Finally, the routing of the plumbing between the blower, the intercooler, and the engine requires the permanent removal of the factory power-steering cooler. A&A Corvette says only hard-core road racers in hot climates should notice a difference in performance, and that the average street enthusiasts shouldn't have a problem.
A lift and the tools typically found in a house-sized Snap-on chest make the job easier, but after watching Stenod Performance work on the car for a couple of days, it seems like a job best left to professionals.
Of course, there's more to the installation than just the blower's head unit, the intercooler's heat exchanger, and the hoses that connect them to the engine. The fuel system is upgraded, too, with higher-capacity fuel injectors and the electronically controlled fuel-pump "amplifier" in the Boost-A-Pump from Kenne Bell. It maximizes the output of the factory fuel pump without the need to drop the tank and replace it with a higher-volume unit. Also, the kit's intercooler is a simple, air-to-air design, rather than a liquid-to-air air design that requires a dedicated coolant supply, an electric water pump, and complementing wiring upgrades.
Before we divulge the chassis-dyno results of the project, we should address a couple of points: First, as we mentioned early in the story, this Corvette received additional engine mods that included a blower-spec camshaft (also from A&A Corvette), a set of L92 cylinder heads and an LS3 intake manifold, Dynatech long-tube headers, and a Corsa exhaust system. So the engine was already set up for deeper breathing capabilities than in its stock configuration. The mods were smart additions, however, as they better exploited the pressurized air that would be crammed through the throttle body.
Stenod Performance took care of the specific tuning calibration for the combination; it was designed for pump gas and the system's approximately 10-pound boost level. The other thing to note is that it's always difficult to get a good, accurate chassis dyno reading with an automatic-transmission car, as the electronically controlled lock-up design of GM's modern automatics doesn't allow for full run-outs on the rollers. That said, the newly blown Vette put down 508 hp and 439 lb-ft to the tires, or roughly 600 hp/520 lb-ft at the crank. The numbers represent a power increase of more than 50 percent, along with nearly 33 percent more torque over the baseline test.
The heads, cam, and exhaust system definitely contribute to the performance gain, with the heads and intake essentially bringing the engine to LS3 specs and enabling a greater rev range. Nevertheless, we were surprised by the dyno results. They were terrific for a combination using all bolt-on or off-the-shelf components.
Subtracting the cam-and-heads part of the job, the blower, installation labor, and dyno tuning cost the Corvette's owner, Mike Lucas, about $7,700. That's about average in our experience and represents good value in a performance-to-dollar evaluation. The accompanying photos provide an overview of the major steps involved in the installation process.
To paraphrase a popular advertising line: Supercharger kit: $5,200. Installation labor and tuning: $2,500. The sound of a fully wound supercharger as you leave a trail of F1 Supercar residue on the pavement: Priceless.