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2001 Chevy S10 - Power From A PC

Tuning A Supercharged S-10

Dan Ward
Feb 1, 2007
Photographers: Dan Ward
Photo 2/15   |   2001 Chevy S10 interior View
Being a truck fanatic who loves to go fast and happens to own a Chevy S-10, adding a supercharger to the stock 4.3L was a no-brainer when it all came together. Superchargers are great and can add gobs of power to an otherwise factory-equipped truck. Herein lies the problem, supercharger + no computer tune = little to no horsepower gain. This was the case on my '01 Chevy S-10 as I ran the truck on a dyno when I installed the AEM Brute Force Intake where the truck laid down a very respectable 171 hp to the wheels. Fast forward a year and the truck was strapped down to the Superior Automotive dyno, this time equipped with a Vortech SC-series centrifugal supercharger complete with a smaller 9-pound serpentine pulley, a high-flow T-Rex inline fuel pump, and a reflashed ECU. After smashing the throttle, the dyno chart showed 156 hp. Sure, different dynamometers read differently, but a decrease of 15 hp, how could this be? Talking to dozens of other S-10 owners, tuning seems to be the missing piece of the horsepower puzzle.
Photo 3/15   |   Strapped onto the Superior Automotive dyno in Anaheim, California, the untuned supercharged 4.3L laid down an embarrassing 156 hp. If you have experienced let downs like this on your truck, a tune should be in your future.
The revelation that my truck was in desperate need of some tuning sent me straight to Ida Automotive, one of the United States distributors for Perfect Power. Ida Automotive is the same company that built the Ford F-150 project named "Frightning," a 1,000 hp, twin-turbo V-8 truck that could smoke just about anything on the road. Talking with owner Bob Ida on the phone, we discussed several tuning options and agreed that the Perfect Power SMT-6 piggy-back computer was the way to go. The SMT-6 has the ability to tune almost any engine and has three separate maps: fuel, timing, and ignition, with the capability to fire extra injectors, nitrous, or other performance accessories.
Using Windows-based software, the SMT-6 is easy to use and can be installed by someone familiar with tuning.
Discussing fuel issues with Bob revealed Ida Automotive's capability to weld a bung onto the Vortech aluminum intake hat. This bung would house two extra injectors (fired by the SMT-6 under boost) that would fire right into the oncoming air from the supercharger. Remedying the lean issue, fuel would now be free flowing and power might actually be made. I contacted Edelbrock for a pair of its 27 lb/hr Pico-style injectors that would fit the machined bung perfectly. With each piece of the puzzle obtained, it was time to find someone I could trust to tune the V-6. I looked no further than Shawn Ellis of SoCal Tuning who had tuned several diesel trucks we knew and made serious power with some computer wizardry. Using Superior Automotive's dyno facility in Anaheim, California, we were able to plug the Perfect Power pigtail cable right into Sean's laptop and begin the tuning. How did it turn out? Read on
Your Questions AnsweredTotal Time Spent Working: 5 hours (includes wiring SMT-6, tapping into the fuel line, and installing the new injectors).
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate (basic wrenching ability needed, but tuning expertise is hard to find).
Tools Needed: Wire crimpers, butt-connectors, Schrader valve tool, 1/2-inch wrench, 9/16-inch flare nut wrench, voltage meter, 5mm hex wrench
Edelbrock Pico-style injectors Part # 3585
$82.69 (x2)
Custom stainless braided fuel line and fittings
Ida Automotive weld-in bung for Vortech hat
Ida Automotive Fuel rail and mount for two injectors
Ida Automotive/Perfect Power SMT-6
Ida Automotive/Perfect Power S-10 pre-configuration
SoCal Tuning custom programming from laptop
Superior Automotive dyno time
From The Driver SeatAfter unstrapping the S-10 from the dyno, I finally had a chance to drive the 4.3L with real boost. For too long, the truck would lean out and not make any power. Historically, the 4.3L is not happy when revved to the limit that's required to make real horsepower from the centrifugal blower; so getting proper amounts of fuel at earlier rpms is vital to getting the new air mixture right. The new tune created a good 11.7 to 12.2 AFR (air/fuel ratio) when in boost and, for the first time, a full 9 psi of boost registered on the Autometer gauge. Switching gears provided a new opportunity for more boost and a slam back into the seat. Was it worth the almost $1,300? Yes, every time I smash the throttle.


E3 Spark Plugs
Ponte Vedra, FL
Superior Automotive
Anaheim, CA 92801
IDA Automotive
(732) 591-2630
SoCal Tuning
Anaheim, CA 92801


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