The Chevy 6.2L LS3 Supercharger Installation Instructions. What else can be said about the Chevy LS format? There’s nothing original here. The LS engine series has surely left its mark as one of the most widely acknowledged and celebrated American engine series ever produced. We’ve covered the LS3 extensively by this point, with articles ranging from improved LS3 camshafts to ported LS3 throttle bodies. We did, however, overlook a major topic in the LS3 community: LS3 Superchargers.
There’s no denying that Chevy LS engines and forced induction are a match made in heaven. The 6.2L LS3’s strength and robustness make it an ideal choice for boost. The hardened cast aluminum block, 6-bolt main caps, and hypereutectic pistons of the LS3 are designed for abuse. While turbochargers are a popular option for LS3 engines, going with a blower is a bit more proper.
With the correct modifications to an LS3, there is no limit to the power that can be extracted from a supercharged Chevy 6.2L, and even without major supporting changes, there is a very broad margin of power potential that can be extracted from a supercharged LS3. This post will go through the fundamentals of supercharging a Chevy 6.2L LS3 engine.
History of the Chevy 6.2L LS3 Engine
The LS3 was the Gen IV series’ second LS engine, following the LS2. The LS3 was available in the C6 Corvette, Camaro SS, and Pontiac G8 GXP, and produced 430 horsepower and 424 lb/ft of torque in factory trim. The LS3 shared the same DNA as the departing LS2, but with a bigger bore and 6.2L displacement.
The LS3 engine is a really amazing engine in terms of both technology and performance. While older Chevy small-blocks are still popular in many automotive groups, the LS3’s refinement put it in a class of its own. Aside from its tremendous horsepower and torque output, the LS3 incorporates some noticeable strength and rigidity-enhancing characteristics.
The LS3 features a deep skirt design that extends over the crankshaft centerline, increasing stiffness and reducing engine vibration. LS3 engines are 6 bolt main engines, which means that the heads are secured to the cast aluminum block with 6 bolts per cylinder. This is an incredibly sturdy configuration that improves reliability in higher horsepower ranges. Furthermore, the LS3 block includes a structural oil pan, which improves chassis rigidity.
The rotating assembly of the LS3 is particularly sturdy thanks to a solid iron crankshaft and powdered metal connecting rods. They also use flat-top alluminum alloy pistons that are both exceptionally strong and lightweight. The use of lightweight pistons enhances overall throttle response and efficiency.
Basics of Chevy 6.2L V8 Supercharging
Let’s start with the fundamentals before diving into the world of Chevy LS3 superchargers. If you know what you’re doing with an LS3, it’s a remarkably unbreakable engine. When compared to other similar engines, a supercharged LS3 can produce close to 1,000 horsepower with no effort. That being said, before cranking up the boost, it is critical to understand the limits of the OEM LS3 internals.
In general, there are two kinds of superchargers available for the Chevy 6.2L LS3. Positive displacement and centrifugal superchargers are examples of this. That may appear uncomplicated, yet it is easy to become lost in the lingo. Positive displacement LS3 superchargers are also known as “PD blowers” or “Roots superchargers.” Keep in mind that the terms “blower” and “supercharger” are frequently used interchangeably in the muscle community.
6.2L LS3 Engine Capacity
As previously stated, the Chevy LS3 engine can sustain power levels considerably exceeding its factory performance. The LS3 is rated between 415 and 430 horsepower in factory form, depending on the application. In terms of horsepower, LS3-powered Corvettes edge out Camaro SS applications by a hair. Regardless, supercharged LS3s can yield horsepower figures that are more than double the stock level. That isn’t to suggest that a supercharged LS3 hitting 4-digit horsepower figures doesn’t necessitate a significant amount of care and further upgrades ahead of time, because they most emphatically do.
Finally, with correct feeding and a quality tune, a supercharged stock 6.2L LS3 can consistently produce around 650 horsepower. Beyond that point, you should start thinking about stronger internal components. Despite being exceptionally sturdy, the stock rods and pistons are cast aluminum at the end of the day. Although stock LS3 pistons and rods have been reported to tolerate up to 700 horsepower, forged pistons and steel rods are recommended for high-boost LS3s for reliability. In the next sections, we’ll go over LS3 supported mods in greater depth.
