The 3rd generation Jeep Wrangler is the JK model that was introduced to the market in 2006. The JK was an evolutionary step in the Jeep design, and this design includes all the standards such as a separate body and frame, front and rear rigid live axles, a fold-flat windshield, and can be driven doorless. The Wrangler JK also gives you the part-time four-wheel-drive systems, with high and low gearing choice.
There is also a four-door model, which comes with an extended wheelbase of 20” instead of 10”, at first it was laughed at, but the market turned on its head, and the four-door became a market success.
Jeep decided to cater to the aftermarket taste and created the JK with the least expensive parts so that the enthusiastic owners would not be afraid to replace parts, and even support parts replacement. After all, what’s better? An expensive jeep where you think twice before changing something, or an inexpensive model that lets you go all LEGO over it?
The New JK Difference
Let’s start with some facts; the new V6 delivers more power at a slightly higher rpm than the old 4.0L inline. This means that on the road your engine will turn at around 700 rpm faster than the inline. In 2012 Jeep introduced the 3.6 Penstar that delivers an extra 85 HP, better MPG, and higher torque than the JK predecessors.
The later Rubicon models come with a push-button sway-bar disconnect this gives you better suspension articulation and a smoother off-road ride. Add to this the front and rear lockers, and you and the new rocker guards are cruising with extreme comfort.
The 2 doors JK does come with an advantage over it’s larger 4 door brother, the lighter weight and short wheelbase makes it perfect for off-road performance, which it delivers much better than the 4 doors. The 2 doors also don’t tax the engine as much, and the SWB (short wheelbase) gives you a lower turn radius with a better break-over angle. As such, the 2 doors JK will roll over rougher and rougher terrain better than the 4 doors.
On the flip side, the 4 door Unlimited is a much better road trip vehicle since it comes with longer wheel size, and while the 2 door can climb better, the 4 door has less chance of flipping over due to the longer wheelbase. Also, Unlimited can tow much better.
So, what does this show us? It shows us that you need two jeeps! One for each application. Just kidding,
Pros and Cons of the Models
The JK Unlimited (JKU) has a longer wheelbase (LWB), so it has 4 doors and can tow 1,500 lbs more than the standard 2 doors. The Unlimited has a wider turning radius, so the advantage is for the JK with its SWB design making it much nimbler. The JKU is heavier, so it strains the same engine base as the JK with more need for power and torque.
JK Wrangler Rubicon
The Rubicon is the top JK model, what makes them special? Well, the come with Mopar accessories, off-road suspension, and a lot of nonstandard stock mods. The Rubicon is also 2.5” higher than the standard JK and JKU, and this is due to off-road accessories which include the springs, shocks, sway bars, links, wheels, tires, and armor.
What can be tuned?
Jeep tuners will let you calibrate every engine part and all electronic components for performance and comfort, just like any other tuner on the market. This includes Camshafts, Cold air intakes, Cylinder heads, Fuel injectors, Full exhaust systems and headers, Intake manifolds, Nitrous systems, Rear gear changes, Superchargers/Turbochargers, and Throttle bodies. As well windows, locks, alarms, etc.,
Custom, Canned and Dyno
There are three types of tunes available, these are:
- Canned: A generic preset tune that comes with the device.
- Custom: A specially written tune, either prepared by a company or made by a professional.
- Dyno: A shop prepared tune, where the tuner dials it in real-time.
Just to be sure, never buy a tune from an unknown source, and never tune by yourself. Custom tuning is for professionals that understand the nature of the entire operation; one change can destroy your performance, let alone an entire range of changes.
There are two variants for tuning; one is the use of chips, which come with preset tunes that you can employ at the flick of a switch. These are closed circuits, which means you cannot make custom adjustments. The second variant is Tuners, which come with open circuits that allow you to make custom changes to specific options.
Now let’s take a look at the five best tuners for Jeep JK models.
List of Top-Rated Tuners for Jeep JK Comparison Table:
|DiabloSport 8400||12.8 ounces||6.1” x 5.4” x 2.4”||View on Amazon|
|DiabloSport 9445||1.55 pounds||9.5” x 6.2” x 4”||View on Amazon|
|Superchips 42050||1.25 pounds||9.5” x 6.4” x 3.7”||View on Amazon|
|Superchips 41051||1.16 pounds||10” x 10” x 10”||View on Amazon|
|Superchips 3874||11.2 ounces||5” x 6” x 2.5”||View on Amazon|
The Tuners for Jeep JK Reviews & Buyer’s Guide:
1. DiabloSport 8400 inTune i3 Performance Programmer Tuner for Jeep JK
The DiabloSport® InTune i3 Programmer model 8400 is designed specifically for Jeep applications and provides two fantastic preset “canned” tunes.
This handheld a model of the InTune i3 programmer comes with two powerup tunes for your JK jeep, that include
- Power level 1 (93 Octane Performance Tune): 15 HP, 20 TQ
- Power level 2 (91 Octane Performance Tune): 13 HP, 15 TQ
Apart from these two tunes, that deliver that much-needed difference for your off-road applications, you get them in a customizable package that includes the ability to download any number of CMR custom tunes.
This model gives you an easy to navigate a touch screen with data logging capability, the ability to read an clear all DTC’s and to calibrate any number of individual performance functions.
Apart from using canned tunes, you can calibrate custom tunes including Speedometer for Gear Ratio and for tire size. Throttle booster, Spark Timing Advance Retard, Fuel Rich Lean Adjustment and control the cooling fan. You also get to disable the DSP and play with the top speed and rev limiters. Obviously, I have only scratched the surface of the capabilities of this device.
