The popularity of superchargers has been through the roof in the past couple of decades, and more and more people are willing to try them out. It is the simplest way to boost the performance of your vehicle, and there are plenty of choices when it comes to a supercharger for a 5.7 Vortec engine.
Vortec is a type of engine designed by General Motors, and it’s been around for more than thirty years. If you decide to supercharge your truck, it will give you an immediate boost in performance.
Of course, there are a couple of things you need to know before you supercharge your vehicle. You need to know the type of the engine since it is the only way to find a matching supercharger. But what is a supercharger? How do you find a model for your vehicle, and what are the options for a supercharger for a 5.7 Vortec? Let’s find out!
Superchargers are mechanically driven units that are usually connected to the crankshaft via a belt. The idea behind them is to compress the air, allowing more of it to fit into the combustion chamber. Since more air means that the engine can burn more fuel, it is an efficient and simple way to boost the performance of the engine.
5.7 Vortec Supercharger. What Can You Get?
The most common type of superchargers is based on positive displacements, and there are four versions you can find:
- Sliding vane
The term positive displacement refers to the method of trapping the fluid, air in this case, and pushing it through the mechanism. Roots-type superchargers have two identical screws that entrap air during rotations.
Keep in mind that Roots-type is not the same as twin-screw models or Lysholm since the screws are not identical with the later version. While the majority of superchargers are driven by the belt and connected to the crankshaft, this isn’t the only available option.
You can also find superchargers with:
- Direct drive
- Chain drive
- Gear drive
- Variable speed ratio
The primary difference here is that superchargers are driven mechanically, and they are not the same as turbochargers. Turbo or superturbochargers, as they are also called, are driven by exhaust fumes instead of belts. Both turbo and superchargers have advantages and disadvantages, though, and the most obvious benefit is that superchargers are functional even on low RPM. In other words, you won’t need to pass a certain point for them to start working, which delivers a more consistent boost in performance.
Vortec is an engine designed by General Motors, and it first appeared in 1985. There are many models you can find on the market, and it remains one of the most popular engines for trucks. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can only find Vortec engines in trucks since there are a couple of car models that use them as well.
The earliest version of the Vortec engine was the LB1, and it was used in trucks in 1985. Chevrolet literature named this engine Vortec, and it is available to this day. The LB1 was used on Chevrolet and GMC C/K series of trucks and on a couple of vans.
Over the years, GM introduced variations of the model, and it is available in the following versions:
- L4 (General Motors 122 and Atlas)
- L5 (Atlas engine)
- L6 (Atlas engine)
- V6 (Chevrolet 90-Degree V6)
- V8 (GM small-block, Chevrolet small-block, and Chevrolet big-block engines)
Each of these models evolved over the years, and the term Vortec wasn’t used for earlier models. For example, the 122 engine was used since 1982, but it wasn’t until 1996 when trucks started using the Vortec 2200. Even though both the 1982 and 1996 versions share some similarities, only Vortec 2200 was used for trucks.
|Vortec 2200||Vortec 3500||Vortec 4200||Vortec 3600||Vortec 4800|
|Vortec 2800||Vortec 3700||Vortec 4300||Vortec 5000|
|Vortec 2900||Vortec 5300|
As you can see, the majority of Vortec engines are V8, and they are made by Chevrolet and GM. Another thing we should mention here is that there are models like Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra that share many mechanical commonalities, and Vortec engines are just one of them.
One of the things we should mention is the C/K series of Chevrolet vehicles. The production of C/K series started in 1960, and these trucks were available up until 2001. If you own a model from 1997, it is a part of the fourth generation of C/K trucks.
Even though this is a different model compared to Silverado or Sierra, it still has a 5.7-liter Vortec, which means you can use the same supercharger on these vehicles as well. The only thing that matters when buying a blower for your car is to find a model suitable for the type and size of the engine in your vehicle. All superchargers designed for 5.7 Silverados can fit K2500, as long as the engine on both models is Vortec 5700.
Since our focus here is on a supercharger for a 5.7 Vortech, let’s take a look at the Vortec 5700. Vortec 5700 is a 5.7-liter V8 engine designed by Chevrolet. It is a small-block engine, and it is similar to models designed in the fifties.
The 5.7 version of the engine was introduced in 1967, and it was available until 2003. It wasn’t long before the 305 became a standard for General Motors. Of course, the earlier versions of 5.7 engines weren’t designed for trucks, nor were they carrying the name Vortec. One of the most popular engines was the L46, an optional model for the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette and L48 in the 1967 Camaro.
As the engine improved and changed, eventually, the customers could find a Vortec model in 1996. The Vortec 5700 L31 was used for full-sized trucks, vans, and SUVs like the C/K series, Suburban, Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade, and Express.
The 5.7L Vortec was designed by placing LT1 Corvette ports into an iron casting. One of the first things you might notice is that the manifold has an 8-bolt pattern, unlike the majority of heads that use 12-bolt patterns.
