Boost Battle: Which Supercharger Is Best For Your Mustang?

roots vs centrifugal superchargers

Horsepower is one of the key aspects of performance cars like the Mustang, as well as for any powerful engine in a vehicle like the F-150. The power found in a lot of these V8 engines is what attracts buyers to them. While smaller engines with turbochargers can make power more efficiently, V8 engines have an allure about them that will always attract buyers. For vehicles like the Mustang and the F-150, or any V8 vehicle in general, the sound and the feeling of the engine will always be slightly addictive feeling.

But what about when the naturally-aspirated V8 doesn’t do enough for your taste? A very straightforward answer is to add some type of forced induction system! While turbochargers can work well with engines like the Coyote V8, the relatively more affordable and more readily available option is often superchargers. Superchargers have no lag, spool quickly, can be modified to perform even better, and as a result, are generally found in more cars. For those who upgrade their V8s to superchargers, there are tons of options as well, making the decision to boost in that way is even more tempting.

Supercharger Types Supercharger Pros & Cons Supercharger Usage

q850 whipple supercharger

Types of Superchargers

When upgrading your engine with a supercharger, there are two types to compare to find the one right for your driving style. The two types of superchargers are roots or positive displacement, and centrifugal, and they both are used in different settings for different performance purposes. Many people buy_x000D_ superchargers for general road use with the occasional run at a drag strip or down the highway, never fully utilizing their new performance. A supercharger is a great way to get more power out of your car, but the two types of superchargers produce vastly different levels of performance.

The type you should install on your vehicle comes down to exactly how much power and reliability you want your car to have. With any power adder, your reliability will be affected negatively since it puts more strain on your engine and drivetrain when the rest of the car is not properly upgraded. While neither supercharger will directly make your car break since they come as fully prepared kits.

Roots/Twin Screw Superchargers

Roots superchargers are generally the most common ones found in the market for aftermarket and factory vehicles. These are known as positive-displacement superchargers because they actively displace a large amount of air, unlike centrifugal superchargers. These are the types of superchargers generally found on vehicles like the Shelby GT500 and other massively powerful V8 engines for domestic manufacturers. Additional vehicles, like the Shelby’s rival - the Hellcat - use roots-style superchargers too. While there are many reasons that these brands use them, there is one reason that stands out the most - price. Manufacturers can get superchargers like these for much cheaper than any other type of supercharger. These generally offer decent reliability and improved airflow, but often are more for mid-level power such as 100-200 extra horsepower. These are the most cost-effective way of getting horsepower quickly.

edelbrock supercharger coyote mustang

Brands like Edelbrock and Whipple tend to be the go-to brands for Mustang and F-150 owners for a good supply of parts, price, and good performance across the board. Other brands, such as Roush, make superchargers for vehicles as well. These roots-style superchargers and the similarly-styled twin-screw superchargers offer fairly easy installation for mass production and are easy to maintain when needed. With these superchargers, durability, reliability, and price are the main benefits that owners will find when they install them. Here at Steeda, we have attached the Edelbrock supercharger to our Silver Bullet drag car to reliably make over 950 horsepower on our Coyote V8.

centrifugal vortech supercharger mustang gt

Centrifugal Superchargers

More uncommon in many cars than the twin-screw or the roots-style, the centrifugal supercharger is much smaller and does not sit on top of the engine of the car. This flaw in the other design is where the centrifugal design plays its hand fully. These superchargers are set up like a turbocharger regarding shape and placement in the engine bay, but instead of being fueled by exhaust fumes, they are belt-fed with a pulley. They are compact, lightweight, and relatively affordable for the most part. There are many major benefits to using a centrifugal supercharger when adding power.

There are more brands moving into this market than many other power-adder companies. Brands like Vortech, Paxton, and ProCharger are the main brands in the market, and each of them has a history in the supercharger market. Centrifugal supercharged cars have a lot fewer issues than other types of supercharging, such as less heat soak and more flexibility in location. A major benefit of a centrifugal supercharger is the even pull across the rev range since the supercharger spools as the car’s engine climbs faster. As a result, these types of superchargers are very much sought after in the performance community.

procharged mustang gt

Pros & Cons Of Supercharger Types

With the two types of superchargers established, it is obvious that different types of superchargers will have pros over the other while also having major cons with them as well. With the roots-style or twin-screw supercharger, there is a very obvious pro in the sense that the same level of power is generated throughout the rev range. With this setup, the same amount of air is forced through the supercharger at any level which means a driver can know what to expect. Additionally, these positive-displacement superchargers are a simple bolt-on installation in many cases since they sit on top of the engine as opposed to the front-mounted centrifugal supercharger systems. Unfortunately, these systems have some flaws in the sense of not being able to bring in extra air after a certain point, as well as their weight and their vulnerability to heat issues.

While the benefits of the roots-style and twin screw superchargers seem to be numerous, centrifugal superchargers do the same work and have more than enough benefits to understand why people want them more often than the other setup. Unlike the roots-style supercharger, centrifugal superchargers are very compact and lightweight and can be mounted on either side of the engine, similar to how a turbo mounts. Additionally, like a turbo these superchargers spool as the engine revs, meaning that there is power at any range but it takes time to reach peak performance. While this may seem like a negative, it also allows the supercharger to run without a set limit on air that can be brought in which means it can generate more power.

steeda silver bullet mustang gt

Supercharger Uses

These two types of superchargers serve very different purposes and must be taken into consideration before installation on your engine. The two different types of superchargers have benefits at different RPMs and how they pull as you drive. Those cars and trucks fitted with roots or twin-screw superchargers, these cars can dominate during road racing and drag racing. Since these types of superchargers will provide all of their available performance at once, they work well to put a lot of power down instantly, which means a good launch and constant pull until the top end, as long as a transmission will keep giving it room to run. A perfect example of this is with the Steeda Silver Bullet which is fitted with the Edelbrock E-Force Stage 2 Supercharger. As a dedicated drag car, having all of the necessary horsepower available so quickly helped us pass 8.45 in the quarter mile!

With centrifugal systems like the ProCharger, you can use these around just about any type of racing. Since these superchargers build boost gradually, it is easy to control around a narrow or technical track like you’d find at autocross, as well as putting enough power down throughout the turns and straightaways in track racing. When kept in the upper RPM range, these superchargers can make some of the fastest cars on the strip since they will continue to bring in more and more air the faster they run.

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