There are usually two roads to follow if you want to modify or customize your car: fix what’s wrong or improve what’s already right. If you prefer the latter, installing an Acura TL Comptech supercharger is an easy modification that can squeeze some extra juice out of your Acura TL. With a supercharger in your TL’s V6, you can get a boost of around 60 to 65 hp. This will deliver impressive results for daily driving and racing.
Take a look at our full guide to learn all about superchargers and see what you could gain by installing one in your Acura TL. We’ll focus on the renowned Acura TL Comptech supercharger kit to emphasize the benefits of this relatively simple modification.
Ever since its introduction, Acura has been one of the most popular names in racing, and it is especially famous for its powerful and reliable V6 engines.
For the unacquainted — the Acura brand was introduced by the Honda Motor Company in 1986. It was launched in the U.S. and Canada and marketed as the Japanese automaker’s luxury vehicle division. Also, Acura was the first-ever luxury car brand to come out of Japan. Some of its flagship vehicles are the Legend, Integra, and the NSX sports car.
When it comes to the Acura TL, it was first produced in Japan from 1995 to 1998. In 1999, the model was redesigned for manufacture in the U.S.[read more]
The Acura TL was one of Honda’s best-selling compact executive cars in the U.S. for many years. Today, it remains one of the most affordable luxury cars on the used market, with prices averaging around $10,000 to $15,000.
The TL model name stands for “Touring Luxury,” which undoubtedly reflects this car’s reputation and elegant design. In fact, many describe it as a sports sedan that blends speed and class and delivers impressive performance on city streets and race tracks.
Overall, there have been four generations of this 4-door luxury sedan:
- First generation (1996 to 1998)
- Second generation (1999 to 2003)
- Third generation (2004 to 2008)
- Fourth generation (2009 to 2014)
Early on, the TL was intended to replace the Vigor, which fell somewhere between the Legend and the Integra. The first generation was fitted with a 2.0 L or 2.5 L Honda G-Series five-cylinder engine or a 3.2 L V6 engine. Here, the 2.5 TL was offered as a sports model with 176 hp, while the 3.2 L version used the engine from the Legend and provided 200 hp for a more luxurious ride.
The second-generation was offered exclusively in 3.2 L V6 form with 225 hp. In 2002, a new Type-S model (3.2 L with 260 hp) was introduced. However, it all came together with the third-gen Acura TL. The third generation offered a 3.2-liter V-6 with 270 hp and a Type-S model with a 3.5 L V6 and 286 hp.
The final generation of the TL was introduced with the 2009 model year with a 3.5 L V6 and 280 hp. However, it was met with criticism, and it was replaced in 2015 by the new TLX, which is still in production in 2021.
As you can see, there are many versions and trim levels of the TL. This could make it tricky for you to find and install a compatible supercharger kit. If you’re a proud owner of a TL, you will need to see if your chosen supercharger kit fits the exact model of your car. And if you’re in the market for a TL and are hoping to upgrade it, you’ll also have to look online and see which Civic supercharger kit will fit your vehicle.
The third-generation TL (2004 to 2008) is the most desirable model in terms of quality, popularity, and customization options. It was offered in manual and automatic versions, although the automatics were prone to failure over time. Some of the styling choices on this sedan positioned it in line with its rivals such as Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
All in all, the 3rd-gen TL and especially the 2008 model remain extremely popular among Acura enthusiasts and street racers. The TL’s impressive SOHC VTEC V6 engine loves to rev and build power gradually. What’s more, the interior boasts tight styling and stands out in comparison to the German brands. The overall build, reliability, and quality of a TL in good condition will keep it running for many years to come.
|3.2-liter||J32A3||V6||270 horsepower||238 lb⋅ft|
|3.5-liter||J35A8||V6||286 horsepower||245 lb⋅ft|
Plus, this car is also devoid of engineering gimmicks and overly complicated design choices, making it a perfect set of wheels for modding and customization.
So how and why should you supercharge an Acura TL?