If you are wondering if your truck has a Vortec engine, you can easily check it out. Here is a list of models that boast a 5.7 l Vortec:
- Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Suburban (1996-1999)
- Chevrolet Suburban (2000-2002, Mexico only)
- Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon (1995-1999)
- Cadillac Escalade (1999)
- Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana (1996-2002)
While we mentioned Silverado before, Chevy Silverado never used a 5.7l Vortec engine, and these are the only models you can find it on. Finally, Holden also used Vortec 5700. The engine offers 255 horsepower and 330 foot-pounds of torque.
Now that we’ve covered everything important for superchargers let’s get on with the business. If you own one of the trucks we mentioned before, with a 5.7-liter Vortec engine, you might want to boost its power at some point. The simplest way to increase the power of Vortec 5700 is to supercharge it.
By introducing more air to the combustion chamber, the Vortec 5700 will be able to burn more fuel and gain more power. While there are other options to boost the performance, none of the methods will be as effective as superchargers.
The engine has 255 horsepower, and superchargers can boost it by 60-65% as well as 8–9 PSI. That means that your truck can reach more than 400 HP thanks to the blower. Naturally, you will need to find an appropriate model to ensure that it fits the engine and that you don’t need to change anything during the installation.
Also, there are many different types of superchargers you can find, and we already talked about some of the models available on the market. The important thing here is to find the one that will fit the engine, and that will require minimum work during the installation.
There are several things to worry about if you are looking to buy a supercharger for your vehicle. Firstly, you need to have the necessary info about your car. In this case, the process is a lot simpler since we already talk about the 5.7l Vortec engine.
If you don’t know the type and size of the engine in your car, you will need the following:
- Model of the car
- Type of engine
Once you have the necessary info, say you need a Silverado supercharger for Chevy 1500 98, you can proceed to the next step. Of course, your budget will play an important role in the decision. Furthermore, you will also need to pick the type of blower you want in your vehicle.
Centrifugal superchargers are a common option for those into drag racing. But, if you are not into that, you might want to get a Roots-type or a twin screw. Be sure to check out if there are any limitations for horsepower and superchargers since you want to keep your car street-legal.
Finally, if you are willing to invest more, you can always get a Whipple supercharger if it is available for your vehicle. The manufacturer of the supercharger will always write the necessary info in the description, so you won’t have any problems finding the model you like as long as you know the things we mentioned above.
For those that own a Chevrolet Tahoe from 1997, we have a little bit of potentially bad news. Firstly, we should clarify that these vehicles also have an L31 engine, and if you own a version with 5.7 or 7.4 liters, there might be some problems.
The State of California allows superchargers for street legal use, but only if they are approved. This means that you might find a couple of brands that are not allowed in The Golden State. If you live here, and you want to supercharge your Tahoe, be sure to know all the details to avoid any problems with law enforcement.
On the other hand, those interested in street racing or off-road applications can safely supercharge their Tahoe without any problems.
Installing a supercharger is a lot simpler than you would expect. However, it might take you some time before you can complete the process. It also depends on the type of supercharger you have and whether you went for the base model or for a kit.
People who have a lot of experience tinkering with their vehicles might be comfortable getting a blower only. However, we would still recommend going for the supercharger kit. Some models of blowers require additional parts to ensure everything is working properly. Also, if you get a supercharger only, you will need to get the additional parts elsewhere.
Kits come with all the parts you need for the installation. The only thing you’ll need to have is the right tools. That, of course, depends on the type of blower you got. Usually, centrifugal superchargers are the most challenging to install, and the Roots-types often need a custom hood as well. After all, they require more space, and the hood is never included in the package.
The safest option, of course, is to leave everything to the professionals. You can always order the model you like and leave your car at the shop. They will do all the necessary work for you, and all that’ll be left for you to do is to enjoy your new supercharged machine.
We should also mention that installing a supercharger rarely requires permanent modifications like cutting or welding, especially if you go for the kit. That means that you can remove the supercharger and restore your engine to the previous state if you feel like it.
In general, superchargers don’t require special maintenance. It’s not something you will need to nurture and take care of. The manufacturer will usually suggest the type of oil you should use, and we recommend you stick to the brand and type listed in the instructions.
You should check the oil as often as you check the engine oil changes, and you will need to maintain recommended oil levels. For superchargers, oil is both lubricant and coolant, and it is essential for the proper work of the unit.
However, none of this should pose a problem as long as you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
The most obvious thing you will get from a supercharger is the better performance of the engine. If we are talking about Vortec 5700, that means that the engine has 255 horsepower. Getting a supercharger that can increase HP by 60% or more will give you more than 150 HP. As we mentioned before, superchargers work great regardless of the RPM, which means that you will notice a difference from the start. A supercharger kit for 5.3 Chevy will net you similar results too.
One of the main advantages of blowers is that there is no lag. There are many things that depend on the type of supercharger you buy, size, model, etc. But one thing that is constant is that you will get an immediate increase in HP, and you will be able to boost the engine.
There is a reason why so many people opt for superchargers. They are efficient, cheaper than getting a new vehicle, easy to install, and they offer a significant boost. To maximize the effect of superchargers, you can also replace other problematic parts on your vehicle (if there are any). Any change to the vehicle that will allow the engine to work smoother will help the end result. Similar results can be found from a 2001 5.3 supercharger for your LM7 engine.