Video: Unlocked HP Tuners PCM Controls Hellcat-Powered HellKota


In March 2021, Mopar Connection Magazine introduced Boosted Motorsport’s John O’Malley and his Hellcat-powered Dakota build project, the HellKota. In the last two months, O’Malley has made excellent progress. He has completed the installation of the supercharged 6.2L Hemi with the assistance of Hooker Blackheart, Flowmaster, and an assortment of additional Holley/MSD components.

The supercharged Hellcat engine is now pumping burnt hydrocarbons through the Hooker Blackheart headers. O’Malley used the stock powertrain control module (PCM) for the initial startup, which he mounted in the engine bay in a position that closely mimicked the Hellcat’s stock location. However, because of O’Malley’s custom installation, the fuel trim and ignition parameters may need to be tailored to meet the project’s needs, so he picked up an HP Tuners unlocked PCM.

Above Left: O’Malley mounted the HP Tuners PCM in the engine bay in a similar location as the PCM was installed in the ’19 Charger. Above Right: After connecting the MPVI2 to the OBDII port and a laptop, O’Malley opened the VCM Suite. 

O’Malley stated, “Because this thing (’19 Hellcat) is so new with all the electronics on it, you need an unlocked PCM to be able to do anything with it. HP Tuners unlocks them (the PCM) and sends them back, but you have the option to outright purchase a new PCM with all your programming in it; ready to go.”

Mopar Connection Magazine discussed the HP Tuners unlocked option in February 2021. With the unlocked PCM installed, O’Malley slipped the MPVI2 into the onboard diagnostic (OBD) II port under the dash and a laptop. Although O’Malley was not ready to begin tuning the Hemi at this time, he opened the HP Tuners VCM Suite and used the VCM scanner to clear any diagnostic trouble codes.

Above Left: To communicate with the PCM, the HP Tuners software required the ignition button to be in the run position. Above Right: After the installation of the unlocked HP Tuners PCM, O’Malley used the VCM Scanner to clear the diagnostic trouble codes. The VCM Suite also allowed O’Malley to license his truck and purchase credits to allow him to write to the PCM and the TCM. 

While O’Malley had the VCM Suite opened, he took the time to use the VCM editor to read and license the HellKota file. Once read and licensed, HP Tuners required credits to write to the PCM and the transmission control module (TCM). O’Malley relayed, “In this case, the engine takes two (credits), and the transmission takes four credits. We went ahead and licensed those, and we were set.” With the controller licensed, O’Malley did a test by writing to the controller. Everything worked, so future tuning would now be possible.

Above: It looks factory installed. O’Malley has taken the time to layout the engine bay in a logical manner. Everything fits without interference with other components. While there is still more to complete, O’Malley has made great progress with the HellKota.

If you have not watched any of the HellKota videos, take the time to review them. O’Malley has basically installed a complete Hellcat Charger into a Dakota. His talent and attention to detail are evident in each video, and he performs all the tasks with tools an average devotee would have in their garage. Be sure to check out future videos of him tuning the Hemi with HP Tuners software.

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Chris Holley

Technical Contributor Chris has been a college professor for 23 years; the last 18 spent at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA. During the day Chris instructs automotive HVAC and electrical/electronic classes, and high-performance classes, which includes the usage of a chassis dyno, flow benches, and various machining equipment at night. Chris owns a '67 Dart, a '75 Dart, a '06 Charger, a '12 Cummins turbo diesel Ram, and he is a multi-time track champion (drag racing) with his '69 340 Dart, which he has owned 32 years.

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