Evan J. Smith
March 1, 2001
Photos By: Jim Campisano

In addition to adding performance, Superchips chips can be used to calibrate your speedometer when gears or tire sizes change. This custom tuning can also help out if you live in a very hot climate (or in a cool one for that matter).

After getting the new parts, we scheduled a day at the E-Town drag strip to get some real-world results. Before installing either the ram air or the chip, we made two passes to baseline the truck. For the record, the baseline runs were made with a set of light(er) front wheels and M/T ET Streets out back. We also removed the front anti-sway bar to gain some extra weight transfer on launch and the tailgate and spare tire to lighten the load. Unfortunately on the test day the air was cool but not cold, and the humidity was quite high.

Nevertheless, we marched on and recorded a 12.74 and a 12.76, both at 105 mph. This was on par with our previous best of 12.72 at 105.40 mph. Wiker then installed his Ram Air kit while we watched and ate pizza. In lieu of ice, we tried a new product called Pro Cooler. Pro Cooler is an innovative way of cooling your intake manifold using a specially designed gel pack and pouch system, rather than ice that eventually melts and leaks. We were impressed with the Pro Cooler and will be using it for future testing.

The Ram Air kit comes complete with all tubes and hardware. Wiker got started by jacking up the truck and removing the driver's side wheel and inner fender. Once those parts were out of the way, the ram air tubes went right in. Ease of installation is something we look for in aftermarket components and the Johnny Lightning parts get high marks. They are well engineered and easy to install.

After setting the tubes in place, Wiker adjusted the scoop so it would grab maximum air and we wiped the sauce from our faces. I showed restraint and only gobbled one slice so as not to become (too much) fatter before I climbed aboard the Lightning.

With the ram air kit installed, I went through the procedure of heating the slicks and staging shallow then I brought the revs up to 1800 rpm and held on. At this point the Fridge took over and did the rest. It was with seemingly great ease that it improved to a new best of 12.66 at 105.78. After a 30 minute cool down the truck repeated, registering a 12.64 at 105.95 and proving the value of the Johnny Lightning Ram Air.

With rain on the brink, we hustled and popped the new Superchips chip into the little slot in the computer. Into the gas tank went two gallons of 100 octane, as recommended by Superchips, and we set the toggle to the "hot" setting. The truck was cool, the tires were hot and I launched at the same mark.

Earlier attempts to launch harder caused the rear tires to literally jump off the ground, destroying our 60-foot times. At 1800 rpm, the Lighting moved out smoothly, but this time with a stout 1.724-second short time, our best yet. Fridge climbed up through the gears and ripped to a nice 12.55 at 108.44 mph.

The big speed increase is undoubtedly due to combination of the chip and Ram Air. A back up run of 12.59 at 107.50 confirmed that our truck was getting the job done.

We were excited with the results and are also quite anxious to see what we can do next to make more power and run quicker times. We have a few more parts on the shelf and we're sure by the time this issue hits the stands even more parts will be developed and tested.

The Lightning trucks are wonderful creatures and we're glad to be a part of the revolution. While GM is busy finding a graceful way to let its F-body car depart, Ford's on the drawing board whipping up new ideas and building the best cars (and trucks) money can buy. And I certainly like it.