- Touch Screen
- Data Logging
- Check Clear DTCs
- 5 Volt Data Logging Inputs
- Accepts Custom Tunes From CMR
- Torque Management Adjustment
- Disable Active Fuel Management
- Reset TCM Adaptation
- Disable Skip Shift
A great performance model delivers classic Jeep JK tunes and will make your Jeep sing as it dances over the hills.
2. DiabloSport 9445 Trinity T2 EX Performance Programmer Platinum Series Tuner for Jeep JK
This is the DiabloSport® Trinity 2 Platinum Programmer model 9445. This is another Jeep JK model from DiabloSport®, and it also delivers two great performance tunes, but also much more.
If you thought the handheld i3 model was something, then wait till you attach this to your dash. This is the comprehensive Trinity 2 EX model, and it doesn’t get more comprehensive and enjoyable than this. This is the tune freaks model, and it gives you an exceptional 5” touchscreen panel with customizable GUI for on the fly viewing and monitoring, as well as tuning.
Everything you get ion the i3 you get here, but here you get more versatility, more control and easier interaction with the data through its amazing screen.
The bottom line; if you want to be cool as well as hot, this is the model for both.
- Full-color, high-definition 5″ touchscreen
- Customizable gauge screen themes and menus
- High-speed data logging with export capability
- Full data logging capability
- Read and clear diagnostic trouble codes
- Switch between imperial or metric units of measure
- Performance testing capabilities
The ultimate tuner, the ultimate package, and the challenging price.
3. Superchips 42050 TrailDash 2 Programmer Tuner for Jeep JK
The Superchips TrailDash2 gives you a great 5” GUI touchscreen display with a fully customizable interface and canned tunes too.
This is a Power Level 3 tune pack that adds + 50.0 HP & +55.0 lb-ft to your jeep. The display is an amazing customizable 5” touchscreen that comes with a plethora of gauges configurations and also gives you an auto-dim feature for ambient light changes.
This model is compatible with the Expandable Accessory System (EAS), and it also Alerts and Records while sitting in a Custom Pod or mount on your dash.
It delivers every possible tune you could download, so your Jeep will always perform the way you want, or you can play with the functions, tweaking where you want for specific aftermarket additions.
- 5″ Full Color, High-Resolution, Touch Screen
- Customizable Color Mixer for Gauge Arcs, Needles, and Backgrounds
- Multiple Gauge Screen Layouts
- New switch panel screen to control EAS Power Switches
- HDMI Style Plug for Power and Linking EAS Accessories
- One-Touch Easy Menu Navigation
- Notification Center
This is a very GUI friendly device and is actually very popular with the custom the crowd. However, it is priced accordingly, since you are getting an exceptional GUI package which does make all the difference.
4. Superchips 41051 Trail Cal Tuner for Jeep JK
The Superchips TrailCal 41051 is their Jeep JK bespoke model, in other words, it’s not for all Jeep models, only for JK.
While this model delivers all the same functionality as the Superchips TrailDash2, it does one better for the JK owner; it only delivers JK tuning. As such, you are enjoying a bespoke performance that is really the top of the game.
You get the classic 5” high definition touchscreen that gives you a Custom Color Mixer for Gauge Arcs, Needles, and Backgrounds. You can create Multiple Gauge Screen Layouts as well as set your own Customizable Background.
This model has one Simple HDMI Plug for Power and comes with Inclinometer gauges.
There is Easy Menu Navigation, and you can set up the Maintenance Manager to schedule and track maintenance, as well as set up Performance tests.
It reads and clears trouble codes, and the monitor includes video input as well as operate with other camera accessories.
- Color Touch Screen with Custom Background
- Video Capable
- Screen Auto-Dim
- Compatible with Expandable Accessory System (EAS)
- Alerts and Records
- Performance tests
- Custom Pod/Mount Available
- Display True Speed on Monitor
- DTC Read & Clear
- Internet Updateable
This is the Superchips supermodel, it comes with a super price too, but if you have a JK and want something you don’t need to worry about, such as making sure you have the right tunes, then this is the model you want.
5. Superchips 3874 Flashpaq F5 Programmer Tuner for Jeep JK
The Superchips Flashpaq F5 Series Performance Tuner model 3874 Power gives you a specific tune for Level 3: + 24.0 HP & +28.0 lb-ft., and comes as a handheld model with an easier price tag.
Not all Superchips models are expensive; this is their Flashpaq F5 handheld model that gives you a basic handheld interface with a smaller GUI. This model comes with JK only tunes.
The screen is a basic 2.8” LCD with handheld navigation buttons for changing views. It is internet updateable and provides a lot of features, but not as much as the TrailCal.
This is a classic easy to use the device, for newbies to the scene that just want a quick tune-up with no complexities.
This model will give you a speedometer recalibration for gear and axle swaps up to 5.38, as well as engine idle adjustability for winching. It comes with a speed limiter and reads and clears diagnostic trouble codes.
There are plenty of tunes to choose from, including an economy tune, a performance tune, and a tow tune.
- Corrects speedometer for tire upgrades between 26- 42
- Crawl tune for low-speed off-roading in 4wd
- Speedometer recalibration for gear /axle swaps up to 5.38
- Locking axle options with the transfer case in 4-Hi & 4-Low for 2007-14 Rubicon
- ESP stability optimization for 2011-14 automatic transmission
- Engine idle adjustability for winching
- Daytime running light options for 2007-14 models
- Internet updatable
This is a great little package, well worth the initial investment and it will deliver great results Just make sure your Jeep is a JK and all will be fine.