseline

Of course, no test would be complete without first establishing some baseline numbers. So, we started by taking the Trackhawk to the drag strip in Irwindale, California for some eighth-mile testing in stock form.

The Trackhawk made six runs in warm 78-82 degree weather during a private test session. James made two runs leaving at idle and three runs using the Trackhawk’s built-in launch control set at 2,400 rpm.

Our test runs were done in the eighth-mile, with a best of 7.481 at 92.3 mph. After a quick application of racer-math (eighth-mile time x 1.56 for quarter-mile et, and eighth-mile mph x 1.25 for quarter-mile mph) an estimated quarter-mile elapsed time of 11.66 at 115.37 miles per hour was revealed – not bad for a bone stock family hauler.

The slip on the right shows the time we were using the Trackhawk’s launch control.

When you start talking about nine-second quarter-mile times, people tend to think it takes a copious amount of modifications to get there. While in days past that might have been true, today’s modified performance vehicles routinely run around on the streets casually making more than 1,000 horsepower.

The Trackhawk is no different. With a small amount of carefully engineered hardware and software upgrades you too can have yourself one hell of a grocery-getter.

Livernois’ S1025 Performance package consists of a few key components, all of which contribute to peak horsepower and torque gains of up to 250, respectively.

Below, we will cover the installation of some of those components and discuss their features and benefits.

It’s important to note that our Performance Package is slightly different than the S1025 Kit the crew at Livernois used to achieve sub-10-second quarter-mile times. The most important part being the supercharger pulley – ours is 3.05-inches for use with 91-octane fuel, as opposed to the 2.85-inch pulley for use with 93-octane.

Livernois Motorsports Powerstorm Supercharger Pulley

Swapping the factory supercharger pulley for the Livernois Motorsports Custom Supercharger Pulley was straight forward. With the factory pulley removed, we simply used the supplied hardware (six Allen-head bolts) to attach it to the stock mounting location.

For those well-practiced in the dark art of blower magic, the idea of swapping out a supercharger pulley is an afterthought by now. For those new to the game, swapping a supercharger pulley to a smaller version creates more boost by spinning the supercharger’s twin-screws faster. The same remains for the supercharged HEMI under the hood of our Trackhawk. So, it makes sense the Livernois Performance Package includes a new blower pulley. The company lists its features as such, below:

“When developing our S975 and S1025 packages we had one clear goal in mind – finding the perfect balance of increased performance, with reliable blower speeds. In doing so, we determined that this necessitated a purpose-designed and built supercharger pulley to work in conjunction with the Innovators West overdrive balancer.”

EvenFlo Performance Thermostat

By upgrading the thermostat in the Trackhawk's supercharged HEMI, we achieve peak efficiency while accounting for the new modifications.

Modern engines tend to run a bit hotter than in the past. That’s by design because there is a sweet spot for efficiency. It’s not uncommon for late model muscle like our Trackhawk to operate optimally in, and north of, the 200-degree range. But, by cooling things down with an EvenFlo Performance 180-degree Thermostat included in the Livernois Performance Package, one can potentially trade peak efficiency for increased horsepower.

“Livernois Motorsports & Engineering’s line of EvenFlo low-temperature thermostats reduce the operating temperatures in your performance engine. This will allow for the engine to naturally make more power, ensure consistent performance, and increase coolant flow to help extend engine component longevity.”

This is accomplished in a number of ways. Essentially, the cooler engine (180-degrees as opposed to 200-degrees) is less susceptible to detonation. When you’re talking about a boosted application, that becomes increasingly important, especially once the boost pressure starts to rise with other modifications.

So the slight thermodynamic efficiency you lose with the cooler combustion chamber, you can make up for with more spark, boost, etc. So, let’s say you’re making 50 more horsepower (thanks to the timing and/or boost) but the engine is only at 46% thermal efficiency, instead of 50 less horsepower but at 49% efficiency – the tradeoff is a no-brainer.

Innovators West Harmonic Balancer Upgrade With O/D Crank Pulley And Crankshaft Pinning Kit

The installation of the Innovators West pulley was simple because the kit includes all the required hardware, including the proper drill bit for pinning the new balancer pulley.

Having built numerous Trackhawks and done a copious amount of testing, the professionals at Livernois Motorsports utilize the Innovators West Balancer and Triple-dowel and Keyed Crank Pinning System on all of their builds. There’s a reason for that.

Pinning the factory crank pulley is basically like adding a keyway. For engines like the fourth-gen HEMI that utilize a tapered pressure-fit crankshaft pulley, this is an important step toward creating a robust system. Otherwise, the extra load can be too much for the stock pulley to handle. Using the Innovators West Harmonic Balancer upgrade and Crankshaft Pinning Kit creates a much more reliable setup for the amount of power it takes to launch a Trackhawk low 10-second range.

Injector Dynamics ID1300X Upgraded Fuel Injectors

It goes without saying that if you’re going to up the power levels in the neighborhood of 250+ horsepower, you’re going to need more fuel. For our Trackhawk, that came by way of Injector Dynamics ID1300X Upgraded Fuel Injectors. The larger injectors obviously flow much more fuel than the stock variants, but it’s not by a small margin. The ID1300X injectors flow 127.6lb/hr, while the factory versions flow only 57.14lb/hr (converted from the reported 600cc/min). Of course, this is also due to the fact that we switched to the use of E85 which requires a higher flow-rate. Livernois reports the reason for its use of Injector Dynamics components below.

