Monday, March 26, 2012

Noisy Valvetrain & running rich or what??

If you've read my blog in the past you may remember one of my pet peeves being that the engine is pretty damn loud - even louder than the exhaust! An interesting thread popped up today over on where 'DavesG8GT' asks about his excessive valvetrain noise. Most mechanics and others 'in the know' seem to say this is normal.. What always perplexed me is: If this is normal, how come other people's cars are so much quieter??

I've always had a hard time actually trying to capture the noise - It sometimes simply does not record. e.g. starting up the car and sitting inside it while it idles I think it's loud.. but trying to record it, makes it sound like the quietest car ever. The other day it was a cold morning (near freezing) and the car had been sitting out all night.

I did a remote start and noticed tons of condensation coming out the rear.. not to mention the usual STRONG smell of gas (if you were to open your mouth or inhale the fumes, you'd practically TASTE it..) which I get all the time.

Ahhh... Fresh *cough cough* morning air..
This, together with the fact my car has a tendency to want to stall when taking off if you don't apply a decent amount of throttle really makes me wonder if maybe I'm not running way too rich at idle? I always feel like I'm walking through fuel vapors when walking around my car with the engine running...

So, on top of this beautiful smoke-screen which makes it look like my car is some 1980's POS, the engine was making it's usual noises which I tried to grab on my cell-phone.

Now clearly at the very beginning you can hear the 'tap-tap-tap-tap','tap-tap-tap-tap'. So is it normal?? Some say it is.. but I'm going for another round of opinions ;)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Supercharger Musings - Part VI (Vortech Options)

In the last write-up I looked at the possibilities for a Procharger unit. It really came down to picking between three 'series' so to speak.
  • The P-Series (P-1SC), being the base model, 
  • the D-Series (D-1SC) being the upgraded model, and 
  • the F-Series (F-1D/F-1A/F-1C/F-1R) being their heavy duty / large HP superchargers
Vortech at initial glance seems to have less options, which actually may make things a little less confusing!
There are several series available here as well. Leaving out any Marine Applications, or overly extreme superchargers, like the V-20 series for drag racing, we can also narrow down the selection to 3 different series. Each series has different trim levels, but it seems the 'Si' Trim is the most popular choice so we will focus on these in particular. That leaves us with basically 3 units to pick from:
  • V-2 Si Trim Supercharger
  • V-3 Si Trim Supercharger
  • V-7 YSi Trim Supercharger
Vortech V-2 SQ Si-Trim Supercharger
The Vortech website states: "Ideal for latest generation of improved breathing, high-power street and strip engines. Vastly improved flow and efficiency at high boost levels, providing completely new levels of power gain."

I will call this the 'Classic' Model.. It seems a little older than the others, and does not seem to be used even in the Camaro Kits. A 'downside' of this unit (and most of Vortech superchargers) is that they are not self-contained, and you need to tap a line into your oil pan to connect the supercharger to. There are however a bunch of Holdens down-under that run this supercharger with great success, hence my reason for including it. I would compare this one probably to the P-1SC, even though spec wise they seem fairly different!

 Being that the V-3 is basically an upgrade over the V-2 there really is no need to discuss this one any further and we can move on to the V-3.

Vortech V-3 Si-Trim Supercharger
The V-3 Si unit is what is currently used in Vortech's Camaro Kits. If the V2 was the P-1SCs cousin, then the V-3 is Vortechs version of the D-1SC. The Vortech site has the following to say about these superchargers:
"The V-3 supercharger features an internally lubricated transmission, allowing for supercharger installation and operation without oil lines. Extraordinary 78% peak efficiency. Ideal for latest generation of improved breathing, high-power street and strip engines. Internally lubricated."

and furthermore lists the following specs:
  • Helical gear design with 3.6:1 step-up
  • The V-3 supercharger can be installed into any existing Vortech V-1, V-2, V-4, V-5 or V-7 bracketry
  • Includes remote fluid drain hose (attached to supercharger) that allows for simple fluid changes without removing the supercharger from the vehicle
  • A ventilated gear case assembly eliminates any potential internal pressure issues that are currently associated with non-vented competitive designs
  • Integrated gear case baffling for proper oil control
  • Simple oil slinger design does not require separate shaft or bearing set. This provides proper fluid delivery to gears and bearings
  • Superchargers are factory pre-filled with our special synthetic fluid.
  • Integrated dipstick for simple fluid checks
This sounds more like the procharger approach where the units oil system is self-contained instead of having to tap into your oil-pan. The V-3 appears to be the only Vortech Supercharger that currently uses this design.
Unfortunately I was not able to find a fancy graph or dimensions for the V-3 unit.

