How to Put the Storm in a Supercharger

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Words and Photos By Ben Mozart

TorqStorm’s co-founder, Chris Brooker, has a background in tool and die making, a talent for complex engineering calculations, and an abiding fondness for superchargers. In discussion, he reveals several surprising details.

Predictably, in the tool and die profession, thoroughness is foremost. When Brooker and partner Scott Oshinski designed the initial prototype supercharger five years ago, they tested them for more than two years before releasing their new centrifugal design for sale. During this time, they searched for a specialty oil company to address particular lubrication requirements, but, curiously, only Royal Purple seemed amenable. Today, it is the only oil they use.

The prospect of combining a separate oiling system for the supercharger was essential from the earliest design stage. Brooker was adamant the product should be covered by a lifetime warranty, and rumors had percolated about the fate of road racing cars running superchargers lubricated by the engine oiling system and their tendency to overheat.

“Without a separate lubrication system dedicated to the supercharger,” says Brooker, “I feared oil temperatures might escalate under severe racing conditions.”

Now three years into its life, the central provisions of this supercharger is its blend of billet aluminum construction and its ability to produce about 40 percent power increase over base with 7 psi of boost pressure. But, it is the rampant power it generates barely off idle that’s so compelling.

With its turbo-inspired compressor wheel, it commonly builds boost as early as 1,800 rpm and continues with gusto till 6,500. Of note, the TorqStorm is chiefly devised for stock to mildly tuned engines and has the capacity to flow sufficient air to support 700-plus horsepower.

While considering its firepower, it’s also worth contemplating its transmission mechanism. Power is transmitted from an 8-inch crank pulley to a 3.25-inch gearbox pulley through an eight-rib serpentine belt. Inside the gearbox, a large diameter straight-cut gear meshes directly with a smaller gear. The small gear, reminiscent of a pinion gear and through a shaft, spins the compressor wheel to speeds in excess of 70,000 rpm. The internal ratio between the two straight-cut gears is 4.45:1.

Actually, the formula for calculating compressor wheel rpm is simple and can be explained as follows: Divide the crankshaft pulley diameter by the gearbox pulley diameter. Then, multiply the answer by the maximum engine revs. Finally, multiply this result by the internal gearbox ratio, and the result is 71,200 rpm. The equation is thus: 8/3.25 = 2.46 x 6,500 = 16,000 x 4.45 = 71,200 rpm

High revolutions of this order bring into question bearing reliability. For that reason, this manufacturer uses ceramic bearings made of solid silicone nitride. Despite being substantially more expensive than steel ball bearings, they are lighter and more rigid. They also run faster and cooler, operate in temperatures up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, and do so with reduced noise and vibration.

When asked about the hottest areas of current inquiries, TorqStorm’s Rick Lewis tells us interest from the autocross community continues to grow. No surprise there, for the supercharger is ideally suited for the purpose.

One of the most successful designs of the era, each unit is hand built, diligently inspected, and finished in natural alloy, black anodized, or micro-polished.

Sources: TorqStorm, torqstorm.com; Royal Purple, royalpurpleconsumer.com

About Elizabeth Puckett

Elizabeth Puckett is a seasoned writer and hardcore gearhead. She was born with motor oil in her blood and a passion for everything that goes fast, especially if it's also loud and smells of race gas.