With 200 fewer pounds of fat to lug around and styling that’s more pleasingly progressive than shamelessly retro, GM got a lot of things right with the sixth-gen Camaro. Everyone loves a trimmer physique and a prettier face, but come on, what’s with the measly 29-horsepower increase over the fifth-gen? Bragging about direct injection and variable valve timing doesn’t exactly impress the ladies, and the dude that just paid off his 2010 Camaro probably isn’t going to trade it in just to pick up a few extra ponies. Fear not, because for those that don’t find a stock 455hp sixth-gen Camaro SS compelling enough to commit to 60 monthly payments, Edelbrock’s E-Force supercharger kit makes it ridiculously easy to add 140-plus rear-wheel hp.
When rumors of a forced-induction sixth-gen Camaro started swirling in early 2016, it seemed like the only such machines in existence were R&D mules owned by aftermarket manufacturers. That’s why Camaro aficionados were delightfully shocked when camaro6.com member Ed Parsons (aka Atomic Ed) reported taking delivery of one of the first Edelbrock E-Force supercharger systems released into the wild. The numbers were impressive to say the least, as Parsons’ force-fed LT1 laid down 559 hp and 541 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed manual trans on Kaizenspeed’s Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno.
Considering that most sixth-gen Camaros lay down between 400 and 420 rear-wheel hp in stock trim, Parsons’ results most certainly validate the 140hp increase Edelbrock advertises for its LT1 E-Force supercharger system. Furthermore, Parsons is quick to point out that dyno testing was performed on 91-octane pump gas on a toasty summer day with ambient air temperature hovering at 97 degrees. While dyno correction factors can account for variations in climate and altitude reasonably well, they have no way of accurately compensating for the effects of elevated inlet air temperature on ignition timing and horsepower, which are far more detrimental on a forced-induction application.
Nevertheless, numbers are just numbers. Truly enjoying the perks of forced induction involves stomping the loud pedal, and stomping it often. Rest assured, Parsons has done plenty of that. “I’m an old turbo guy, so I’m used to the quirks associated with running big turbos on motorcycles and sports cars. The on/off characteristics of a turbo is something that you have to adapt your driving style to on the street, but not so with the Edelbrock supercharger kit,” he happily reports. “The seamless power from idle to redline makes it feel like there’s a monster naturally aspirated engine under the hood. When you’re sitting at a stoplight, there’s no noise, no fuss, and no clue from either the driver’s seat or from the outside that the car is supercharged. Other than the car’s red paint, it’s a near perfect stealth ride.”
As luck would have it, Ed documented the entire supercharger installation process as it happened and generously agreed to share his images with the rest of the Bowtie community. It’s real-world testing at its finest that shows just how easy it is to get ZL1-caliber power without dropping $60,000 plus dealer markups on a ZL1. Parsons certainly has no regrets. “After test-driving a C7 Corvette, a 2016 Camaro SS, and a 2015 Camaro ZL1, I knew that the sixth-gen was the car for me,” says Parsons. “When I found out that the dealer was already in the process of installing an E-Force supercharger on a 2016 Camaro they had in stock, my decision was very easy. I call the E-Force my ‘driving experience enhancer’.”
01. There’s just something unbelievably heroic about installing a supercharger onto a brand-new Camaro while the paper plates are still attached. At just 8 psi of boost on 91-octane fuel, Ed Parsons’ Camaro laid down 559 hp and 541 lb-ft of torque on Kaizenspeed’s Dyno Dynamics dynamometer. That’s spot-on with Edelbrock’s internal testing, which netted 563 rwhp on 91-octane and 580 rwhp on 93-octane.
02. Edelbrock’s E-Force supercharger package for 2016 LT1 Camaros (PN 1559 manual; 1558 auto) includes an Eaton TVS 2300 blower unit, intake manifold runners, intercooler, heat exchanger, water pump, pulleys, drive belts, fuel lines, vacuum hoses, wiring harness, induction elbow, gaskets, brackets, and a handheld tuner. Those with 2017 Camaros should ask for part number 1529 (manual) or 15291 (auto).
03. Much like fifth-gen Camaros, the sixth-gen engine bay is a surprisingly welcoming place to work. Since most of the wrenching is limited to the top half of the engine, installing the E-Force probably won’t bust up as many knuckles as finagling a set of long-tube headers in place.
