K.J. Jones
April 27, 2007
Superman: ATI ProCharger's all-world tech specialist, Dorian Comeau, bolts down the company's race-proven F-1A supercharger on our daily-driven street Mustang. Dorian is also one of the main players at House of Boost, the outfit that opened our eyes to the benefits of using an eight-rib belt with our new blower. The company is Internet-based and specializes in taking forced-induction to higher levels.

Horse Sense: Centrifugal superchargers, '99-'04 Mustang GTs, and horsepower go together like a hand in a glove these days. Throughout the country, and in many parts of the world, New Edge 'Stangs prowl the streets with the distinctive whistle of blowers chirping underhood. While we don't want to slight other power adders, we have to hand it to the blower for moving to the forefront as the Two-Valve 4.6 crowd's adder of choice.

We hope you've been following our series on '99-'04 Mustang GT performance upgrades this past year and have learned a thing or two about stepping up a New Edge's program when it comes to making horsepower.

With your tech editor using his wife's daily driven '02 GT as the sacrificial lamb-for the sake of science, of course-our tests have ranged from mild to wild. Along the way, they have shown the power-gain potential and threshold of a bone-stock 4.6 engine.

While our game plan from the outset has been to perform various upgrades to enhance all aspects of the test car's performance (front/rear suspension, 8.8 rear upgrades, and so on), the need for speed always steers our thoughts back to changes that we hope will gain the most performance from the engine. Apparently, this tunnel vision is a gearhead's natural way of thinking.

Our first foray into the land of supercharging the Two-Valve 'Stang was the installation of ATI-ProCharger's P-1SC Stage II supercharger system ("Beyond Bolt-On," Jun. '06, p. 78). For this effort, we called on our good friend, Dorian Comeau of ProCharger. He came to the West Coast to install the blower and intercooler. He also conducted an interesting study on thermal dynamics with us; we found that oil in a self-contained blower such as the P-1SC is generally cooler than engine oil at idle, and especially under load. We also looked at the entry-level street supercharger's ability to generate more horsepower and torque from our stocker and all that's involved when it comes to properly tuning a boost-induced Two-Valve.

Since our '02 is a daily driver, the one thing we've been earnest about preserving the integrity of is the 'Stang's streetability. Having a mega-horsepower, towed-everywhere, NMRA race Mustang is one thing, but these days, true Zen for most 'Stangbangers is to have the best of both worlds: the performance of a race car with street manners to make the car fun to drive on a regular basis.

Spare Ribs Here are the parts that make up an eight-rib beltdrive system. Believe it or not, the pulleys are late-model OEM truck parts that House of Boost realized are compatible with the Mustang's Two-Valve engine and ProCharger's F-Series blower. They started Dorian on the road to refining this eight-rib conver-sion with the correct-size idler wheels and belts. ProCharger will soon offer its own line of bolt-on pulleys for the water pump, alternator, and power-steering pump.

We realize that last sentiment can be considered a Catch-22, as sometimes sacrifices must be made when a street car moves deeper into the modified zone. We're doing our best to maintain our '02's street persona, in spite of the supercharger upgrade featured in this report.

That's right, kids. Hopefully you've followed along and noted the right moves we've made by setting up our 'Stang for handling the fury of a monster blower ("Big-Boost Bullet," Nov. '06, p.100; "Stock Exchange," Jan. '07, p.146). We let on a long time ago that our plan is to bring you the "how to" info on making pump gas/street driveable horsepower with ProCharger's F-1A supercharger. It's an idea that has made many a 'Stangbanger shake his head with disbelief and express sincere and sometimes sarcastic, "there's no way you can use it on the street" opinions.

From a legal standpoint, the naysayers are correct. The F-1A is ProCharger's first-level race supercharger, and other units in the F-Series (F-1C, F-1, F-2, F-3, and so on), don't carry the California Air Resources Board Executive Order numbers that the company's P-Series blowers (50-state-legal, smog-law-compliant) are badged with. From a practicality standpoint, we agree: The F-1A isn't the most practical supercharger to choose for a daily driver application, but it's the coolest, and we know it can be done.

Making horsepower is one thing, and we've been steadily accumulating the right pieces to do so. But sustaining high power levels without suffering catastrophic parts damage-commonly referred to as supporting X-amount of horsepower-is much more important.

ProCharger's '96-'04 Mustang GT/Cobra F-1A supercharger is designed to work well with small-displacement engines such as our 281ci D.S.S. Super MODular 4.6. Boost comes in early and yields greater torque, leveling the playing field between Two-Valves and '03-'04 Terminators. We're taking our blown Two-Valve project a step beyond the norm by installing and modifying the F-1A with a system of eight-rib, serpentine-beltdrive pulleys for the blower, crankshaft, alternator, A/C compressor, power-steering pump, and water pump.

