*Photography by: The Author
Adapting Magnuson’s more efficient Heartbeat supercharger raises the pulse of performance
Magnuson Superchargers’ Heartbeat supercharger is a great blower choice if you’re running a late-model Chevrolet. Designed with unique, internal intercoolers based on the technology used in F1 and NASCAR heat exchangers, the Heartbeat blower promises consistently lower intake air temps during prolonged use.
In other words, the TVS 2300-based Heartbeat blower can reduce the effects of heat soak, which has always been an issue with Eaton’s Roots-type compressor design – the fabled “heatin’ Eaton” syndrome. That’s welcome news for anyone who wants more consistent performance out of their supercharged vehicle, especially when you’re at the track, but as of this writing, the Heartbeat design is currently only offered for 5th-Gen Camaros, C6 Corvettes and the SS sedan.
Detroit-area Livernois Motorsports & Engineering is working to change that, having recently adapted the Heartbeat blower to a G8 GXP, as part of a comprehensive upgrade to customer Joe Cain’s Pontiac sedan.
“We have used the Heartbeat blower on Camaros and Corvettes and really saw the difference it could make on overall performance,” says Livernois Motorsports’ Vehicle Operations Manager Andy Ricketts. “With the level of performance we were taking Joe’s G8, coupled with his desire to have something truly unique, we decided the Heartbeat would be the perfect complement for the engine.”
“The bottom line was the new engine would have the capability to flow a lot of air and we needed a blower that would not only match that airflow, but do so with cooler inlet temperatures,” -Andy Ricketts
Indeed, it was more than merely dropping the supercharger on the GXP’s stock 6.2L engine. Livernois built the engine with their Pro-series 419 stroker internals, a 2C-HL (high-lift) camshaft, Stage 3 ported LSA cylinder heads and provisions for methanol injection. The car would also receive an upgraded clutch, shifter, suspension components, rear differential – pretty much everything but the kitchen sink.
“The bottom line was the new engine would have the capability to flow a lot of air and we needed a blower that would not only match that airflow, but do so with cooler inlet temperatures,” says Andy. “That means the engine will make more power and sustain it when the engine heats up, which reduces the chances the controller would pull timing back to avoid detonation.”
Adapting the Heartbeat blower to the G8 was more involved than we would have imagined, since the Camaro, SS and G8 are all based on the same architecture, but the underhood arrangement of the G8 necessitated a custom air inlet system, custom support brackets and custom 8-rib pulley system, along with specific fuel lines, hoses and a myriad of other ancillary items.
Livernois also built a new fuel system for the car, which converted it to a return-style design, using their exclusive return-style dual-pump setup, along with Injector Dynamics ID850 injectors and methanol injection from Florida-based Alky Control.
Livernois tuned the car with the factory E38 controller and with 11 pounds of boost pushing into the 419-inch stroker LS engine, the Heartbeat-blown G8 GXP put down 733 horsepower and 662 lb-ft of torque at the wheels on Livernois’ Dynojet chassis dyno. Better still, the air inlet temps stayed consistently around 15 degrees F above ambient, pull after pull.
“It was an impressive result for a street car with uncompromising drivability,” says Andy. “The consistently low IAT numbers from the improved blower design, coupled with the cooling effect of the methanol injection under boost really make this a cooling-running combination. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”
Of course, that kind of performance doesn’t come cheap, so if you’re looking for a budget blower upgrade, you’ll probably want to keep searching. In fact, the fabrication required for the blower installation makes it an in-house affair at Livernois’ shop in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.
“We’ll do the Heartbeat installation on a G8 or other LS vehicle that currently isn’t served by a Magnuson kit, but we’ve got to do it here at our facility,” says Andy. “There are just too many details for us to develop a cost-effective kit right now – and that says a lot about the R&D that goes into the Magnuson kits. Our hats are off to them.”
“There are just too many details for us to develop a cost-effective kit right now – and that says a lot about the R&D that goes into the Magnuson kits. Our hats are off to them.” -Andy Ricketts
In the photos below, we’ve outlined the basics on the blower installation and the components that went into the 419 cubic-inch LS stroker engine. We don’t have room for every nut and bolt involved, but it’s a great overview of the project.
Barry Kluczyk is a Detroit-based automotive writer and photographer with more than 20 years of experience contributing to magazines and Web sites, as well as authoring three automotive how-to books. He’s also a committed GM EFI enthusiast who’s previous projects included a nitrous-fed 1994 Z28, a rare L98/six-speed C4 Corvette and, most recently, a 2002 Camaro SS with a modified LS2.