Replacing the piddly factory injectors with the stout ID1300X injectors was straight-forward. We removed the originals using a pick and a steady hand, lubed up the new injectors and pressed them in taking special care not to damage the o-rings, and then reattached the fuel rail to the blower manifold.

“Livernois Motorsports and Engineering always strives to offer the best available components for all of our packages, and for the S1025 Trackhawk we utilize the Injector Dynamics ID1300X line of fuel injectors, which are featured in many of our popular install packages. Proven to offer unmatched drivability, while supplying sufficient fuel flow to accommodate your high power levels, these injectors offer amazing consistency.”

Livernois Motorsports PCM Unlocking Service/ MyCalibrator Custom Tuner

The gen-III HEMI platform has been notoriously difficult to tune in years past. But, as the popularity of the platform has grown, so has the aftermarket’s offerings for it. Livernois was an early adopter of the platform, and as such has continued to pioneer the performance tuning of the gen-III HEMI in all of its iterations.

The folks at Livernois expanded upon this, “we now offer our PCM unlocking service for the 2018-2020 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles. A product that was once only available to those customers who brought their vehicle to our facilities for performance work, this service is now available for all customers looking to unlock their factory PCM for use with all commercially available tuning software.”

“Back in 2015, the only way to tune a Mopar vehicle involved physical modifications to the computer to unlock the potential to retune your vehicle to compensate for modifications, or to add power, torque, and performance.”

Removing and reinstalling the PCM is easy, although, removing the safety latches and electrical connectors does require a good amount of force.

“After purchase, all you have to do is reference your order number and ship your vehicle’s computer to us for unlocking. This process typically takes one-business-day for completion. Simply choose the return shipping method at the time of checkout to have the process completed in as little as two-days with shipping time!”

Using their in-house chassis dyno, the crew at Livernois developed custom tunes for each of their Trackhawk packages. They hooked us up with a modified S1025 option. After unlocking the PCM, it was just a matter of connecting the MyCalibrator to our OBD-II port under the dash.

This certainly made things convenient for us when completing our installation at our home shop. Rather than having to be local to Livernois or another custom tuner, all we had to do was send them our PCM and we had it back in a matter of days. Once we had the unlocked PCM, we were able to install the MyCalibrator Tuner and load our custom tune from Livernois.

The MyCalibrator Tuner is great for a number of reasons. Aside from being compatible with our Performance Package, it also offers dyno-proven air and fuel adjustments, data logging, and diagnostic tool. We are able to monitor the Trackhawk’s vitals via the LCD display which allows you to have up to six real-time gauges. You can also cycle through the vehicle’s information, clear/read DTC codes, and update all of it through cloud storage. It really takes the guesswork out of tuning.

CORSA Performance SPORT Catback Exhaust

While CORSA’s Performance Extreme Catback Exhaust System isn’t part of the Livernois S1025 Package, it is something we wanted to do while we had the Trackhawk on the lift in our shop. We couldn’t bear the thought of making such performance gains whilst simultaneously stifling the roar of our Trackhawk. The added benefit the Reflective Sound Technology (RSC) has on the drivability of the Trackhawk also spurred our decision.

The factory exhaust leaves much to be desired. From the wimpy "growl" emanating from the spindly tubing to the hefty weight, it just wasn't getting the job done. The CORSA Sport series for the Trackhawk made quick work of that.

CORSA touts the RSC technology as being, “designed for an aggressive sound under acceleration and offers a drone-free experience during cruising. Every exhaust system is engineered specifically to each vehicle application in order to maximize performance and eliminate drone at cruise.”

Now that’s a proper exhaust system!

But the benefits don’t stop there. The 2.75-inch cat-back system boasts a nine-percent flow increase over stock and reduces the weight of the system by nine-pounds. Twin 4.5-inch black Pro-Series tips project a high-performance sound and a distinct rumble at idle. While the SPORT series we installed is aggressive and louder than stock, it is quieter than the Xtreme series CORSA also offers.

Now the Trackhawk has the looks and sound to match its upgraded performance.

After Numbers

But don’t just take this author’s word for it – check out the video of the eighth-mile passes we made after the installation was complete.

As you can see and hear in the video above, the Trackhawk is an absolute monster! On its second outing, the Jeep ran a 7.005 at 103.6 mph. We pulled that off with a 1.74 60-foot in 97-degree weather and 5,400 ft air density – considerably hotter than the initial testing temperatures.

So, after extrapolating that eighth-mile elapsed-time to that of the quarter-mile, the Trackhawk laid down a blazing fast 10.92 e.t. at 129.5 mph. Our driver said it best, “There is more left. I just need to get it to the racetrack when it’s cooler.”

Update

It appears he was right about more being left on the table because we got the TrackHawk back to the track  – this time, with even better results.

We inched closer to the ever-elusive nine-second pass in our TrackHawk on its third outing, this time on a quarter-mile track in Vegas.

At 3,300 ft air density, we were able to shave two-tenths off of our previous time behind the wheel of the TrackHawk. This time cracking off a 10.731 e.t. at 125.01 mph.

While we did have the cooler weather we were after, our driver also mentioned: “it spun the tires because the track prep wasn’t great on that run.”

So, there you have it. Our sampling of the Livernois Performance Package proved yet again, they’ve got one spicy recipe for speed.

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About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
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