Your tune and feeding are two of the most important aspects of developing a long-lasting supercharged LS3. When you get close to the LS3’s internal limits, these two factors become much more critical. In terms of engine preservation, a safe tune is self-explanatory. Internal damage is reduced when the tune restricts detonation and keeps internal temperatures low. The same may be stated about utilizing E85 instead of regular gasoline.
Positive Displacement LS3 Superchargers compared. Centrifugal LS3 Superchargers
LS3 superchargers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Positive displacement blowers and centrifugal superchargers are the two broad umbrella words that embrace them. Both serve the same aim but do so in distinct ways.
Positive displacement superchargers are the type that come to mind when you hear the phrase “classic muscle.” PD superchargers have created a name for themselves by protruding from the hoods of classic Camaros and Novas. Positive displacement superchargers, regardless of how quickly they spin, pump a constant volume of air into the intake manifold. If the engine cannot take in the amount of air supplied by the PD supercharger, positive pressure rises in the LS3 intake manifold.
Modern centrifugal LS3 superchargers are a better option. Centrifugal superchargers, unlike PD superchargers, operate in a manner similar to turbochargers. To pump air into the LS3 engine, they use a compressor wheel that runs at a high RPM. However, unlike turbochargers, which are powered by exhaust gas, centrifugal superchargers are powered by a belt.
Because of how each supercharger works, they have differing power delivery characteristics. Power is fairly linear because LS3 positive displacement blowers keep a consistent level of boost across the rpm range. Boost from a centrifugal LS3 supercharger will be substantially higher in the rpm range and generate more power.
Modifications and Tuning for the 6.2L Chevy LS3 Supercharger
While it is possible to run an LS3 blower at a low boost level with only a tune, driving a supercharged LS3 to high horsepower figures may necessitate some extra modifications. Headers and fuelling adjustments are optional but recommended in the first 500-650 horsepower phases. Beyond that, LS3 power levels necessitate these and other reliability and performance enhancing tweaks.
There are certain supercharged LS3 horsepower benchmarks that don’t require any additional modifications. The Chevy LS’s construction quality and materials provide you some wriggle room before any supporting modifications are required. That being said, changes to support a supercharged LS3 are never a bad thing. They can only serve to improve the robustness of the already powerful LS3 engine and add some horsepower.
The supporting upgrades required for a supercharged Chevy 6.2L LS3 engine are obviously largely dependant on your power goals. In the parts that follow, we’ll go over the supporting mods required to handle a supercharged LS3 producing a range of escalating horsepower ratings.
LS3 with 500 wheel horsepower
Supercharger Kit costs between $6,000 and $10,000.
Long-tube headers (optional): $700-1,500
If reliability is a top requirement, 500 horsepower is a good starting point for a supercharged LS3 project. In fact, based on how the LS3 was built from the factory, it appears that GM expected owners to exceed 500 horsepower, especially with forced induction.
Aftermarket supporting mods are truly optional at this horsepower level. You won’t need to run much boost with a 500-horsepower objective. Depending on the supercharger you use, you will only need 5-9psi of boost to reach this baseline level. The factory LS3 internals are more than capable of withstanding the forces supplied by a supercharger to get there. Of course, regardless of horsepower, a proper LS3 tune is always required.
That being said, once you hit the 500-wheel-horsepower mark, long-tube headers may be worth considering. While the original exhaust manifolds flow well, they lack adequate merging collectors and so limit flow. Long-tube headers will help high-rpm performance and increase flow overall, which will play to the strengths of a centrifugal supercharger.
LS3 with 600 wheel horsepower
Optional water/methanol kit: $650-1,000
ARP Head Studs (Optional): $300
ARP Main Studs (Optional): $227
Surprisingly, even with close to 200whp above stock, an LS3 with factory internals will still perform well. There aren’t many stumbling blocks in this horsepower range, either. The stock LS3 bottom end will easily handle the stresses required to push a supercharged 6.2L LS3 into the 600whp level. The aluminum block and rotating assembly can both handle horsepower values approaching four digits, so you’re good there.
While the rotating assembly can bear the pressure, a quality set of head studs and main stud bolts are a worthwhile investment to guarantee the rotating assembly moves as little as possible.
Fueling is still not an immediate worry at this horsepower level. A methanol/water injection kit, on the other hand, might be a good choice, especially if you intend to go faster in the future. Water/methanol provides important benefits that can assure the safety of your supercharged LS3 at a minimal cost. An LS3 water/methanol system will reduce air charge temperatures by 20-30 degrees, cylinder temperatures by more than 200 degrees, raise the octane of regular pump gas, and reduce the possibility of cylinder detonation. Overall, it is a preventative measure that is necessary at higher standards but can probably be omitted around 600rwhp.
