First impressions of Om617 compared to 2.5NA... For reference, it is intercooler mated to 1.4 XC.
Night and day difference in power and driveability! The turbo lag is pronounced - for the first few meters as it builds RPMs it seems almost more anemic than the 2.5na. This is likely exacerbated by the intercooler. However, boost builds quickly and predictably and pulls the truck along nicely through the gears. Speedo isn't hooked up yet, but I had no problem keeping up with traffic on flats in 55mph zone. This seems unimpressive unless you have driven a heavily laden 2.5. More to follow on this after speedo is hooked up.
I live around constant hills. The truck can pull up long grades at 45mph with EGT hovering around 1000f. I didn't expect it to cruise up these hills at 60... But it would have been nice. Local steep grades with lower speed limits require me to rev high in lower gears to keep the 25-35 speed.
Low speed running in high range isn't ideal. This is likely due in most part to the switch to a 1.4. Also, the need to rev high for useful torque is limiting. I expect to spend more time in low range than before. While anemic, the 2.5 had a predictable power band in the lowest of rpms and could idle over a lot without stalling. The om617 with this gearing seems to want to stall.
Even at WOT the smoke is minimal. The engine is about the same noise level as the 2.5.
Overall so far pleased and glad to have taken the truck through this metamorphosis. One nagging problem left is a significant oil leak from the oil temp sender. It interferes with the bell housing adapter, and must be turned (unthreaded) slightly to fit past. This turn causes it to leak a good bit - more than is safe. I'm either going to have to shave material from the bell housing adapter or plug the temp sender hole with a 12x1.5 bolt. Even then, I'm not sure how I will remove the sender since it can't be turned a full rotation.