Whipple's supercharger system seemed to be the perfect solution. Along with its complete supercharging kit, Whipple sent along Richard Ruiz-Johnson to perform the installation in-house at the Primedia Tech Center. Before we began the installation, we strapped the truck down to the DynoJet chassis dyno to establish a baseline power figure. The result was 246.1 rear-wheel horsepower at 4,100 rpm with 355.9-ft-lb of torque at 3,400 rpm. That makes for 307.6 horsepower and 444.8-ft-lb of torque at the flywheel, accounting for a 20 percent horsepower loss through the drivetrain. After installing the supercharger, those numbers jumped to 329.3 horsepower at 3,900 rpm and 446.7-ft-lb of torque at 3,600 rpm, or a gain of 83.2 hp and 90.8-ft-lb of torque to the rear wheels. The calculated flywheel numbers rose to 411.6 hp and a whopping 558.3-ft-lb of torque!
Although the goal with this project was to show how the hauler you use to get your show or race car to the events can be made to handle the job better, it should be noted that Whipple has systems for virtually every application. As for the installation, it doesn't require a degree in mechanical engineering, and can be done in your garage using an average selection of tools. It does, however, require attention to details. As with all late-model machines, there is a level of electronic controls and connections that surpasses anything from the "muscle car era." So be aware what wire you're pulling off and from where. On a more positive note, all special tools required for the job are supplied in the kit. Concerning the time it will take to install, give yourself a long weekend to accomplish this task. Something this good has to be earned with a dose of hard work. Once it's finished, though, you'll be able to appreciate your efforts every time you plant your right foot.
On the new supercharger market is Whipple Supercharger Systems in Fresno, California. With their patented screw-type blower design, they have created a niche for themselves in the world of under-hood power enhancers. One particular area of the supercharger market that is steadily growing is trucks and SUVs. One of the reasons for the growing popularity of supercharged trucks is that, although you can buy a brand new truck complete with a big-block, they just don't have what it takes to haul a fully loaded trailer with any confidence up a steady grade. That was the dilemma that the owner of this '98 Chevy 3500 Crew Cab, faced. While the truck's 7.4-liter Rat had more than enough power around town, it was a complete slug with a full load connected to the hitch and mountain roads on the horizon.