If you are looking to take your ride to the next level in speed and performance, you may decide to start looking into a supercharger install. Superchargers can really help you break free of your limited stock horsepower and torque, turning your vehicle into the asphalt warrior showroom level models can only wish to live up to.
The following article will help you understand the best way to optimize your system with all the tips and information you will ever need to really get your ride flying.
How Does a Supercharger Work?
Ever since the development of a traditional engine, many people have been tweaking and modifying their engines in an attempt to create more power. Enthusiasts, race car designers, and engineers have realized that it is possible to get more torque and speed. One method in which to accomplish this would be to increase the overall size of your motor. However, this presents a few problems. A larger engine means that your maintenance increases and ends up costing you a pretty penny. They are also heavy creating a drag, which is something you do not want, especially if you are racing and looking to increase speed.
A second method for a boost in power is to add a supercharger. Since you want a bigger explosion of force from your engine, your goal would be to get more fuel to the combustion chamber to help create it. However, you need the proper amount of air in there in order to burn the fuel. Superchargers increase the efficiency in your engine by forcing air into the combustion chamber. Adding air to your combustion allows your vehicle to add more fuel as well. The addition of more fuel gives you a bigger bang in the chamber and in turn that burst of horsepower you’re looking for. A stock engine is limited to the predetermined air/fuel ratio called “static compression.” With the addition of a supercharger, the ratio is turned into what is known as an “effective compression ratio” allowing the boost to work with the compression ratio to create more power.
Three basic types: Roots, Centrifugal, Screw
- Works using the crankshaft via a belt;
- Compression ratio of 7.0:1 to 9.0:1;
- 4 to 7 psi in boost levels: This range has demonstrated to be the best balance between added power and dependability;
- 4500-5000 rpm should not be exceeded when you are using stock pistons. If you drive your vehicle higher, you may end up with a failure in your pistons. To exceed this, a piston upgrade is needed.
PROs and CONs of Supercharger Tuning
As with anything, there is always a double edged sword that brings advantages and disadvantages to the table. Superchargers are not immune to that. Here is a comprehensive list to the pros and cons of adding that new part to your engine.
- Increase in overall horsepower: A fast solution to wanting to add 50 to 100 percent more power to any engine can be accomplished quickly by installing a supercharger.
- Absence of lag: A supercharger uses the engines crankshaft to get its drive. Thus, there is an immediate delivery of power.
- Good delivery of power even at lower RPMs.
- Price: Increasing horsepower can lead to expensive mods. Superchargers offer a cost effective way to pump up the power.
- Driven by a crankshaft: Though the crankshaft gives a supercharger the advantage of immediate power, this same feature creates a disadvantage. Because it is the crankshaft that drives the part, it must steal some of the engine’s horsepower to power itself. This can sometimes be as much as 20 percent. However, the trade-off is usually worth it since a supercharger can give as much as a 46 percent gain in horsepower.
- Engine strain: Adding to the expense, often times, an engine will need to be buffed up in order to effectively deal with the additional strain put on it by a supercharger’s added boost and explosions.
- Higher grade gas: Higher octane and premium gas is suggested when using a supercharger which increases the cost to run the vehicle.
Examples of Supercharger Parts
Edelbrock has become a top name in superchargers as well as other performance parts. They are reliable, durable, and efficient. The offer three tiers for every level of need including: Street systems for emissions legal every day drivers, Track Systems for competition racing, and Professional Tuner systems for racers who are looking to further customize their machines. Edelbrock secures high star ratings across the board.
Another top rated brand is ProCharger. Top reviews claim they are exceptionally reliable and powerful for both track and street applications. The brand itself claims to be able to deliver the most power and torque available due to its intercooled system. It also provides better engine longevity because of its low charge chambers. Virgin poured aircraft grade aluminum castings are treated to T-6 hardness and their super precision bearings make for super high quality parts with a higher speed/load rating. This brand uses the same technology they provide to boat manufacturers where the environment is extremely taxing on parts.
Paxton brand chargers do not have as high reviews as the previous two brands. However, if you are looking for affordability this may be the way to go. Reviewers state that if properly installed and maintained, they have gotten plenty of power from this mid-range supercharger.
No matter if you are a speed junkie or a professional racer; you will likely want to find some method to give your engine that added boost and torque. A supercharger is a quick, efficient, and economical way to achieve that goal. Increasing your fuel/air ratio to a possible 50 to 100 percent boost in performance and speed, it is definitely something to look into. Even with some of the minor disadvantages, the improvement you find that comes from adding this piece of equipment to your engine far outweighs them. There are many options available on the market to suit your specific needs.
Which type of supercharger is best at performance? Which is most efficient? What is your favorite brand of supercharger? If you have any comments you would like to leave for others reading this article, feel free to add any insight and experiences.