04. After disconnecting the battery and draining the radiator, the PCV hose, noise generator tube, and inlet elbow must be removed. Next, remove the EVAP line, fuel rail covers, and connectors for the throttle body and MAP sensor before pulling the intake manifold and lifter valley isolator blanket out of the way.
05. Gaining access to the inner bumper structure in order to mount the intercooler heat exchanger and pump requires removing the front fascia. It’s secured by a series of screws that attach it to the radiator shroud, fenders, and undertray. The headlight and turn signal connectors must be unhooked as well.
06. Similar to a diesel, the LT1’s direct injection system utilizes a conventional in-tank fuel pump to feed a cam-driven pump, which then boosts line pressure to over 2,000 psi. Edelbrock supplies a reshaped hardline extension—which connects to the cam-driven pump mounted on the lifter valley—to create additional clearance for the supercharger assembly. A replacement braided feed line is also included with the E-Force kit.
07. Accessing the stock harmonic balancer requires first removing the serpentine and A/C belts, detaching the upper and lower radiator hoses, then removing the fan shroud and fan assembly. The fan is secured by three bolts on the bottom and four bolts on top. Next, a three-jaw gear puller is used to remove the stock balancer.
08. After applying white grease to the crank snout and the inside of the balancer hub, the Edelbrock balancer is slid onto the end of the crank. Only a proper harmonic balancer tool should be used to press it onto the crank snout. To prevent the engine from turning over, keep it still with a flywheel holding tool or a piston stop. Final installation of the balancer involves tightening it down to 240 ft-lb with the factory bolt, removing and discarding it, then tightening the balancer to 110 ft-lb with the new Edelbrock-supplied crank bolt. Next, loosen the bolt 360 degrees, retorque it to 59 ft-lb, then turn the bolt clockwise another 125 degrees.
09. The stock LT1 water pump features two unused boltholes. The E-Force system utilizes these provisions as mounting points for the supercharger belt idler pulleys. The smooth pulley bolts to the upper hole, while the grooved pulley attaches to the lower hole. Now is a good time to reinstall the A/C belt, serpentine belt, and cooling fan.
10. The supercharger belt tensioner bracket attaches to factory boltholes located on the block and driver-side cylinder head. Accessing two of these bolts requires unbolting the ground strap located above the A/C compressor and a bolt that secures the engine wiring harness to the front of the head. The bracket is then attached with four bolts before securing the tensioner and idler pulleys.
11. Since the factory PCV hose is too short to connect to the E-Force supercharger, Edelbrock supplies a new, lengthened and reshaped replacement hose. Remove the factory 45-degree quick-connect fitting with a razor and reinstall it on the Edelbrock hose.
12. As with LS engines, LT1 small-blocks use O-rings around each intake runner in lieu of traditional intake manifold gaskets. After transferring the O-rings onto the Edelbrock intake runners, the new runners are secured to the cylinder heads with five bolts on each side. Note the TMAP sensor near the inner rear of the passenger-side runner and the vacuum barb on the inner rear of the driver-side runner.
13. To reduce parasitic drag under light throttle operation, the E-Force supercharger features an integrated bypass valve. The bypass actuator is positioned near the throttle body, and draws manifold signal from the barb located on the driver-side runner assembly. Edelbrock supplies a 1/4-inch hose for the actuator that must be tucked along the bottom of the passenger-side runner in order to clear the supercharger.
14. After plugging in the TMAP sensor and routing the harness to the front of the engine, it’s time to carefully lower the supercharger assembly onto the intake runners. A total of 16 bolts secure it in place. Edelbrock recommends applying blue thread locker to all the supercharger bolts. Next, transfer the throttle body from the stock intake onto the supercharger assembly.
15. The LT1 E-Force unit pushes boosted air upward into the plenum before it turns downward through a pair of liquid-cooled intercooler cores integrated above each intake runner assembly. Coolant from the cores passes through a surge tank, water pump, and heat exchanger before making its way back into the intercooler cores.
16. The electric intercooler water pump mounts between the driver-side of the primary radiator and the chassis. A supplied bracket secures it to the frame using two existing factory boltholes. A rubber isolator helps reduce water pump noise and vibration.
17. To make room for the heat exchanger, remove the inner bumper, support braces, hood latch, and horn. Since the heat exchanger hoses route through the driver-side radiator shroud, it must be removed and modified as well.
18. Using a 1.75-inch hole saw, drill into the upper portion of the shroud. Also enlarge the U-shaped cutout in the center of the shroud with a set of shears. Mocking the shroud and heat exchanger into position can assist in determining the exact location of the cuts.
