Magna-ficent: Installing a Supercharger

Bolt on 146.6 hp with a Magna Charger intercooled C5 supercharger

Jack Sweet Jun 22, 2004 0 Comment(s)
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At press time, the intercooled Magna Charger for the C5 and Z06 waspending CARB approval for California and states with similarrequirements. An intercooler upgrade kit is available for owners ofearlier, nonintercooled C5/Z06 Magna Chargers.

This was a great time to replace our old knock sensors with new ones since we had some doubt about their efficacy. Their wires were routed through channels milled into the new valley cover for this purpose and held down with small dabs of silicone adhesive.

Work moved to the bench where components were swapped from the stock manifold assembly to the blower unit. The MAP sensor and seal, throttle body, new power-steering-reservoir bracket, fuel-pressure regulator, and other components were installed. Protective tape was removed from the engine's intake ports and the area was sprayed with silicone lubricant before the supercharger assembly was lowered onto the engine and bolted in place with new, shorter bolts supplied in the kit.

Once the new manifold bolts were started finger-tight, the MAP sensor electrical connector was plugged into the rear of the new manifold, and the manifold was torqued to 89 lb-in. A new, longer, serpentine belt was routed and installed according to the diagram in the instructions.

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The Micro Tuner 2001 from Superchips carries the VIN-specific Magnusontune-up for each Magna Charger kit. R&D calibration specialist JohnGermanson runs some air/fuel ratio numbers in search of the perfecttune-up for the freshly supercharged monster.

A new piece of coolant hose was attached to the driver side of the throttle body and the original hose on the passenger side was reused. The EVAP hose and solenoid were reattached, the fuel-injector connections were snapped into place, and the stock fuel line was pushed onto the fittings on the new manifold. A new, 10-inch piece of hose was attached to the power-steering reservoir and it was slipped onto its new bracket. Then the IAT's split loom was shucked back and the wiring was rerouted to connect the plug to the sensor; a new piece of split loom was installed. The rest of the components were installed according to the instructions, using new hoses and wiring from the kit as required. A new air duct from the kit was put in place between the throttle body and MAF meter, and the K&N filter element from the kit was slipped into place.

The new intercooler reservoir was temporarily slipped into place on top of the battery and a notch was cut into the rubber strip along the top of the partition to accommodate a hose that will attach to the reservoir. Then a 1-inch hole was cut near the fuse/relay center so the other hose could pass through to the reservoir. Then lengths of supplied 5/8-inch hose were cut to length and run to fittings on the blower manifold, which was then filled with a mixture of water and Red Line WaterWetter. The radiator was refilled with coolant, the battery was reconnected, and the ignition switch was keyed on several times to fill the new fuel rails so we could check for leaks.

The only thing left to do was tune the vehicle's PCM so everything would run as it should. Magna Charger supercharger kits come with a Micro Tuner 2001 unit from Superchips Inc., into which the vehicle's VIN-specific parameters are downloaded. It's as simple as plugging the unit into the connector under the dash and uploading the new tune-up to the car. The original specifications are retained in the Micro Tuner in case of a need to swap back for some reason. And, if the dealer flashes the PCM back to a stock tune-up, your vehicle's specifications are kept on file according to the VIN so they can be retrieved. The Magnuson tune-up can be further tweaked using LS1Edit or similar software, although the company doesn't necessarily recommend doing so. Magnuson also recommends staying with the pulley that comes with your supercharger, which will provide between 6.5 and 7 pounds of boost.

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After tuning the PCM, this car now dynos a whopping 443 rwhp at 6,000rpm and 416 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm, some 146 hp and 124 lb-ft overthe factory configuration.

After the car was run for a while to check for leaks, Magnuson R&D calibration guru John Germanson strapped the car back down to the dyno and let 'er rip. The first pull was a little rich with an 11:1 air/fuel ratio, and the car posted 437 rwhp at 6,000 rpm and 409 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm.

A short cool-down period was followed with a session on the computer, tweaking the A/F ratio closer to the desired 12:1. The second pull got the car closer--an 11.7:1 A/F ratio netted 437.2 rwhp at 6,000 rpm and 424.7 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm.

Another couple of tweaks and the final pull netted 443 rwhp at 6,000 rpm and 416.9 lb-ft at 3,250 rpm. That's 146.6 rwhp and 124.1 lb-ft of twist over stock. More impressive was the torque curve--it was flat enough across the entire powerband to make your ears bleed when you mash the throttle. And that's what having a supercharged Corvette is all about.


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