Our affinity here at MM&FF for all things forced-induction is well known, or at least it should be. Running normally aspirated motors is fun, but with Ford's turn to small-displacement, we rely on the power gains offered by a little boost.
The heart of the Vortech 5.0L...
The heart of the Vortech 5.0L supercharger kit was the V3 SCi-trim supercharger. The V3 SCi offered impressive features, including 75-precent peak efficiency, a maximum impeller speed of 53,000 rpm and the ability to support more than 725 hp and 17 psi of boost. The self-contained unit eliminated the need to drill and tap the oil pan.
With a normally aspirated motor, you can run through the usual lash adjustments (assuming a solid flat-tappet of roller cam), adjust the air/fuel and timing, and maybe play with different weight synthetic oils, but the gains offered by the available tuning are minimal compared to a boosted motor. In contrast, add a few psi to even the most humble of normally aspirated combinations, including a wimpy little stock 5.0L like our test motor, and watch the power escalate.
Need even more? Crank up the boost! Obviously there is a limit to how far you can take the big-boost process, but the gains are certainly respectable. The one potential downside to all this wonderful power is obviously cost, as blowers and turbos cost some serious bucks, right?
The answer to that question depends on your perspective, and budget. The Vortech 5.0L supercharger kit used for our test was available from Summit Racing for just $1,899! Not an insignificant amount of money, but with good 5.0L cylinder heads running from $1,200 to $1,500 per set these days, the price of this low-buck blower kit was looking even better. The icing on the cake is that the 5.0L Vortech supercharger kit has the potential to offer significantly more power (by 2-3 times) than any set of heads applied to an otherwise stock 5.0L.
Of course the ideal setup is to add boost to a modified 5.0L motor equipped with aftermarket heads, cam, and intake, but that is another test for another day. For now, we decided to take a hard look at a low-buck blower kit and see what it was all about.
For this we decided to run the little 5.0 on the dyno and see just what the kit had to offer. Taking things one step further, we elected to illustrate a very important point about the low-buck blower approach--its ability to accept future upgrades.
In sticking with a low-buck approach, we selected the original low-buck king--the 5.0L Mustang. Things are now confusing with the introduction of the new 5.0L Four-Valve from Ford, but that motor is considerably more pricey (and powerful) than the original fuelie 5.0L. Given the current value of a used 5.0L Mustang (circa '86-'95), the cost of performance upgrades must be kept in perspective. Where the owner of a new 5.0L Mustang might not think twice about dropping five grand on a blower kit, that same five grand could buy a complete (ready to run) original 5.0L Mustang. Knowing this, Vortech decided to offer a cost-effective blower kit designed specifically for the original 5.0L market.
Priced (through Summit Racing) at $1,899, the affordable blower kit was hardly short on performance. Included in the kit was a self- contained, V3 SCi-trim supercharger. The blowers have come a long way since the days of the original A-trim. The ultra-efficient (as high as 75 percent) V3 SCi-trim blower was capable of supporting as much as 17 psi, 1,050 cfm, and over 725 hp. That is more than you'll ever get away with on your stock 5.0L block (at least for long). The great thing is that this blower will be able to grow with your power needs, should you upgrade your heads, cam, and intake, or even step up to a stroker.
Also included is a blower mounting bracket (and hardware) along with a discharge tube and pulley system designed to provide 5-6 psi of boost on an otherwise-stock motor. Additional components include an air inlet system designed to attach the mass air meter and cone filter to the inlet of the blower. Vortech also supplied a filter box to protect the open-element filter from fan wash and heated engine compartment air.
1 Boost pressure supplied...
1 Boost pressure supplied by the supercharger was a function of the speed of the supercharger, relative to the engine. The V3 Vortech came equipped with a 3.33-inch blower pulley. Note the tamper-proof seal on the blower pulley—it must be removed to facilitate pulley changes
2 The blower pulley size...
2 The blower pulley size worked in conjunction with the 6.0-inch crank pulley (and internal gear step of 3.6:1) to determine the overall impeller speed. To increase boost, install a larger crank pulley or a smaller blower pulley.
3 The Vortech kit included...
3 The Vortech kit included a plastic discharge tube assembly complete with couplers and clamps. Vortech offers an aluminum upgrade but the plastic unit was lighter and will serve well at the lower boost levels.