19. The heat exchanger attaches to the air ducts using a combination of bolts, locknuts, and pushpins. It must be oriented so that the coolant barbs are positioned on the driver-side of the car. Applying a strip of foam tape between the heat exchanger and ducts ensures a tight seal.
20. After removing the driver-side upper fan bolt, attach the surge tank and bracket to the fan mount with the supplied hardware. Next, using the Edelbrock hoses, connect the surge tank to the upper supercharger crossover barb, and the upper heat exchanger barb to the lower supercharger barb. A J-shaped hose connects the water pump to the surge tank.
21. The bottom heat exchanger barb passes through the radiator shroud and connects to the water pump. With the heat exchanger plumbing complete, the inner bumper, support braces, hood latch, and horns can be reattached.
22. Wiring up the water pump is cake. The hot wire attaches to the power junction on the fuse box, while the ground wire bolts to the nearby factory chassis ground terminal. The fuse box studs provide a nice mounting place for the relay as well.
23. With the vacuum hose attached to the bypass actuator, it’s time to reconnect all the remaining hoses and harnesses. This includes the brake booster, EVAP, MAF sensor, intake elbow, and PCV. Next, rotate the supercharger tensioner counterclockwise with a breaker bar and install the belt. Finally, reinstall the bumper cover, reconnect the battery, and top off both the radiator and intercooler heat exchanger with a 50/50 mix of water and coolant.
24. Edelbrock’s handheld tuner takes all the guesswork out of dialing in the fuel and spark curves. On Kaizenspeed’s dyno, Ed Parsons’ E-Force supercharged LT1 laid down 140-plus rear-wheel hp over stock as the air/fuel ratio held steady at 12.1-12.5:1.
25. With the red Edelbrock “supercharged” side covers in place, the finished product looks oh-so-pretty. Edelbrock is so confident in its E-Force systems that it backs them up with a 3-year, 36,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. The LT1 system is 50-state emissions legal.
That big, bad 8-71 blower poking out the hood of grandpa’s Pro Street ’57 Chevy sure looked tough, but those old-school Roots superchargers generated about as much heat as they did boost. Unfortunately, “Internet experts” often push just as much hot air by lumping all positive-displacement blowers into the same category. Unlike traditional 6-71 and 8-71 blowers that could barely reach 50 percent adiabatic efficiency, Eaton states that it’s sixth-generation TVS blowers operate at a staggering 76 percent efficiency. That stacks up quite nicely with the leading centrifugal superchargers on the market. Not surprisingly, this giant leap in efficiency didn’t happen overnight.
Early Roots-style blowers utilized simple two-lobe rotor designs that had very little taper from front to back. In an effort to reduce internal pulsations, smooth out airflow and vibrations, and improve overall efficiency, supercharger manufacturers began including additional lobes in addition to twisting the lobes themselves. Eaton’s sixth-generation TVS rotors take this concept to the extreme.
Compared to the company’s fifth-generation rotors that featured twin three-lobe rotors with 60 degrees of twist, Eaton’s sixth-generation rotors boast twin four-lobe rotors and a 160-degree helix angle. Matched with the LT1’s outstanding cylinder head flow and generous 376ci displacement, the ultra-efficient Eaton Gen VI rotor design enables Edelbrock’s 2016 Camaro E-Force system to produce 560-580 rear-wheel horsepower on pump gas at just 8 psi of boost. A more efficient compressor nets cooler inlet air temperature, which decreases the potential for detonation and increases hp output at any given boost level. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.
Inside The Force
Designing a positive-displacement supercharger system is a bit more involved than buying a head unit from Eaton, bolting it to the cylinder heads, and calling it a day. Make that way more involved. In the case of Edelbrock’s E-Force superchargers, the only components the company sources from Eaton are the rotors themselves. “We design everything in our E-Force kits from scratch, from the supercharger housings and lower intake manifolds down to the intercoolers and molded hoses,” explains Smitty Smith of Edelbrock. Granted that Eaton gets full credit for designing the innovative TVS Gen VI rotor package, it’s Edelbrock that leverages its in-house manufacturing capabilities and state-of-the-art foundry to design a fully functional, turnkey supercharger system around it. “Our E-Force systems are created, engineered, designed, cast, machined, assembled, calibrated, tuned, and tested right here in Southern California. Everything is done in-house.”