All you people who came here thinking that "forced induction" was some sort of sick S&M thing can just leave now!
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© 2001 Brian F. Schreurs
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Today's cars are tougher than ever, and the sophisticated engine management systems respond well to forced induction. Where once the great power trio -- nitrous injection, turbocharging, and supercharging -- would have required significantly reinforced parts and tons of tuning, the new breed of musclecar asks only that you show some small amount of moderation as you select forced induction power kits that bolt right on.
|"What have I done?!"|
Since the Paradise Garage 1995 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 was getting its rear handed to it by the LT1 and LS1 F-body cars, we decided an upgrade was in order. We called Houston Performance and they were quick to send us a Vortech V-2 centrifugal supercharger kit designed specifically for our model of car. It is supposed to be a direct bolt-on, with no fabrication required.
While it's theoretically possible to install nothing but the supercharger kit, we decided a few other system upgrades would be prudent. Follow along as we complete the entire project in about a week:
|"We don't need no steenkin' power tools!"|
- Installing an Air/Fuel Ratio Gauge
- With a supercharger installed, it will be more critical than ever to maintain as close to a stochiometric air/fuel mixture as possible. We figured a great way to keep an eye on this would be to tap into the oxygen sensors and monitor their feedback. So we installed an air/fuel ratio gauge and a toggle switch to watch both banks.
- Installing a Boost Gauge
- Sure, we can tell whether the supercharger is working based on the seat of the pants, but we figured with the money involved in this installation, perhaps a proper gauge monitoring its behavior would be the more prudent option. Installing the gauge was a snap compared to the rest of the project.
- Installing an Aluminum Driveshaft
- Basically, we have a real problem with the original Ford driveshaft. Their build tolerances
were sloppy, thinking the cars would never exceed 65 mph, so they don't spin true. This isn't a
problem unless you're going really fast; not quite as fast if your car has steep gearing like ours. To
keep the thing attached to the car, we upgraded to an aluminum driveshaft.
- Installing an In-Tank Fuel Pump
- The last thing we want is to spend huge bucks on a supercharger only to burn a valve from running too lean. The fuel pump inside the gas tank can be replaced with a high-volume, 190 lph unit that will do a much better job keeping up with the feeding demands of the supercharger. It's not too expensive and not too hard, so we consider it cheap insurance.
- Installing Fuel Injectors
- Fuel injectors are actually designed to work in a changing environment, and can handle horsepower demands significantly beyond stock. However, asking stock fuel injectors to keep up with a supercharger seemed a bit much. Fortunately, higher-capacity fuel injectors are easy to come by, so we installed a set of 24-lb. injectors as reinforcements for our supercharger project.
|"Who wrote this thing, Elmer Fudd?"|
- Supercharger, Part I: Preparation
- We review Vortech's Step 1, wherein we disconnect, move, and cut a wide selection of parts, including pulleys, heater lines, the alternator, smog pump, and bracket, and a few other miscellaneous items that get in the way of the big Vortech.
- Supercharger, Part II: Oiling System
- We review Vortech's Steps 2 and 3, wherein we prepare the oiling system for the S-Trim supercharger. Vortech's system uses the engine's existing oil supply, so it needs lines going to and from the main unit. This includes punching a hole into the oil pan. Fun!
- Supercharger, Part III: Fuel Management Unit
- We review Vortech's Step 4, the fuel management unit, wherein we install a device that is supposed to provide a manageable level of fuel while under light load, but open the floodgates when the supercharger kicks on. It manages this feat through vacuum regulation.
- Supercharger, Part IV: Moving Parts
- We review Vortech's Steps 5 through 9, wherein we move what few parts are left over from the initial "disconnect & destroy" session. These include moving the relay/overflow bracket, the upper radiator hose, an air conditioning line, the smog pump ducting, and the ignition module. Then we put the new pulleys on.
- Installing a Coolant Filter
- Taking a well-deserved break from the Vortech instructions, we decided to address one
safety area that we felt should have been dealt with on a piece of equipment this expensive. We
don't want to take any chances with this engine. So as a safety precaution, we installed a Tefba
- Supercharger, Part V: Bracketry
- We review Vortech's Steps 10 and 11, wherein Vortech replaces the stock accessory bracket with one of their own design. The idea is to fit more stuff in the same amount of space. Impossible wizardry you say? You may think so after trying to get it all jammed in there. But we managed, and we'll show you how.
- Supercharger, Part VI: MAF Sensor
- We review Vortech's Step 12, wherein the MAF sensor has to be moved into the fenderwell to accommodate the supercharger. We do Vortech one better by upgrading to a Pro-M 77mm MAF sensor for better airflow, which complicates installation a little. But it's not much worse than Vortech already made it with their weak instructions for this step.
|"You! Will! Fit! In! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!"|
- Supercharger, Part VII: Installation
- We install the supercharger!
- Supercharger, Part VIII: Reassembly
- We review Vortech's Steps 14 through 16, wherein we slowly go from a collection of parts to a fully functional automobile. In this step, we install the freshly-relocated alternator and the rest of the plumbing for the supercharger.
- Supercharger, Part IX: Ignition Boost
- We review Vortech's Step 17, wherein we install the ignition boost box and run the rat's nest of vacuum line. Finding a place to put the boost box is, in some ways, more troublesome than actually installing the thing; it's a pretty straightforward job to get it all hooked up.
- Supercharger, Part X: Inline Fuel Pump
- We review Vortech's Step 18, wherein we install the inline fuel pump. This T-Rex fuel pump is an extra kick in the pants to supplement the high-volume unit inside the tank. It mounts between the tank and the fuel filter. You can't be too careful; superchargers don't like to be starved.