Hot Blown Six - Supercharger System Install
414 rwhp with an LFX V-6–Equipped Fifth-Gen and a Bolt-On IPF Tuning Centrifugal Supercharger System
From the January, 2013 issue of GM High-Tech Performance
By Justin Cesler
Photography by Justin Cesler
It’s always tempting to start out a story about a V-6 build by comparing it to its bigger brother, the V-8. So, lets do that… One engine ships from the factory with a single camshaft, pushrods, two valves per cylinder, cast iron exhaust manifolds, 10.2:1 compression, and standard electronic fuel injection. The other features dual overhead camshafts with infinitely variable cam phasing, 4 valves per cylinder, integrated aluminum exhaust manifolds cast into the factory heads, individual cylinder knock control, 11.5:1 compression, and state-of-the-art direct injection. One produces 1.14 horsepower per cubic inch and the other produces 1.48 horsepower per cubic inch. One of them is world renowned; the other is just a V-6. Except, the one you’re probably intrigued by here isn’t the big cube V-8, it’s probably the really high-tech and incredibly well thought out V-6 mill, known to many fifth-gen owners as the LFX. Of course, for all that the 217 cubic-inch DI VVT V-6 can do, there is one major area where it may be lacking: power. With the V-8 at rated at 430 and the LFX at 323, it’s a hard argument to win with muscle heads, even given all of the technological data.
01. With dual overhead camshafts, direct injection (SIDI), variable valve timing, an 11.5:1 compression ratio, and a 7200rpm redline, the LFX is about as high-tech as you can get and it’s certainly no slouch, laying down 285-rwhp and 238 lb-ft of torque on Redline Motorsports’ in-house dynamometer. That’s almost as much power as a stock fourth-gen Camaro SS, but considerably less than a new SS lays down with the big V-8…
02. However, that’s nothing...
02. However, that’s nothing a little forced induction can’t fix… Say hello to the beautiful IPF Tuning supercharger system, which is built specifically for the fifth-gen V-6 platform using a Vortech V3 self-contained centrifugal supercharger, CNC-machined 6061 aluminum supercharger brackets, and high quality silicone (or aluminum) precision fit charge pipes.
Enter IPF Tuning and the company’s all-new V-6 (LLT/LFX) fifth-gen Camaro supercharger system. Built from the ground up specifically for V-6 Camaro enthusiasts, this 100-percent bolt-on supercharger system aims to fix the one and only problem with the current engine platform and that’s the power delivered to the rear wheels. For the money, you get a plethora of well thought out parts, including a Vortech V3 supercharger that is capable of up to 22 pounds of boost and over 775 horsepower. Not that you’re going to need any of that on a stock LFX, but it’s important to note that this is a system you could grow into as your need for speed increases. Additionally, IPF Tuning includes a proprietary CAD engineered and CNC-machined supercharger mounting system, CNC-machined idler pulleys, a large air-to-air front mount intercooler system, a complete catch can/breather system, high-quality silicone or aluminum charge tubing and everything else needed to install the system in the kit, which means you literally get everything in one box that you would need to make V-8 killing power. You even get a massive all-color instruction manual, and a complete tune file, which means you can handle the installation by yourself or at your speed shop of choice.
03. IPF Tuning’s system contains...
03. IPF Tuning’s system contains over 240 individual components, but thanks to the highly detailed installation manual, which is included in every supercharger system, this is a job that almost any qualified mechanic could knock out in a full day. Jay Healy of Redline Motorsports was our lead tech for this project and had us in and out in one day flat, including time on the dyno both before and after the installation.
04. With the front bumper...
04. With the front bumper removed, Jay got to work, removing the factory air intake system first. This won’t be going back on the Camaro ever again, although you will need to reuse the stock MAF sensor, so make sure you keep that safe after pulling the air intake out of the engine bay.
05. Installation of the supercharger...
05. Installation of the supercharger head unit requires relocating the power steering reservoir and installing a different power steering return line, which is provided by IPF Tuning. The reservoir itself, which obviously needs to be drained prior to removal, simply slides out of the factory bracket and can be put aside for the time being.
06.0 Installing the IPF Tuning...
06.0 Installing the IPF Tuning provided power steering return line kit is a simple task. Simply remove the factory unit, swap over the stock O-ring, and slide the new adapter in place.
06.5 Using a new mount and...
06.5 Using a new mount and hose, Jay bolted everything down but left it loose enough to maneuver while installing the remainder of the system.
07. With the hose in place,...
07. With the hose in place, it was time for the Redline Motorsports crew to drop the IPF Tuning CNC-machined supercharger bracket in place. With a couple of bolts removed from the factory power steering pump (and the factory drive belt removed), the bracket slides right in place and can be tightened down using the supplied flat head socket cap screws. Use Loctite, but don’t tighten everything down just yet.
08. The Vortech V3 head unit shipped to Redline complete with the IPF bracket installed, and the supercharger fluid drain hose in place. All Jay needed to do was install the two new idler pulleys (shown) and the correct spacers, which keep the pulleys in perfect alignment.
09. Once the pulleys were...
09. Once the pulleys were in place, Jay dropped the Vortech supercharger in place and began working the included belt around the accessory drive. Everything lined up perfectly and fit well, which was very nice to see. Also note the IPF bracket’s back brace has already been installed prior to this step, which provided a significant increase in the bracket’s stability and greatly reduced any chance of flex under heavy loads.
10. With the supercharger...
10. With the supercharger in place, it was time to get to work on the remainder of the system. IPF Tuning includes a quality air-to-air intercooler system with their system, which is responsible for keeping inlet air temperatures under control even as the Vortech supercharger starts compressing air at alarming rates.
11. Installing the air-to-air...
11. Installing the air-to-air intercooler requires drilling two holes in the factory front bumper support and is one of the only steps that required any trimming or drilling on the project. Center it up, measure twice, and drill once. Well, twice, but you get the point… take your time or you’re going to look silly with an off-centered front-mount.