Vortech V-7 YSi-Trim Supercharger
Moving on the the 'Big' supercharger option from Vortech, the equivalent of Prochargers "F-Series" -  let's see what Vortech has to say about their V-7 lineup:  
"Large blower" performance in a smaller package that fits most existing Vortech bracketry;
The V-7 Series combines the advanced technology and race-proven performance of the V-4 model and fits most of our existing mounting bracketry. The V-7 is designed for vehicles with highly modified engines and extreme CFM/boost demands. All units feature our exclusive D-port volute for improved efficiently and require the use of a Vortech Racing Bypass Valve. The heavy duty (H/D) configuration includes high speed, ceramic hybrid ball bearings, ideal for race applications, i.e. cog pulley/Gilmer drive."

  • Dimensions: 9.162" Wide, 10.490" Tall, 6.126" Deep (not including input shaft)
  • Available with straight or curved discharge in clockwise rotation only
  • Available in CCW
  • Cog belt drive systems are recommended for all heavy duty superchargers

Organizing all the available specs they present, we come up with the following table

V-2 SiV-3 SiV-7 YSi
Max Supercharged HP7757751200
Peak Efficiency78%78%78%
Max Flow (cfm)1150011501600
Max Boost (psi)222230
Inlet O.D.3.5"3.5"4"
Inducer Diameter3.1"3.1"3.7"
Discharge O.D.2.75"2.75"3"
Discharge I.D.2.38"2.38"2.64"
Max Impeller RPM52,00052,00065,000
Internal Stepup

Now obviously a big difference between ProCharger and Vortech is the self-contained oiling system vs having to tap the oil-pan and run a line there.

There are pro's and cons for either setup (separate oil change needed, only 4-6 oz of non-filtered oil to keep things cool & lubricated vs tapping the oil pan, possible leaks, but have filtered oil from engine etc). In the end from my perspective though there are tons of supercharger installs with a tapped oil pan with 0-issues and tons with a self-contained system that have 0-issues, so this to me is really a trivial difference in that it won't affect any decision making.

So looking at all this - do I know what to go with yet? Not really! Though I must admit for some reason the Vortech V7-YSi model with a Cog-Setup is looking pretty tasty!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Supercharger Musings - Part V (Procharger Options)

In this installment we take a closer look at the available options for getting a Centrifugal Supercharger for a G8. As indicated in the previous write-up, it would appear a viable solution could possible be made to allow use of a Camaro kit, so I will include options from those as well .

First up - Procharger's offerings.
The Standard Procharger kit for a G8 seems to come with P-1SC supercharger, and a 2 Core Intercooler. As an (practically Mandatory) upgrade a 3 Core Intercooler is available, as well as upgraded supercharger Units such as the D-1SC, or larger 'F-Series' , with what seems like the F-1D being closest dimension wise to both the D-1SC and P-1SC.

The Procharger site is a little sparse with details, especially on the Pontiac G8 Section, however a quick glance at the camaro section reveals a few more details:

ProCharger 2010-12 Camaro supercharger choices:
• P-1SC-1, D-1SC or F-1 superchargers
• F-1R, F-1C, F-1D, F-1A superchargers
• 8-Rib, 12-Rib or Cog Drive Systems
• Higher Horsepower Intercoolers (825 HP to 1300 HP)
• Helical Gearset for Reduced Noise Level (P-1SC-1 and D-1SC superchargers)
• Larger Air Inlet and Filter
• Tuner Kits and Cog Race Kits also available

 Let's look at the specs for each of these:

Volute Diameter9"9"9"
Max Supercharged HP8259251000
Base N/A Engine HP Range200-500300-500300-500
Max Flow (cfm)120014001500
Max Boost (psi)303234
Inlet Hose Diameter3.75"3.75"3.75"
Inducer Diameter3.37"3.37"3.37"
Exducer Diameter6.25"6.26"6.2"
Outlet Hose Diameter3"3"3"
Outlet I.D.2.62"2.62"2.62"
Max Impeller RPM62,00062,00065,000
Internal Stepup4.10:14.10:15.40:1
Reverse Rotation AvailableYesYesYes
Self ContainedYesYesYes
Oil Capacity6 0z.6 oz.4 oz.

