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Chevrolet CamaroNotes From The Road

Pumping Iron
By Steve Temple/

Muscling up the New Camaro with the Latest in Supercharger Systems -
For performance enthusiasts, what’s the next “big thing?” The short answer is to get some boost from a blower. It’s no secret that supercharging is a one of the quickest and most effective ways to increase engine output. One challenge is figuring out which system to use since there are three basic types: centrifugal, Roots and twin-screw. And since American muscle cars have enjoyed a rebirth, we’ll start here then provide an overview of three new supercharger systems.

Even though the Mustang is a trustworthy steed, and many superchargers are available for earlier models, everybody’s chomping at the bit for the 2011 5.0-liter V-8 version, and any blower systems for that new model are still many months away. The Hemi-powered Dodge Challenger and Charger are also viable choices. The greater portion of performance fans tends to be Chevy loyalists who prefer the latest vehicle to market. So that gives the nod to the new Camaro and its 6.2-liter LS engine as the most likely candidate for supercharging projects. Aftermarket companies in general tend to agree, given the Camaro’s immense popularity.
But should you go with the traditional a centrifugal, Roots or a twin-screw?
Vortech Versions
Vortech Engine
Given the range of choices to consider, we’ll start with Vortech, a company that offers different types of superchargers, and has models for a broad range of vehicles. Although known for its centrifugal systems (basically a belt-driven turbo), the company has just rolled out a new Lysholm twin-screw setup (a positive-displacement that compresses the intake air). The latter is currently available for GM pickups with 5.3-liter V-8, and selected models of Ford Mustangs (a system for Ford trucks is in the works as well). Vortech offers systems for Chrysler Hemi-powered cars and imports, too. So even if you’re not a diehard Camaro fan, there are plenty of other choices.
As noted already, one of the hottest tickets right now is for the Bow Tie brand. “We’ve gotten a ton of interest in the Camaro,” observes John Snee, sales manager for Vortech. This company displayed several supercharged Camaros at the 2009 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show, as did numerous other supercharger firms, indicating the level of enthusiasm for this new application.
On the Camaro, Vortech currently employs a centrifugal unit (a twin-screw setup is being developed). Taking a quick look at the peak numbers, when you peg the tach to redline with seven or so pounds on tap, the Vortech V-3 Si-Trim pumps up the output to a dyno-tested, flywheel-rating of 581 hp and 517 lb.-ft. of torque. And that’s with 91-octane pump gas and a conservative level of tune. With additional optimization, the gains might hit as high as 625 hp, Vortech claims (that’s 47 percent over the OE rating of 426 hp and 420 lb.-ft.). Moreover, these figures are for the street version. Competition-grade kits are available with the oil-fed V-7 YSi-Trim supercharger that are designed to take the engine over the 1000-hp level.
To keep this flood of power under control, Vortech’s system employs a stand-alone setup with a 10-rib belt running on a billet aluminum crank pulley, a heavy-duty tensioner and hard-anodized idlers with dual bearings. Extra strength also comes from a steel SFI-approved race-spec damper and multi-plate mounting assembly with both billet aluminum spacers and laser-cut steel plates.
Since the air intake features roto-molded ducting with a broad four-inch diameter, plus a high-flow filter mounted behind the headlight for cooler temperatures, a substantial increase in fuel delivery is essential to prevent a lean-out condition. The factory injectors are replaced with 66 lb/hr units, and the ECU is reflashed with a fatter fuel map to prevent lean-out. (Note that a previously modified vehicle might also require custom ECU programming and a voltage booster for the fuel pump.) Once this Vortech is installed, though, the newly blown 2010 Camaro will be pumping iron in a whole new weight class.

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