Acura engines are virtually identical to Honda engines. However, the luxury iterations like the TL allegedly contain carefully selected engines that provide the best performance. These engines are powerful and robust. As a big plus, you can customize them without detonating them. That’s why the later generations of the TL and the Type-S trim levels are a perfect match for a supercharging kit.
Additionally, even if the engine specs look slightly unremarkable, the Acura TL has the potential to behave like a ‘69 Charger if you install the supercharger unit correctly and slam the throttle.
Superchargers enable you to boost TL’s hp, torque, and performance without swapping the engine or performing extensive mods. They are bolt-on devices that take their power from the engine itself. The main purpose of a supercharger is to use that very power and pump more oxygen back into the engine with each intake cycle.
Essentially, superchargers are air compressors founded on the principles of forced induction. They boost the fuel intake by increasing the amount of air that goes into the engine. Then, the added fuel that is injected into the combustion chamber generates more power. Plus, this process allows the device to operate across the entire RPM range while eliminating response lag.
If you build a supercharger into your Acura TL’s V6, you’ll be able to boost the air intake in the combustion chamber to gauge pressure.
There are three different types of superchargers you can choose from:
Superchargers operate on an entirely different principle compared to using a turbocharger, which is pricier and a bit more complicated to install. While turbos use free energy in the form of exhaust gasses, superchargers are driven mechanically. The engine’s power actually drives the supercharger since the device is connected to the crankshaft via a chain or belt. Here are two of the main benefits of using a supercharger in a high-displacement V6:
- Since the supercharger is mechanically driven via a driveshaft, it will eliminate response lag.
- It will also deliver torque over the entire RPM range.
When compared to turbos which run on exhaust fumes, superchargers provide an almost instant boost. You don’t have to wait for the exhaust pressure to build, which is exactly why superchargers are more popular with top-fuel drag racers.
While you can find aftermarket supercharger and turbo kits, the former is easier to install. Supercharger assembly requires a crank belt and pulley, along with a bracket. Moreover, it needs to be integrated into the intake system. This often requires the addition of a cold air intake.
On the other hand, one of the bigger drawbacks of turbos is that they require integration with both the intake system and the exhaust. This increases the installation time and requires more moving parts. Additionally, supercharger kits offer simple bolt-on installation, and you can mount them onto your engine fairly quickly.
Comptech Racing (later known as CT-Engineering) is arguably one of Honda’s best companies for aftermarket parts in the U.S. The Comptech race engine shop has actually produced some of the most powerful racing engines for Acura and Honda in the 1980s and 1990s.
In the mid-1980s, Comptech actually worked on the first Honda race car in the U.S. It has also produced supercharged engines for the Acura Integra. The company is famous for its standalone supercharger kits for Honda and Acura.
Unfortunately, CT-Engineering closed its doors in late 2018. Many of its products, components, and kits, like the Comptech supercharger kit for the TL, are thus currently unavailable. Allegedly, the company was purchased by an ex-Comptech employee, and there are rumors of it being relaunched in the future.
For now, Comptech superchargers are hard to find. Some of the used offerings will fetch high prices due to their quality builds and easy installation. Still, we can use the Comptech Acura TL supercharger kit as one of the best examples of what you could get if you opt to install a blower.
The Acura TL supercharger kit is designed for the third generation of Acura TL models produced between 2004 and 2008. The core of this supercharger is an Eaton-type blower, and it includes the blower unit, intake system, and several other major components.
Moreover, the kit is powered by an Eaton-type blower unit for smooth power delivery. This blower is comparable to the ones used by General Motors on the 3800 V6 engines. You’ll often see them in muscle machines such as the Impala or the El Camino. Furthermore, since the Eaton-style design creates a consistent boost, it also compresses the intake charge with high efficiency while keeping the intake air temperature relatively stable.