Whilst the P-1SC is the standard supercharger, and the D-1SC is a better flowing upgrade to it, The "F-Series" seems to be the 'Serious Business' kind of supercharger that does better on a larger engine.

Quoting from the Procharger site we find the following description for the F-Series:

Legendary ProCharger F-Series Superchargers
ProCharger F-Series superchargers were designed with one simple goal: blow the competition away. Since their introduction in 2000, ProCharger's ever-expanding lineup of F-Series superchargers have continued to be the standard by which others hope to be measured, both on the track and on the street. From the custom designed 7075 billet aluminum impeller to the CNC machined transmission case to the industry-exclusive, patented compound bearing design, each self-contained ProCharger F-Series supercharger has been designed to deliver maximum performance, pass after pass, year after year, championship after championship.

On the Street or Strip:
The highly versatile ProCharger F-1 supercharger lineup is compact enough for many of today's high-horsepower modified street engine applications, yet powerful enough for ultra-high street horsepower and hard-core racing applications.

ProCharger F-1, F-1D and F-1A Superchargers
The ProCharger F-1, F-1D and F-1A superchargers utilize a compact, 9 inch volute and are powerful and highly versatile superchargers. Like all the ProCharger F-Series models, the F-1, F-1D and F-1A feature the industry-exclusive compound bearing design that supports high-horsepower applications, while the patented and proven self-contained oiling design eliminates the need for external oil lines while providing years and years of trouble-free performance.

ProCharger F-1C and F-1R Superchargers
These two ProCharger superchargers use a slightly larger, 9.75-inch volute for higher airflow and HP ratings and retain all the design advantages of the other F-Series models.

ProCharger F-2 Supercharger
The ProCharger F-2 features a larger, 10.5-inch volute diameter and provides a significant increase in airflow when compared with the F-1D/F-1/F-1A and F-1C/F-1R superchargers. Considered by many to be the ideal combination of small size and high performance, the F-2 retains all the F-Series design advantages, including self-contained oiling, the patented, ultra-high speed compound bearing assembly, precision ground steel gears and can support up to 1,600 horsepower.

Technical Specifications for some of the F-Series Models:

ProCharger F-1
Base HP Range of NA Engine: 300-500 HP
Maximum Supercharged HP Rating: 1,050 HP
Maximum Airflow: 1,525 cfm
Maximum Boost: 38 psi
Inlet Diameter: 3.75 inches
Outlet Diameter: 3 inches
Maximum Impeller RPM: 70,000
Internal Step-up Ratio: 5.40:1
Self-Contained Oiling: Yes
Reverse Rotation Available: Yes

ProCharger F-1C
Base HP Range of NA Engine: 300-550 HP
Maximum Supercharged HP Rating: 1,225 HP
Maximum Airflow: 1,625 cfm
Maximum Boost: 38 psi
Inlet Diameter: 4 inches
Outlet Diameter: 3 inches
Maximum Impeller RPM: 74,000
Internal Step-up Ratio: 5.40:1
Self-Contained Oiling: Yes
Reverse Rotation Available: Yes

ProCharger F-1D
Base HP Range of NA Engine: 300-500 HP
Maximum Supercharged HP Rating: 1,000 HP
Maximum Airflow: 1,500 cfm
Maximum Boost: 34 psi
Inlet Diameter: 3.75 inches
Outlet Diameter: 3 inches
Maximum Impeller RPM: 65,000
Internal Step-up Ratio: 5.40:1
Self-Contained Oiling: Yes
Reverse Rotation Available: Yes

ProCharger F-1A
Base HP Range of NA Engine: 300-500 HP
Maximum Supercharged HP Rating: 1,100 HP
Maximum Airflow: 1,575 cfm
Maximum Boost: 38 psi
Inlet Diameter: 3.75 inches
Outlet Diameter: 3 inches
Maximum Impeller RPM: 74,000
Internal Step-up Ratio: 5.40:1
Self-Contained Oiling: Yes
Reverse Rotation Available: Yes

