This chapter offers in-depth looks at the two basic types of bolton supercharger systems: Roots/ screw-type compressors that replace the intake manifold and centrifugal systems that mount to the engine’s front accessory-drive system. Both systems are typical in that they are delivered with all of the components and hardware required for installation, including fuel-system upgrades such as fuel injectors. (See Chapter 4 for general information on important details such as fascia removal, fuel-pressure relief, the importance of spark plug selection, and “pinning” the crankshaft).
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It’s important to note that while this chapter provides a detailed look at the typical procedures involved with the installations, not every step or process is outlined. In other words, it is no substitute for the manufacturer’s assembly manual, which should be followed to the letter.
Project 1: Roots/Screw-Type Supercharger Kit
This project involves the installation of a MagnaCharger kit on a 2008 Pontiac G8 GT (LS2 6.0-liter engine). The kit consists of an MP 1900 (1.9- liter displacement) compressor (see Chapter 2) and liquid-to-air intercooling system. It includes almost every piece of hardware required for installation, including a plug-in flash tuner.
Although this project illustrates the installation on the Pontiac G8 GT, the procedures and methods are largely the same for all Magna Charger kits for LS-powered vehicles; and they are very similar to the steps required to install a screw-type blower kit. In the broadest terms, the installation requires the following:
- Replacing the stock intake manifold with the supercharger compressor/manifold assembly
- Swapping the throttle body onto the supercharger system • Mounting the intercooler’s heat exchanger and routing its hoses and hardware
- Replacing the serpentine drive belt in order to accommodate the supercharger drive pulley
- Installing higher-capacity fuel injectors (and any other fuel system enhancements) • Uploading a revised engine-calibration program to the engine controller
As is the case with most contemporary Roots/screw-type supercharger kits, the Magna Charger system is delivered with the compressor premounted to the intake manifold. This greatly enhances the speed and ease of the installation. It also reveals the only significant downside to the project: additional mass. The lightweight, composite factory intake manifold weighs next to nothing, but bolting on the Magna Charger compressor/manifold assembly adds about 50 pounds over the front axle of the vehicle. Under boost, those extra pounds disappear, but it’s not an inconsequential consideration, particularly on finely balanced cars like the Corvette.
Generally speaking, the quality and completeness of the Magna Charger kit is exceptional. It is a bolt-on system in the very best sense of the term, requiring little fabrication and mostly common hand tools. In the case of this G8 project car, no additional fuel system enhancements were required, apart from the supplied, higher-rate injectors; and the self-contained lubrication system eliminates an entire procedure that some other kits may require. In fact, an experienced technician should be able to install the kit within a day— with additional time required for proper tuning and evaluation. The same cannot be said for most bolt-on turbocharger systems, which require considerably longer labor time (see Chapter 6).
The installation outlined here was performed at Dearborn Heights, Michigan-based Livernois Motorsports, with tuning completed by Dan Millen, using the company’s recently introduced X-Treme Cal Tuning software (see Chapter 7). On Livernois’ chassis dyno, the otherwise-stock Pontiac G8 GT recorded 423 hp and 401 ft-lbs of torque at the rear wheels, with a peak of approximately 8 pounds of boost. That represents an increase of more than 35 percent in horsepower versus the stock 312-hp rating and about 20-percent more torque than the baseline 312-ft-lbs rating.
Millen indicated the G8 would have seen a greater response, but the supercharged airflow was hampered at the back end by the stock exhaust system.
“At the very least, a cat-back-style system is needed when you add a supercharger,” he said. “Headers and high-flow cats help greatly, too, to uncork the exhaust, because supercharged engines don’t need much backpressure to make the most power.”
To prove his point, shortly after the installation was completed, Livernois Motorsports performed an identical installation on another G8 GT and Millen uploaded essentially the same tune—but the second car was already equipped with a cat-back exhaust system. The comparison with the stock-exhaust car was dramatic: 438 hp and 445 ft-lbs of torque at the tires. That’s a significant 15 hp and 44 ft-lbs difference. Without a doubt, a less-restrictive exhaust system benefits the greater airflow generated by the supercharger. Such an upgrade should be the standard operating procedure for an enthusiast wishing to maximize the performance benefit from the sizable investment made in the supercharger system.
The photos in this chapter should be referenced as the general steps used for all Roots/screw-type supercharger systems.
Using HP Tuner software, Livernois Motorsports’ Dan Millen performed the tuning on the G8, dialing in the new 62-pound/hour injectors and the blower system’s other parameters. He was initially disappointed with the comparatively tame horsepower result. Millen attacked his keyboard and came up with 423 hp and 401 ft-lbs of torque at the tires—for more than 35-percent greater horsepower and about 20-percent more torque than the 312 hp/335 ft-lbs baseline figures.
When it comes to attaching a price tag to the supercharger’s power increase, the Magna Charger kit typically retails in the $6,500 to $7,000 neighborhood. If you’re going to have it professionally installed and tuned, as was done with the project car here, you’re probably looking at another $1,000 to $1,500 for labor, miscellaneous service parts, and tuning. Livernois Motorsports’ quantity discount for the number of Magna Charger kits it stocked enables it to sell the blower, install it, and tune it for about $6,600. That’s a good value in my book.
Project 2: Centrifugal Supercharger Kit This project concerns
This project concerns the basic installation of a centrifugal supercharger. Unlike the Roots/ Lysholm-type blower that essentially replaces the intake manifold, a bolton centrifugal kit typically retains the stock intake manifold, but adds the supercharger to the front of the engine, much like other engine-driven accessories like the air-conditioning compressor or power-steering pump.
Generally speaking, the installation of a centrifugal supercharger is more complex than a Roots/screwtype system, but not significantly so. I followed the installation procedures of both the Magna Charger system and the centrifugal system and found the Magna Charger system was easier to install and took less time to do so. That said, the centrifugal system wasn’t necessarily difficult to install, but required more steps and greater finesse.
The centrifugal blower system outlined here involves an A&A Corvette kit for a C6 Corvette with an automatic transmission. It uses a Vortech V-2 Si compressor and a custom intercooling system. The blower is fitted with a 3.8-inch-drive pulley that enables approximately 12 pounds of boost. The kit includes a bypass valve, 60-pound fuel injectors and a Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump.
The installation was performed by Troy, Michigan-based Stenod Performance. It took roughly a day and a half to complete the installation, while the Magna Charger kit was installed in a single business day. Both installations were handled by professional shops using vehicle lifts and, where necessary, air tools. The accompanying photos should not be considered a how-to guide for installing a blower on a Corvette, but a reference of the basic steps for all centrifugal supercharger systems.
Because the processes for pinning the crankshaft, mounting the intercooler heat exchanger, routing the intercooler coolant tubes, and other details are similar to the Rootstype installation, this project focuses on the aspects of the installation that make it different. That includes mounting the supercharger bracket and compressor. It should be noted that the kit shown here required an oil-feed line tapped into the oil pan. That is not the case with all centrifugal kits (see Chapter 4 for more details on that procedure).
Prior to receiving the supercharger, the Corvette used in this project was enhanced with L92 cylinder heads and intake manifold, as well as a blower-spec camshaft (see Chapter 9). These modifications increased the airflow capability of the engine to better exploit the capability of the supercharger. The work paid big dividends, too, as the Corvette put down 508 hp and 439 ft-lbs of torque to the rear wheels on Stenod Performance’s Mustang Dynamometer chassis dyno.
Written by Barry Kluczyk and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks