Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuned Chevrolet S10

Tuned Chevrolet S10Tuned Chevrolet S10Tuned Chevrolet S10

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 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…

1. Strapped onto the Superior Automotive dyno in Anaheim, the supercharged untuned 4.3L laid down an embarrassing 156 hp. If you have experienced let-downs like this with your truck, a tune-up should be on your to-do list.

2. Before we arrived at Superior Automotive, we installed the Perfect Power SMT-6 digital processor. It can handle superchargers, turbos, nitrous, multiple ignition boxes, and other accessories requiring a vacuum-assisted 12-volt signal. We removed the wiper motor then mounted the small processor box on the firewall.

3. We labeled each color-coordinated wire to correspond with the stock ECU wiring. Ida Automotive, supplier of Perfect Power products, supplied a wiring schematic just for the ‘01 S-10 with 4.3L, so that there would be no need for second-guessing the wiring.

4. A requirement with the SMT-6 kit is the use of a two-bar 28-psi MAP sensor. Tapping into the MAP sensor, the SMT-6 can instantly determine when boost is occurring and activate the necessary triggered accessory, which in our case is two extra fuel injectors. Because ‘01 S-10s didn’t come with a MAP sensor, the two bar unit was included in the Vortech supercharger kit and senses boost from the T’ed stock vacuum hoses.

5. Rob Ida, son of Bob Ida, perfectly welded a plate to the Vortech hat with two bungs in it to insert two Pico-style injectors. Ida Automotive also included the hex fuel rain and mount, which came complete with Ida logo, held in by four 1/4-inch screws, preventing any leaks. The added fuel will spray directly into the blower-inlet hat, which will help to eliminate the lean problem we were having before. The Perfect Power SMT-6 triggers the two Edelbrock injectors when the MAP sensor senses boost, which in our case, came from the vacuum hose.
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