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PowerPaq Piggy Back Computer Installation

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Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 2677

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:43 pm    Post subject: PowerPaq Piggy Back Computer Installation Reply with quote

What it is:
The PowerPaq is a small computer that takes in and monitors several OEM sensor inputs, modifies them, then feeds them back to the PCM to change the car's performance characteristics. The PowerPaq, and similar units such as the Emanage and SAFC II, are commonly referred to as piggy back computers because they work alongside the cars OEM PCM.

What it does:
The PowerPaq's main function is to modify the fuel mixture by changing the MAP sensor voltage that the PCM, thereby fooling it into reducing the amount of fuel in the fuel charge. This leans out the fuel mixture, produces a hotter burn, and produces more power.

The PowerPaq is programmed using a laptop and the software provided. It also has other capabilities such as water injection or NOS control, for a full description click on the link below:


Caution: If you plan to deviate from the supplied PT Cruiser fuel maps be sure that you have a wideband Air Fuel gauge or pyrometer and understand what you are doing because a mixture that is too lean will create enough heat to melt holes in the pistons! Please see my PowerPaq tuning article to find out more.

What it costs:
$569.00 plus installation

Where to get it:
The PowerPaq is an exclusive brand distributed by Psi-Fi Motorsports. You can purchase it directly at the same link above.

In terms of difficulty the install is about as hard as doing a Stage 1 injector and PCM swap, but a lot less messy because there are only 6 wires and a vacuum line to install. The whole process, except for the optional intake manifold mod, should take 1.5 to 2 hours. Add 1.5 hours for the intake manifold mod.

Below are the package contents. Looks pretty spartan but at least I know I am paying for product and not packaging. As you can see it comes mounted on an aluminum plate.

Keith mentioned he had mounted it on the Power Distribution Center cover which is really optimal because it is located right between the airbox and firewall and is very close to the PCM and Brake Boost hose. Below is a pic with the cover off.

I decided to mount the components separately for a cleaner install so I removed the PowerPaq computer and 3 bar map sensor from the plate and test fit them on the cover, finally settling on this configuration.

I used 2X #12 wood screws with washers to screw in from the bottom and mount the MAP sensor. I used double sided 3M exterior mounting tape to mount the PPQ. I then secured it using a machine screw, fender washer, washer under the PPQ mounting tab to compensate for the tape thickness, lock washer on top of the tab, and a nut to secure the whole deal. All hardware is stainless.

I like the layout because it fits easily under the airbox hose and I can still see the relay layout under the Power Distribution Center cover.

Here it is mounted in the engine bay

Once it is mounted, you will need to connect the 3 BAR MAP sensor to a vacuum/pressure line source. To do this you will need 7/16 vacuum line, a 1/4" X 3/8" MPT reducing barb for the vacuum line, a 3/8" FPT tee, and 2X 3/8 MPT barbs, unless you mod the manifold like I did. I went to the auto parts store and asked for vacuum line and they gave me windshield washer line, claiming it was the same composition as the vacuum line. Ok, live and learn I guess.

Installation is the same as installing a boost gauge which is also tapped off the brake boost line, unless you decide to mod the intake manifold. This mod is NOT NECESSARY but it was getting cluttered with the boost gauge and I wanted an easy way to mount other vacuum devices.

I took off the manifold and removed the brake boost line press fitting because I had messed with it so much while installing the boost gauge that it loosened and popped off while I was driving once. I lost my power brakes while driving on the highway so I felt the mod was a worthwhile investment, wouldn't you agree?

I drilled with a 7/16" drill and then tapped it with a 1/4" FPT tap. Be careful when tapping not to go all the way in like I did, stop about 1/4" from the end of the tap and test fit the nipple. Mine only started tightening 2 threads before the end and while I ended up with a perfectly tight fit that was flush with the manifold, I could have done without the panic induced nausea.

I laid out the parts, Teflon taped them, and screwed them together in what I thought was a good configuration.

Parts List:
2X 3/8" FPT (Female pipe thread) Tee
1X 3/8" to 1/4" MPT (Male Pipe Thread) to FPT reducer
1X 3/8" to 1/8" MPT to FPT reducer
1X 3/8" Hose barb (to brake boost line)
1X 1/4" Hose barb (to PPQ MAP. Get a 90 degree if you can)
1X 1/4" Compression fitting (comes with Autometer boost gauge)
1X 3/8" X 3/8" nipple (close fit if you can find them, I couldn't)
1X 3/8" to 1/4" MPT to MPT reducing nipple to connect to the manifold

I would have rather used a 3/8" brass pressure line manifold for a cleaner install than the 2 tees. I have seen a couple for air tools on the Internet but I could not locate one in time so I mounted them as is to the intake manifold.

