If you’re looking to boost your horsepower, perhaps the most effective
modification you could ever make is to add a supercharger to it. A supercharger
uses one of a few different methods to force extra air into the cylinders
of your engine. This allows your engine to add extra fuel to the mixture,
creating a bigger explosion, which means more horsepower to your wheels.
While superchargers can be found for many different makes and models, choosing
the right type of supercharger for your needs is extremely important.
If you’re looking to dominate the drag strip, you’ll probably
want a different type of supercharger than one designed to give you an
extra boost in your off-road crawling power. Different types of superchargers
have different pros and cons, and on this blog we’ll explain them
along with the differences between the different types of superchargers
so you can make a better-educated purchasing decision when upgrading your car.
Centrifugal superchargers are one of the most user-friendly types of supercharger
you can buy. Many people often confuse them for turbochargers because
of their small size and seashell-like design. However, unlike a turbocharger
which uses the exhaust to spin an impeller motor, a centrifugal supercharger
uses a belt driving by the crank pulley.
The benefits to this type of supercharger are numerous: you have a lot
of flexibility for power adjustments, and tuning your car to make the
most of them often isn’t all that difficult. They have lower discharge
temperatures, which are healthier for your engine and make them generally
more reliable than other types of superchargers. However, they also generally
don’t have as much power at lower RPM levels, so your “off-the-line”
speed may be impacted unless you’re able to rev your engine while
waiting for the green light.
The Roots-type supercharger is named after the Roots brothers, who first
used this design back in the 1880s as an air conveyor to send fresh air
down mine shafts. Unlike a centrifugal supercharger which compresses air
in the chamber and then forces it into the engine cylinders, the roots-type
supercharger acts as more of an air pump. As a result, you get almost
instant horsepower gains from even the slightest crack of the throttle,
and that power will hold all the way through to the top of the RPM range.
They also look awesome coming out of the top of your engine, which is
why so many hot rods and classic high-performance cars choose them.
However, while they’re revered for their power boost numbers and
aggressive styling, they’re not the most budget-friendly and they
can be extremely complicated, which means their installation times are
long, and they’re not as consistent as a centrifugal charger. Generally,
Roots-type superchargers have higher discharge temperatures, which means
your engine cooling needs to be top-notch in order to safely run one.
They’re an ideal choice for drag racing, but if you’re looking
to upgrade your lap-track car, you might want to consider a different option.
The design for the first screw-type supercharger was derived from a Roots-type
unit, but simplified and vastly improved for general street use. Screw-type
superchargers get their name from what you find on the inside: rather
than an air pump that forces air into the cylinders, these superchargers
compress the air in a twin-screw design. This clever design creates positive
air pressure as it moves between the screws, creating the boost that gives
you extra horsepower, but without the added heat that’s the ultimate
downside to a Roots-type unit.
Because these units have a consistent horsepower boost, particularly in
your engine’s low RPM levels, they’re extremely popular for
a number of different applications, including general street use and even
high-torque applications like towing and off-road work. This makes them
a popular modification for larger work trucks that need a ton of horsepower,
rock-crawlers. However, they have a fairly flat powerband which doesn’t
grow as your engine revs higher and higher, ultimately leading to a reduced
boost towards the top of your rev range. Combine this with long installation
times and higher costs, and you have a modification that has a fairly
specific niche in the market.
Interested in boosting your horsepower by supercharging your engine?
Call HP Motorsports today at (281) 231-9950 to request an estimate or speak with one of our
Houston high performance auto experts!