Did you ever wonder how to decipher the length of a serpentine belt? The markings can be confusing, but the bottom line is that the last-four digits identify the length. For our project, the belt sizes are 110.2 inches, which we'll use with a 3.70-inch supercharger pulley, and 112.4 inches. Eight-rib belts aren't available between these two lengths, so pulley and idler-wheel sizing, as well as placement, has to be spot-on for the eight-rib conversion. The longer belt works with the 4.25-inch blower pulley we're installing for daily street use and pump-gas performance.

By day, Dorian is one of ProCharger's top technicians. But after he leaves the office, he is known among 'Stang enthusiasts across the Internet as a principal in the Kansas-based, all-things-boost-related, customizing-and-tuning crew called House of Boost.

While props go to Dorian and House of Boost for suggesting we use an eight-rib belt for our Two-Valve supercharger upgrade, it is currently being tested and will soon be offered by ProCharger as an upgrade for its popular '96-'04 Two-Valve blower systems. As a norm, Two-Valve blower systems use a six-rib drive setup. The eight-rib pulley scheme enhances the integrity of the belt-using layman's logic, the wider the belt, the more strength and traction it has under high rpm. Belt life increases when slippage is controlled or eliminated. This type of enhancement is a big step compared to the six-rib drive, and it also features two idler pulleys sandwiched together to make the belt wrap almost completely around the blower pulley.

Hopping up the fuel system is the other side of our project's coin. The best way to fulfill our needs is to do away with the OEM returnless fuel system and install a new, return-style fuel supply. Aeromotive Fuel Systems covers this part of a big-power upgrade with its system made specifically for '96-'04 4.6-powered 'Stangs.

We've discussed the benefits of return-style fuel systems in other stories, but let's take a second to refresh your memory. The return-style fuel system's main virtue is it feeds injectors a continuous supply of constantly flowing, evenly pressurized, cool fuel. Consistent fuel flow into the injectors and intake ports is critical to ensure peak horsepower production on an individual cylinder and overall basis.

We were fortunate enough to have Dorian of ProCharger and Aeromotive's Jared Cox make the trek from Kansas to SoCal to install the new supercharger and fuel systems on our project car. A special shoutout of thanks also goes to Brian Schapiro and Mason "Mase" Rowland of B&D Racing, who graciously provided a workspace for our dream team at their Canoga Park, California, facility.

We know you're anxious to hear about our dyno tuning and the horsepower the upgrades produced, and those details are coming in a future installment of this series. For now, check out these latest happenings with our wild, Two-Valve tech effort.

We've talked about this before, and it has received a lot of wows from those who have seen it in person. You're looking at an eight-rib, 10 percent-overdriven, SFI-approved (18.1) 4.6 crankshaft dampener by Innovators West (PN 804; $425). This piece measures approximately 7.20 inches in diameter-as opposed to the stock balancer's 6.65 inches-and is used to spin a supercharger harder without needing a ridiculously small pulley on the blower or custom-length belts.

Take a good look at these two water pumps, specifically the length difference between the snouts. The shorter pump on the right is the original 4.6 unit and six-rib pulley. The one on the left is an S197 Mustang piece that bolts directly into our unit and features an eight-rib pulley that aligns perfectly with the F-1A's drive wheel and the other pulleys in the new system.

Dorian routes the 112.4-inch belt around the accessory pulleys. We're starting with the 4.25-inch blower pulley that should generate approximately 15 psi of boost to dial-in a solid, street/pump-gas tune. Note that the OEM-size idler wheel on the belt tensioner is retained with the eight-rib conversion, as it's wide enough to support the new belt size. An additional 3.00-inch idler wheel is used with the 4.25-inch supercharger pulley. The extra idler is bolted into the timing-chain cover on the driver side, just to the right of the water pump. It's removed and the front-cover's bolt is replaced when the 3.70-inch pulley is swapped on.

This is ATI ProCharger's complete Serpentine Race Kit with an F-1A centrifugal supercharger for '96-'04, Two-Valve Mustang GTs and Four-Valve Cobras (PN 1FX204-DISC w/F1-A Upgrade; $5,737). A six-rib blower pulley would normally be included with this package, but it has been omitted in our case since we're stepping up to an eight-rib configuration. With the exception of the head unit, the hardware in this system is similar to that of the P-1SC Stage II blower and intercooler we installed on our GT's bone-stock 4.6 in the Jan. '06 issue. Actually, the F-1A blower unit can bolt directly onto the same bracket as the P- and D-series superchargers.

While our P-1SC called for six ounces of lubricant, the F-1A only requires four ounces of ProCharger's lightweight oil. The F-1A's dual-bearing design allows its transmission to function similar to a two-speed and achieve a much higher rpm (estimated 70,000 rpm redline) than single-bearing blowers. This makes it crucial to the life and performance of the unit to maintain sufficient oil supply. We changed the engine oil (Royal Purple XPR 5W30) and added a new set of NGK TR-6 spark plugs (0.030 gap) prior to outfitting the 4.6 with this big-boost supercharger.