ProCharger F-1R
Base HP Range of NA Engine: 375-550 HP
Maximum Supercharged HP Rating: 1,200 HP
Maximum Airflow: 1,700 cfm
Maximum Boost: 38 psi
Inlet Diameterw: 4 inches
Outlet Diameter: 3 inches
Maximum Impeller RPM: 68,000
Internal Step-up Ratio: 5.40:1
Self-Contained Oiling: Yes
Reverse Rotation Available: Yes

ProCharger F-1X
Base HP Range of NA Engine: 375-550 HP
Maximum Supercharged HP Rating: 1,300 HP
Maximum Airflow: 2,000 cfm
Maximum Boost: 38 psi
Inlet Diameterw: 5 inches
Outlet Diameter: 3.5 inches
Maximum Impeller RPM: 72,000
Internal Step-up Ratio: 5.40:1
Self-Contained Oiling: Yes
Reverse Rotation Available: Yes 

ProCharger F-2
Base HP Range of NA Engine: 425-600 HP
Maximum Supercharged HP Rating: 1,600 HP
Maximum Airflow: 2,700 cfm
Maximum Boost: 38 psi
Inlet Diameter: 4.5 inches
Outlet Diameter: 3.5 inches
Maximum Impeller RPM: 65,000
Internal Step-up Ratio: 5.40:1
Self-Contained Oiling: Yes
Reverse Rotation Available: Yes

Just looking at all these numbers will make your head spin & cross-eyed! Obviously the 'trick' is to pick the right supercharger for the given application, so that it can operate at peak efficiency (e.g. just because the maximum RPM is 65,000 doesn't mean you actually want to spin it to that all the time!)
The F-1D seems like it would be a proper fit based on dimensions etc (F-2 for instance being bigger while nice for huge HP Numbers, may simply be too big for my goals), though some people in the Camaro scene have actually gone for the F-1R and even F-2!

Ribbed or Cogged (and for whose pleasure?)
As noted above the drive options seem to be 8-Rib, 12-Rib serpentine belts or a cogged setup. One of the issues with High-HP supercharger is always Belt-Slip - where you are putting out so much power the belts simply can't keep up and starts slipping. Usually a higher rib-count is used to remedy this because it offers more surface area , thus more friction to be overcome before things start slipping. For Racing applications (or people who just like 'Cool' Stuff ;) ) a Cog Drive can be used which remedies this problem completely. The downside though is that this can be hard on belts when shifting etc where a normal belt would induce a little slip, the cog would simply not budge and pass on forces on to the supercharger or belt, and belt failure is not unheard of. There are however specialized Cog Pulleys available that can 'Free-wheel' to mitigate this problem , though they can be on the pricey side, like the ATI Super Pulley

Camaro Kit with Standard Belt Drive

Camaro Kit with Cog Drive
Personally I would think for my build at least a 12-rib would be called for, but a Cog Setup does have a certain appeal as well - The extra 700 for a specialized pulley seems a bit excessive though!

Which 'F-Series' is the one to pick though for my build? The F-1D seems like a the go-to model right now, (especially since 'gr8lover' already did an install on a G8 last year so that could be handy for reference/help/etc)  though I won't know for sure until I see what Vortech has to offer.

As a closing note, I find it interesting that for all Procharger units they are listed as having a reverse rotation (CCW) option available as well. You would think with some proper solid mounting options they could have come up with a solution with a forward facing CCW unit which would greatly enhance the intake location by having it right behind the drivers-side headlight..

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Supercharger Musings - Part IV (Camaro vs G8 Kits)

In the last installment I had come to the conclusion that a Centrifugal Supercharger probably would be the best setup for me. Now of course the journey continues to see what my options are and what I can do, in my usual fashion, to complicate things ;)

As mentioned earlier there are 2 main vendors of Centrifugal Superchargers for the LS Platform (in particular G8 & Camaro) right now: Procharger and Vortech. Procharger obviously has the 'lead' because it has a native G8 Kit and a Camaro Kit, while Vortech only has Camaro Kits.

