Screw Your Half-Ton

Kenne Bell's twin-screw blower adds tire-frying, stump-pulling power to a late-model

Seth Millhollin May 13, 2003 0 Comment(s)

There may not be a huge selection of musclecars coming out of Detroit these days, but in their place, pickups and SUV's are picking up the slack and becoming increasingly popular. Without question, these new-wave hot rods are receiving more attention as performance machines and as such, we are seeing an increase in extremely powerful engines being installed.

As most manufacturers are building trucks with stout power plants, this leaves the automotive aftermarket chomping at the bit to produce performance products for these new muscle machines.

One of the leaders in this market is Kenne Bell Hi-Tech Performance Products. With a long history of producing fire-breathing horsepower from, among others, domestic V-6 powered machines, taking on V-8 powered trucks was something they had to do.

The 4.8L engines that come in '99-'02 Chevy 1/2-ton trucks run very well on their own. But many enthusiasts are in search of yet more power. With a multitude of options out there, few (if any) would be as beneficial as the one you're about to read about.

This new twin-screw supercharger kit is one of the most complete kits available for the new-generation small-block. It contains everything required to complete a professional install, with an amazing instruction guide that leads you from start to finish. And, of course, the best part about it all is the finished product.

Installed correctly, this twin-screw supercharger design is engineered to provide instant boost and to stay there. With the Kenne Bell kit the engine receives a solid five pounds of boost from virtually the crack of the throttle, which then stays there throughout the engine's entire rpm range. Driveability is phenomenal, and the tale of the tape is that the engine gets an increase of 100 horsepower and 100 ft-lb of torque--measured at the rear wheels!

Though the kit is quite extensive--it includes everything from the supercharger to new fuel injectors--serious do-it-yourselfers should be able to complete the install in an average weekend. Follow along as we show you one of these kits being installed on a newer 1/2-ton cruiser. We're sure of one thing: Once you take a ride in the completed machine, you'll never want to drive without it.

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Here's what comes in the Kenne Bell kit: a supercharger, ducting, belts, hoses, pulleys, injectors, brackets, and all hardware. This may look like an tough task, but the instructions are so detailed, it is actually easy to do.

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This is what the engine compartment looked like when we started. If you can believe it this new system will fit entirely under the hood, with very few modifications.

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You start by removing the original air box and intake ducting. You can store them away because you won't need them anymore.

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Next you will have to remove the throttle body and the EGR valve.

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Both parts will be relocated when they are used again.

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The stock upper radiator hose will have to be removed also. The next time it goes back onto the engine it will be installed backwards.

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You have to remove the coil packs on the top of both valve covers. Unplug the main harness and slide them out the front of the engine. The valve covers also have to be removed and switched from side to side so that the supercharger will clear.

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To change the injectors, you first have to unbolt the fuel rail and remove the metal retaining clip, then the injector just slips out.

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Using the oil supplied, smear a little on the new injector before installing it. Putting the retaining clips on the new injector makes for an easier install. They simply snap on. Once the injectors are back in place, reinstall the fuel rail.

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A new thermostat is also included with this kit. This new thermostat is 20 degrees cooler than the stock, which is enough to keep the engine from detonating.

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When the valve covers have been switched and the engine ports are sealed, cut the small nipple off the EGR plate. When it is completely smooth, bolt on the new bracket to the original plate. The EGR valve will now bolt at on angle to clear the supercharger.

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A new bracket will bolt to a flange on the exhaust manifold and run up along the dipstick. This will hold up the rear corner of the supercharger to help keep it steady.

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Another thing that must be done is lengthening some of the wiring harnesses. The wires going to the alternator, IAC, and TPS all had to be extended. It was easy because you receive an extra long harness with the correct plug that you simply splice in.

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At this point the overflow tank and the battery tray must be removed. The battery tray on the right is where the air filter goes.

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The headlight and turn signal light must also be pulled out on the passenger side and the plastic shielding must be removed. This will allow more airflow to the new intake ducting that's to be installed.

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This is the panel that houses the air filter. It replaces the battery tray, which used to reside on the right side; the air filter mounts downward and will sit right behind the headlights for a cool charge of air.

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This is what the new "battery tray" looks like when installed in place of the factory unit. The elbow is the first of a few for the new intake ducting.

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With the overflow tank removed you will need to shorten the front leg and drill holes for the new bracket. You will also have to drill holes through the inner fender for the new bracket to bolt to.

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The front and rear of the overflow will fit something like this. You will still use the original lower hose; the rest of the new hardware is supplied.

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The hardest part of the whole project was physically lifting the supercharger into place. The mounting bracket for the front of the supercharger will slide down towards the water pump, directly behind the EGR valve.

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The mounting holes in the throttle body must be drilled out to accept the larger bolts for the supercharger. This also will be relocated.

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The throttle body now bolts to the right rear corner of the supercharger. The electrical plugs that were lengthened fit right in place.

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It takes some finesse to get the bolts holding the supercharger into place. Using a screwdriver to hold it in place, start by bolting in the outer bolts.

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The throttle cable must be relocated to the back of the engine, or the back of the supercharger. It will have new bosses to bolt to. Also, make sure to bolt down the blower's rear-mount bracket.

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Here's another new elbow that must be installed. It goes from the supercharger to the intake manifold plenum. Once bolted to the manifold make sure to tighten the sleeve that connects the two.

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This is the bracket for the new belt tensioner. It bolts to the front of the block and to the supercharger. Once the bracket is in place you will have to add the lower right pulley. Installed correctly, it looks something like this.

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The belt for the new pulley system also comes with the kit. So does the supercharger pulley that produces 5 pounds of boost.

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A new elbow going into the throttle body also had to be installed. The rubberized sleeve that connects the elbow to the throttle body must be securely fastened and not be torn.

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This is the rest of the ducting that will connect the new air filter to the throttle body in its new location. The mass air sensor still mounts up front towards the first elbow.

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As with every system from Kenne Bell the computer was reprogrammed. Since the truck was in the shop the computer was reworked right there. Usually you would have to send in the computer to have this done.

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Here's the Kenne Bell twin screw blower system completely installed. It fits so well you'd think it factory installed. At this stage, all that was left to do was run the truck on the dyno.

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