How Can I Install a Supercharger on a Budget?

Ford Mustang Q&A

Michael asked: “I purchased a Vortech V2 supercharger for my ‘98 Mustang GT. What can I do to install it on a budget? I bought it second hand, and like so many other people, I don’t have money burning holes in my pockets. I was told to invest in an intercooler, MSD ignition, headers, and to remap my computer. It is a weekend driver so it won’t see any track time, only the road. The engine is a mostly-stock 4.6-liter V-8, just a chip and Borla exhaust. Any other info or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!”

Answer: With the economy in the crapper, it seems we’re all on a budget these days. Many of our customers are taking the Do-It-Yourself route, which is saving them big bucks on install fees. However, Mustang supercharger kits are NOT a DIY project for anyone without years of hands-on experience with cars and performance mods.

Doing engine work like this “on a budget” is risky. It’s imperative that everything be installed correctly or you could wind up with a connecting rod poking through your engine block. No one wants to see that. If you don’t have the dough for the best parts and the best shop, then putting your money in the right places can make all the difference.

Before You Install…
Finding a supercharger second-hand can be a great alternative to a pricey complete kit, but it’s important to remember that you’ll need to invest money into it before it even goes on the car. If you know the person you’re buying from, you may have some idea of how it’s been treated; however this is a luxury you don’t have when buying from a site such as eBay or Craigslist. Even if you do know the person you’re buying from, you should spend the money (around $100) to have your supercharger disassembled and inspected by Vortech. They can also repair/rebuild your blower (for an additional charge) if it turns out to be damaged or in poor condition.*

Completing Your Kit…
When you buy a used supercharger you usually only get the supercharger assembly, and you can’t just bolt that to your car and go on your merry way. One look at a parts list for a complete Vortech kit will show that you’re far from having everything you need. In addition to these, other components like fuel injectors, fuel rails, intake, and ignition components need to be upgraded. Don’t forget all the fittings and hardware as well; providing these for the shop that is installing your supercharger will ensure that the correct parts are used and will make the job easier for the tech.

Installation & Tuning…
Cost of installation is difficult to estimate. Shop rates vary depending on where you are and what type of shop you’re going to. I would recommend tracking down a shop that has a lot of experience with high-performance modifications, but one that specializes in Mustangs would be ideal. A full supercharger install can take 8 to 12 hours. Just multiply that by the shop’s labor rate and you’ve got an estimate, but that doesn’t include tuning. To get the most out of your supercharger you need to get the car tuned (or, “re-mapped”). A tuner reprograms the way the computer “thinks” so it can work with your supercharger. A dyno-tune is the only safe way to go about this and it’s not necessarily cheap, but well worth the money. You can expect to spend around $500 or more for a quality dyno-tune, depending on your area.

*This applies to Vortech superchargers only. Contact the manufacturer of your supercharger to find out if they offer this type of service.

Written by Andrew

"You're telling me it's got four wheels, two seats and goes faster than the speed limit? Good, I'm driving."


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