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Jeep Superchargers, Turbo, & Nitrous - Blow On It A Little

Posted in How To: Engine on January 23, 2007 Comment (0)
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Photographers: JP Staff

With today's aftermarket selection of turbochargers, superchargers, and even nitrous systems for less than the price of an engine swap, you can easily bring back the driveability you had with the stock-height Jeep rolling on stock-sized rubber.

A lot of people throw boost systems out with one of two myths: "I don't like the lag that is associated with it," or "It just isn't reliable enough." If the turbo or supercharger system is built correctly for your application, there will be no lag to speak of. As for reliability, again, if it is a well-designed and implemented system, you will get your bang for the buck. Look at Cappa's 100,000 miles with Red ("100,000-Plus," January '07). He got 100,000 miles out of the Avenger supercharger on the '01 TJ and wasn't nice to it at all.

The other thing that many people forget when comparing prices of things is ancillary components. To swap an engine, you've got to look at the transmission compatibility, wiring issues, possible fuel delivery issues, and cooling problems-not to mention whether or not the thing will physically fit in the Jeep. There are a lot of added costs to engine swaps that are often overlooked.

Technically, a supercharger refers to any pump that forces more air into an engine, but in common usage it is a belt, chain, or geardriven unit that increases the amount of air going into the engine through means of increasing the pressure. More air into the engine means more fuel can be added to maintain the stoichiometric air/fuel mixture. More air plus more fuel equals more power.

Avenger Superchargers
The company has a long list of available bolt-on kits for Jeeps. Boasting an approximate 80hp increase over stock on a six-cylinder TJ, the company doesn't stop there. From the '91-'95 4.0L YJ kit through all four- and six-cylinder TJ Wranglers to the new '07 JK system for the 3.8L V-6, if you've got a Jeep made in the last 15 years, look into Avenger. Information: Avenger Superchargers; 719/594-4766,

Gator Superchargers
Whether you are interested in literature on how Kaiser and Willys experimented with forced induction or other general forced-induction books, Gator Superchargers has the book you need. In addition, the company has come up with a beltdriven turbo that can be easily mounted in any vehicle and runs cooler than any comparable unit on the market, eliminating costly intercoolers. Information: Gator Superchargers,

Hurley Engine
Service CompanyBetter known in the Jeeping community as HESCO, this kit kicks the power output of your '87-'95 YJ, XJ and ZJ (without ABS brakes) or '97-'04 TJ up to 275 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. This kit can be installed in three to four hours by anyone with basic mechanical knowledge, and no body lift is needed to clear the supercharger (nor is an intercooler required). Information: HESCO Inc.; 205/251-1472,

Kenne Bell
Kenne Bell is a huge name in the Mustang world with supercharging and brings that experience to the Jeep market. With three available boost levels (5.5, 8.5, and 15 psi) offering up to a whopping 72 percent increase in torque over stock, the normal 50-state-legal kit provides gains of 47 percent more horsepower and 52 percent more torque. With many available add-ons such as intercoolers, pulleys, and bigger available superchargers, if you like tuning your engine, this kit is for you. Information: Kenne Bell; 909/941-6646,

Supercharger Pros
While they don't have a specific application for Jeep vehicles, if you aren't afraid of some accessory bracket modification or fabrication, this company can get you heading in the right direction with its high-quality new or remanufactured superchargers and knowledgeable technical assistance to make sure you get the correct supercharger for your application. Information: Supercharger Pros; 800/779-9876,

Think Performance!
The Think! Performance Stampede supercharger system is designed with "real world" usage in mind. Kits are available for '97-'06 TJs with the 4.0L six-cylinder, and the emphasis is on substantial torque and horsepower gains in the rpm range that a Jeep is actually operated within. There are no electrical connections needed for ease of installation yet the kit still provides a 50 percent increase in both horsepower and torque. Information: Think Performance!; 877/811-3120,

As the name implies, the supercharger kit from XJ Armor is intended for XJs-'91-'01 XJs, to be exact. This kit bolts the supercharger on in place of the AC compressor, and, as such, uses the stock serpentine belt while cranking out approximately 100 more horsepower from your XJ. The best part of this kit is the entrance fee of only $2,200. Information: XJ-Armor; 650/365-3335,

A turbocharger compresses the gas going into an engine in a similar fashion to a supercharger. The major difference between the two is that while a supercharger is driven off the crank of the engine mechanically, the turbo is driven with the exhaust gasses coming out of the engine. When sized appropriately for the displacement of engine and range of rpm the engine operates in, there is very little (if any) turbo lag that can be detected.

505 Performance
If you've got a 4.0L six-cylinder Wrangler, this company has the turbo kit for you. In our testing on a '99 TJ, we saw a rear-wheel horsepower increase of 65, while the torque gains of 90 lb-ft at the rear wheels really made a huge difference in driveability. The kit includes everything you need to start enjoying your Wrangler again. Information: 505 Performance; 505/333-2600,

Turbocharger Pros
If you drive a Jeep that isn't the 4.0L Wrangler, look to Turbocharger Pros for high-quality new and remanufactured turbos. Sure, there will be some exhaust modifications and intake rerouting, but if you want a turbo, break out the fabrication tools and give the expert staff at Turbocharger Pros a call. Information: Turbocharger Pros; 800/923-0413,

Nitrous oxide-aka dinitrogen oxide, aka nitrous-gets a bad reputation for blowing up engines. The fact of the matter is that by injecting nitrous into the intake, you are adding more oxygen to the mixture. Add too much to it and the engine will quickly be making more power than it can physically handle. Possibly the biggest benefit of nitrous is that it's not always on. If you need a boost for a mud hole or hillclimb, hit it. But you aren't penalized daily when it comes to fuel mileage because you're not constantly burning more fuel. Plus, if you've got enough power day to day, then for under a grand you can get a decent nitrous system.

The biggest name in nitrous is NOS. While they might not have a bolt-on kit for your Jeep, it's guaranteed they've got something that will work with whatever engine you've got under the hood. From 50-200-plus engine-exploding ponies, NOS has it. Information: Holley; 270/782-2900,

If there is a name in carburetors, its most likely a name in nitrous too, and Edelbrock is no exception to that rule. From the Performer nitrous system to the Progressive nitrous controller, which both provide control of the funny gas over a period of time through modulation of the electronic solenoid, whatever your need, if you can perform fabrication work one step above duct tape, you can install one of these kits. Information: Edelbrock; 310/781-2222,

Nitrous Express...when you've absolutely got to have that power kick, but you have smashed your little brother's piggy bank for gas money already, NX has a low-cost kit for you. Sure, you'll have to work a way out to feed extra fuel in and possibly fabricate a few brackets, but when is the last time even a bolt-on part really did bolt on? Information: Nitrous Express Inc.; 940/767-7694,

If you've been looking for a nitrous system to add to your fuel-injected Jeep, look no further than ZEX. With both wet (fuel added with nitrous system) and dry (more fuel pumped through injectors) kits for a vast variety of four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines-as well as specific applications-this is the fuel-injected nitrous for you. The secret is the Nitrous Management Unit that adds fuel when the nitrous is in use. Information: ZEX Performance Products; 888/817-1008,


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