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Old 10-07-2002, 08:57 AM   #1
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Whipple Supercharger Experience?

Anyone have knowledge or experience with a Whipple Supercharger? My GMC dealer is installing them in some Yukons (like mine) and I was wondering if anyone had heard anything, pro or con, about them.

The addition of the supercharger takes the stock 2001 Vortex 5.3 liter engine from 285 HP and 325 ft/lbs of torque to 415 HP and 491 ft/lbs. Costs about $5k for a DIY installation without exhaust modifications (headers, etc).

Seems like a good solution for having a smaller truck for daily use and more power for a larger trailer (provided you don't exceed the Gross Vehicle Axle Ratings).
Any thoughts??

Here is the Whipple website...

http://www.whipplesuperchargers.com/ak_9920_48vor.html
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Old 10-07-2002, 10:02 AM   #2
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Question Premium gas

Supercharged engines require premium gas, that takes some of the savings away. I pay for my supercharger (Buick Regal) over and over at the pump. That said, the kick when the boost cuts in is mighty fine. Terrific passing performance.

Buick put in an upgraded transmission along with the supercharger to handle the increased torque. I wonder whether a non-HD transmission would hold up to that much power.
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Old 10-07-2002, 10:15 AM   #3
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I believe Whipple makes a quality supercharger BUT, I would question if the running gear on the Yukon is designed to take an additional HP and Torque??? I know of several people who have added aftermarket equipment to their vehicles only to realize things like drive shafts, cranks, rear ends and transmissions were not designed for the load. What does GM say about it?? Will they warranty it??
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Old 10-07-2002, 11:21 AM   #4
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If you install the supercharger, you'll probably wind up with transmission and rear end problems that you'll pay to fix.

Even if you don't, when you finally go to sell it, you won't get that money out of it... in fact, a hot-rodded vehicle is a lot harder to sell, unless you find some kid that wants it.

Sell your current truck, put the $5000 for the supercharger and a coupla thousand for drivetrain repairs with it, and buy a truck designed for that kind of torque. You'll get a lot more of that investment back if you go to sell it later.
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Old 10-07-2002, 11:23 AM   #5
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Jerry,
Your points are right on the mark, hence my question about this. I don't want to be sitting 1000 miles from home having just launched a pile of transmission and other drivetrain parts all over the ground. I am questioning the strength of the drivetrain as well.
Jace
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Old 10-07-2002, 01:50 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Whipple Supercharger

I've read nothing but good comments concerning the Whipple Supercharger. These comments were not only written in magazine articles but were indicated on the www.pickuptrucks.com forum board in the GM Trucks section. I considered a Whipple added to a 6.0 litre engine on a 2500HD until I heard about problems with some of the engines. Apparently 15% of the engines have the cold start knock that sounds like a diesel on startup. Some developed this right off the showroom floor and others started around 5,000 miles. The problem is associated with the short piston skirts but no one has been able to explain why some of the engines have not developed the problem. GM will not replace engines so many have had to go to arbitration with the use of an attorney. Ford had a problem with their Power Stroke Diesel, admitted it and fixed the problem for consumers. GM does not admit there is a problem. I have 2 Chevy trucks, 1 Chevy Astrovan and 1 Camaro sitting in my driveway so I am not a Ford fan at all.

I have read several articles lately that went step by step with a Whipple installation on an 8.1 litre gas engine. My 8.1 is a screamer without the Whipple so I can't imagine how they keep one on the road with the Whipple.

My advice is this: Go to the folks who know! This is a great forum for Airstreams but check the aforementioned site and pose you questions concerning the results of the Whipple added to the 5.3 litre as well as the 6.0. Ask members of the forum who installed Whipples how their drivetrain has stood up and what their opinion of the weakest area of the drivetrain would be once you tow a trailer with the extra power. There are many on that forum who own Sierra C-3 which have superchargers on them so let them help you out. Let me mention that the Whipple does not have any lag whatsoever like a turbocharger so power is available immediately. You are not going to be stomping on the pedal all the time so I do not see where you are going to leave transmission parts all over the road.
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Old 12-03-2002, 08:01 AM   #7
 
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I have a whipple on my 5.3 Y2K Silverado, and it doesn't seem to help when loaded with a slide-in or when towing the AS.
OTOH when empty it accelerates and drives like a Porsche
I had to install 17' tires and wide rims plus a Beltech lowering kit to enjoy the sporty ride. (had to brag a bit sorry)

IMHO it's not worth the expense and it certainly doesn't add longevity to the engine.

Ron
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Old 12-03-2002, 08:14 AM   #8
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My first question would be, is the "power band" of the supercharger in the same RPM range that you use for towing? If all the torque it produces is up over 3000 RPM, then NO. When towing you need torque between 1500 and 3000, which is right where most diesels are. It cracks me up that they all advertise their small block V8's as having 300+ horsepower, at 4800 RPM. Most daily driving is under 3000, you might hit 3500-3800 passing on the freeway. At least that is the way I drive.
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Old 12-03-2002, 08:43 AM   #9
 
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Pick,

I don't know anything about power band etc...but I think it would apply to a Turbo compresssor , as they kick in at certain rpm's.
The whipple is always supercharging ...but it doesn't help when towing Unloaded it pushes strong and fast at any rpm's

on the freeway I still need to engage the tow/haul mode to take the strain of the trans when there is an upward slope. (of course the bigger tires don't help either.)

Ron
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:11 PM   #10
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Ron,
Thanks for the "real world" experience. I had afeeling that it was too good to be true. The dealer was spouting off all kinds of performance promises that just didn't add up. Thanks to all for the advice.
Jace
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:25 PM   #11
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My brother is putting one on a customer's Avalanche, seems awfully pricey and I would be concerned about the longevity and reliability. IMHO diesel power is the way to go.
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Old 12-04-2002, 06:07 AM   #12
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Gibson Headers - Life time warranty $400
Gibson Cat-back Side Exhaust - Life time warranty $380
Airaid Intake w/K&N filter $280
Hypertech Programmable-Chip $360

1 day DIY install

This combination will take you over the 320hp mark. Really frees up the engine. The chip will get rid of the stupid speed cut-off and raise the shift points.

Will not void your OEM warranty.

-BobbyWright
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Old 12-04-2002, 07:04 AM   #13
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The hidden cost

Superchargers, unlike turbochargers, do provide boost at any engine speed. They pump more air than the engine can accept and the excess is vented overboard except when boost is called for.

I have been driving my supercharged Buick Regal for 2 1/2 years now . Best passing performance of any sedan I have ever owned. The costs of this performance are:

1. About 1 MPG poorer gas mileage ... you are turning that air pump 100% of the time and there is friction.

2. About 20 cents more for every gallon of gas I buy. Supercharging effectively raises the compression ratio and premium gas is necessary.

Personally, with the gas mileage I get when towing, I would hate to pay that 20 cents more for each gallon I burn.
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Old 12-04-2002, 01:10 PM   #14
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Performance like a Porsche?

Ron, I am very fascinated by the performance of your truck with the supercharger. I treated my midlife crisis by obtaining a 2001 Carrera 4 convertible. I really like the idea of pulling my airstream with the top-down but I am concerned about putting the trailer hitch on the C 4! Any suggestions?
Brouck
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