LS3 with 800-850+ wheel horsepower
$100 for Performance Valve Springs
$700 for 1050cc injectors
Fuel Pump Upgrade: $500-800
E85 Flex Fuel Kit costs $300.
$1,500-3,000 for forged pistons and rods
The 800-horsepower mark is where some more intensive adjustments come into play. This is true from both a strength and performance aspect. As we approach 800rwhp, some LS3 internals will begin to fail due to stress. That isn’t to argue that an 800-horsepower supercharged LS3 can’t be run on stock internals; there are plenty of instances. However, the outlook isn’t promising in terms of dependability.
This is close to the maximum power for the standard pistons and rods. While some individuals will pay top dollar for a set of off-the-shelf Weisco or Diamond-made forged pistons and rods, finding them for your specific build might be tough. To work with your build, custom pistons may be necessary, which can be pricey.
Many supercharged LS3 owners choose to install a bigger camshaft engineered to work in tandem with the blower in order to fully push enormous horsepower figures. It is critical to consider the accompanying mods before swapping in a larger LS3 cam. To prevent valve float caused by high rpms, valve springs, for example, will need to be replaced with high-performance ones. Furthermore, the factory LS3 exhaust valves should be replaced with ones that can handle a wider temperature range.
When it comes to high-horsepower LS3 engines, fueling is another important factor to consider. To keep up with the demands of the supercharger, your LS3 fuel system will require larger injectors and either a larger in-tank fuel pump or pump booster. For 850+ horsepower LS3s, 1050cc LS3 injectors combined with higher octane E85 fuel is a solid combination.
Upgrades for the 6.2L Chevy LS3 Supercharger
There are numerous kits available because blowers are such a popular addition to the 6.2L LS3 engine. In fact, there are so many that a thorough list would fill many pages. Having saying that, there are certain well-known kits that have made a name for themselves in the LS community. These are the kits we’ll be discussing here.
We’ll also make an effort to include positive displacement and centrifugal choices from a variety of manufacturers. The cost of a supercharger kit for the LS3 can range from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the manufacturer, build quality, included parts, and power potential.
1) Supercharger A&A C6 Corvette LS3
HP rating: 550-1,200 hp
We’ll start with one of the most popular centrifugal LS3 superchargers available. If you’ve ever visited the “Forced Induction” area of any Corvette forum, you’ve undoubtedly seen someone laud A&A’s virtues. It also makes logic. That is an awesome kit. Before we get into the intricacies of the kit, there’s another reason why the A&A kit is unique. It is the market’s only emission and CARB approved centrifugal LS3 kit. As a result, the A&A package is an excellent choice for LS3 owners seeking for a boosted daily car.
For almost 15 years, A&A has been tinkering with the centrifugal Corvette blower recipe. In addition to kits for the LS3, they also sell quality kits for the C5 and C7 Corvettes. All of that experience has resulted in a greater product, particularly in terms of quality. A&A exclusively partners with Vortec to supply two trim levels of dependable head units. The Si trim is designed for stock LS3s, whereas the Ti trim is designed for LS3s with minor changes like as headers and cams.
The A&A C6 centri supercharger kit is fully assembled and includes all of the necessary components. The package includes a ram air intercooler, an adjustable billet tensioner, a 38mm or 55mm BOV, spark plugs, mounting hardware, and other accessories. It actually is all-encompassing.
Dyno tests of the A&A kit at moderate boost settings have exceeded 550 horsepower on a completely stock LS3. With no fueling or exhaust adjustments, that is normally the low end of the A&A kit’s performance.
2) Magnuson TVS2300 Heartbeat Supercharger C6 Corvette LS3
550-900+ horsepower rating
Roots / PD style compressor
Magnuson has you covered for a more conventional roots-style LS3 blower. As a corporation that has recently been known for combining old-school roots technology with a newer manner of air intake. The Magnuson TVS LS3 supercharger does not compress air like a standard twin-screw PD blower. It simply pushes air into the engine through the inlet port. Because the TVS approach does not raise air temperatures, it is a more efficient way of giving boost.
