When you’re looking to add some power to your engine, you have a few options available. One option is to install a centrifugal supercharger to give your vehicle the ability to burn more fuel resulting in that added power.

There are three types of super chargers: roots type, centrifugal, and screw type. In this article we will look specifically at the centrifugal type and see what benefits you can gain from this power install.

supercharger in an old car

How Does a Centrifugal Supercharger Work?

A stock engine will limit you to the standard amount of air intake which limits the power you are able to reach. In order to achieve more power under the hood, you must increase the amount of fuel burned. However, in order to do so you cannot just push more gas to the engine, you must increase the amount of oxygen to efficiently burn the added fuel and keep the air/fuel ratio at a point where there is perfect balance. This is called a “stoichiometric fuel ratio.”

Without balance in the air/fuel ratio, your vehicle will run too rich (too much fuel) or too lean (too much air and not enough fuel). Having an improper ratio can cause a vehicle to blow out excessive smoke and exhaust or cause it to not start or run at all.

By creating and using natural centrifugal force, this specialized type of supercharger has the ability to force a greater amount of oxygen into the engine. When you increase the airflow in the engine it allows more fuel to be pushed into the engine as well resulting in amplified power output.

In a nutshell, the centrifugal supercharger is driven by the engine’s crankshaft. It brings air in through the inlet port which is then hit by a rotating impeller that creates the centrifugal force to compress it and pushes the air into the engine where it will have the ability to burn more fuel and create a greater amount of explosions.

The general placement of a centrifugal supercharger is on the front of the engine by a strong bracket. It will attach to the engines crankshaft via belt or gear-drive.

General Specifications

  • Intensifies the force of the entering air to the engine;
  • Creates boost at generally 3000 rpm;
  • Belt driven off the crankshaft;
  • Compresses air using fins that rotate on a “fan” to create centrifugal force;
  • Front engine placement with an attachment bracket;
  • Impeller speeds of 40,000 – 60,000 rotations per minute;
  • You can likely expect a 250 to 500 horsepower gain;
  • Generally a 7 pound gain in boost (more if you strengthen internal engine components).

PROs and Cons of Centrifugal Supercharger Tuning

Pros:

  • More economically priced than other types;
  • Safety: Centrifugal superchargers build power linearly giving you a boost at higher rpms. This makes it easier to control in wet types of weather
  • Because the torque gradually builds, it is easier on internal components;
  • Lack of turbocharger lag: Since there is some power being slowly created at all rpms, it increases the power band more evenly which pretty much eradicates any lag similar to what is seen in a turbo;
  • Does not usually need modifications to keep it and the engine cool because of higher temps;
  • Less complicated to run;
  • Easier to install than other power gaining applications and other supercharger types.

Cons:

  • Parasite syndrome: Since the centrifugal supercharger runs off the crankshaft, you lose a bit of horsepower to run it. However, the gain outweighs the loss and still makes it worth it.
  • Linear power build up: Even though this is a pro, for some, it can also be a con. You will not feel a boost at lower rpms.
  • Smallest amount of boost compared to other types
  • Whine: These types of superchargers can sometimes create a whining that some find annoying. However, others like the noise it emits. So I guess the pro or con label is up to your preferences on this one.

Examples of Centrifugal Supercharger Parts

Vortech

Vortech is a top ranking name in the market. They set industry standards with their huge selection and are known as the top seller in the business. Their quality is second-to-none and they boast the finest manufacturing facility in the industry. Their superior systems are adept at producing incredibly high boost output levels and have reigned as king for many years on the race track.

Reviewers have much to rave about including the ability to upgrade, extreme performance levels, reliability, and quality they have experienced form this brand. They also like the option of SQ (super quiet) compressors which reduce the typical whine.

ATI ProCharger

ProCharger is a well-established and known to be a leader in the centrifugal supercharger market. They have a reputation for high quality systems that are able to put out high levels of boost. They’re also known for their belief in the benefit of intercooling a system and include an intercooler in almost every package they sell. They also manufacture two of the only gear-driven systems available.

Reviewers give this brand high marks for easy installation, high performance, and the ability to upgrade its compressor. They also enjoy the self-contained system options which eliminate the need to tap the oil pan.

Powerdyne Centrifugal Superchargers

Powerdyne Automotive is a popular brand because of its low cost superchargers. They are known as one of the few manufacturers on the market to make self-contained systems.

Reviewers love this self-contained system brand which eliminates the need for tapping the oil pan. They speak highly for the great value received at such a low cost. Added benefits enjoyed are Powerdyne’s complete system packages which require little to no added modifications and a super quiet belt drive.

firebird hot rod with supercharger

Summing Up

Superchargers are a great way to soup up your vehicle giving it some extra punch. Of the three types, roots, screw, and centrifugal, the centrifugal reins in the top spot as a safe, economical way to get that boost. Perfect for your daily driver, a centrifugal supercharger needs little to no mods and is easy on your internal system.

If you have an experience you would like to leave for other readers to benefit from, please do. Comments are always welcome and appreciated.

Images from unsplash.com.

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