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Upgrading a C7 Corvette Z06 with a ProCharger Supercharger

Forget Your Roots

Evan Perkins Mar 22, 2019
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As long as there are engines, car folks will find ways to make them more powerful. Our unending quest for speed knows no bounds, or sanity, for if it did, well enough would have been left alone, years ago. The C7 Corvette Z06 powerplant dubbed LT4 is the very definition of “well enough.” With 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque off the showroom floor, street manners and fuel economy to boot, it would have legendary Corvette engineers absolutely astounded. And while there is plenty of power locked in the factory supercharged mill, its small-displacement, roots blower is limited. When power goals are sky-high it’s time to leave your roots (blower) behind. The folks at ProCharger specialize in the addition of boost, though it is usually relegated toward engines that didn’t have it in the first place. However, this Z06 specimen had already reached the limits of its factory equipped blower and the hunt for more required a more efficient supercharger. ProCharger utilizes a centrifugal supercharger that offers increased efficiency compared to a positive displacement design in both power consumption (the energy needed to spin it) and heat production, which results in a cooler, denser air charge and more power to the tires.

Adding a more powerful blower is, amazingly, a bolt-on affair. But due to the direct-injected nature of the LT4 engine, the problem becomes getting more fuel into the engine to pair with the newfound boost. Direct injection engines operate at extremely high fuel pressures and rely on highly specialized mechanical pumps to generate those pressures. Adding more fuel to the engine isn’t a simple, drop-in pump upgrade like most port injected cars. However, the aftermarket has remedies.

Before going under the knife for a supercharger swap, the Corvette first went into the welcoming arms of Supercharger Outlet and Performance (SOAP) to remedy the fuel shortage by performing a camshaft installation.

While that may sound strange, the camshaft is the key to bolster more fuel supply on LT-based engines. While the more aggressive grind will allow more air/fuel into the cylinders, the main benefit is increased fuel flow due to altered fuel pump lobes ground into the cam that allows about 32 percent more fuel capacity. For this car, a Brian Tooley Racing Stage 2 camshaft was selected along with matching valvesprings and an upgraded oil pump. Once SOAP was done with the internal upgrades, it was back to the supercharger installation.

“GM made a killer blower for size and packaging constraints, but the LT4 engine is dying for more airflow,” said ProCharger’s Erik Radzins. “At the same boost level, the engine picks up 118 hp due to the efficiency of a ProCharger. When boost goes up it gets even better.” And, that ProCharger efficiency is what has helped set all current LT1 and LT4 records at the dragstrip.

Looking ahead to four-digit power numbers, while under the knife a secondary fuel injection system from Holley EFI was also added. That way once the extra 32 percent of fuel from the camshaft has run out, there is an extra eight fuel injectors that spray into the runners, like a conventional port-injected engine. These aren’t used during normal operation, but when the tank is filled with race fuel and the boost is turned up they will provide additional hydrocarbons to take the engine over the 1,200hp mark!

A simple supercharger and cam swap brought an additional 246 more hp to a factory 650hp engine on pump gas, and a mind-bending 615 hp on race gas. We wonder what Zora Arkus-Duntov would have had to say about that one. Vette

01 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 2/31

Our science experiment is a C7 Corvette Z06. That will be treated to a ProCharger F-1A-94 supercharger. This is a 1,200hp-capable power-adder, but ProCharger says many customers go even further, opting for an F-1X (1,400hp max).

02 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 3/31

While a tight fit in an already tight engine bay, ProCharger engineers science’d out the available real estate so everything fits snuggly and installs smoothly.

03 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 4/31
04 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 5/31

The stock air cleaner assembly is removed from the car.

06 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 6/31
07 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 7/31
08 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 8/31
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11 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 10/31

Next, unbolt and remove the entire factory supercharger assembly from the engine.

12 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 11/31

With the engine exposed, the direct injection system under the intake becomes clearly visible. The injectors extend into the combustion chamber and spray fuel directly on top of the piston crown.

13 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 12/31
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Remove the intake port gaskets off the supercharger housing and install them in the new ProCharger intake manifold.

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Install the factory throttle body on the new intake manifold. Note, this intake does feature bungs for supplemental port injection, which will be handled by a Holley EFI system.

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With the intake manifold fully prepped, install it onto the engine.

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Now it’s time to install the ProCharger F-1A-94 supercharger.

18 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 17/31

Begin by installing and tightening the included bracketry.

20 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 18/31

Install the supercharger and bracketry onto the engine.

22 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 19/31

Reconnect the upper radiator hose to the intake manifold.

23 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 20/31
24 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 21/31

Install the blow-off valve and airbox into the car.

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Install the silicone coupler that will link the throttle body and airbox.

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Install the intercooler tank behind where the bumper would reside. This holds the coolant used to exchange heat in the intercooler.

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Plumb the intercooler, expansion tank and intercooler pump together. The ProCharger intercooler system makes use of the factory pump and heat exchanger, but greatly adds to the capacity and efficiency of the system.

28 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 25/31

With the supercharger system installed, the front bodywork can be reattached.

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30 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 27/31

Here is the completed supercharger installation. This is a middle of the road option that can make an easy 1,100 hp. For those looking for even more crazy power, a ProCharger F-1X is available.

31 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 28/31

The icing on the cake is this ProCharger emblazoned intake manifold topper.

32 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 29/31
33 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 30/31

On regular 91-octane pump gas, the Z06 belted out an awesome 826 hp to the tires. The boost was turned up, the tank was filled with premium race fuel, and power output jumped to 1,095 hp. All on stock cylinder heads and short block. What a wonderful time it is to be a car guy.

34 Procharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Install 31/31

Photography by Erik Radzins

Sources

ProCharger
Lenexa, KS 66215
913-338-2886
www.procharger.com
Holley
Bowling Green, KY 42101
270-782-2900
www.Holley.com
Brian Tooley Racing
888-959-8335
www.briantooleyracing.com
Supercharger Outlet and Performance
866-353-7521
http://www.soapspeed.com

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