If you're a big fan of spicy food, you check out somebody like Guy Fieri on the Food Network to watch him cook up all kinds of hot habineros. But if you want to feel the heat from a Hemi, Vortech serves up a centrifugal supercharger that'll smoke 'em. Try one little taste of this chile-green Charger, and you'll be howling for more. As with any gourmet dish, quality is more important than quantity, so instead of a rotund Roots blower piled high on the hood, the centrifugal type packs its punch in a compact unit right under the hood.
Force-feeding more air and fuel into a Hemi has a long and storied history dating back to the Mopar muscle cars of the '60s. Those hemispherical heads are real heavy breathers, and open their nostrils quicker than stuffing your face with a mouthful of hot peppers.
The major components of the Vortech package include a compressor, Power Cooler, pulley bra
Of course, increasing the respiration rate on today's computer-controlled Hemi isn't all that easy. But Vortech is already all over that one, having introduced a new system that simplifies installation. Designed to fit either the 5.7 or 6.1-liter Hemi V-8s ('05-'09), it doesn't require routing of oil lines, nor drilling into the oil pan, since it has an internal oil reservoir for self-lubrication. (Note, though, that the oil in the compressor should be changed every 7,500 miles, and Vortech provides three pre-measured bottles of the special oil that's required. All you have to do is pull a plug, drain the compressor, and then refill.)
The major steps of the installation on the engine bay consist of adding a new pulley bracket, air compressor, bypass valve, high-flow air filter, and Power Cooler. To prevent a lean-out condition and keep up with the increased airflow pumped out by Vortech's over-achieving, internally lubricated V-3 Si-Trim centrifugal supercharger, the fuel management requires some attention as well. This aspect requires adding high-flow Mopar fuel injectors and a two-bar Map sensor (procedures vary slightly between the 5.7L the 6.1L, which includes a fuel-pump voltage booster assembly as well).
On the stock Hemi, first make sure that your ECM does not need to be updated. (The Diablo
A DiabloSport Predator hand-held programmer is used to change the ignition timing and fuel enrichment. Before proceeding with these latter steps, though, be sure to let the engine cool down before relieving pressure on the fuel system. Also, do not attempt to reuse the factory retaining clips on the new injectors.
One item we weren't able to show is the dowel pin install on the harmonic damper, which acts as a fail-safe to prevent it from spinning on the crankshaft. This step requires removing the electric radiator fan assembly and crankshaft damper bolt. Vortech supplies a drill guide for precise location of the pilot hole for the 1/4-inch dowel pin.
It's no secret that compressing extra air into a Hemi creates heat, which can impede power production. That's why cooling the induction is so important, as it improves the oxygen density of the charge density while reducing the risk of detonation. To that end, Vortec includes an integrated dual-pass air/water charge cooler that utilizes a closed-loop water-cooling configuration with a stand-alone pump, tank and front mounted heat exchanger.
Taking all these mods together, expect to give up the better part of your weekend fitting on the system, but if you know your way around a rollaway (fitted with standard shop tools, such as a socket set, wrenches, screwdriver and drill), you probably can pull into your garage on Friday evening and be test-driving your Hemi-powered Dodge (or Chrysler) by Sunday afternoon. (Vortech also has a network of professional installers if you'd rather pay somebody to do the wrench work, and offers a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty.)