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1968 Camaro Supercharger - Blowin' In A Box

Vortech's F-Body Centrifugal Supercharger Adds Some Punch-And Looks Good, To Boot!

By Seth Millhollin

While it sounds simple enough, it's really a little more complicated than that, as the engine needs more fuel in proportion to the rise in boost. This is where the Product Engineering fuel pump and regulator play a major role.

At 310 gph, the Product Engineering street/strip bypass fuel pump is more than enough to feed this system. Coupled with their four-port billet aluminum boost-reference fuel regulator, controlling the fuel is a simple matter of setting the pressure at idle to between 6 to 7 pounds and attaching the vacuum line to the carb box. What happens is that the regulator senses the increase in boost and essentially ups the fuel pressure at a rate of 1 pound of pressure to 1 pound of boost. This is how the engine is prevented from running too lean. Theoretically, with this linear increase in fuel pressure, the air/fuel mixture stays ideal. Of course, part of the tuning is making sure that the carb jetting is on target, as well.

The other factor in getting the supercharger system to work up to par, is making sure that the ignition timing is within an acceptable range. It's widely known that when you add boost, you must take away timing. Therefore, initial setup requires that you back off of the optimum timing for a normally aspirated engine in the neighborhood of 4 to 6 degrees. So, if you'd normally place the advance at 34 total degrees, you'd back it down to 28 to 30 with the blower in place.

The nice thing about MSD's 6BTM is that it includes a boost retard control that can be adjusted while you're driving the car from 0 degrees per pound of boost to 3 degrees per pound. This allows the engine to be run right up on the threshold of detonation for maximum power without allowing knocking to occur. Example if you set the dial at 2 degrees, that means for every one pound of boost the ignition box will remove 2 degrees of timing. So at max boost, or six pounds the ignition box will take out a total of 12 degrees of timing. In most cases saving the engine from detonating itself to death.

Though this may sound like we're adding a bunch of exotic pieces to a high-dollar engine that already produces a ton of power, it isn't. For this project our base engine was a bone-stock, never been run before 300-horse, 350-inch crate engine. A perfect starting point for this supercharger setup, for sure.

The installation of the supercharger was fairly simple. Although Vortech didn't have a specific kit for a First-Gen Camaro, we picked up the ball, with the help of Jim Sleeper and Bob Vrbancic. Included in this phase was creating the fuel system, adapting brackets to mount all of the other front-of-the-engine components, and finally, getting it to run.

While the project has taken roughly a year to come to fruition, we feel that the finished system has the best combination of parts. And, although our initial trip to the dyno only netted us 80 hp (to the rear wheels), we can only say that was because we ran out of time and weren't able to make any jet changes. We also learned a few lessons about plumbing the boost reference regulator and getting the correct fuel pressure. With these lessons we'll move on to getting the car to run. Then we're planning to take it up to Vortech where they can add some of their expert tuning and show us how much power this First-Gen creation can really make. Stay tuned!

By Seth Millhollin
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