Ever since we setup shop almost ten years ago, one of the most often asked questions we get is “Can you turbocharge a (insert car here) and how much?” I usually get more than a few every day and with the followup question of “How long does it take” to which the answer is minimum of 2 weeks. And almost a decade later, it’s still a minimum of two weeks. One of dreams that we have is to offer a bolt on forced induction kit that can be installed in a day or two.There has to be a better and faster way to do it.

And we have found the answer! It’s Supercharging!
 

Why we crossed over to the supercharging camp
It’s been a few decades now but there have been two camps when it comes to forced induction systems, with the lines being clearly divided, turbocharging is for Japanese cars and supercharging is for the American V8 crowd, with no cross contamination whatsoever. As to why this is, I have a few theories.

- Superchargers are easier to install on V8 engines. Because of the natural valley that a V engine has, all that is required for installation is to remove the intake manifold, and the supercharger drops right in.


Turbocharging is not as viable because the exhaust is a pain in the ass to remove, not to mention that there isn’t a lot of room and clearance to wiggle a big turbocharger. Plus the fact that you will need two of everything, two manifolds, two turbos, two drains, two outlets etc etc, makes it more expensive.

- Turbocharging a 4 cylinder Japanese engine makes more economical sense. And there usually is a lot of room in the early cars to hang a decent sized turbo of the manifold, and bumpers have enough room also to house intercoolers.


Manufacturing a turbo manifold and outlet costs pretty much the same as a 4-2-1 header, hoses that would duct the intake are similar in cost to hoses that plumb the turbo.

-  Engineering an intake manifold is harder than making a turbo manifold for the aftermarket

-  Superchargers are more expensive that turbos. There are only a handful companies in the world that make superchargers, as opposed to thousands making turbochargers (just look at all the Chinese turbos out there) so It makes sense to cater to performance oriented vehicles such as Mustangs and Camaros where the middle aged owner will spend for their car, as opposed to a student  with a Honda Civic on a budget.

But all this has changed with the Rotrex centrifugal supercharger. Rotrex as a company actually started way back in the 70s and released their first product in 1996 (you can read more of the history here http://www.rotrex.com/Home/About)

Their system combines the high efficiency of the compressor side of a turbocharger (people often mistake it for one), and a patented multiplier belt drive mated to it. The result is a compact unit that can be installed in almost all types of engines.

 

What’s the difference?
There are thousands of articles describing the difference between a turbo and supercharger so I’ll just let google do the talking on this one. What I can say is that having been doing turbocharging for almost a decade on various cars, we are definitely going with supercharging because of the following reasons:

1.      Less heat. Being belt driven and not exhaust driven, superchargers run cooler, a lot cooler, by as much as 40 degrees, hence there is no need for an intercooler, unlike a turbo charger.

2.      No chance of overboost. One of the worst things that can happen in a turbo system is that boost builds up and is not released, due to a busted waste gate, faulty blow off valve, etc etc which is catastrophic to the engine, and boost changes depending on environmental factors. In a supercharger system since it is belt driven, the boost is constant and is not affected by heat or any other factors. The worst that can happen is when the belt snaps, the supercharger simply provides zero boost.

3.      Less piping. Since an intercooler is not needed, the piping length is half that of a turbo setup, which aids in giving better response, and no dreaded "turbo lag". Less piping and connections also means less sources of leaks.

4.      Dedicated oil system. One too many turbos have been destroyed by dirty or wrong engine oil, the Rotrex supercharger has its own dedicated oil system, separate from the engine, so no cross contamination can occur.

5.      Fast installation. How fast? Try 1.5 days fast, as compared to weeks for a turbo setup. Less downtime means more time you enjoy the power.

 

Why did you introduce this just now???
Honestly we knew about the Rotrex supercharger for a few years now and like most of you have been deterred by the cost, with the Rotrex unit itself costing $2,500, and the reaction of everyone when they see is pretty much the same as ours when we first saw it  “That little thing costs THAT MUCH?!?!?” So costing wise, a Rotrex setup would be at least P30,000 more expensive than a turbocharger setup.

We actually got to see one up closearound a year ago and really gave it some thought on how it we could make it work, with the biggest draw being that extreme ease of installation once we have a prototyped a kit already for a certain application. Also our inventory doesn’t have to be as extensive because there are less components involved in a supercharged setup than a turbocharged one.

Power wise, boost is boost and we still target a 7-8psi on all our applications which is the same for a turbo setup, with identical peak power outputs. Only with a Rotrex system, the power is amazingly linear. The best analogy would be driving the car with a bigger engine in place without the mileage penalty associated with an increase in displacement, making a 1.3L engine behave like a 2.0L, a 4 cylinder having the output of V6, and truly monstrous output on a V8 engine. Also unlike turbocharged systems where boost curve can vary and spike, the boost curve of a supercharger isn’t even a curve, but rather a straight line from idle up to redline.

We also like it that a Rotrex system has half the components of a typical turbo kit, and its really a bolt on installation with no drilling and tapping of the stock oil pan which is needed for a turbo system.

Turbo kit


Supercharger Kit

Super Car Cred
Slight trivia about Rotrex and OE applications. I doesn’t get any better when you are chosen as the OE supplier for one of the world’s fastest cars. Every Koenigsegg CCX comes factory equipped with twin Rotrex C38-81 superchargers, the biggest in the Rotrex line that gets the engine up to 800hp.

See if you can spot where it is in the engine.

 

Fruit of our Labors
And so here we are with a year’s worth of R&D and several applications already, you can check them out at www.speedlabsuperchargers.com

Honda Civic FD 1.8L

Hyundai Elantra 1.6L

Toyota Altis 1.6L/1.8L

Mitsubishi Lancer EX 2.0L

Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2L

Along with our own in house developed kits, we also carry the Kraftwerks line of superchargers from the USA and Sprintex from Australia.

Yep we have moved on to the dark side and the force is strong.

Next post will be how we build a custom Rotrex supercharger setup for a "rare" car