We bolted on the 4.25-inch blower pulley for our initial test. This wheel should net approximately 12-15 psi of boost and will be ideal for using the big supercharger for our street-car application. The smaller, 3.70-inch pulley will spin the F-1A much faster and create nearly 20 psi of boost. While we'll be fine using 91-octane fuel for the 4.25-inch, race gas is a must when you play with the kind of pressure the 3.70-inch can generate.

One of the major additions to our new Two-Valve program is this bolt-in, aluminum two-row radiator from Fluidyne (PN FHP20 97MU; $439; fits '97-'04), which B&D Racing's Brian Schapiro strongly recommends with almost all the supercharger installations the shop performs. Big heat is a result of big boost, and the fact that our 'Stang is driven in sometimes brutal SoCal temperatures and freeway traffic is all the more reason why having a good cooling system is important. The OEM fan is retained, and we added one bottle of Royal Purple's Purple Ice to the coolant/water mixture, ensuring the GT's mechanicals keep cool when the temperature climbs.

Our three-core, sheetmetal, race intercooler features taller plenums than the three-core version used with our P-1SC/stock 4.6 combination. This inter-cooler works better with the F-1A because of its ability to support more air volume. "Bigger is better when it comes to intercoolers, as long as it doesn't create a huge pressure drop," Dorian says. The intercooler and Fluidyne radiator will receive more than enough air through the lower opening and grille area of the bumper cover.

Dorian set up a dual surge-valve system instead of a single Pro-Flow valve to disperse bypassed air that can't enter the throttle body when the butterfly is shut. By going with two valves, we're decreasing velocity of the vented air, tempering the sound of its discharge. For a good idea of how an F-1A sounds at idle, just think about an F-14 fighter jet-in afterburner.

The factory mass air sensor wiring must be taken from its loom and routed into the fenderwell, where it's connected to an SCT BA2800 mass air sensor. This 90mm tube is the largest one offered by SCT, and it's appropriate for more than 600hp, blow-through (such as ours), or draw-through applications. ProCharger's F-1A system features a gradual step-down series of 3-, 3.5-, and 4-inch couplers and tubing to ensure smooth airflow into the throttle body.

We had to take an air saw to the passenger-side inner fender to make enough clearance for the inlet pipe and intercooler-to-throttle body discharge tubing.

The Mustang GT/Cobra F-1A system includes a plastic 3.5-inch air-inlet tube and conical filter, but we opted for the House of Boost- coated, aluminum inlet that's applicable for any P-, D-, or F-Series blower.

This is Aeromotive's complete, 800 flywheel horsepower-capable, return-style fuel setup for '96-'04 modular 'Stangs with power adders (PN 17141; $1,636.76). Unlike the company's return-style setup for Fox 5.0s, this kit doesn't include a sumped fuel tank (shown). Jaime Voorhees of Fab-Tech Custom Fabrication and Welding of Chatsworth, California, took care of installing Aeromotive's sump box in the Mustang's stock fuel tank, and we gave the tank a few good coats of spray paint to keep the rust away.

The sump box (PN 18650) is divided into two parts. The bigger area is the primary feed. It's designed to ensure that when the tank is full, there is always approximately three gallons of fuel available at the outlet port, especially during hard launches or other aggressive driving conditions. The sump's second pickup/reservoir with the "V" shape can be used to support a small, independent, secondary fuel system such as those that are used for nitrous or other things.

Returnless fuel systems were initiated by the government (EPA and CARB) for all new cars in the late '90s in an effort to reduce vapor emissions. Even though we're converting the '02's stock fuel system to return-style, the tank's five factory evaporative-emissions-control connections and tubes are retained and remain functional. Gotta keep those smog lords happy!

By now, you should recognize that a blower such as the F-1A has a serious fuel requirement. We're adding these 60-lb/hr, Deka IV-series, long injectors by Siemens VDO (PN FI114961). They have a narrow distribution angle, thanks to their pencil-style nozzles, which are used for shooting a steady stream of fuel at a specifically targeted area.

The fuel rails included with the kit are direct-fit, bolt-on pieces and don't conflict with our Professional Products Typhoon intake manifold. We're no longer using the factory fuel-pressure sensor (SCT is used to trick the PCM in this case), but Aeromotive offers an adapter (PN 15112) allowing those who desire high-flow fuel rails for their Mustang's stock, returnless fuel system.

We want the A1000 fuel pump (PN 11101) to cycle on at the ignition key's prompt, not via race car-style switches. Dorian takes a power signal from the 'Stang's wiring in front of the fuel pump driver module. He then routes it to a relay to turn on our A1000 pump with a turn of the key as the engine is cranking, while thinking that the factory fuel system is still intact.

Dorian locks initial fuel pressure in at 40 psi. B&D Racing's George Ibrahim will use SCT's Advantage III tuning software to handle additional fuel trimming when we get the 'Stang on the dyno.

Jared loads five gallons of "California's finest"-note the extreme sarcasm there-into our 'Stang's belly. We're starting our testing and tuning with 91-octane gasoline, straight from the pump of a nearby 76 station.

This is a look that will make the hopeful Camaro jockey think twice when he runs up behind us for a potential confrontation.