In the seemingly never-ending search for more power, there are many options. Supercharging is one, and it makes an engine work as if its bigger than it really is by forcing more air into the cylinders than atmospheric pressure alone can do. That part of blower history hasnt changed, but the compressors themselves sure have. It used to be that noise, overheated intake air, and bulk were among the trademarks of a puffernot so with the new Eaton units.
With only ¼ hp of parasitic drag, 68 percent efficiency, and a conservative 30 to 40 percent increase in performance at a 5-psi boost (according to Allen Engine Development), the small Eaton-based blower sure looks good compared to the big old cog-belt setups from an efficiency standpoint.
Blowers have made a quiet (literally) comeback on cars, many of which leave the factory with an Eaton supercharger under the hood. Since stuffing more air into the combustion chambers of a four-wheel-drive has the same effect on performance as it does on a lowly car, it makes sense that someone would apply this newer blower technology to four-by engines. And that someone is Jerry Magnuson of MagnaCharger (supplier to Allen Engine Development).
Having tinkered with blowers since the 60s, Magnuson pretty much knows what works and what doesnt, and MagnaCharger is the sole North American remanufacturer of Eaton superchargers as well as handles aftermarket applications of the popular huffers.
Most of the Allen setups are California Air Resource Board (CARB) legal, made to work within the stock fuel parameters. The installation shown in this story was a prototype for a 1999 F-250 with a 5.4L V-8. Thanks to the small size of the Allen combo, the blower was practically hidden from view once it was installed under the new intake manifold. Harder to hide, at least whenever the throttle is applied, is the 38 percent increase in horsepower that has resulted.
Those who feared that bolt-on power, especially in large doses, was doomed with the onset of ever more stringent smog laws can rest assured. Blowers are obviously here to stay, pumping new life into mediocre motorsor some more yet into engines that run well to start with.