I could bore you guys with the specs of all the different models of each vendor (and I probably will later) but I wanted to talk, again, about the difference between the Camaro and G8. Eventhough the platforms are nearly identical there are a few tweaks & differences that make a big difference. One, we already discussed here, was the accessory and belt offsets being further out by about an inch and a half on the Camaro.

That however does not explain the difference between the difference in layout on a G8 vs a Camaro for what is technically almost the same kit or exact same supercharger unit! G8 Kits look a bit...messy, while most Camaro kits look pretty decent!

Case in point:  Procharger G8 vs Procharger Camaro

Procharger on G8
Procharger on Camaro
Or: Vortech G8 vs Vortech Camaro

Vortech Supercharger on G8
Vortech Supercharger on Camaro
 Talk about "Things that make you go Hmmmmmmm?!?". Obviously curious minds want to know what the difference is between the two. From the initial looks it appears that while on the Camaro we can point the supercharger outlet vertically downwards, on the G8 we are seemingly stuck somehow with having it be horizontal and doing a loop-around. This hardly could be related to the 1.5" offset difference, so there has to be some other difference (no.. it's not an evil conspiracy to make G8 owners switch to Camaro's.... or is it??)

Looking in the engine bay there does not seem to be much difference, both being the Zeta Platform - so it has to be another difference in the actual engine models. Let's take closer look at both of them:

LS3/L99 Engine as Used in Camaro

L76 Engine as used in Pontiac G8 GT
Most of the systems mount on the front drivers side of the engine, so what do we find here that is different? The Power Steering Pump! Notice that while on the LS3/L99 it sits higher up and more in front of the drivers side head and is basically a reservoir & pump in one unit, the L76 Engine has the power steering reservoir located up higher closer to the throttle body, and the pump located lower and it actually sticks out towards the drivers side.

One can imagine that if you tried to mount a supercharger with it's outlet facing downward on the L76 you would run into clearance issues with the power steering pump / Pulley and this (Disclaimer: Strictly in my opinion and it has not been 'officially' confirmed) is the reason why on the G8 we are left with such an 'unfortunate' layout for these types of builds. There POSSIBLY could still be an issue with the volute clearing the engine block/heads when pointing down since it sits more foward on the Camaro, but that is something that will almost be impossible to figure out until I have a unit on hand..

So...being obsessive about wanting the cleaner 'Camaro' look, It seems we would possibly need to change or relocate the power steering pump? First the idea was to maybe use the Camaro Pump  and Bracket.. However, with it being 1 unit with the reservoir connected, it seems like it would be too thick and the actual bracket seems to have part of the now infamous 1.5" offset built into it. So great initial thought, but does not seem to be do-able.

Much kudos goes to Greg@PacePerformance for showing me the CTS-V engine which as you can see has a layout similar to the Camaro , but WITHOUT the extra offset!
The plan now is to figure out if the G8 Pump is compatible with the CTS-V mount (or if we could otherwise use the CTS-V Pump) and what exactly is involved with moving the pump as far needed changes to the power steering lines. Perhaps that would be a nice excuse to upgrade them to some nice braided stainless or so.

Of course there still is the second issue, which returns us back to the dreaded 1.5" offsets. Looking at the installation process of a Vortech or a Procharger it looks like there's a section of mount that connects straight to the heads(at least on the Vortech) - then some offset pieces, and then another plate the actual supercharger goes on. It seems simply shortening  these offset studs would take care of that issue.

Looking at the everything above and knowing that we're basically 1 power steering pump relocation away from using an off the shelf Camaro Kit, I am fairly optimistic about this being a viable solution,
though someone is going to have to bite the big one and actually try it out. (any vendors looking for a life-time vendor status on and wanting to contribute to this project feel free to contact me ;) )

First step for me is going to be trying to a Power Steering relocate by itself. If that works, getting a Camaro Supercharger Kit is next.

