ProCharger i-1 Installation - Ready For Ratios?

Part 1: Buckle up as our '12 fifth-gen project inherits an i-1, the world's first programmable ratio supercharger from ProCharger

D.J. Randall Sep 24, 2013 0 Comment(s)
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Check out Part 2 of our Procharger i-1 installation!

Devised from strong bloodlines and born from the ProCharger masterminds, behold the holy grail of supercharging technology, labeled the i-1. Contained in a strong billet case is a patented programmable ratio supercharger, with a unique control system that gives its driver the ability to switch between supplied performance modes, all from the same setup. Considering our stock SS needs a swift kick in the rear, the programmable boost curve [of the i-1] is a much-needed gulp of force-inducted cold air. The newfangled supercharger is a welcomed edition to our 2012 SS build, and luckily for you, it's not exclusive to late model Camaros. ProCharger has added this well-rounded beast to their product line, and is available on a growing range of vehicles (including the C6).

For starters, the new i-1 from ProCharger is similar to the P-1SC-1 and D-1SC supercharger systems, built from the same solid technology, tested on everything from GM trucks to ‘Vettes, and even Ford products ranging from Mustangs to Raptors. However, ProCharger has taken a solid leap ahead of the competition with a variable ratio transmission that is literally incorporated into the supercharger assembly. The two units (transmission and turbine) are connected by an incredibly strong, dry-hybrid belt. Combining the belt driven action from a normal belt and the durability of a chain without the weight, the new hybrid is one that's been tested extensively for over five years by ProCharger. The i-1 delivers a higher compressor efficiency than screw superchargers, while maintaining the other benefits of a centrifugal design. The variable boost adjustability and efficiency are astounding. The billet impellers and rugged gear case are exclusive to ProCharger, and the entire system is rated to stand up to a whopping 900-horespower.

Prior to the ProCharger team arriving at our shop for the install, our Camaro did a few solid baseline dyno pulls, making 381-horsepower and 390 foot-pounds of torque at the wheels. According to the guys from ProCharger, the fifth-gen should gain an additional 185-horsepower from the installation of the i-1 on pump gas. With that being said, the new setup is going to require a constant supply of consistently cool air. Sitting along side the other components that arrived from ProCharger is a three-core air-to-air intercooler that most would agree, provides abundant cooling and reliability when compared to air-to-water setups for street use. Thanks to an effective intercooling setup that avoids heat transfer associated with engine-top mounting, the ProCharger i-1 is able to produce greater number per pound of boost than air-to-water intercooled, positive displacement supercharger systems.

Speaking of street use, how many of you are particular about who gets behind the wheel of your ride? Surely, a sneaky valet parking employee is the last one on the list. Here's where the new technology comes into play. Sure, at 7.5-pounds of boost our Camaro is going to add another 185-horsepower to the wheels, but not everyone is ready for 550-plus horsepower, especially not an optimistic valet. ProCharger's new technology can be utilized to solve that very dilemma using an optional touchscreen or a toggle switch in the cockpit. The touchscreen looks like a normal GPS-type screen, but it controls a bit more than some silly arrows. On the screen, the user is able to customize up to four readouts per page, for real-time viewing. For example, you can see anything from impeller and engine RPM, to the current ratio of the supercharger. Atop of the onscreen display sits a nifty little arrow. When the arrow is pulled down in a familiar smartphone-like gesture, a four-option boost mode function appears, labeled Touring, Sport, Competition, and Custom.

Here's where you can lock out the valet driving fool. The selectable boost mode page can be password protected to keep ill-willed or just plain inexperienced drivers from getting into trouble. Just select the Touring mode button, and the boost goes from 7.5-psi to less than 1-pound of boost, which is also good to conserve fuel on road trips. Still think the valet will somehow guess your password? After selecting Touring mode, detach the touchscreen and slip it into your pocket while at dinner! Feeling adventurous after your meal? Pop the touchscreen back in, and select Sport mode for full boost during the lively drive home. Obviously, the best is saved for the last two buttons, as selecting Competition mode will give you full boost, that's pre-spooled, awaiting your right foot. The assembly essentially creates boost that's ready to go, but vented until called upon. Custom mode can store a predetermined boost curve for those high-performance track days, or to suit any other need. The possibilities are endless.

