Photo 2/37 | 2010 Chevy Tahoe Dyno Testing 1 | This Tahoe project was based in Savannah, Georgia, and our first task was getting a baseline horsepower figure. To handle this, we made the short drive out to Asian Automotive, where owner and lead mechanic Mickey Carter strapped the Tahoe to his Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno. Asian Automotive works on more then just import cars, and they can also do custom ECU tuning. After several pulls, the 5.3L laid down 268 rwhp and 281-lb-ft of torque. Those numbers are actually pretty decent for an all-stock Tahoe.
Photo 3/37 | Removing Stock Air Intake | Back in the driveway, Allan Settles (owner of the Tahoe) and the author got started tearing down the engine compartment. First, the battery cable was disconnected, the intake beauty cover was removed, and the stock air intake and airbox were pulled out of the Tahoe.
Photo 4/37 | Removing Factory Serpentine Belt | The factory serpentine belt and alternator were then removed. Only the alternator will be reused.
Photo 5/37 | Discounnecting Map Sensor Harness | On top of the factory intake manifold, the MAP sensor harness was disconnected, as were all of the fuel injector harnesses, throttle-body harness, and vacuum lines.
Photo 6/37 | Fuel Discounnecting Tool | Magnuson went as far as including the required fuel-disconnect tool in the supercharger kit. This level of thoughtfulness and precision is one of the things we greatly appreciate about the MagnaCharger kit.
Photo 7/37 | Removing Intake Manifold | With the fuel line disconnected and the ten 8mm intake bolts removed, the entire intake manifold could be lifted up and out of the engine bay. This piece is plastic, lightweight, and does not have any coolant running through it so there was zero mess involved.
Photo 8/37 | Taping Down Intake Ports | We then used a Shop-Vac to suck up any loose dirt and debris from the intake valley area and ran several strips of blue tape over the intake ports to prevent anything from falling into the cylinder head. We also used this time to drain the factory coolant from the lower radiator hose so we could remove the cylinder head steam bypass hose shown in caption 25.
Photo 9/37 | Removing Excess Alternator Bracket | Per the MagnaCharger instructions, we marked a line on the factory cast aluminum alternator bracket and used a cutoff wheel attached to a grinder to remove the excess that would interfere with the supercharger base.
Photo 10/37 | Magnacharger Supercharger Kit | We were now ready to start reassembly. First, we took a look at the entire MagnaCharger supercharger kit. Complete from top to bottom, the MagnaCharger (PN: 01-19-60-003-BL, $5,950) includes everything down to the last zip tie to perform the installation. Shown here is the TVS1900 manifold assembly, heat exchanger, hoses, pulleys, brackets, and necessary hardware.
Photo 11/37 | Inserting Ls1 Intake Gaskets | First up for reassembly, we had to insert these LS1 intake gaskets into the included billet aluminum intake spacers. Basically, these spacers provide added clearance for the supercharger base so it does not interfere with the valley pan.
Photo 12/37 | Sealing Spacers | We used a couple drops of RTV on the spacers to help them seal and set on the cylinder heads.
Photo 13/37 | Intake Manifold Bolt | Using two of the new intake manifold bolts as centering points, we then had to wait for the RTV to cure so the spacers would not shift once the supercharger assembly was placed into position.
Photo 14/37 | Installing Factory Map Sensor | It was now time to install several of the old intake pieces to the new supercharger manifold assembly. Shown here, we installed the factory MAP sensor. We also added the emissions purge valve on the driver side.
Photo 15/37 | Installing Magnuson Fuel Manifold | The new Magnuson fuel manifold was then installed with two 10mm bolts onto the driver side of the fuel rail. Magnuson already has new fuel injectors installed in the fuel rails to simplify installation.
Photo 16/37 | Added Fuel Tap | Back inside the engine compartment, we removed the fuse box lid and we could then add the included fuse tap to the 10A ignition fuse. This will power the water recirculation pump for the heat exchanger and manifold water intercooler.
Photo 17/37 | 30a Relay Install | The included 30A relay was then installed onto the fender and the wires were run accordingly.
Photo 18/37 | Intercooler Coolant Reservior | Tahoes and Suburbans have dual battery trays, but only the passenger-side tray actually houses the battery. Magnuson used the driver-side tray to house the intercooler coolant reservoir. This bracket is mounted using the factory hardware, and then the reservoir attaches with three 10mm bolts.
Photo 19/37 | Removing Front Grille | At this stage in the install, we had to take a break from putting new parts on, and take off the front grille and bumper assembly. On the Tahoe and Suburban platforms, the grille and bumper is one large assembly held on by several 10mm and 7mm bolts. We removed the bolts on top of the grille that attach to the radiator core support, as well as the bolts on the fender liner and under the bumper.
Photo 20/37 | Pulling Off Front Grille | Once the bolts and screws were removed, a big tug on each side pulled the bumper/grille assembly off.
Photo 21/37 | Heat Exchanger Rubber Mounting Post | This close-up shows the heat exchanger rubber mounting post that was bolted to the factory core support “A” frame. To get the post to mount in the exact spot, we measured using the heat exchanger and drilled an 8mm hole.