Next up - which kit to pick? Procharger or Vortex?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Supercharger Musings - Part III (Positive Displacement vs Centrifugal)

Between the Procharger kit and the Magnacharger kit being available here in the States (and the failure of finding a pulley to make the Edelbrock E-Force a viable option) , I had basically settled on the Magnacharger 2300 as being 'THE' supercharger to get ( especially with the rear cog-drive), once I would be able to afford one  (projected date at this time based on available funds.. sometime after 2034 ;) )

I liked the clean look of the install, the use/location of the air-intake (could keep my roto-fab) and it seemed to put out good power. Everyone always talked about 'power under the curve' and looking for instance at a dynosheet you can see there is no 'power curve'.. it's more of a power 'plateau'..
Dyno sheet of 'VegasNate's G8 with Maggie 2300
ProChargers on the other hand I was not a big fan of the layout under the hood, and they build their power much more like Turbo's, where it's more RPM dependent. I found the following graph online of a D1SC install on a G8:
D-1SC Procharger on G8 Dyno Sheet
You can tell the Torque curve here is much more gradual and 'curve'-like than the Magnacharger.

Now on the forums and internet in general there seem to be some statements accepted as general truths, as if they apply to everyone; For instance the classic 'more power under the curve' is "better".... But, Better for WHAT?

A LOT of people who modify their cars are into getting better 0-60 times, better 1/4 mile times etc etc, they stick drag-radials on to be able to put all that power to the ground , Live in CA/NV/NM/AZ etc where if they get lucky will see 3 days of rain out of the year., etc etc etc...I'm sure for them being able to drop 4-500LBS/FT to the rear wheels instantly is fantastic and helps them reach their goals.

My goal though is to have a high HP Car, but still be able to use it as a daily driver (even for the Mrs.) , even in rain, or some of the weather we actually had today like this (for you people in the southern states, that white stuff is called SNOW ;) )
That's right - more snow in mid March!
 I don't want to be like those Corvette drivers around here, where as soon as there is a cloud in the sky they are afraid to drive their cars (then again , most people here drive like morons as soon as there is one drop of rain on the roads...) because it 'might' rain and nonsense like that. Looking at the RPM needle as I'm driving around town casually it gets up to 2.5k frequently if not 3k regularly... Now looking at the Magnacharger dyno-sheet.. do I really want 300+ foot-pounds of torque to the rear wheels on all seasons when I'm turning a corner in pouring rain or some black ice? Of course I know it's dependent on Throttle Position etc, but since I ALREADY have issues with almost having too much power to the wheels in those scenarios, it's probably not a wise choice to add way more torque to that in that RPM range ;)

I also don't care about 0-60 or 1/4 mile times, I'd be more interested in a 40 or 60-120 or higher - more the typical what I would call 'European' style of car performance (probably why most high-end euro cars use Turbos)...So, Based on this, and after MUCH mulling over, I (think ;) ) I have finally made the decision that a Centrifugal Supercharger will be the way to go for me... (Twin Turbo's, while nice, are too much of a hassle and we've got emissions over here so I can't do away with cats).

Of course knowing me, I'll fight tooth and nail for it not being an off-the-shelf ProCharger Kit and make it more complicated than it needs to be! ;)

(Disclaimer: of course if I still haven't moved forward on this next year , I may change my mind again if it's no longer a daily driver, can get an exceptional deal on a 2300 or other events occur ;) )

Monday, March 12, 2012

Supercharger Musings - Part II (Harrop Stealthforce)

While the choices are basically limited to the Magnacharger or Procharger here in the US, I really started to look at the Harrop Stealth-Force. This unit, which is a re-branded Edelbrock E-Force, is what some people call an 'inverted' design, in that it pushes the are through the unit and then into runners, vs straight into the heads like on a magnacharger. This supposedly helps make more lower RPM Torque, which I really don't need that much more off. It also seemed that unlike the Magnacharger, they did NOT offer different size pulleys to tweak the boost etc, but that was not a big deal to me.

I really loved the design and sleek looks, so I started to see if I could get one here... Well , of course you can ! As long as your checkbook is big enough to ship one over and buy it directly from Australia for $10k+ and freight shipping! Yeah.... not going to happen with the current exchange rate!

Then I started looking into what the real differences where between this G8/Holden Kit and the Camaro kit that is being sold here locally in the states for HALF the price... so let's compare shall we?

First off, the Edelbrock E-Force Camaro Kit:

 Next , The Harrop "Stealth Force"  Kit

Ok so as far as the kit layouts go there's obviously a few smaller things different, but really nothing major.. the intercooler obviously is a different size with a different mount, but even that could be overcome.. so what is the REAL difference between these two, and why couldn't you just slap a Camaro head unit on a G8?