Needless to say, we are amped up to begin the install of the ProCharger i-1, and the brand-new supercharger assembly is provided alongside the reliable hardware to be expected from ProCharger. Follow along with the installation process, not as a step-by-step manual, but to see just how noninvasive the new kit is, as we explain how the innovative system fits into our fifth-gen.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Remove Engine 2/25

1. The i-1 install is kicked off by ProCharger’s Tyler Logan, as he ceremoniously removes the Camaro’s engine cover. The engine cover is generally the first off, and the last back on, both of which are significant moments of the installation. As you know, it’s just used for aesthetic reasons…thanks GM. Before touching anything else, we disconnected the negative terminal from the battery in the trunk.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Remove Front 3/25

2. Moving back to the front, and a few pushpins later, Tyler carefully wiggles the front fascia free, after unplugging the wiring harness. The radiator shroud, along with the temperature sensor, is up next for removal. The open space will allow enough working room to install or remove different components, like the intercooler with required tubing, new washer fluid reservoir, and i-1 bypass valve.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Remove Front 4/25

3. The next thing to be pulled off is the front bumper. It’s only held up by three fasteners per side, making for a quick removal. Its removal is necessary for the intercooler install later on.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Empty 5/25

4. Tyler empties the radiator, after placing a bucket under the drain opening. Removing full coolant lines would otherwise result in quite a mess. Note the hefty stock washer fluid reservoir to the right of the radiator. That extra weight will be gone and replaced shortly!

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Remove Stock Air 6/25

5. In order to save a few seconds while the coolant is draining, Tyler continues with the preparation process, disconnecting the PCV line, and then taking out the stock air box after removing the factory mass air flow sensor from the intake tube. The next component to occupy this space will be the massive i-1 supercharger!

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Remove Upper Coolant 7/25

6. In order to make even more room to access necessary components, Tyler removes the upper coolant hose, along with the coolant lines running below the radiator cap, allowing for greater engine space access. The hose will be reinstalled later, so we were sure not to trash it.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Radiator 8/25

7. Next on the list of things to take out are the massive fans incased in a plastic shroud, behind the radiator. Once removed, Tyler now has access to more space, making for an easier install. The fans will be put back in soon.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Factory Accessory 9/25

8. With the fans removed, Tyler loosens the factory tensioner bolt, rotating it clockwise until there is slack in the factory accessory belt to remove it. Next, the four-rib A/C compressor belt is removed from the factory balancer, which is going to be replaced. The new setup will look a little different than stock, to say the least, but still function as if no changes were ever made!

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Windshield Washer 10/25

9. Sliding over to that windshield washer reservoir we pointed out earlier, Tyler first drains the unused fluid, then unplugs the wiring harness, and removes the bolts fastening the reservoir to the vehicle. The old washer fluid container is replaced with a smaller unit that is attached to the supplied bracket, to make enough room for the hot-side intercooler lines and blower installation.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Drill Auxiliary Battery Post 11/25

10. Since the factory air box has already been removed, access to the stock auxiliary battery post bracket is available. Using a drill bit, Tyler hollows out the six spot-welds that hold the auxiliary battery post to the inner fender, and removes it. Drilling out the spot welds is just about as invasive as it gets, as the kit that ProCharger provides is extremely comprehensive and easy for competent individuals to install.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Ss I 1 Supercharger Install New Auxiliary Batter 12/25

11. Using the supplied bracket and hardware, Tyler bolts up the new auxiliary battery post, and the resulting space is going to be enough to fit the blower and air inlet filter setup. Instead of just getting rid of the post, the new bracket leaves a usable terminal.

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