The 2003–2014 Acura TSX is a sports sedan that you can get for a bargain these days. If you already own one, you know that it boasts enough sportiness and speed to be fun and enjoyable on the track, while maintaining a solid reputation as a well-rounded daily driver. But what if you wanted to add more power and torque to your Acura to push it up to its full potential? You might need a TSX supercharger. . . .
Here, we’ll show you how to boost the performance of your TSX with a supercharger to get some serious horsepower gains. Check out this guide on supercharging the Acura TSX to find out how to do it!
For starters, let’s look into the Acura brand and examine the different generations of the TSX.
Firstly, Honda’s Acura vehicle division was launched back in 1986. It was the first-ever luxury car brand made by a Japanese car manufacturer, but the division was initially introduced in the U.S. and Canada too.
Acura offers a line of vehicles that combine luxury with high performance. Some of those cars include the Integra, TL, RL, TSX, and NSX.
What’s more, while Acura positions itself as a luxury brand, its cars are more affordable compared to the big leagues and names such as BMW or Mercedes-Benz.
Evidently, Acuras do come with some trade-offs compared to the biggest luxury vehicle brands. However, they still offer classy and comfortable interiors along with quality builds equipped with Honda’s K-series or J-series engines. This is what we should focus on when discussing superchargers.
Overall, the combination of price, performance, luxury, and reliability is exactly why cars like the TSX are popular for street driving and drag racing. Plus, you can quickly and easily improve them with a bolt-on supercharger kit.
Speaking of the TSX, its design derives from the Japanese/European version of the Honda Accord. The TSX was created as a slightly larger version of its Japanese/European counterpart with differences in body shape, interior, spec, and engine configurations. The model was marketed as an entry-level 4-door compact executive sedan. It spanned for two generations:
- G1 TSX (produced between 2003 and 2008)
- G2 TSX (produced between 2008 and 2014)
Furthermore, both the first and second generations of the TSX borrowed elements from the Accord and the Honda Inspire. For example, The 2003 G1 TSX was essentially a rebadged Accord Type-S (2.4 L), but the interior was taken from the G4 Inspire. The G2 TSX was based on the G4 JDM Accord. While the G1 and G2 Accord both featured four-cylinder K-series engines, the 2010 TSX was offered with an optional J-series V6 from the Acura TL.
All of the previously mentioned info can stir up quite a lot of confusion if you are thinking about customizing your TSX. Essentially, you’ll have to research those differences to see which supercharging kit is compatible with your car.
This table should make it easier for you to see the differences between the G1 and G2 TSX:
|First Generation||2004–2008||4-door sedan||2.4. L K24A2||200 hp (2004)
205 hp (2006-2008)
|Second Generation||2009–2014||4-door sedan||2.4 L K24Z3||201 hp||6-speed manual
|Second Generation V6 (optional)||2010–2014||4-door sedan||3.5 L J35Z6||280 hp||6-speed manual
|Second Generation Sports Wagon||2011–2014||5-door station wagon||2.4 L K24Z3||201 hp||5-speed automatic|
In 2014, the front-wheel-drive TSX was discontinued, and it was later succeeded with Acura’s flagship TLX sedan. In its class, the 4-cylinder 200-205 hp TSX sedan has always been a bit of a sleeper car. But, it offers responsive performance, exceptional driving characteristics, and a quality engine. Also, it has Honda’s fabled high-reliability record while offering some luxury features that go a step beyond most mainstream options.
You can find low mileage examples of the G1 and G2 for around $7,000 to $15,000 and easily bump up their speed by spending a few extra grand. On the other hand, the G2 V6 TSX is slightly harder to find, but it offers an additional 75 hp, much like the early 2000s Acura TL Type-S.
The answer will depend on your TSX model. Obviously, boosting the speed of the powerful 280 hp V6 TSX sounds like an attractive option for the track. A supercharged V6 will get close to a V8 but will still miss that higher top-end power. However, a supercharged 4-cylinder engine will get you within the ballpark of a V6 while maintaining decent fuel economy.
While you can supercharge both the 4-cylinder and the V6 versions, we’ll keep our focus on the first-generation 2.4. L K24A2 TSX.
For one, the 2005 to 2006 model years are still the most sought-after of the lot. They contain the most desirable K-series engines. This is partly because the K24A2 is the only U.S.-bound K-series 2.4 L engine to include VTEC on both camshafts. Plus, 2005 (200 hp) and 2006 (205 hp) TSX’s are some of the fastest Acura vehicles ever produced.
Some tests show that the 2006 Acura takes 7.1 seconds to reach 60 mph. In the bigger picture, this is the middle of the road regarding car acceleration range, but that can be improved with a supercharger.
Currently, it seems that the V6 TSX supercharger kits are incredibly difficult to find. That’s another reason why we chose to focus on the 4-cylinder TSX for this analysis. When it comes to supercharging any car, you should always aim to get a complete kit that offers simple bolt-on installation. A vehicle-specific kit, for example, a 2005 TSX supercharger kit, will enable you to customize your car without any major modifications. Plus, you should expect a relatively short install time.
Yet, that might not be the case with the TSX’s J-series V6 engine, which derives from the Acura TL. You could try to fit an Acura TL supercharging kit since the engine is the same. However, that will require extensive and costly mods since the kit is not a drop-in fitment.
On the other hand, a kit made for the K-series engine in the TSX is easily available, and it contains all the parts you’ll need during the installation. It will likely fit all K-series TSX’s made from 2005–2008.
Superchargers have been around for a long time, and their popularity soared during the 1950s and 1960s. They are still used today in many racecar applications due to some advantages that turbochargers aren’t able to offer. But what can you get by supercharging your car?
