Let's face it, blowers are cool. Even aside from their power-adding abilities, just the thought of some forced-induction widget affixed to a V-8 is enough to send tingles down the spine of just about any gearhead. From the moment we started driving our '10 SS project car, we knew one thing: it needed more power. Yep, even though the LS3 under the hood puts out a respectable 426 hp, it's hindered the by the Camaro's 3,900 pounds of girth. There was really no way to dramatically drop the car's weight, so the only thing left to do was increase the LS3's power.
Back in the old days, or with classic Camaros, there was a plethora of options open to us hot rodders. Slide in a big cam, drop on some ported heads, or kick it up a few notches by stroking the engine for more displacement. But we're talking about a '10 Camaro here, and the man with the government badge frowns on such actions. Even worse, we're in California! You know when you read a performance parts disclaimer and it says "49 state legal"? Well, we're the holdout state. As such, modifications done to our rides have to pass the stringent California Air Resources Board (CARB). The good news is that if a part passes our CARB maze of bureaucratic madness, it will easily pass the rules in the other 49 states.
With traditional methods of adding power out of the equation, we started looking at forced induction. Magnuson Products has been adding power to LS-based engines since about 2000. Their first kits were non-intercooled, but now they are, and more importantly, they've gotten the seal of approval from good old CARB. They even have a kit specifically designed for our '10 SS.
As Bob Roese of Magnuson told us, "while GM was designing the '10 Camaro, we knew much of the architecture was going to be similar to what we've done in the past. For the first time, we utilized the SEMA-shared technology initiative and used the information to design the initial system without even having a car present. When it was all said and done, we had a kit completed and installed on an early production Camaro weeks before the majority of cars hit the Chevrolet dealerships."
The MP 2300 TVS blower utilized in the Magnuson kit is in essence an air pump. Instead of air being drawn in through the top like a typical Roots unit, it's drawn in through the inlet port and pumped into the engine along the axis of the rotors. The intake is positioned on the end of the two rotors, which are designed to overlap, but not touch, leaving a small gap or pocket. As the rotors turn, the gap gets smaller. This accelerates the air as it moves along the rotors up to the point where it enters the intake.
The rotors, instead of having nearly straight lobes, are twisted into a steep helix shape. Thanks to a vacuum-referenced bypass valve, the inlet pressure is equalized with the manifold pressure. This pretty much negates any parasitic loss while cruising and makes for a very efficient design. The newer Magnuson units, such as the one for the '10 Camaro, feature the improved Eaton TVS four-lobe rotor arrangement.
This new four-lobe arrangement (also found inside GM's LS9 blower) is a big improvement over the previous three-lobe design. Where the twist of the rotors on the older Gen V units was 60 degrees, the new TVS rotors are twisted to an aggressive 160 degrees. Also, the intermeshing design of the lobes helps quiet the supercharger even at high rpm. Like other Roots systems, the TVS Magnacharger is especially good at delivering boost at low engine rpm, and that's just what our '10 Camaro needs to get its mass in motion.
Bob explained to us one important aspect of the Magnacharger that makes installation easier. "We use the auxiliary drive with the carbon fiber shaft so that we can leave the throttle body, air meter, and the factory air box in the stock location for ease of installation." A side benefit to this design is that the air is fed directly into the front of the supercharger rather than having to be piped to the rear of the unit, and this increases efficiency.
Installation is pretty straightforward and can be accomplished in a day. We were impressed with Magnuson's extremely detailed full-color 54-page installation manual.
Follow along as we up the output of our new Camaro.
And here's the part you really care about: the power gains. Keep in mind our SS is bone stock down to the paper filter and super quiet and very restrictive GM exhaust. Of course, peak torque is up, but more importantly, torque is up all across the band. And when you're dealing with a nearly 4,000-pound sports car, low and mid range torque can go a long way toward making the car feel more svelte.