Photo 22/37 | Installing Heat Exchanger | Using the included L mounting brackets, the heat exchanger was then installed with the new hardware.
Photo 23/37 | Coolant Recircualtion Pump | It was a right fit, but we managed to get the coolant recirculation pump right where Magnuson instructed us to mount it—right behind the driver-side headlight.
Photo 24/37 | Attached Intercooler Heater Hoses | To make installation of the intercooler heater hoses much easier, we went ahead and attached them to the backside of the supercharger assembly. These hoses will feed coolant to the manifold intercooler, which will drastically lower intake air temperatures.
Photo 25/37 | Loosening Factory Alternator Mounting Bracket | In preparation for the supercharger assembly to be set into place, we went ahead and loosened the factory alternator-mounting bracket and let it rest. This will give us a few more inches of clearance.
Photo 26/37 | Assembled Supercharger | It took two of us, hence the lack of an action photo, but the supercharger assembly was gently laid onto the cylinder heads and then wrestled into position to get the ten 8mm manifold bolts lined up. Each bolt was torqued down in three stages to the recommended factory setting.
Photo 27/37 | Magnuson Steam Vent Hose | This is the steam vent hose we mentioned in caption 6. The new Magnuson hose (left) redirects the rubber hose away from the supercharger manifold assembly and prevents the hose from rubbing up against anything.
Photo 28/37 | Installed Tensioner Bracket | Up next, we installed the included tensioner bracket and new idler pulley. Also shown in this photo, you can see the snout support brace that was installed to keep the shaft of the supercharger supported. Using the included four bolts and some Loctite, the supercharger pulley was then bolted on.
Photo 29/37 | Installing Serpentine Belt | We were now ready to install the new serpentine belt. Magnuson includes a steel pin to lock down the tensioner, and it was necessary to use the pin to get the belt into position. We also slid the idler pulley all the way up and then slipped the belt on. It was at this point we slid the pulley back down and released the tension. The belt tension was extremely strong, which is exactly what you want from a supercharger kit to prevent any belt slippage.
Photo 30/37 | Smog Legal Magnacharger | Perhaps one of the best parts of this kit for those of us who live in California, the MagnaCharger supercharger is 50-state smog and CARB legal. Now you can go fast and not get an emissions ticket—the best of both worlds.
Photo 31/37 | Connected Intercooler And Heat Exchanged Hoses | With the supercharger assembly buttoned down, we routed the intercooler and heat exchanger hoses along the driver-side and connected them with the included spring clamps.
Photo 32/37 | Coolant Reservior Tank | At this point, we were ready to top off the coolant reservoir tank with—you guessed it—coolant (about a 50/50 water to antifreeze ratio). It's vital to make sure the coolant reservoir is higher than the coolant pump, as the pump is gravity fed and you want to avoid cavitation.
Photo 33/37 | Supercharger Intake Tube | We then slid the intake tube into the air box, in this case a Bully Dog unit, and reconnected all of the wiring harnesses, which included the MAP and MAF sensors, throttle body, fuel injectors, and intake air temp sensor. All of the corresponding vacuum hoses were also reconnected.
Photo 34/37 | Sct Od II Tuner | The factory ECU tune will not support the new fuel injectors and boost from the supercharger, however, MagnaCharger includes an SCT OBD-II tuner with a preloaded tune. It only took a few minutes and a few buttons pressed to get our ECU ready to fire the 5.3L.
Photo 35/37 | Warped Ls1 Intake Gasket | Now for the moment of truth, we turned the ignition key and immediately turned it off. The 5.3L was running terribly and sounded like it had a huge vacuum leak. After further inspection, the billet spacers that mount to the cylinder heads (shown in captions 10 and 11) were not properly lined up and actually caused a small flame to shoot out of the gap. We were forced to tear everything down and make a trip to the dealer to purchase new LS1 intake gaskets (as the small flame warped the original gaskets shown here). We were much more careful when repositioning the spacers and supercharger assembly and the 5.3L roared to life and idled like it should.
Photo 36/37 | 2010 Chevy Tahoe Dyno Testing 2 | Back at Asian Automotive, in Savannah, Georgia, Mickey Carter had the Tahoe strapped down on the dyno. After several pulls, the Tahoe laid down 363 rwhp, for an increase of 95 hp. That number was a little less than we thought we'd see, but with the newer 6L80E six-speed transmissions, the trucks and SUVs actually make less power to the wheels. As you can see, the front is sporting a new set of 24-inch Giovanna wheels, which we showed in last month's issue. For the first dyno pull, we used the factory 17-inch rear wheels.
Photo 37/37 | 2010 Chevy Tahoe Dyno Testing 3 | We know that larger wheels and tires suck power from your truck or SUV, and to show you just how much, we strapped the 24-inch wheels back onto the Tahoe and made a pull. Despite the overall tire height being about the same as the 17-inch stock tires, the larger unsprung mass sucked 30 rwhp from the Tahoe, as it only made 333 rwhp. If you're going to put big wheels or tires on your truck, a supercharger is basically required to maintain a high level of performance.