Next, Denny removed both headlight assemblies, the front bumper, and (shown here) the headlight framing from the SS. We found room to install the heat exchanger in front of the A/C condenser by utilizing the already-present upper condenser mounting fasteners. For clearance, the framing must be cut down, as indicated here with the yellow marking. While this step may seem a bit involved, it was very easy.
Pictured is Denny drilling into the right front framerail; the result will allow fasteners to be installed to hold the intercooler pump in place. Proper measurements are specified in the instruction manual. Also pictured is the mounting procedure for the intercooler reservoir bottle onto the low-side A/C hose near the accumulator assembly. Now that the heat exchanger, reservoir and pump are in place, much of the coolant hose can be installed and the front fascia put back to original condition.
One of the more important processes of the installation is pinning the crankshaft. The LS engine comes sans a keyway on the crank; therefore, with the additional load being applied from the blower, the balancer pulley may spin on the crank. MagnaCharger provides all that is needed for this modification (minus the drill). First, the template bushing was bolted to the front, which guided the drill. Next came the drilling process, and finally, the pins were driven into place. Note: Whenever removing the crankshaft balancer bolt, a new one must be installed as they are torque-to-yield (stretch). A new one can be obtained from the dealer or a reusable unit from ARP can also be obtained.
Shown is the new serpentine belt installed, as well as the new idler pulley provided in the kit. Some wiring modifications were necessary, such as installing new MAF- (mass air flow) and IAT- (intake air temperature) sensor connectors, and wiring the pump for the intercooler. You may be need help in this department depending on your skill level; with a basic knowledge of wiring, this step is pretty easy. Finally, the coolant fan, shroud, and air intake system were installed. Before start-up, the Engine Control Module and Transmission Control Module must be properly tuned for the new setup, including the bigger 42-pound fuel injectors. Magna Charger provides a shipping label, box, and foam inserts so the units can be sent back for the proper parameters to be installed.
Once the install was completed, we headed over to Tune Time Performance for some additional dyno tuning and final numbers. Tune Time has installed a bunch of the Magna Charger units, so we were extremely comfortable with letting it tune on the SS. The AWD SUV laid down 290 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque in stock trim. With the Magna Charger system installed, the SS cranked out a whopping 370 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque under 7-8 psi of boost, which equates to around 480-490 hp at the flywheel-not exactly 500 hp, but with dynos varying from shop to shop, who knows? With additional tuning, aftermarket headers/exhaust, and a better torque converter, the SS could easily reach the 550 hp mark with quarter-mile track times in the low 12s or even high 11s.
After tuning was completed, the SS rolled down the quarter-mile to the tune of 12.83 seconds at 104 mph-amazing, considering the stock low 14-second times. The best 60-foot was a stout 1.79 and weight was a robust 5,150 pounds (with driver). Right now, the torque converter is killing performance. With the right one, mid-12s can easily be achieved. Driveability is excellent, and even with all the newfound horsepower, the SS retains its docile street manners-at least until the accelerator gets smashed through the floorboard.