Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
March 9, 2007
Photos By: Anderson Ford Motorsport
It's amazing how innocuous 500 hp can look these days. Way back when, you'd think this was worth 400 hp or so. But when you add the bolt-ons, along with the knowledge gained through the years, the basic bolt-on 5.0 can make big power-even with a stock short-block.

As a loyal 5.0&SF reader, you've been following the saga of Anderson Ford employee Chad Kolakowski's '93 LX. Chad bravely offered his car so we could go back to the early days of 5.0 Mustang bolt-ons. He returned his car to bone-stock condition, going so far as installing a low-mileage stock engine so we'd get a representative baseline. Chad is obviously a dedicated Fox rodder and we appreciate his enthusiasm. This time around, however, we're really testing Chad's mettle. The final phase of our Fox bolt-on progression means making the move to a bolt-on supercharger. In this case, that means the tried-and-true Vortech centrifugal with a modern twist.

As you know, we previously designed this combination for high revving, despite the factory short-block. High-rev cam technology and the tuning capabilities of the Programmable Management System are pushing this combo to the next level. Big boost and high-rpm go hand-in-hand, but we know Chad's short-block is living on borrowed time should we keep pushing things. We crossed our fingers and hoped to get dyno testing done. To paraphrase Anderson Ford Motorsport main man Rick Anderson: If you don't detonate it, there shouldn't be a problem. That was our goal.

What's even more impressive to us than making it through without blowing up Chad's stuff is our expectations of applying old-school bolt-ons with new-school knowledge produced great results. Imagine what we'll be able to do with these cars in another 13 years.

Horse Sense: You might be asking what the difference is between the familiar Vortech S-Trim and the SQ S-Trim superchargers. Well, the main difference is the S-Trim features straight-cut gears, letting everyone know you have a blower underhood. The SQ, which stands for Super Quiet, features quieter helical gears. The difference doesn't end there, however. The SQ also offers a quicker-spooling 3.61:1 gear ratio versus the standard S-Trim's 3.45:1 ratio.

To close out our Fox buildup project, we made the move to a Vortech SQ S-Trim supercharger. Anderson Ford Motorsport offers supercharger kits that leave out some parts you may eventually upgrade, and includes the upgrades you need to push for more power, including the company's preferred tuning tool, the Programmable Management System. The Stage II kit ($3,650) includes the supercharger, a 2.95-inch blower pulley, a 7-inch crank pulley, a Fuel Management Unit for 38-lb/hr injectors, a 255-lph fuel pump, a T-Rex fuel pump, and an AFM Power Pipe and PMS. We used the kit sans the PMS, fuel pumps, and FMU, as we already installed the PMS and upgraded the fuel pumps.

Normally a supercharger installation wouldn't include removing the intake and valve covers, but in this case, Rick suggested we move from his naturally aspirated N-51HR camshaft to the blower-friendly B-31HR ($299) grind. The latter cam is designed for as much as 331ci engines with 10-20 pounds of boost and delivers a wide powerband from 2,500 to 6,500 rpm.

Swapping the cam means pulling the crank pulley, harmonic dampener, water pump, timing cover, rocker arms, and more. Here, Chad yanks the Professional Products SFI-spec damper. It and the other parts will be reinstalled after the cam swap.

While there are some parts you have to remove, you can skip detaching the lower intake and lifters by using AFM's trick Tappet Tools ($49.95). These threaded rods feature powerful magnets on one end and a wing nut on the other. Remove the pushrods, slide the Tappet Tools in place until they latch onto the lifters, then tighten the wing nut until the lifters are pulled clear of the cam lobes on all 16 lifters, and the old cam can be slid out with ease.

Now it's time to slide in the B-31HR cam. Slathered with assembly lube, it slides in place. Rick installs the cam straight up, as the AFM versions have four degrees of retard built into the grind; don't try to outthink the cam designer on this one.

Feeding big boost and big rpm means more fuel. In the old days, everyone used FMUs in the blower kits to pinch off the return line and send fuel pressure through the roof to support the boost. This puts a greater strain on your fuel pump, as increased pressure means reduced flow. Fortunately, modern tuning advances mean most people install larger injectors and tune the car to work with them. Chad already upgraded to 42s earlier in the series, but blowers rely on plenty of fuel, and we didn't want to detonate; Delphi 50-pounders ($525) got the nod.

Chad already opened the hole in his inner fender for the naturally-aspirated Power Pipe we covered earlier in the series, so he simply had to swap the supercharged version.

