Blower Bolt-OnCentrifugal supercharging is relatively simple
More grunt is a good thing, especially when you're trying to climb a steep grade. To get more torque on tap, bolting on a blower is relatively simple. It can provide a significant increase in power-usually on the order of 35 to 45 percent, depending on boost level, temperature, elevation and engine condition. In fact, one manufacturer claims that its centrifugal supercharger kit for 1999-2002 GM small-block V-8s produces an increase of more than 63 horsepower and 70 lb.-ft. of torque; another company touts that its Ford Triton V-10 kit provides a 125-hp increase at 4,600 rpm and more than 80 lb.-ft. of torque starting at only 3,000 rpm. In both cases, the torque peaks at about 1,000 rpm lower than the stock engine. That's right where you want it for hauling a heavy load or getting up a tough grade.
What should you keep in mind before installing a centrifugal blower? First, a supercharged engine can run only on 92 or higher octane, and the compression ratio must remain stock. (Otherwise, the increase in cylinder pressures from the blower may cause blow-by or other engine damage.) Any signs of detonation or pinging should be corrected before operating your engine under boost. Other modifications may also affect supercharger performance, so it's important to check with the supercharger manufacturer about those changes prior to installation. An older, worn engine may not be suitable for a blower, either. Engines with more than 10,000 miles should have a new set of spark plugs installed (not platinum, unless they are original equipment).
With those cautions in mind, you'll also need a well-stocked toolbox to do the job. In addition to a full socket and wrench set, you'll need some punches, a tap-and-die set, a drill, wire strippers and crimpers and a power-steering pulley puller. As for level of difficulty, the install takes at least a full day for an experienced mechanic.
Paxton Automotive, www.paxtonauto.com
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