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Ronald Kregoski, Organizational Psychologist, Sees K&N Ad, Decides to Verify Claims
Ronald Kregoski is an Organizational Psychologist by trade and a gear-head by heart. The Brighton, Michigan resident is also a freelance writer. “I read an ad from K&N Engineering concerning power gain on a 2000 Grand Cherokee,” said Ronald. “I tested K&N’s FIPK kit to see if it could meet the results from the ad, and I have to say K&N’s advertising was conservative.
You can read Ronald’s articles in his own words. Ronald Kregoski’s article also can be found in Cruisnews Magazine.
Putting A Little More Go In The Old Grocery Getter - Part 1 By Ronald Kregoski
K&N FIPK testing on a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee
While many of us revel in piling carburetors and superchargers on our go fast toys, when it comes to the daily driver, sacrificing better mileage and reliability for better performance doesn’t make good sense with gasoline hovering on the wrong side of $3 a gallon. But, what if you could have all three; better performance with reliability for towing and at the same time better mileage and at a price that won’t require a home equity loan? Well, K&N may just have the answer for you.
It is packaged as the K&N Generation II Fuel Injection Performance Kit or FIPK for short. I have always been a fan of K&N filters ever since I installed a set on my Viper with noticeable improvement. The K&N FIPK is more than just a filter. It is a smooth bore, low restriction, cool air intake kit that, you can install yourself. This nifty upgrade can be accomplished on a Saturday afternoon with minimal skills, something many of us have in abundance, and only requires a fistful of common hand tools ___ you won’t need a committee and a computer.
How does the K&N FIPK get the performance? Well, getting air to the engine is the weakest link in the airflow chain and robs an engine of it’s potential horsepower. To combat this the FIPK employs a low restriction filter for better airflow and it comes in the form of a cone filter, which maximizes the filter surface. Also, it relocates the air pickup away from engine heat and as the laws of physics tells us, cooler air is denser so you are increasing the amount of air charge to your engine. In addition, the kit employs a smooth bore air tube, which allows for a greater flow with less turbulence.
K&N promises some pretty impressive performance improvements. So, if it is so good, why don’t manufacturers make it standard equipment? Well, they have to balance the improved performance against the added noise a low restriction system delivers and engine and exhaust noise is a priority with manufacturers. It is the reason that Chrysler moved the Viper side exhausts to its rear for several years. It seems that in performing certified tests the acoustic pickups are pointed at the side of vehicles and the Viper was found to be acoustically challenged.
My 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 4.7 Power Tech V8 and almost 92,000 miles on its ticker was to be the test mule. The factory rates it as kicking out 235hp @ 4500 rpm and 295 ft lbs @ 3200 at the crank. I chose the Jeep because; 1- it is my daily driver, 2- like many of our grocery getters it had some miles on it and 3- it had an on-board computer where I could tract mileage & gas usage. But, the compelling reason is that it was the same year, make, model and almost the same mileage that K&N used in their ad where they claimed an astonishing 13.1 hp gain! This sounded overstated to me and I wanted to see if those results were possible and what kind of effect the bolt-on would have on mileage.
Now you need to know that our previous Grande Cherokee, succumbing to a short in it’s remote starting system (I didn’t install it) literally burned to the ground one afternoon while parked in our yard. We had friends visiting from New England and offered the wife the Jeep for an appointment she had. She was overly worried about doing some damage to the car and had to be talked into using it. It was most disconcerting then, when after she returned and parked it, it erupted into a black plume of smoke and flames necessitating a visit from our local Fire Dept. ___ the friend hasn’t been the same since. So it was understandable that my wife needed some convincing that what I was now planning wouldn’t turn our current Jeep into another Molotov cocktail.
That done, the next step was to put in a call to the good folks at K&N and talk them into coughing up one of their nifty kits. The final task on my ‘to do’ list was to secure someone who would dyno the results. I found that at Wheel to Wheel Powertrain in Madison Heights.