The main issue is the small differences between the L76 vs LS3/L99 engines used in the G8 and Camaro respectively. While it may be hard to see in the following pictures, pay special attention to the Main Crank Pulley where the issue shows clearest. On the LS3/L99 unit it actually has a larger offset from the engine (let's say about 1.5" or so) which puts all accessory drive belts etc more forward toward the front of the car. Or in other words : the L76 accessories run about 1.5" closer to the engine block than on the LS3
L76 Engine as used in the Pontiac G8

LS3/L99 Engine as used in the Camaro
This would mean that if you try to put a supercharger,that is specifically for the Camaro, on a G8/L76 engine it's belt drive system will be sticking out 1.5" in front everything else, making it impossible to connect to the engine. Fancy Paperweight anyone??

Now some companies , such as Lysholm, actually seem to have designed their superchargers modular enough where you can simply swap out the 'drive extension' and pick the length you need (See here) which makes for a very flexible system. (And possibly also an option for an adventurous G8 Owner to try out: Lysholm Camaro Kit + drive extension that's 1.5" shorter (of course, measure twice to be exact!) and you should in theory have a G8 Kit!)
Lysholm Twin Screw Supercharger on a Camaro
Lysholm Drive Extensions in Different Lengths

This, however, is not an option for the Edelbrock/Harrop unit, so how did they modify the unit?
Looking at the standard Camaro Unit we can see the normal front and 'snout' of the unit with the pulley installed
Did they perhaps modify the entire front section of the unit to be shorter? Nope that would be too labor intensive and costly... Instead, look closely at the above pulley area and then the Harrop version below. The front of both units ends right by the Air Intake where the pulley is attached with bolts. The Air Intake seems to be the same length & curve, but look at the actual pulley.

Harrop "Bell-Shaped" Pulley
It is some custom 'Bell-Shaped' / inverted Pully that offsets the belt (area marked in red shows where the belt would run) backwards by the 1.5" or so, which is the one of the key differences between the Camaro and G8 setups. (there is another difference, but it is not a factor here - I will discuss that in another follow up post).

I've mocked up a quick design in some Cad Software of what you could a 'artists rendition' -  obviously I have no idea on exact measurements, thickness, any lateral supports internally to strengthen the pulley etc etc, but it gives an idea of what of what the pulley looks like and how the concept works
Harrop Stealh-Force Pulley Design Concept

This means that in THEORY one could take the Camaro E-Force Kit, add that custom pulley and 'voila' - G8 Kit.. However... after numerous attempts to actually source that particular pulley from Australia it seems not Harrop, nor any dealers can (or, want to) actually sell JUST the pulley (or intercooler since I figured might as well ask while I'm at it) which is a little odd, but perhaps they are trying to avoid this precise scenario?

So it seems that unless someone sells just the Harrop Pulley, or someone has the technical knowledge to manufacture one from scratch that can stand up to a few hundred HP (which just does not seem like it would be that hard on a CAD/CAM Machine..) using the Edelbrock E-Force unit on a G8 is unfortunately not in the cards right now.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Supercharger Musings - Part I

As long as I've had my car I've been wanting to eventually put on a supercharger. It was one of those 'American Muscle' things to really put the proverbial cherry on top of the V8 powerplant. I've had N/A Cars (who hasn't...) and I've had a Turbo Car (much beloved Volvo 850 T5-R ), and now I have a 'Stroked' car with the engine specifically build for boost (-18cc pistons) so really all that's left.. is to go supercharger!

In this first part we will take a look at what is available for superchargers for the G8;

Offerings for the G8 as far as ready-made kits are fairly limited to 2 major vendors:
Magnacharger and Procharger.

Magnacharger makes the positive displacement 1900 and 2300 Magnacharger. For my larger engine obviously the 2300 would be the better choice. It also looks very nice under the hood, taking the place of the intake manifold
MagnaChargers G8 Supercharger

ProCharger has a few more options to pick from such as the D-1SC, P-1SC or 'F-Series' supercharger units and optional 2 or 3 core intercooler. Obviously these are centrifugal units so the way they build their power is little different.
ProCharger Supercharger Setup
One thing many people take issue with , is the location of the intake filter basically right on top of the intake manifold, and what seems like 'excess' tubing going all over the engine.

