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TVS Blower - Make It Scream!
VMP Tuning's all-new TVS blower gets the job done
It's been nearly 10 years since Ford unveiled one of its most sinister Ponies of all time. With the introduction of the '03-'04 SVT Cobra, nicknamed Terminator, it was blowing its competitors out of the water. Ford fans couldn't get enough of the Cobra regiment, and with basic bolt-ons such as a cold-air intake, pulley swap, exhaust, and a tune, power output increased significantly. Step up to the next level of aftermarket blowers and turbos, and you entered a whole new ballgame.
We've done our fair share of blower swaps on Terminators over the years, and we've seen positive results ranging from mild to wild. It's not uncommon to come across Cobra owners strapping on positive displacement blowers and cranking out some serious horsepower. With just entering the decade timeline, the Terminator still has its perks, with aftermarket companies still producing new and improved products.
Terminators have always been limited by the stock Eaton M112 Roots-style supercharger. The term Roots-style is often times misused in reference to a twin-screw. A Roots-type blower has matching lobe-and-cavity rotors opposing each other and twisted at 60 degrees to draw in and compress air, whereas a twin-screw uses one male-lobe rotor and one female-lobe cavity rotor to do so.
The latest development in superchargers is the Twin Vortices Series (TVS) blower from Eaton. This modern-day design is found on the Ford Mustang GT500. Its design features a symmetrical four-lobe rotor set, twisted at 160 degrees, which helps efficiency, reduces noise, and reduces heat. We aren't going into heavy detail, but that gives you a basic breakdown in the differences between the types of superchargers available. For more information, please refer to "Forced Introduction" (MM&FF, Aug. '11.)
VMP Tuning has recently released an all-new 2.3L TVS supercharger kit for the '03-'04 Cobra market, and we got a chance to see what it could do. VMP's kit is the first TVS made specifically to fit the '03-'04 Cobra and is priced at $3,399. It includes the blower, a six-bolt hub, one pulley size of your choice (3.2-, 3.0-, 2.8-, 2.6-, or 2.5-inch), an inlet elbow for either stock or aftermarket throttle-body, an O-ring for the inlet elbow, and all needed hardware. According to Justin Starkey, the owner of VMP Tuning, the kit has been in development for over a year.
"This is the first aftermarket blower made specifically for the '03-'04 Cobra," explained Starkey. "It's all one piece and is the only TVS supercharger available for this car. It produces excellent torque and uses a very high-efficiency rotor pack." To help us with testing, we ventured to Lamotta Performance in Longwood, Florida. Matt Gagliardi, technician at Lamotta Performance, offered us his fairly stock '03 Cobra as the test mule. The only mods installed prior to this test were a Steeda after-cat exhaust and high-flow catted X-style mid-pipe.
We began with a baseline run on the in-house Dynojet dyno, with an ambient temperature of 90 degrees. The Cobra laid down an expected 381 rwhp and 356 lb-ft of torque. Next up, we installed JLT's carbon fiber ram-air intake (PN CFRAI2-FMC-0304, $399) and ran it with the stock tune. The result was 403 rwhp and 369 lb-ft of torque, making for a 22-rwhp and 13–lb-ft gain. We then installed a custom tune from JMS Chip & Performance with an SCT X-Caliber 3 tuner and hit the rollers again, this time cranking out 420 rwhp and 397 lb-ft. This wasn't far off from our expectations, but we wanted to see what was left on the table with the stock unit.
To finalize our initial test before the install, we increased the boost on the factory Eaton supercharger to 14 psi using a VMP 2.75-inch pulley (VMP275-8-S, $129). We spun the rollers one more time, and pumped out an astonishing 449 rwhp and 458 lb-ft of torque. Our final pull ended up netting us with a 68-rwhp and 102–lb-ft gain. Impressive to say the least for only a few hundred dollars worth of mods.
In addition to installing the new blower, we knew more fuel was necessary. Our good friends over at JMS Chip & Performance supplied us with a PowerMax fuel pump voltage booster/regulator (PN PM-1000, $329) to help supply the demanding needs for fuel. We also needed to replace the factory 39-lb/hr injectors with new 60-lb/hr ones from Central Florida Motorsports ($399.95). Just as important as fuel, we opted to use an Accufab monoblade throttle-body (PN SKU 10F-1726-xx, $325) to complement the increased consumption of air from the TVS. Follow along as we take you through the required steps in strapping the 2.3L TVS blower onto an '03 Cobra and see what power gains we made with VMP's new product.
Feed the Beast
With the VMP blower supplying us with a significant amount of power, we knew that the factory fuel system would need a little pick-me-up. JMS Chip & Performance supplied us with a PowerMax fuel pump voltage booster/regulator (PN PM-1000, $329). Ford equipped the '03-'04 Cobras with a dual pump assembly set to run on a constant 12 volts when in use, but we still needed to increase fuel output with the new TVS installed. The booster/regulator from JMS allowed us to still utilize the factory pumps, but increase the voltage from 12 to 18 volts. With it installed, the minimum amount of voltage the pumps are receiving is now 14, and with the increase in voltage, the factory pumps can now deliver more fuel at higher pressure.
The PowerMax will work on any Mustang and is designed to increase the stock fuel pump's capabilities by over 80 percent. Included in the JMS kit is a remote-mounted voltage control knob and Hobbs switch. The Hobbs switch is activated when it sees a predetermined amount of boost. It is preset at 5 psi, but is user-adjustable from 3 to 7 pounds. We opted to keep the pre-setting, so when the new TVS blower produces 5 pounds of boost, the Hobbs switch activates the booster/regulator and voltage is increased.
The voltage control knob works hand-in-hand with the Hobbs switch and allows the user to set the voltage increase over a specific period of time. There are four settings on the voltage knob--0-, 0.25-, 0.50-, and 0.75-seconds. For our install, we set the voltage to increase over a half a second. What this is doing is avoiding a fuel spike when going to WOT. The pumps are starting at 14 volts and gradually increasing to 18 volts over the half a second time frame. We not only needed a better supply of fuel from the fuel pump, but the fuel injectors as well. We called upon our good friends over at Central Florida Motorsports where they supplied us with a new set of Siemen 60 lb/hr injectors. With the PowerMax and larger injectors, our '03 Cobra now has more than enough fuel to handle the added boost from the TVS.