If you’ve been following our G37 Sedan project it may seem like a forgone conclusion ending up with a Vortech V3 SI supercharger on our car. It’s a bit of a cliche in the automotive aftermarket to say I honestly planned on installing an intake and exhaust and maybe some wheels but here we are 4 years later with a supercharger and a built transmission for a G37. Quietly we always hoped something like this was possible but there’s all sorts of reasons why big projects like this don’t work out.
Being a kid before the turn of the Millennium
As a kid growing up in the 90’s I read just about every car magazine there was. Back then the Japanese halo cars like the Supra, 300zx and RX-7 were getting a lot of attention making around 300hp which rivaled the normally aspirated domestic V8’s of the time with about half the engine displacement or much less in Mazda’s rotary engine. The witchcraft taking place for the high horsepower and relatively small engine size was thanks to turbocharging and I became obsessed with the idea of owning a car with a forced induction engine.
I ended up turbocharging my SR20 powered B13 Sentra like many of the other writers here and had a ton of fun with that car. As much fun as it was, there were traction problems putting that much power down to the front wheels with skinny 205mm tires. Eventually the car was sold and life went on without forced induction.
The 370z and G37 debut
Enter the 370z and G37 and the VQ37VHR engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL). Pumping out 332 hp @7000 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque @5200 rpm out of 3.7 liters with a normally aspirated V6 engine. This exceeds what was done previously in the Z with turbocharging. Keeping the engine normally aspirated also kept production and overall vehicle costs down. However, the enthusiast market had a bothersome itch of wanting to know what’s possible if forced induction was added to the VQ37VHR engine.
Vortech’s centrifugal superchargers
Vortech superchargers founded in 1990, made a name for themselves in the automotive aftermarket focusing on centrifugal superchargers for Fords and later expanding to other car and truck applications. Today, nearly 30 years later Vortech continues to be a leader in the centrifugal supercharger compressor design.
Even if you’ve been around cars all your life you may be asking what is a centrifugal supercharger and how does it work. Flipping through a book on supercharging from Corky Bell and paraphrasing; simply put a centrifugal supercharger uses a pulley driven by the engine belt to move the impeller inside of the compressor via a set of gears inside the housing. The impeller draws air into the compressor housing literally compressing the air. This pressurized air moves though the diffuser and to the engine through charge piping provided in a supercharger kit. The look of a centrifugal supercharger is a lot like a turbocharger. The difference is a centrifugal supercharger is powered by the engine crankshaft and a turbocharger is powered by the exhaust gasses of the engine.