Author: Ray T. Bohacz.
There is no debate that a supercharger can take a Dr. Jekyll engine and turn it into a Mr. Hyde of horsepower. Any supercharger can do that.
The question remains when the dyno pull is over, how significant is the power gain? Will it be 100 or 200 horsepower more than when Mother Nature alone was filling the bores?
Can a stout 700 horsepower LS-based small block be pushed well into the 900-plus horsepower range with a single $2,800.00 bolt-on, self-contained supercharger, while running only 10-psi of boost? Or is that the domain of twisting the boost gauge needle well to the right and moving the digits up several clicks in the price of the blower?
A car and engine are nothing more than an exercise in physics. If you have a 2,800 pound ’69 Camaro that you want to run deep into the 8’s at over 150 mph, the math does not lie.These questions and the desire to have an eight-second F-body burned in the mind of Chris Brooker, co-owner of the Wyoming, Michigan-based Accelerated Tooling.
The company is a CNC job shop with almost 25 employees serving the OE automotive industry along with the aerospace, biomedical, and food production communities. It is also the parent of TorqStorm Superchargers.
Reverse engineering the results
Prestige Motorsports in North Carolina designed and built the aluminum block 388 cubic inch LS that was tasked for this exercise.
In normally aspirated form and fitted with the shop’s in-house 11-degree cylinder heads, the stout Chevy had the dyno printer reveal 700 horsepower.
Bolting the TorqStorm blower to the Bowtie while still on the dyno cart pushed the power up to 912, at a “break no parts… run forever” friendly 6,800 rpm and 10 psi of manifold boost pressure.
Once again, the math was proven correct when the Camaro, on its maiden voyage at the drag strip, ran 8.66/154.85 mph with a soft 3,000 rpm launch against the trans brake. View the video here.
We know the math; we have the results, but how is the sum greater than the total of the parts?
The answer lies beyond the boost gauge and is rooted in the inner workings of the TorqStorm Supercharger.
First a little background. The unit is self-oiled for easy installation, 100% made in America, and carries a lifetime warranty.
Boost pressure and airflow make horsepower and the TorqStorm, based on the results, deliver both in spades.
With 1,250 cfm of airflow at only 76,000 compressor wheel rpm, the unit is designed to deliver the horsepower without the need for the engine to endure dangerously high manifold boost pressure.
Many of those in the market for a supercharger fixate on potential boost pressure. There is no denying that is a critical factor. Still, it needs to be examined as a function of parasitic loss.
Every supercharger takes power from the engine to drive it. This is identified as a parasitic loss. The trick is to create a delicate balance between airflow and, in turn, boost pressure, which is a function of flow, while minimizing the power to turn the supercharger.
If the supercharger designer gets this wrong, the engine will still experience an increase in horsepower. But it would be less than the potential of the airflow improvement.
This becomes clear when actual numbers are applied.
According to TorqStorm, their blower at a maximum speed of 80,000 rpm consumes only 47 crankshaft horsepower.
Thus, if the airflow increase from the volute mathematically can increase engine power by 200 and the blower is consuming 47 horsepower, the engine will see a net gain of 153 horsepower. (200 horsepower of airflow with a parasitic loss of 47 horsepower to create it.)
If a different supercharger design takes 94 horsepower to operate and creates approximately the same airflow and boost pressure, the net power gain to the engine would only be 106 horsepower.
Though not published, some blowers have a parasitic loss of nearly 200 horsepower or more. This requires those units to spin at a higher speed than a more efficient design.
A dyno reads torque and mathematically converts that to horsepower with an equation developed by James Watt in the late 1600s. It is HP= torque X rpm/5252.
Cylinder fill is required to make torque (volumetric efficiency), while engine speed is the key to horsepower.
With the engineering review established, let us look at a critical aspect of this exercise.
The Prestige Motorsports LS produced 912 horsepower when fitted with the TorqStorm blower at an extremely low and valvetrain-friendly 6,800 rpm.
This confirms that the supercharger is exceptionally efficient in producing airflow and its parasitic loss is low.
Again, the math does not lie. If these two data points were not actual, the engine would have required more crankshaft rpm and boost pressure to produce the torque that would equate to 912 horsepower.
How does TorqStorm do it?
The efficiency of their supercharger is the result of multiple factors, including but not limited to the design of the billet compressor wheel and the efficient flow path of the volute (the snail-shaped housing that contains the compressor wheel).
Those areas are the key to high airflow to the intake manifold.
A significant reduction in the parasitic loss compared to competing supercharger brands is predominately rooted in the ball bearings used.
A hybrid steel race with ceramic balls minimizes the frictional loss to such an extent that the parasitic drain on the engine is significantly reduced. In addition, whereas a traditional steel ball bearing has a service life of around 1,400 hours, the design TorqStorm employs has a projected life of over 30,000 hours!
As the author, an engine guy, and engineer, I was extremely impressed with all aspects of the TorqStorm supercharger.
In-house design and manufacturing results in a high-flow blower with a low parasitic loss. Combine that with the ease of installation, a lifetime warranty, and an extremely low cost, and the TorqStorm supercharger is the boost maker for those in the know!