When Henry Ford pushed out thousands of Model T, the average car pushed out a measly 20 horsepower. Thankfully, things have changed since then with horsepower ever increasing throughout the years. With computer controlled vehicles, fuel injection and improvements in technology; the ability to have a high horsepower, efficient and reliable engine in a brand new car or truck straight from the factory is possible. Naturally, we always want more and there are always ways to improve upon what is available from the dealership. One of the most efficient, reliable and cost effect ways to add over 100 horsepower is a supercharger. One of the leading supercharger companies that has been increasing horsepower and torque for decades is Magnuson Products. Recently, they’ve developed a kit for the new direct-injected GM engines that installs in only about 5 hours!
To put that theory to the test, and see how much power we can put down on a supercharged 5.3L engine, we brought in the Saints Motorsports ‘White Knight’ 2015 Tahoe for the full treatment. With the factory engine, plus Gibson exhaust, the SUV pushed out 302 horsepower and 338 ft. lbs. of torque. Not too shabby for a soccer mom’s dream. Naturally, a quick bet went around to see how much power the Magnuson TVS1900 supercharger would add. Not wanting to wait, the installation was underway by first removing the front facia and air intake system. The large heat exchanger and all of the custom formed hoses were installed in preparation for the removal of the factory intake manifold and installation of the supercharger.
The basic concept of the supercharger is to rapidly compress the air and force it into the engine. This increases the air density which means more oxygen. And if we all remember our boy scout or high school science days, the more oxygen the more fire. Which in the case of an internal combustion engine means increased efficiency and more power! Magnuson Products utilizes a positive displacement style supercharger with Eaton rotors that mounts directly to the engine replacing your intake manifold allowing for more consistent air volumes. The built in intercooler and large head exchanger flow coolant to keep not only the supercharger but the air being compressed cool allowing for even denser air and more power.
With the direct-injected GM engines, available in trucks, SUVs, Corvette, Camaro and more; the fuel injectors do not have to be modified allowing for an easier installation. The TVS1900 supercharger is installed and accessories such as the pulley assembly and wiring for the coolant pump. With everything buttoned up, a base tune was loaded to get everything functioning properly before it was put back on the dyno to see what kind of power was gained.
After some minor adjustments, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe pushed out 410 horsepower for a gain of 108 ponies. In the torque, or seat of the pants category, the final number was 438 ft. lbs. of torque! Aside from the huge power gains, a supercharger makes for a more efficient engine and driving experience which could lead to improved gas mileage (though our foot on the pedal will likely cancel this out).
For more information, visit MagnusonProducts.com.