There are several reasons to prefer a roots-style Magnuson LS3 blower over a more modern centrifugal blower. The absence of exterior moving parts is a critical feature that makes the Magnuson appealing. Everything is enclosed within the supercharger body with a roots LS3 supercharger. The TVS intake manifold, pulley, and integrated intercooler replace the standard LS3 intake manifold and pulley. This simplifies the total installation. Power delivery is immediate and forceful because it is a PD LS3 supercharger. Unlike centrifugal superchargers, which provide boost only near the top of the rev range, LS3 roots blowers provide boost almost instantly and continue to do so linearly until 6,500 rpm.
For ease of installation, the Magnuson TVS2300 Heartbeat LS3 supercharger is the way to go, as we briefly mentioned. One of Magnuson’s most prominent claims is that the Heartbeat can be fitted in a single day and provide an immediate 120-horsepower boost. For those looking for factory-like power delivery from an easy-to-install kit, the Magnuson kit is the best option.
3) Supercharger Kit ECS LS3 NOVI 1500 Corvette C6
500-1,300 horsepower rating
Returning to a more modern approach, the East Coast Supercharging LS3 centrifugal kit is an excellent new-age option. Along with A&A, ECS is maybe the most popular centrifugal supercharger choice for the LS3 engine. It behind A&A not because of a lack of quality, but because they aren’t as well-established. Despite being the underdog, the ECS LS3 kit is a tried-and-true setup that has set numerous drag records in the C6 world.
The ECS LS3 kit, like the A&A Centri kit, comes with an incredible number of parts and components. The system includes nearly every supporting component, from a fuel pump booster to a new 160-degree thermostat. ECS’s concentration on dependability and strength should be given special consideration. To compensate for the greater pressure on the LS3 belt system, the package includes an extra-strong, bespoke belt tensioner and billet aluminum brackets.
The ECS system comes with four distinct head units, each with a different power potential. On properly calibrated LS3 engines, the standard Paxton Novi 1500-SL unit can produce up to 800rwhp. Expect roughly 500-600 horsepower with a moderate boost level in entry-level configuration. Independent of power level, NOVI centrifugal superchargers have shown to be exceptionally reliable. The ECS kit is the ideal option for individuals who want to create at least 200 horsepower more than the stock LS3, with lots of room for growth in the future.
4) Whipple 2.9L Chevy Camaro LS3 Supercharger
575-1,300 horsepower rating
Twin-Screw / Positive Displacement Compressor
Returning to basics, the 2.9L Whipple Twin-Screw roots supercharger is the most classic option on this list. Whipple has been designing GM twin-screw superchargers since its inception 35 years ago. It’s safe to say they’ve mastered the positive displacement formula for the LS3. They say that the 2.9L twin-screw PD system is the most powerful on the market. Who are we to disagree?
In terms of performance, the 2.9L volume has a few key advantages. The most notable benefit of a greater volume is more room for an enormous air-to-water intercooler, which keeps internal air temperatures far lower than the competitors. This is a big benefit because heat soak is a common problem with twin-screw blowers. Overall, the Whipple LS3 supercharger is exceptionally efficient, with volumetric efficiency reaching 99%.
The Whipple, like the Magnuson mentioned above, is intended to be an all-inclusive kit. The Whipple, like all positive displacement LS3 superchargers, replaces the stock intake manifold and features its own self-contained oil system. When compared to other centrifugal choices, this makes it relatively simple to install. The 2.9L Whipple LS3 supercharger does not come with a base tune pre-installed. It necessitates a special tune from a local tuner. This is vital to remember if you want a blower that will function right away.
Summary of the Chevy LS3 Supercharger Guide
A Chevy LS3 is one of the best engines to supercharge out of all the options. The LS3’s unrivaled strength, wide range of supercharger options, and supportive aftermarket community make it an ideal candidate for a blower. It’s no secret that the LS3 can handle a lot of horsepower right away. Indeed, there are plenty of 700-horsepower supercharged C6 Corvettes on the road with few modifications. While standard high horsepower LS3 builds are appealing to many, it is advisable to play it safe and match an LS3 supercharger kit with quality supporting upgrades that will increase reliability and engine preservation.
The quantity of LS3 blower kits available on the market is simply astounding. That being said, there are a few tried-and-true options in the LS3 community that have yielded positive outcomes. If you need a positive displacement LS3 blower with a linear power band and effective boost across the rev range, the Magnuson TVS2300 or Whipple 2.9L blowers will do the job. A centrifugal supercharger, such as the ones included in the A&A or ECS NOVI kits, will be more suitable for individuals searching for a more current LS3 supercharger solution.