Centrifugal Force

April 16th, 2010

Main If this orange ’10 Camaro SS looks familiar, it is because it was on the cover of the Dec. ’09 issue of <Drive!> in which it had undergone an Eibach suspension upgrade. The owner, who loves the way the Chevy now handles, now wants to go faster. To that end, he decided to have Vortech install one of its new ’10 Camaro SS V-3 Systems.

Installing a Vortech Supercharger

Main If this orange ’10 Camaro SS looks familiar, it is because it was on the cover of the Dec. ’09 issue of <Drive!> in which it had undergone an Eibach suspension upgrade. The owner, who loves the way the Chevy now handles, now wants to go faster. To that end, he decided to have Vortech install one of its new ’10 Camaro SS V-3 Systems.

Vortech’s kit features its V-3 supercharger. According to Vortech, it will add 47-percent more hp with 6.5-to-7.5 psi at the stock redline. It’s also has an internally lubricated transmission that allows for supercharger installation and operation without engine oil feed lines. The kit also comes with everything, and we mean everything, to mount it up to the L99 that comes in the SS Camaro. From larger fuel injectors, a controller to reflash the ECU, to billet aluminum, laser cut steel plates and high-grade hardware for mounting the supercharger and more, Vortech has thought of everything. The supercharger units can be had in either a satin or polished finish, and Vortech says that CARB certification is pending.

Vortech, established in 1990, believes in the centrifugal approach to supercharging. They claim to have demonstrated the first successful use of gears in a centrifugal supercharger and Vortech initiated the use of an air bypass valve in systems and air/oil mist system for cooling. Vortech has been awarded six US patents and has received three of the prestigious Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) awards for Best Engineered New Product.

That engineering shows with its V-3 system. This is a kit that those at home that exhibit at least a modicum of wrenching ability could install on their Camaro. Vortech says that it should take 12-to-14 hours, but for us mere mechanical mortals, we’d figure on a long weekend with a high-speed Sunday afternoon cruise.


Product Profile
Vortech Superchargers
1650 Pacific Ave.
Oxnard, CA 93033




Vortech has gone out of its way to provide everything that is needed to easily install its kit. One thing that we love is that they also included a very detailed instruction manual.

There’s no denying that the stock Camaro engine compartment is impressive, but just wait until the L99 is equipped with a shiny new Vortech supercharger.

As always when working on the engine the leads for the battery are removed first.

Hardware holding the inner fender panels and front fascia is removed, and the inner fender panels pulled down.

Removing the fascia is a one-man job, just be sure to already have blanket or something soft to lay it on so as not to damage the paint.

The MAF sensor connection is pulled and the sensor itself removed from the tube. The air box and related items are then removed and set aside. You should keep all of these pieces, as you never know when you will need them again.

Vortech supplies this cool little Rotabroach tool to drill out the spot welds holding the bracket for the power terminal to the drives side shock tower. The key is not to drill too deep

A little touch-up paint will be needed to apply to the areas where the brackets were.

The pump is pulled and the stock windshield washer bottle is removed.

After unplugging the ambient air temp sensor, the lower radiator shroud is removed.

Removing the stock balancer and replacing it with the supplied ATI Super Damper is the only tricky part of the install. A puller is needed to remove the stock unit and Vortech supplies detailed instructions on how to go about it.

Vortech has made up this installing tool, which forces the new unit on. DO NOT beat on the new damper with a hammer to get it on!

Due to the increased horsepower, a pin is used. With the new damper in place, a hole is drilled into the crank. It needs to be about 1/2-inch deep, so a mark is placed on the drill bit at 5/8-inch to ensure that the pin fits flush with the damper. Care is taken to ensure that all of the loose pieces of steel are removed after drilling.

To ease installation of the pin, it is set into a socket head, and then driven into place with a mallet. The lower pulley is then attached to the damper.

As larger injectors are used, the stock units need to go, so the fuel rail needs to be removed. Always relieve the fuel pressure before trying to remove the rail, or you’ll get a face full of high test. The injector’s electrical connections are pulled by first sliding the wiring clips and metal retainers out, and pulling up on the connections.

This tool is used to separate the fuel line/rail connector. It’s the only way to get the two apart.

The rail is held in place with four 10mm bolts. With these removed, the rail is pulled up and out.

Providing 66 pounds per hour of flow as compared to the stock units’ ?????, the Vortech units will supply plenty of fuel to the enhanced engine.

After installing the supplied O-rings onto the new injectors (and giving them a little lubrication) the new units are installed into the rail and held snugly in place with the stock clips.

Care is taken to drop the fuel rail into place, but a few raps with a closed fist helps to get the injectors seated properly. Again, DO NOT use a hammer to do this as damage may occur to the rail or the injectors. With the mounting bolts in place, the fuel line/rail connection is made and the electrical connections are snapped in place.

The power steering pump is removed from its mount, and the uppermost mounting bolt on the alternator is removed.

Vortech uses a series of aluminum plates to hold the supercharger in place. It may be smart to “bench assemble” the entire bracket system before trying to install it on the car as there is a bunch of brackets and spacers to deal with. The upshot is that when the job is done, the Vortech supercharger is well mounted.

Now is the time to feed the new belt in place, as after the rest of the brackets are in place it can’t be done and you’ll have to remove the plates again. Yes, that happens to us, too.

With more plates installed, the power steering pump is installed. To allow for some “wiggle room,” it’s always a good idea not to tighten the hardware at this time until all of the plates and items are in place.

Another piece of the bracket puzzle is set in place over the PS pulley.

Care needs to be taken when assembling the brackets, as in this case the washer needs to go between the spacer and bracket.

The supercharger unit is installed.

With the lower idler pulley and upper spring tensioner in place, the hardware is tightened.

The belt is installed, which due to its relocated tensioner, is even easier than stock. Now is the time to eyeball the belts run to ensure that every component is square to the others. If the brackets were constructed incorrectly and aren’t square to one another, the belt may come off during operation.

To clear everything, slight modifications are made to the upper water hose. Again, Vortech supplies detailed instructions on how to do this. With that, it’s on to the intercooler.

Vortech call it the Charge Air Cooler, but it shouldn’t rest on the crossmember, so Vortech uses this shim they have devised which lifts the intercooler about 1/2 inch off of it. There should be at least 1/2 inch of clearance, or the steel crossmember may rub a hole into the aluminum CAC. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The CAC brackets fit between the frame ends and the bumper and the stock hardware is used.

The stock MAF sensor is installed into the new Vortech air tubes.

A little lube on the silicone connections makes the tube assembly easier, but the install is pretty straightforward; just connect the pieces.

It is easiest to pre-connect the up-tubes and install them as one unit.

The stock washer fluid pump is installed into the supplied tank.

There is a hose that connects the tank to the filler, so holes must be drilled for each one’s brackets. Sheet metal screws are supplied.

With the electrical power block repositioned, the new air filter assembly is installed.

That’s it for the hardware portion of the install, though a small notch is required to the corner of the engine cover. All in all, the unit went on fairly easily, and can be done by someone over a weekend in their own garage.

The last step is to install a new computer program, but Vortech supplies a controller that makes the job as easy as pressing a few buttons. Know that from now on though, only supreme-grade gasoline must be used. If inferior grade gas is run, pre-detonation will probably occur that could cause damage to the engine.


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