Tuning a Supercharged 2001 Chevrolet S-10 - Power From a PC
Tuning A Supercharged S-10
Being a truck fanatic who loves to go fast and happens to own a Chevy S-10, adding a supercharger to my 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 minitruck. But here's the problem: one supercharger, plus no computer tune, equals little-to-no horsepower gained. This was the case with our '01 Chevy S-10 as we ran the truck on the dyno when we 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. However, this time it was equipped with a Vortech SC-series centrifugal supercharger-complete with smaller 9-pound serpentine pulley, high-flow T-Rex inline fuel pump, and a reflashed ECU. After smashing the throttle, the dyno chart showed 156 hp. Sure, different dynometers read differently, but a decrease of 15 hp-how could this be? After talking to dozens of other S-10 owners, as well as engine gurus, we discovered that tuning was the missing piece of the horsepower puzzle.
This revelation, that my truck was in desperate need of some tuning, sent us 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 Frightening, a 1,000hp, twin-turbo V-8 truck that could smoke just about anything on the road. Talking with the owner, Bob Ida, we discussed several tuning options and agreed that the Perfect Power SMT-6 piggy-back computer was the way to go. The SMT-6 had the ability to tune almost any engine and had three separate maps-fuel, timing, and ignition-with the capability to fire extra injectors, nitrous, or other performance accessories.
When using Windows-based software, the SMT-6 is easy to use and can be installed by someone familiar with tuning. The discussion of fuel issues with Bob had 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. This would remedy the lean issue, and fuel could now be free-flowing and power might actually be made. Next, we contacted Edelbrock for a pair of its 27lb-hr Pico-style injectors that would fit the machined bung, perfectly. With each piece of the puzzle obtained, it was time to find someone who we could trust to tune the V-6. We looked no further than Shawn Ellis, of SoCal Tuning. We knew he had tuned several diesel trucks and made serious power with some computer wizardry. Using Superior Automotive, in Anaheim, California-a dyno facility-we were able to plug the Perfect Power pigtail cable right into Shawn's laptop and begin the tuning. How did it turn out? Read on...