Now we're getting down to business. It's been a while since we've covered the basic 5.0 blower installation, so it's worth mentioning that Vortech's gear-driven blowers are lubricated by the engine's oiling system. That means you have to tap into the pressure side of the oiling system, which is easily accomplished by T'ing into the extension used by the factory oil-pressure sending unit.

Returning the oil to the engine is more complex: pierce the factory oil pan, tap it, and install a fitting. This is achieved by using a tap coated in heavy grease to catch the shavings.

Then you wrench in the fitting and install the drain hose. Suffice it to say, your oil should be changed afterward.

If you aren't familiar with supercharger installations, don't worry. Vortech supplies comprehensive instructions. But you should know the supercharger will reside roughly where the factory alternator used to be. As such, the supercharger bracketry not only mounts the blower, but relocates the alternator below the smog pump-or in this case, the Auto Specialties smog pump eliminator pulley.

We're getting close. Chad slides the Vortech SQ S-Trim into its waiting bracket, then installs the inlet and discharge tubing, along with the oil feed and drain lines.

All that's left to do is install the 2.95-inch supercharger pulley, route the belt, and adjust the tensioner. Combined with the larger 6.87-inch crank pulley, featuring a built-in underdrive accessory pulley, the 2.95-inch blower pulley typically generates boost in the 15-pound range. This combo did even better with a high-revving cam and cool air temperatures during the Illinois winter, as the air coming out of the blower was only 155 degrees. It boosted up to 17 psi.

As you can see, Chad's '93 is a non-A/C car. Rick reports that he has received several questions about the proper belt arrangement to make the supercharger kit work on this type. He figured it out on Chad's car. The solution was the simple combination of an 81 and 51/48-inch belt, coupled with the addition of a '93 Cobra water pump pulley. The Cobra pulley is smaller than the GT unit, so it speeds up the water pump. Rick says the belt is a tight fit and requires removing the power steering bolts, installing the belt, reinstalling the bolts, and then tightening it all. This should only be an issue when it is first installed, as serpentine belts stretch with use.

There was one other thing that helped the big boost: the addition of AFM's Instaboost elixir ($19). This sticky liquid is said to reduce belt slip and deliver more boost; it's hard to argue with it taking this car from 14.8 to 17.1 psi. Besides, NMRA R/S champion Brian Meyer uses it, and he does well.

With all the mechanical work out of the way, it was necessary to flash the AFM Load IO with a new mass air curve to work with those 50-lb/hr squirters. Rick also had to install the PMS's MAP sensor for boost control and switch up the tuning in the PMS to work with the supercharger.

We only have so much space, so we didn't go back to the baseline on Chad's car, but in stock form, it peaked at 202.24 hp and 286.02 lb-ft of torque. With each set of modifications, the power kept growing. We did, however, show how the nitrous and supercharger impacted the base package of bolt-ons. This is not to say one is better than the other, but more to elaborate on how these two power adders will impact the same combination. In fact, the nitrous made more torque and the blower made more horsepower. Rick and Chad could've installed a larger nitrous jet or a smaller blower pulley and made either combo produce more than they did here. Of course, that would've further jeopardized the integrity of Chad's stock short-block.

What becomes clear is what you always feel when driving cars with nitrous or superchargers. The nitrous cars hit immediately and hard, then taper off at the top end, while the supercharger cars come on later and stay around longer, similar to the last guy at the office party. Either way, both power adders maximize a bolt-on 5.0. That said, we have to be impressed by the big gains by the supercharger at high-rpm, and Rick added that the higher lift and shorter duration of the flat-top-piston-friendly blower cam sustained power until he wasn't brave enough to rev the combo any more. With a short-block designed to maximize either combination, there's a lot more power to be had, but that's a story for another day. For now, we've had fun pushing the stock 5.0 to the limit-just like the old days.

 Bolt-Ons*{{{NX}}} Nitrous**Difference: Bolt-Ons vs. Nitrous

* Base fuel pressure 42 psi, BX headers, BX X-shape crossover, BX mufflers and turndowns, Professional Products throttle body, AFM Power Pipe, Lighting mass air meter with Load Tuner, Professional Products Typhoon intake, PP 75mm throttle body, Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads, AFM N-51HR, PRW 1.6 roller rockers, Trick Flow pushrods, and AFM PMS
** Add NX Nitrous kit and 42-lb/hr fuel injectors

 Vortech And B-31 Cam***Difference: Vortech vs. Bolt-Ons

*** Replace nitrous and 42s with AFM Stage II Vortech kit and replace AFM N-51 HR cam with AFM B-31HR cam