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.

Considerations

A blower can provide a significant increase in power: 35 to 45 percent. 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.

Resources

Paxton Automotive @ www.paxtonauto.com

Vortech @ www.vortechsuperchargers.com

Before shot of a stock GM 4.8-liter V-8 engine.
"Before" shot of a stock GM 4.8-liter V-8 engine.

This supercharger's pulley bracket (right) is much larger than the stock unit. Before installing it, you'll need to remove the air intake, fan shroud, radiator hoses, pulleys and accessory belt. (A slightly longer one is supplied with this supercharger kit).
This supercharger's pulley bracket (right) is much larger than the stock unit. Before installing it, you'll need to remove the air intake, fan shroud, radiator hoses, pulleys and accessory belt. (A slightly longer one is supplied with this supercharger kit).

The new blower bracket simply bolts onto the stock mounting locations
The new blower bracket simply bolts onto the stock mounting locations.

New pulley bracket for supercharger installed.
New pulley bracket for supercharger installed.

The heart of the system, the centrifugal supercharger, is a compact yet powerful unit.
The heart of the system, the centrifugal supercharger, is a compact yet powerful unit.

After attaching an oil drain hose, you can bolt on the blower and re-install the other accessory and idler pulleys.
After attaching an oil drain hose, you can bolt on the blower and re-install the other accessory and idler pulleys.

The oil drain for the blower needs to be attached to the oil pan by drilling and tapping a hole in the pan, and then installing a hose fitting.
The oil drain for the blower needs to be attached to the oil pan by drilling and tapping a hole in the pan, and then installing a hose fitting.

The blower also needs to be fed oil via an adapter sandwiched between the oil cooler boss and pan.
The blower also needs to be fed oil via an adapter sandwiched between the oil cooler boss and pan.

This kit's fuel-management unit restricts the fuel return line to increase pressure on the delivery side, compensating for increase airflow from the supercharger.
This kit's fuel-management unit restricts the fuel return line to increase pressure on the delivery side, compensating for increase airflow from the supercharger.

The additional fuel pump is added adjacent to the stock fuel filter. Additional wiring is required for the secondary fuel pump, which is connected to unused circuits in the fuse box.
The additional fuel pump is added adjacent to the stock fuel filter. Additional wiring is required for the secondary fuel pump, which is connected to unused circuits in the fuse box.

A new air-filter box and intake hoses must be fitted to the blower, along with a breather hose for the crankcase. A bit of custom fitting of the new radiator hose and tubing is required as well.
A new air-filter box and intake hoses must be fitted to the blower, along with a breather hose for the crankcase. A bit of custom fitting of the new radiator hose and tubing is required as well.

Next, install the discharge duct.
Next, install the discharge duct.

A bypass valve must be added as well to prevent a sudden lift-throttle condition from causing lean-out of the air/fuel mixture.
A bypass valve must be added as well to prevent a sudden lift-throttle condition from causing lean-out of the air/fuel mixture.

Installation is complete.
Installation is complete.

After all the plumbing and wires are hooked up, the final step to installing this kit is to reflash the computer with the
After all the plumbing and wires are hooked up, the final step to installing this kit is to reflash the computer with the "micro tuner" supplied with the supercharger package.

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