In the Acura TL, this supercharger creates a nearly instant boost with outstanding throttle response. It also generates a noticeable increase in low and midrange torque. Plus, this supercharger is 50-state CARB legal for street use in California. As mentioned, the kit is made for the third-gen TL, and it will fit the following models:
|2004||Base 4-Door Sedan||3.2 L V6 SOHC GAS|
|2005||Base 4-Door Sedan||3.2 L V6 SOHC GAS|
|2006||Base 4-Door Sedan||3.2 L V6 SOHC GAS|
|2007||Base 4-Door Sedan||3.5 L V6 SOHC|
|2007||Type-S||3.5 L V6 SOHC|
|2008||Base 4-Door Sedan||3.2 L V6 SOHC GAS|
The kit contains:
- Blower unit
- Intake system
- New belt and related hardware
- ACM unit
- Ice Box air intake system
- Fuel pressure regulator
- Battery tray with billet battery tie down
- All brackets and related hardware
Comptech also has an S2000 supercharger on the market as well. The kit provides a 100 horsepower increase on a stock engine.
Acura TL Supercharger Kit Requirements
If we use the Acura TL Comptech supercharger kit as an example, we’ll see that it’s only suitable for the 2004-2008 generation of TL base models and Type-S trim levels. Fitting this kit to an earlier version of the TL could require extensive mods to the supercharger unit and the car. It could require new mounting brackets, a new neck, and a pulley, along with other tweaks.
That’s why it’s essential to choose a supercharger kit for the exact model of your vehicle. A Honda Ridgeline supercharger, for the J35 engine series, would be different again.
It’s also easier to buy a kit rather than to look for parts individually. A kit will provide you with the supercharger unit and all the necessary parts. Plus, it will also include the instructions for your specific car model.
For instance, the Comptech kit is a direct fit for the Acura TL 3rd gen. It doesn’t require any major mods. This enables you to easily return the car to stock. The only major adjustment you’ll need to make is trimming the engine bay plastic and the radiator fan shroud. Additionally, to fit this supercharger onto your 3rd gen TL, the manufacturer recommends adding a new 51R battery as well. The Comptech kit instruction manual also recommends you use Redline high-temperature ATF fluid.
Overall, the installation time for a Comptech kit takes approximately 8 hours, which is what you should generally expect when installing any type of supercharger. What’s more, installing a supercharger into a 3rd gen TL is actually easier than you’d expect compared to supercharging other cars. For example, you will not have to swap your carburetor, fuel pump, or other major components, which is a requirement for most supercharged muscle cars. You won’t have to go through it with a newer TL.
Additionally, you should expect to pay around $5,000 for a Comptech kit. If you don’t want to hunt down an older one, you’ll have to find a newer kit from another manufacturer and see if it will fit your TL.
After that, it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll install the kit on your own or leave it to a professional. Obviously, installing it yourself will save you some money, but that’s only recommended if you know what you’re doing. If you take your TL to a skilled mechanic, they will know how to install it quickly and without any mistakes. They could also give you a tune-up to make sure that the supercharger runs flawlessly.
And when you install your supercharger, you’ll also need to maintain it correctly. This includes regular check-ups with a focus on the air filter, belt, and blower unit.
A supercharged Acura TL will get a boost of 4-5 psi with the Comptech kit. This results in a 60 to 65 hp increase. Plus, it will give you that signature supercharger whine after 4,000 RPM.
Potentially, the total boost will equal to:
- Approximately 330 hp for the 3.2-liter V-6 TL
- 345 hp for the 3.5 L Type-S model
However, this may or may not change the handling on the TL, and that will depend on the way you drive. The front-wheel-drive chassis of the TL puts it among some of the best-handling front drivers. Yet, by boosting the power, you could potentially end up asking too much from the front wheels. Again, this will depend on the condition of your car and your driving habits. Nevertheless, the 4-5 psi boost is optimal for the TL’s V6, and it will not damage your engine if used responsibly.
Additionally, it’s advisable to take care of some problem areas of the Acura TL before you supercharge it. While this car is reportedly bulletproof and has many happy owners who have driven it well over 100,00 miles, there could be issues with the timing belt and the automatic gearbox. Manual owners should also watch out for third-gear synchromesh problems, although some sources claim that this can be solved with GM synchromesh transmission oil.
The Acura TL can fool anyone into thinking it’s just an average family sedan. However, it packs a powerful punch under the hood and has an incredible engine that you can supercharge to the max. So why not try a supercharger kit? Just push the throttle, and you’ll be in for a huge surprise![/read]