For Project LS1 the time had come for drastic measures. Its time with owner Jay Heath was drawing to a close, our efforts to acquire a stronger 12-bolt rear to take punishing drag launches on slicks were thwarted, and the idea of gutting this pristine, low-mile Formula and turning it into a drag car in our quest for low 11s on motor would surely have been met with a string of Heath's polysyllabic insults.
Yep, if there was any hope in making our 3,700-pound streetcar dip into the 11s there could be no more playing around. It had always been destined for something greater than mere 12.30 time slips, and when the 5-foot box from Procharger arrived at the office, I knew the rapture was upon us. Judgment day had come, and in order to escape the fires of hell occupied by Mustangs, imports, and Rosie O'Donnell's black soul, measly bolt-on power was not going to cut it. It was time to get blown.
With plenty of visceral grunt, an aspect of civility, and practicality thrown in for good measure, centrifugal blowers are perhaps one of the best investments you can make when purchasing a power adder. And quite honestly, there are few sounds as pleasing to a gearhead than the whine of a supercharger.
For our Project '99 Trans Am, that whine would be supplied by an ATI Procharger P-1SC-1, which would be pumping about 7 psi of fresh air into a set of twin intercoolers before finding its way into the LS6 manifold. The P-1SC-1 head unit is capable of sustaining 825 hp for engines making 200 to 500 hp naturally aspirated, more than adequate for our purposes. Procharger prides itself on making some of the most powerful and reliable blowers on the market, and to ensure reliability, each head unit is made entirely from heat-treated T-6 aircraft aluminum utilizing billet impellers exclusively. Perhaps the biggest difference between this unit and its competitors is in the bearings, which have the benefit of specifically engineered gear oil since this system is self-contained and no oil lines need to be run from the oil pan.
The Procharger LS1 F-body kit leaves the engine bay looking rather innocent and neat from the top. However, while it is all business up top, the party is down below (sort of like a mullet) where the P-1SC-1 is tucked closely to the crank pulley and the twin intercoolers are kept in close proximity. This design enables the blower to be driven independently of the other accessories, which puts less strain on the main serpentine belt and keeps the car drivable if the blower throws a belt. In order to achieve this, Procharger has an extra six-rib crank pulley that bolts on the end of the stock unit, and there is also an eight-rib upgrade that requires an ATI Performance Products Harmonic Balancer. We chose the latter, which would lessen the chance of belt slippage given our intended use.
The only downside to Procharger's neat packaging is that the tight Fourth-Gen F-body engine bay requires some convincing before squeezing in the components. In fact, a few things will need to be relocated, including the air pump, the cruise control, and the horn. The factory dual electric fans will also need to be replaced by a large 16-inch single fan to make room for the blower. Have no fear though, as all of the necessary brackets, screws, and instructions are provided in the kit. In fact, very little-to-no modification to any of the components in the kit is required. However, the design does require quite a bit of familiarity for it to go smoothly, which is why we were happy that East Coast Supercharging agreed to do the install.
East Coast Supercharging is most widely known for its sponsorship of the Corvette Challenge series at Englishtown's Raceway Park, and is also one of the most reputable shops for C5 Corvettes along the Atlantic shoreline, with plenty of F-bodies under its belt as well. Since Procharger installs make up the largest portion of its business, familiarity would not be an issue. In fact, ECS is home to some of the fastest stock suspension C5 Corvettes in the country, all sporting ATI's finest.
Part I of the Procharger install chronicles the initial steps in removing and relocating the stock components and installing a new harmonic balancer and the Procharger crank pulley, along with the head unit and serpentine belts. The plumbing and intercooler installation will have to wait for next time; be sure not to miss GMHTP's exclusive pressure and ambient temperature testing of Procharger's new 4.5-inch intercoolers. Last but not least, dyno numbers and updated track times await as we send our Project Trans Am off in style.