Looking to what is available 'down-under' in the birth-land of the G8 we find a few more options that are not available here, such as Harrop and once in a while a Vortech Build.

Harrop has several superchargers available, most of them of the 'roots' style positive displacement type, much like the Magnacharger. Also like the maggies, they come in 1.9 (HTV1900)or 2.3L (HTV2300) and they look & operate quite similar in every way:
Harrop HTV Supercharger

The latest addition to the Harrop stable is a rebranded Edelbrock 'E-Force', which has been given the name 'Stealth Force' for it's OEM appearance. This is a very sleek looking supercharger with 'long intake runners' which supposedly helps low-end torque.
Harrop Stealth-Force Supercharger

Where Harrop is dueling it out with Magnacharger, Vortech is the direct competitor of Procharger, both offering the centrifugal style superchargers. Vortech has never offered a G8 kit in the US, though they did develop one prototype for the Sema 'TJIN Edition' G8. Most people who looked at that setup were left scratching their heads as far as the layout goes..
Vortech G8 Concept 'TJIN' Edition
In Australia though, perhaps because they're on the southern hemisphere ;-) , they actually seem to mostly use CCW (Counter-ClockWise) Vortech Builds and either mount them a lot more forward like this example:
Forward Facing CCW Vortech Supercharger (V2)
Or, they use the mounting plate to drive a secondary belt in the back so they can still mount the supercharger facing forward. If you look at the following picture you can see the drive belt coming up to the aluminum mounting bracket from the left. That then drives a pulley or cog in the rear, passes under a tensioner and finally drives the actual supercharger.

Forward Facing CCW Vortech with 2nd Belt Setup
The 'problem' currently with any of the Australian setups is one thing: Money! If you were to look at the pricing for these units they are usually north of $10,000 AUD , which with the current exchange rate is also over $10k USD.. Back a few years ago when the exchange rate was a friendly 70 cents or so that would've been decent pricing, but in Today's economy it would make no sense to spend $10k on that + international freight shipping - which is killer, while for $6k-$7k you can get a Magnacharger or Procharger setup locally

Then there are some other options as well that only exist in the Camaro world:

Now some companies , such as Lysholm, actually seem to have designed their superchargers modular enough where you can simply swap out the 'drive extension' and pick the length you need (See here) which makes for a very flexible system. (And possibly also an option for an adventurous G8 Owner to try out: Lysholm Camaro Kit + drive extension that's 1.5" shorter (of course, measure twice to be exact!) and you should in theory have a G8 Kit!) The Lysholm unit for the Camaro seems to be a 2.3L Twin-Screw setup
Lysholm Twin Screw Supercharger on a Camaro
Lysholm Drive Extensions in Different Lengths
Not sure how Lysholm and Vortech relate, but it seems that Lysholm gets sold through Vortech Dealers.

Then there is Paxton. A Quick glance at their offering shows they are VERY similar to the Vortech 'V' Series of centrifugal superchargers. They seem a little cheaper, but I've not heard much about them. Looking at the pictures it's hard to tell them apart and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if these things rolled of the same assembly line in some generic factory.
Paxton looking identical to Vortech

Even more 'suspicious' - the manual for the Camaro 2010 install is IDENTICAL except for a few pictures (e.g. the one where Paxton has an engraved bracket, and vortex a plain one). Seems to me like these are the same units, but simply rebranded. Not sure which is the 'original' though , but a quick online search shows people mentioning that nowadays Vortech apparently owns Paxton.. so there ya have it..

Last, but certainly not least there is gwhipple.. (inside Family guy joke reference anyone? Cool gwhip? ;)). Whipple is a Twin Screw system like the Lysholm and it comes in a package much like the Magnacharger, with the inlet up front and the drive being routed to the rear, unlike the Lysholm unit. It comes as a 2.9L unit, so that should be able to drive some decent sized engines and flow quite a bit!

An Exploded view of a Whipple Supercharger

Whipple unit installed on a Camaro

Right now the ones that hold my interest the most are actually the Edelbrock E-Force/Harrop Stealth-Force, the Lysholm, and ProChargers/Vortech, and I will take a look at some of them in the upcoming posts