Subscribe to the Free

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Kenne Bell Supercharger Install and Test - The ZR1 Alternative

Richard Holdener Jun 7, 2010
View Full Gallery

It's great that the '10 Camaro SS comes with either 426 or 400 hp, but with the '10 Shelby GT500 having 540hp, owners of the new F-body will need to upgrade their hot rods if they want to annihilate the fastest new Ford.

Unfortunately, Chevy has not seen fit to offer a supercharged LS3 in the Camaro yet. If you want to be king of the street right now, a blower is probably the best addition you can make to your engine. These LS motors seem to love boost. Yes, you can do a ZR1 or LSA engine swap, but that surely won't be inexpensive. A much more cost-effective and powerful alternative to the engine swap is to install a Kenne Bell supercharger on your existing V-8. Run at just 9 psi with a conservative (pump-gas friendly) tune, the 2.8L Kenne Bell supercharger will increase the power output of your hot rod by 209 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque (tested on a DynoJet), but we are getting ahead of ourselves here.

Before we talk more about the absolute numbers, we should take a look at what goes into the kit. The decision to supercharge your brand new Camaro is based on more than just raw numbers. Additional considerations (should) include things like cost, complexity and completeness, to say nothing of esthetics. Does the kit look like it belongs in the engine bay? Is it something you'll be proud to lift the hood to show off at the gas station or local cruise night? Does the kit affect drivability, reliability, or fuel economy? Okay, so the last one is a silly question since having 600 hp will require more fuel than 425 hp, but that decision is strictly up to your right foot

If you check out the photos of the Kenne Bell supercharger kit on the '10 SS, you'll see for yourself that the installation is clean. Looking right is only half the equation, as a closer examination reveals that there is a great deal of work that went into making it more than just look right.

The heart of the system is the supercharger itself. Right off the bat, the 2.8L twin screw supercharger is said to be capable of supporting 1,000 hp, so it has no trouble feeding the needs of an otherwise stock LS3/L99. This 2.8L will happily support most future mods, including adding a cam, ported heads or even a full-on stroker assembly. If you are the kind of Camaro owner where 1,000 horsepower is just not enough, you may want to wait for the new 3.6L supercharger from Kenne Bell, but for the rest of us content with under four-digit power levels, the 2.8L is more than sufficient (and likely a tad more appropriate at the lower boost levels).

Talk with the gang over at Kenne Bell for any length of time and the conversation will soon turn to inlet restrictions. The reason for this is that inlet restrictions reduce airflow in and therefore boost pressure out of the blower. Given their feelings toward restrictions, a great deal of work went into eliminating them on the new supercharger kit. This work included revising the entire inlet system from the factory air box all the way to the supercharger. Since emissions certification required retention of the factory air box and (especially) the carbon trap, Kenne Bell simply maximized the airflow of the stock box by removing the lower half.

Next in line was the air intake/MAF tube, sized from no less than massive 4-inch tubing. In addition to the generous sizing, the inlet tubing was designed to accept the factory MAF electronics, which obviously required some clever programming.

The final component in the assault on restrictions was a dedicated inlet manifold connecting the throttle body to the back of the twin-screw supercharger. Extensive research and development on the dyno and flow bench resulted in a new manifold that not only fit in the tight confines of the Camaro engine compartment, but flowed a whopping 1,500 cfm. The limiting factor in the inlet system was now the factory throttle body, but Kenne Bell offers a 110mm replacement that flows 1,810 cfm (compared to just 1,147 cfm for the stock unit).

The Kenne Bell kit required a dedicated lower intake assembly to secure the twin-screw supercharger to the LS3/L99 cylinder heads. The three-piece design not only provided exceptional port flow, but (more importantly) housed the ultra-efficient air-to-water intercooler assembly. Run as a self-contained system (including its own pump and front-mounted heat exchanger), the intercooler is a serious weapon in the fight against detonation.

Actually, the intercooler improves the safe power output by significantly reducing the air intake charge temperature. Since heat is a natural by-product of compression, the intercooler is called upon to reduce this unwanted heat. Running just nine psi, the efficient twin-screw design provides very little increase in charge temperature, but the intercooler has been designed and sized for future (read higher) boost levels.

Helping to further keep things cool is a compressor bypass valve. The bypass valve is used to recirculate the air from under the supercharger back to the inlet. This helps both lower the inlet charge temperature and reduce pumping losses under cruise conditions.

Additional features on the new Kenne Bell Camaro kit include a fuel system upgrade consisting of 60 psi injectors housed in an aluminum fuel rail and fed by a Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump. Like the MAF, the larger injectors required dedicated programming.

When everything is said and done, you have a complete system that will increase the power output of an LS3 Camaro SS from 376 rwhp and 374 lb-ft of torque to 553 rwhp and 505 lb-ft of torque at just 9 psi on 91 octane fuel.

Sucp_1006_30_o 2010_chevrolet_camaro_ss_kenne_bell_supercharger Dyno_chart 17/20

The peak power numbers are nice, but so too is the fact that this system provides a big block-like torque curve, bettering 450 lb-ft from 2,500-6,500 rpm.


Kenne Bell
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730



Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

sponsored links

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print