Among other things, Wheel to Wheel Powertrain has an excellent reputation for accurate dyno work. They were the folks who were selected by Motor Trend magazine to produce the Ford GT, Corvette Z06 and Dodge Viper comparison numbers, which appeared in their December issue. As it turned out, I didn’t have to find that Saturday afternoon to install the kit because Kurt Urban, W2W’s Director of Operations offered to have his crew install the K&N package as well. Never look the gift of free professional labor in the mouth! Later I was impressed to learn that this was the same Kurt Urban who was the 2003 Pro Outlaw Class winner at the Southern Shootout and turned 8.527 @ 163.43mph in one of their LS1 powered firebirds.
Before setting out, I installed a new set of Champions and changed the oil. Next, I did some freeway driving to develop my mileage baseline. I decided to stay with highway mileage in as much as there are too many variables to get good comparative numbers for city or combined driving. I chose the stretch of 94 from Ann Arbor to Dearborn. In order to maintain an honest comparison I ran at a steady 60mph and averaged it in both directions. It was a good move because the drives were affected by a stiff tail wind. I chose 60 mph because this is what I run at when I take frequent trips on the Ohio Turnpike. The results were better than I expected. Chrysler promises 15mpg in the city, and 19mpg highway. Surprisingly, I recorded a consistent 22.2mpg highway.
That accomplished, I headed for Wheel to Wheel. The W2W performance bat cave is tucked away in an industrial park off of 14 Mile in Madison Heights. When I rolled in, I was met by their Performance Product Development Mngr, Brad Shantry, where I learned there was a lot more to W2W than just dynamometers.
Wheel to Wheel Powertrain is a full service, racer’s wet dream. They perform major engine builds as well as maintaining racing teams. With a full machine shop and a team of mechanics and performance specialists they can do just about anything and draw customers from all over the country. One customer sent his ’69 Camaro to W2W all the way from California. He wanted W2W to weave its magic so he would be able to drive it from California to the Texas Mile, make a run of over 200 mph and drive it back home to California. They complied ____ and it did!
The shop is professionally laid out. In a corner of the shop was the dyno room. In addition to the chassis dyno, W2W has 3 engine dyno cells. I arrived just in time to see them run up a twin turboed LS1 with 1400 hp. Wow! It sent a chill up my spine and vibrated the fillings in my teeth. There were stacked dunnage bins filled with performance engines and around the shop were various cars and trucks being staged for service.
Dyno testing K&N FIPK at Wheel to Wheel Powertrain
I wanted to try and replicate the K&N test and to see if I could get similar results to the company promise. In addition to the mileage measures already taken, the test was to include before and after measures of HP, torque curves and 1/4 mile acceleration. The latter originally was going to be done by myself using a G-Tech accelerometer, but it seems that W2W’s dyno can calculate that too. It is one of the few dynamometers which operates to SAE standards and produces actual aerodynamic loads to simulate real road conditions. You may have seen some press lately about new cars and their inflated hp/torque claims and the move to now use SAE standards and protocols. The W2W Mustang dyno operates at an air temp of 77 degrees and compensates for aero drag and a car’s weight. So it is capable of producing 1/4 Mile times as accurately as if you were flying down the asphalt. This is important because you are getting a record of what you car is actually capable of producing or how your upgrade performs without having your hookup or reaction time being a confounding variable.
, you’ll learn the results.
Think a good thought and remember to put off puttin’ off!
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K&N Engineering, Inc., with headquarters in Riverside, California, has been the world''s leader in performance filter technology since 1969, serving the needs of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial and military markets. K&N is heavily involved in nearly every form of motorsports from off-road and powersports to drag racing, stock cars and road racing. For more information about K&N Filters, please contact K&N Engineering, Inc., P.O. Box 1329, Riverside, CA 92502-1329, (800) 213-4182 for a dealer near you, (800) 858-3333 for technical service/questions, (951) 826-4001 Fax, e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.knfilters.com.
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