The newest evolution of our beloved Corvette comes from GM with an LT1 engine rated at 460 hp and 465 lb-ft or torque. These are very respectable numbers and for most people, more than enough to peg the fun meter. But, for some, having the same power level as every other C7 pilot isn't what they had in mind. They want "more" and the easiest way to get there is to stuff in some extra atmosphere. We're talkin' boost, and one of the biggest players out there, when it comes to superchargers, are the folks at ProCharger. See, they knew that there would pent-up power demands from all the new C7 owners, so they burned some midnight oil and had a kit ready to go shortly after GM's new Stingray hit the streets.
Built around their proven P-1SC-1 centrifugal supercharger, ProCharger wanted to make the system was as complete, and easy to install, as possible. To that end, they stuck with their uber-efficient, and time-tested, air-to-air intercooler and made sure critical components, like ABS, wouldn't need to be moved or otherwise tinkered with. A "tuner kit" in satin starts at $5,300 and the handheld tuner (if you're not going have your car custom dyno tuned) will set you back another 400 bucks. We found the kit to be complete with nothing needed besides the tools to get it installed. After road testing the supercharged C7, we felt the added power was great as it ratcheted up the power, but still kept the car easy to drive. To get the lowdown on the kit, and how it fits into the car, we stopped by ProCharger to see one getting grafted into a brand new Stingray.
|Required Tools and Supplies|
|Open-end wrench set (standard and metric)|
|3⁄8-inch and 1⁄2-inch socket sets (standard and metric)|
|3⁄8-inch hex bit set (standard and metric)|
|7mm and 8mm nut driver|
|T15, T25, T30 Torx driver|
|Propane torch (for crank bolt)|
|½-inch impact gun (for crank bolt)|
|½-inch breaker bar (for crank bolt)|
|Flat and Phillips screwdrivers|
01. This was our starting point, the bone stock engine bay of a new C7 Stingray. Since the instruction book from ProCharger is very detailed (and in color), we’re not going to inundate you with a blow by blow “how to.” Instead we’re going to touch on the highpoints.
02. First up was removing the air shroud and intake tubing from the factory air cleaner.
03. We then used the supplied T to modify the PCV hose near the cooling fan. One nice aspect of this kit is that we didn’t have to tap into or mess with any fluid lines.
04. Next up was assembling the main bracket and attaching it to the P-1SC-1 supercharger. A nice feature is that the bracket system can accept virtually every blower they make, from this P-1SC-1 to a massive F-1R or F-2.
05. Part of this process involved installing the oil drain line and filling the supercharger with a bottle (6 ounces) of blower oil that came in the kit. The oil drain line will make servicing the unit much easier.
06. And just like that, the unit was bolted together and ready for transplant into our C7 Corvette. The unit comes standard in polished and there’s a discount if you choose the matte silver finish (seen in background). ProCharger also offers the unit in black for a few bucks more.
07. With the blower assembled, we decided to tackle the system’s intercooler. ProChager prefers air-to-air intercooling since it’s less complex, and easier to install, compared to air-to-water-air units. They also feel it’s more efficient and, with a massive 972-cubic-inches of core volume, it’s one of the largest on the market. They offer vertical (what we used) and horizontal intercoolers for the same cost. The horizontal unit mounts parallel to the road surface, and while it’s not quite as efficient at intercooling, compared to the vertical unit, it does allow better airflow over the radiator and AC condenser. For all out performance, go with the vertical system. If you’re concerned with maximizing cooling and AC performance opt for the horizontal arrangement.
08. To install the intercooler we first had to carefully remove the C7’s nose. The process is detailed in their instruction manual and is easier than you would guess.
09. We then bolted the intercooler in place, making sure that it wasn’t rubbing on the AC condenser. At this point we also installed all the intercooling tubing.
10. Next up was more modifications to the Corvette’s PCV system. In this case, we routed the supplied 5⁄8-inch rubber hose so it would be neatly hidden under the driver side cover.
11. With the intercooler installed, and the PCV system modified, we could then install the P-1SC-1 and bolt it to the LT1 engine. The unit just cleared the ABS module, which is exactly how ProCharger designed it. After all, it’s a pretty critical piece of equipment and not having to mess with it was one of the number one priorities when designing the kit.
12. The ProCharger blower crank pulley used a super cool cam-lock system to keep everything secured and happy. It’s hard to show in pictures, but when installing them it all made sense. All six fasteners received a dab of Loctite 272 thread locker.
13. Installing the crank pulley was one of the tougher aspects of the kit. The Reader’s Digest version is we loosened the steering rack, the K-member, and sway bar bolts. We then used temporary spacers, and a prybar, between the frame and K-member to raise things so we could access the front of the stock crank pulley. The blower belt is a dedicated system and doesn’t drive any of the other engine accessories.
14. With the crank pulley installed, we routed the blower belt. The belt was tensioned by using a 1⁄2-inch deep-socket to turn the brass collar counterclockwise until the marks lined up per the instruction manual. We tightened down the pivot bolt (directly below the brass collar) to lock the system in place.
15. The factory MAF unit was removed from the factory inlet tube and installed in the new air tube supplied by ProCharger.
16. The main air inlet tubing was routed down to the intercooler and connected. Things were tight, but everything fit.
17. As far as intake systems go, ProCharger offers two options. For those who want a more factory look, they supply a high efficiency oval filter that slides right into the GM air box assembly. Here you can see the cleanable ProCharger filter next to the paper GM version on the right.
18. Here you can see how the modified GM airbox looks fully assembled. This is also what would be required in “smog test” states like California.
19. For ultimate performance, they offer a much larger conical filter. There’s no cost difference between the OEM-style and this air intake system.
20. With all the connections and bolts triple checked, we reinstalled the air shroud. The installation took just over five hours and was well within the ability of any competent mechanic to pull off. Also, while not required, ProCharger does suggest swapping to cooler heat range spark plugs (NGK 6510).
21. It was then time to use the included Diablo tuner to modify the Vette’s ECU. The handheld is connected to the car’s OBD-II port (under the steering column) and you would follow the screen prompts to download the “Original Backup” file to the handheld. You would transfer this file to a PC and email it to ProCharger. Within 24 hours a tune for the car should be sent back from ProCharger and you would move it to the handheld and then to the ECU. Since we were at ProCharger, doing this install, our turnaround time was much faster. If you want to save on downtime then download the file and send it to ProCharger before you start your install.
Putting it to the test
An Inside Look