Also called blowers, whine-boxes, and huffers, superchargers provide a powerful boost across the entire RPM on a naturally aspirated engine. That’s why they’re a great fit for muscle cars, hot rods, and customized daily drivers.
A supercharged Acura TSX will use the principle of forced induction to bring more power into the engine. It will give you the following benefits:
- Increased power (hp)
- Increased torque
- Lag-free operation
- Signature supercharger “whine” sound
Basically, you could think of a supercharger as a large air pump or compressor. It is intended to boost the air intake to above atmospheric pressure. A standard centrifugal supercharger is almost always bolted onto the front of the engine via a bracket. It is powered mechanically through a chain or belt drive that’s linked to the crankshaft. That way, the unit receives natural centrifugal energy from the engine. It serves as a “replacement for displacement.”
|Driven by the belt||Centrifugal force||Driven by the belt|
|Positive displacement||Centrifugal type||Positive displacement|
|Linear increase in power||Efficient and affordable||Linear increase|
|Works great on low RPM||Works great on high RPM||Better performance than Roots|
Additionally, when you force more air into the combustion chamber, you will increase the density and temperature of the air. The engine will burn more fuel, and the result will be a higher intake force. Furthermore, there are three different types of supercharger systems:
- Roots-style Supercharger — This is the most basic type of supercharger, and it usually sits on top of the bonnet. It uses twin lobes to compress the air.
- Centrifugal Supercharger — This type is the most common today. It compresses the air with an impeller wheel.
- Twin-screw Supercharger — Using two rotors with meshed lobes, this type of supercharger compresses the air inside the casing before sending it to the engine.
On average, a supercharger can add between 30% to 75% more horsepower and torque to your TSX. In theory, supercharging is a faster and easier way to make a normal-sized engine behave like a larger one. Instead of going through the trouble of building a bigger engine, you can quickly bolt on a supercharger.
You will see the improvements as soon as you push the throttle of your Acura. Here’s what you’ll gain from a supercharged TSX:
- Rapid acceleration and low RPM boost
- Instantaneous boost and throttle response
- Lag-free operation
The last point in the above list is one of the main reasons why dragsters and gearheads prefer superchargers over turbos. While turbos also use forced induction, they get their power from the engine’s exhaust fumes. Since they are not directly driven by the engine, it takes time to power them, which results in lag.
With superchargers, you’ll get an instant boost because the air pump spins with the engine. Also, the turbocharger mechanism is more complex than a supercharger unit. It will take longer to install, as custom fabrication is required and will be more tricky to maintain. You can still turbocharge a TSX if you prefer, but the outcome will be vastly different.
You will see vastly similar results with a Civic supercharger as well as an S2000 supercharger too. Both models are very popular and there are many different kits available on the market that are easy to find.
As mentioned, installing a TSX supercharger kit is quick and painless. Let’s use the Comptech (CT-Engineering) 2004–2006 TSX kit as an example. While this kit is discontinued, it is highly sought after by Acura enthusiasts. It will be hard to find one, but there are similar aftermarket kits that you can use in your TSX.
In the CT-Engineering supercharger kit, you’ll find an Eaton-type supercharger unit. The kit is designed to fit 2004, 2005, and 2006 TSX models. Usually, Eaton superchargers are known for a compact design with effective compression, consistent boost, and a low increase in intake air temperature.
When installed, the unit will provide a boost of 5 psi with 50 extra horsepower plus 30 lb/ft of torque. It will also widen the torque band to 3,000–7,000 RPM. This will generate a linear boost and improve the throttle response. In total, using this kit alone will generate around 250 hp in the TSX.
A quality supercharger kit should contain the following:
- Charger unit
- Mounting brackets and all required hardware
- Cold air intake
- Drive belt
- Oil system with oil cooler and oil reservoir
- Tools and instructions for modifying the fuel pressure regulator
- The installation might require an ECU reflash or an additional control model
What’s more, the Comptech kit is a true bolt-on. Therefore, you will not have to modify your engine or your car to install it. Still, in some cases, you might have to make slight changes to your car in order to optimally run the supercharger.
For example, the Comptech kit requires you to modify your fuel pressure regulator. It will need to match the pressure required by the Eaton supercharger. Also, you’ll need to swap in a new intake tube.
Additionally, you may have to reconfigure your ECU or install a new one. For instance, the Comptech kit includes an ACU control module that handles the tuning.
Finally, make sure that the kit you’re buying is CARB certified and 50-state street legal. If it’s not CARB certified, you won’t be able to use it on public highways.
The K-series engines in the TSX are actually able to handle a lot of additional power. They are also reliable, and you can push them with 8 to 10 psi without problems. Therefore, a Comptech kit or any other kit that adds 5 psi will work flawlessly.
But, you can also find kits that deliver even higher performance. If we look at newer aftermarket kits for the K-series engines, some of them contain Rotrex superchargers with unique traction drive technology. Such kits can boost the hp to 400, which is between 8 to 10 psi. This should also provide a stable setup without detonating the K-series engine.
As we’ve said earlier, supercharger kits are based on bolt-on installation with no major modifications. If you are mechanically savvy, you could install a TSX kit in around 7 hours. If you are not so confident, you should leave this to your mechanic. A professional will ensure that all the parts are installed correctly and that the supercharger will deliver its best performance.
While a supercharger is a bolt-on unit, it will need maintenance. From time to time, you should check the engine oil and the supercharger oil, the condition of the belt, and do some basic upkeep. If you take care of it, a supercharged Acura TSX should be able to hang with the G35, TL Type-S, E90 330i, the 350z, and similar rides.
Installing a supercharger in your TSX is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your Acura’s performance. It will increase your 0–60, bump up your speed on race tracks and highways, and add way more fun to your daily driving!