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Easy Breathing

Spectre's PowerAdder modular Intake System adds performance as well as good looks

Terry Cole Jul 21, 2005

We all know that an internal combustion engine is nothing more than a big air pump. The more oxygen and fuel that can be shoved into the cylinders the bigger the explosion and the higher the horsepower--no magic there. And when we bolt on a power-adder such as a supercharger, the amount of air/fuel that can be compressed and ignited goes up and again: more ignition, more ponies!

All's good as long as the intake system is in tune with the amount of airflow that the system can utilize. Things aren't so dynamic when restrictions are present. That was the case when we installed a Vortech centrifugal blower on the GM Performance Parts-supplied 300-horse crate engine in the Classical Resurrection Camaro a couple years back. We know, that project was supposed to be done and over with, right? Well, basically yes, but as with any project there are always those last few details (and all the cool stuff that can be changed) before you can say it's really done.

In this case, since we basically had a Beta kit installed on the Camaro, there was no air intake system provided other than a simple conical air cleaner attached to the end of a 180-degree tube which fed right into the back of the supercharger. Not much surface area, for sure. But the biggest negative was the type of air that was being sucked in.

Since the air cleaner was essentially fitted right to the blower, it was situated directly above the headers on the driver's side of our Camaro's engine compartment. This meant that the only air that was available to be introduced into the engine through the blower was hot air that had found its way into the engine compartment by way of the grille through the radiator, which collided with more heated air being forced up from below by way of the exhaust headers (remember, hot air rises). Conclusion: the engine was being force-fed hot air, which leans out the air/fuel mix. And we all know that a denser, cooler air/fuel mixture is going to make bigger power than one mixed with hot air.Spectre Performance to the rescue for our one-off custom installation. Spectre, which specializes in many unique and useful components for custom cars, has come up with a new line of lock-together ducting called the PowerAdder Modular Intake System. This new product can be configured into virtually any shape and/or length. What this means is with the plethora of sizes and angles available you can route the intake tract as far away from the under hood heat as you need and plug on the air filter at the end that will direct and filter a cooler, higher volume of air into the engine. And, do we need to emphasize how that will effect the net horsepower proceeds?

The new PowerAdder system is made of an engineering grade co-polymer material, which doesn't hold the heat like steel or aluminum. This leads to the intake charge staying cooler. As mentioned, the sections are available in a multitude of angles and lengths (3-inch diameter tubing in 2-, 4-, and 6-inch lengths plus angles from 22-degrees to a "Y"-adapter) that fit together with slip collars that clamp firmly around the joints with an Allen-headed bolt to keep them configured the way you intended. The fully washable and reusable PowerAdder conical air filters are high-quality designs that trap ultra-fine airborne particles of dirt without sacrificing the volume or velocity or airflow. Further-more, the ducting's high-quality chrome finish will not corrode, flake, peel or discolor and can be cleaned with a simple solution such as window cleaner. Price is also a big bonus. Had we chosen to have a fabricator weld together aluminum or steel tubing to get the air cleaner(s) away from the engine we would have certainly spent hundreds of dollars, since R&D time is money. A basic Spectre system can cost as little as $20, while a complex arrangement will certainly come in at less than $100.

And to help you determine what the best route to take is, Spectre goes a step further and offers a mock-up kit, featuring three tubes and a filter that you can use to plan your route. The price of the kit is $10 (refundable, with proof of purchase of an actual kit) and once you've got it figured out you simply order the correct pieces to put your system together. Bottom line: you can't go wrong by mocking it up before you buy what you need.

All in all, whether you are installing a complicated twin turbo system or just relocating your air cleaner in the family sedan, Spectre's PowerAdder modular system offers a clean option that not only looks the part but produces more perform-ance as well. Take a look at how cool the system fit in our Classical Resurrection Camaro. I think you'll agree it was worth the effort on looks alone. But, I guarantee that the seat-of-the-pants improvement was a welcome addition.


Here you have it, instant power for our Classical Resurrection Camaro. Spectre Performance's new PowerAdder Modular Intake System allows you to reroute your machine's intake tract away from obstacles and heat. And with one of their reusable air filters, the more dense, cool air you introduce to the engine, the more power. For approximately $60 (which includes two tubes, boot, mount kit and filter) you can do a basic install. A more complex system can be built for less than $150!

This is what we had to start with. While the cool Vortech centrifugal supercharge is an awe-inspiring sight under the hood of our Camaro, the simple open-element conical air filter was laboring to provide the necessary air for the blower. Not only that, the only air it had access to was hot engine compartment air--not the best mix for max power.

While a nice piece, this aluminum 180-degree tube was all that separated the back of the blower from the air cleaner and the hot air off of the headers. This was the first part to go.

Connecting the duct tubing to the back of the Vortech was accomplished by using a slick flexible silicone reducer. This piece was reused with the Spectre PowerAdder tubing.

The Spectre tubing is made from a high-quality polymer product and is chrome plated for an excellent finish. Here, three pieces: two 90-degree bends and a 6-inch straight piece are prefit to the back of the blower.

The 90-degree bend coming out of the back of the blower fits perfectly into the silicone reducer...

...A high-quality aircraft hose clamp is employed to make sure the tubing stays in place. This clamp is not a typical worm-gear radiator hose clamp.

The second 90-degree bend is attached with a custom slip collar...

...The two pieces simply slide together under the collar and an Allen-head screw squeezes the collar around both tube ends, provid-ing a strong and secure fit.

Here's the straight piece that was prefit to the bends being installed. Note the collar and Allen screw.

The PowerAdder Modular System makes air intake routing easy. In our case, we had the intake tract go through the radiator support and mount the conical air filters in front of the radiator and A/C condenser.

Mounting the reusable/washable air filters is as simple as sliding them in place ...

...(using a little oil or WD-40 helps them slide over the tube end) and tightening down the clamp.

Here's the installed filter on the passenger's side.

Here's how the PowerAdder ducting snakes through the radiator support on the driver's side. Note how clean the installation is. Of course, our custom system required removing the grille and lower valance to install.

With twin conical air filters, our supercharged powerplant should get all the air it needs to maximize its horsepower potential.

Another area where the installation shined was in the mounting hardware. The use of these special adjustable arms made secur-ing the tubing a simple job. And the intake tract is definitely firmly mounted.

The only thing that needed relocating on our project car was the power steering fluid's remote reservoir. Using Spectre's trick mounting hardware made this move simple.

Here's a detailed look at how the tubing fit through the radiator support. The expert installers at Spectre used a piece of silicone hose that was split down the middle as a custom grommet for where the tube slipped through the support structure.

Once all of the prefitting was complete, and after the pieces were in place through the radiator support, the finished duct from the blower, which had been removed for the pictures, was reinstalled. The nice thing about this fact is that if you need to service the blower (or carb, injector, etc.) on your ride, you can easily remove the system without disturbing its shape.

And here is the finished system from the front of the car. With cooler incoming air for the twin filters we're sure that our super-chargers thirst for oxygen will be satisfied. Of course that translates into more power for us to have fun with.

Note the location of the air cleaners with the grille and valance back in place. Not only does it look way cool, but also it will provide way cooler air to our supercharged Camaro.

The formula for increased breathing begins with Spectre's PowerAdder modular intake system. And for those who have normally-aspirated engines, Spectre will have several new air intake plenums by year's end that will allow you to get the desired cooler air to the engine.


Spectre Performance
Ontario, CA 90761

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