Is our electric supercharger suitable for your vehicle?

Some engines should not be supercharged

 

Electric supercharger

By GA Projects

 

The GA Projects team have tested our electric superchargers on a wide range of vehicles and have prepared the following notes to help you decide if our supercharger is suitable for your needs. We also suggest you read our article on the superchargers performance to help gauge its suitability.

 

An initial consideration is under bonnet space (under hood space in the US) as a lot of modern vehicles have very little room to fit additional objects in the engine bay. Our superchargers vary in size but on average would occupy a cavity 300 mm x 300 mm x 200 mm (12” x 12” x 8”) on top of which must be added room for an air filter and ducting. In most cases we removed the original air filter box to make space.

 

There are three versions of our electric supercharger covered in the construction manual. The 24 volt supercharger is an entry level system aimed primarily at engines up to 1600 cc. A 36 volt variant is designed for maximum efficiency in engines up to 2500cc. Supercharger performance progressively decreases as engine displacement capacity becomes larger with an approximate viability cutoff at 4000cc. The supercharger still works on engines of this capacity but it is debatable whether gains achieved are worth the effort. We outline a 48 volt system in the manual but must stress that development was never completed and there are difficulties obtaining suitable switches and relays. Only a circuit diagram of a 48 volt system along with a description of the work that was done is included in the manual.

 

Installation of a GA Projects electric superchargerIn general carbureted engines responded well to our superchargers with a slight exception of some Mitsubishi carby’s that tended to run quite lean under boost. Re-jetting the carburetors overcame this shortfall. There was also a slight but easily surmountable problem with some older types of mechanical fuel pumps. Fitting a generic low pressure electric fuel pump addressed these issues. Please note that electric fuel pumps should have some means of stopping the pump in the event of an engine stall. Powering the pump via a tachometric type relay is the easiest way to do this and our support team can advise you how to go about it (support@gaprojects.com).

 

Fuel injected engines calibrated by air flow meters, hot wires, Karmen Vortex chambers etc. behaved in a very similar manner to carbureted engines and performed well with our charger. Karmen Vortex type air flow meters are often fitted inside the air filter box and need to remain there thus severely limiting available under bonnet (hood) space.  Many more recent vehicles use MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensors (e.g. some Fords and late model Toyotas). These sensors must remain in their original housing and upstream from the supercharger to work properly. This again uses up valuable under bonnet (hood) space.

 

MAP (manifold absolute pressure) sensed fuel injection systems behave slightly differently to the above. MAP sensors can only detect pressure differences below atmospheric pressure so absolute boost can confuse them. In most cases the engines ran sufficiently rich at full throttle to accommodate our superchargers but some ran a bit lean under boost. Our supercharger is marginally less effective on these engines but still a worthwhile performance enhancement. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of consistency amongst MAP sensed engines, we tested two identical pulsars with cam tech engines each giving opposite results. An almost identical astra (same engine) behaved OK (marginally flat response in the upper rev range) where as a much earlier camira loved the supercharger and gave some of our best results (eventually causing an expensive gearbox failure, camiras are just not meant to go fastJ). We therefore cannot give specific guidelines on MAP sensed engines other than to say they all benefited from the fitment of our supercharger to a greater or lesser extent.

 

Bosch K Jetronic vehicles worked well though positioning of the superchargers throttle switch was critical (if the supercharger came on too soon the engine would stumble and even stall occasionally).

 

Unfortunately our superchargers are unsuitable for motorbikes and similar vehicles (quad bikes, ATVs etc.). Not only is it cumbersomely large for a motorbike, extra batteries are required to boost voltage. Furthermore motorbike electrical systems are not designed to handle the very high current loads. 

 

Two stroke engines are very difficult to supercharge. Gas flow through a two stroke engine is critical to its operation and any changes to that gas flow require substantial alterations to the engine. For this reason we do not recommend our charger for two stroke engines

 

Please note that we have not tested our supercharger on diesel engines and cannot recommend fitment to diesels at this stage. Diesel fuel systems need to be recalibrated if an after market forced induction system is fitted. This is a technically difficult and expensive operation that is hard to justify for electric superchargers.

 

SU and Stromberg CD type carburetors need to be mounted upstream from any form of supercharging. This means there would be a very large volume of combustible fuel/air mixture in the manifold, ducting and supercharger itself. Should this mixture be ignited a substantial explosion would occur. Our supercharger is electrically driven and could ignite the mixture (unlikely to happen but still distinctly possible). We therefore do not recommend our charger for engines using these types of carburettors.

 

LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and CNG (compressed natural gas) fuelled engines have much the same problem as SU and CD carbureted engines. Those that introduce fuel to the inlet manifold via a diffuser or spud port require superchargers to be mounted downstream from the fuel source. We therefore do not recommend our charger for LPG or CNG fuelled engines. Exceptions to this are LPG and CNG engines that use a multi point fuel injection system. These engines are suitable for supercharging.

Another electric supercharger installation

 

Many electric superchargers (including our own) are not designed for long periods of continuous engagement. People who live in mountainous regions will often consider a supercharger to offset the effects of altitude or to provide more power when climbing long hills. In most cases this will over tax the current source and lead to premature failure of the electric motor. We do not recommend our supercharger for this type of engagement.

 

Naturally we cannot test all the vehicles that would be appropriate for our supercharger (the development budget only stretches so far) but hope the information contained on this page and in the accompanying articles will allow you to make an informed judgment on its overall suitability for your vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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