Steeda Test Whipple’s Ford Explorer ST Stage 1 Package

When it comes to a factory intercooler it can sometimes be lacking in size and abilities. The Ford Explorer ST front mount intercooler is no different and would have been the perfect size if it was meant to be used as an oil cooler. One problem, its modus operandi is to cool down the hot air from two turbos before that air enters a 3-liter engine. This lack of physical size creates a disadvantage in the performance driving field and proves to be inefficient even in stock form. While universal intercoolers are abundant on any marketplace, few are actually tested and even fewer provide the proper engine calibration tool and filtration needed to make it work properly.

explorer st

Thankfully, Whipple has been pushing their intercooler game heavily and have had great results from almost every spectrum of the EcoBoost arena. Once again, Whipple stepped up when the Ford Explorer ST was released and came out with its Stage 1 Intercooler package. This package includes a massive 214-percent larger-than-factory Whipple intercooler, HP Tuners RTD+ engine calibrator, and a K&N air filter. You might have seen Steeda’s last test of a Whipple Stage 1 Package on an EcoBoost Ranger recently. Well, the crew at Steeda are back at it again. One lucky owner forgoed cruising their performance SUV for the weekend while Steeda installed the kit and tested it at its Georgia headquarters.

Steeda was able to provide a 0-60 mph testing in stock trim for both regular mode and sport mode to provide a baseline. This resulted in a 5.5-second 0-60 mph pass in regular mode and a 5.3-second in sport mode. Once back in the shop, Steeda went to work installing the entire kit in detail. Returning to the same stretch of concrete would now prove the install was worth it. The 5,000 pound sport utility was able to knock out a 5.02-second pass in regular mode with the newly installed kit and even barked the tires shifting from first to second gear. The last pass was the highlight as the Explorer ST was put into sport mode and the new throttle response and shift points would give it a proper feeling. The final pass in sport mode would be a 4.88-second 0-60 mph. Not bad for an intercooler, calibration, and filter!

explorer st

While beating up on a customer’s car on track is out of the question, this simple 0-60 mph test speaks volume on the potential of the Whipple Stage 1 Intercooler kit. In the long run, this would alleviate heat soaking an intercooler in back-to-back performance testing exponentially better than the factory intercooler could imagine. In fact, even in some of the fastest Explorer ST’s the Whipple intercooler is still used and was the lynch pin to their build. Since this kit is 50 state legal, everyone can enjoy it without having to overpay their inspection house under the table. So, if you’re lucky enough to own an Explorer ST, then you really have no reason not to already be installing the Whipple Stage 1 package.

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About the author

James Elkins

Born into a household of motorsport lovers, James learned that wrenching takes priority over broken skin and damaged nerves. Passions include fixing previous owners’ mistakes, writing, and driving.
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