When I tried to install it, the boost fitting was too close to the firewall to connect the line. Arghhhhhhhhh.................. So I took it out and reconfigured it.


I connected the PPQ vacuum line before hand, for easier mounting and routing. I mounted the intake manifold and reconnected the boost gauge line with a new compression fitting. You don't really need to change the fitting every time you disconnect and reconnect the boost gauge line but mine was kinked and the compression rings are so cheap I said what the hey.

Now the PITA part. You need to tap into the harness wires to complete the install. I removed all the connectors to give myself as much slack as possible. Then I removed the black and orange connector covers to tap into the wires. I read each pin number from the rear and noted the wire color to tap into.

Power Paq Wire to PCM Wire
1) PPQ Black Sensor Ground (Tap) to Pin 27 BK/LB on Orange PCM connector
2) PPQ Skinny white wire Crank Position (Cut) to Pin 35 GY/BK on Orange PCM connector side
3) PPQ Yellow and Blue/black wire to Crank Position (Cut) to Pin 35 GY/BK on Orange PCM connector vehicle side
4) PPQ Violet Map Signal (Cut) to Pin 23 DG/RD on Orange PCM connector side
5) PPQ Blue Map Signal (Cut) to Pin 23 DG/RD on Orange PCM connector vehicle side
6) Throttle position (Tap) to Pin 21 OR/DB on Orange PCM connector
7) 5 Volts (Tap) to Pin 29 OR on Orange PCM connector
8 ) Fused Ignition (Tap) to Pin 11 DB/WT on Black PCM connector

Chrysler wiring color codes:

Example: LB/YL = Light blue with Yellow tracer.

On the wires that where simply tapped into, I bared the wire, lifted it away from the insulation, and threaded the PPQ wire through like a thread in a needle. I then soldered them together. As per the instructions all wires MUST BE soldered. Be sure to triple check all your connections because you don't want to mess up!

I insulated each wire with a good amount of electrical tape, stuffed it all back in so the connector cover would fit, closed it all up, and plugged the connectors back into the PCM.

Now for the fun/scary part. I plugged in the connector to my laptop that was running the PPQ software, turned the ignition and initiated communications. Once I was in, I downloaded a map for the PTGT that Ksquared11 provided and IT LIVED!

Before turning the engine on I pushed the throttle and checked that the throttle position reacted on the screen. That means that only the timing (crank position) and MAP sensor line need to be checked. You can pressurize the system to see if the MAP reacts but I didn't have any equipment for this so I started the car and IT WORKED. At this point I felt comfortable enough to relax my sphincter.

I checked for vacuum leaks and resolved a few minor issues then went for a drive and OH MY GOD what an improvement. I had to re-learn to drive the car because the power comes on sooner and stronger.

It's hard to keep from goosing it because the car seems so eager to go. I highly recommend this mod. The only supporting mod that is needed is Stage 1. You need NOTHING else, although I would highly recommend a wideband AFR gauge to monitor and further tune the car.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Keith (Ksquared11) for turning me on to the PowerPaq and helping me acquire it. What a friend!

2003 Silver PT GT, Mopar Stage 1, K&N drop in, Plastic Manifold, Airbox mod, Stainless downpipe with cat, Mopar/Borla Dual Catback, Denso Iridium @ .028, generic 9mm ignition wires, Freedom Strut Bar, JL Audio 300/4, Infinity Kappa speakers, UConnect.
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Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 2677

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 11:05 am    Post subject: Long Term Use Review Reply with quote

The Power Paq is an excellent device and is an absolute necessity if you plan to change the stock turbo. For a stock turbo equipped PT it is overkill, so I elected to strip it from my car.

The reason for this became clear when my AFR yielded a consistent 10.0 reading with the PPQ disabled for a period of 6 months. This means that here is no point in having a device capable of adjusting the AFR by varying increments because the AFR variance curve is flat.

It is important to understand that the PPQ is simply a programmable MAP clamp. Seeing that the PT's AFR is so stable, an easy to install $30.00 map clamp will get you the exact same performance boost when properly set.

As always, be sure to have an AFR gauge hooked up so you don't burn holes in your pistons when using these devices.

2003 Silver PT GT, Mopar Stage 1, K&N drop in, Plastic Manifold, Airbox mod, Stainless downpipe with cat, Mopar/Borla Dual Catback, Denso Iridium @ .028, generic 9mm ignition wires, Freedom Strut Bar, JL Audio 300/4, Infinity Kappa speakers, UConnect.
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