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COMMENTS FROM CAPA
The Eaton supercharger is undoubtedly a well engineered product, leading the way
in Roots type blower technology. Boost is produced by volume displacement
rather than tip speed like a centrifugal blower. The advantage of the Eaton is
that it can build boost low in the RPM range - this of course limits the total
boost the Eaton will produce 6 - 9psi being about the norm, but check the
individual compressor maps to determine maximum pressure output. The Eaton is
perfect if bottom end torque is critical to your application.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
How does an Eaton supercharger work?
A supercharger is a positive displacement pump. Its purpose is to increase air
pressure and density in the intake manifold. It does this by pumping more air
than the engine would use without a supercharger. The supercharger is matched to
the engine by its displacement and belt ratio, and can provide excess airflow at
any engine speed. This concentrated charge of air provided by the supercharger
results in a more powerful combustion stroke in the engine's cylinders,
resulting in improved performance over non-supercharged vehicles.
How did Eaton become involved in
In 1949, Eaton toyed with a helical rotor supercharger and even built a 75-cubic
inch displacement prototype. This supercharger was "temporarily" set
aside since improved performance was achieved through larger displacement
engines. The late 70's spurred new interest in supercharging, since gasoline
prices were driven up due to the energy crisis. Eaton continued to improve its
design and addressed issues such as noise and durability. It was through these
many design improvements, and an eye toward manufacturing, that allowed Eaton to
begin working with Ford Motor Company on the 3.8L engine in 1984. Vehicle
demonstrations, durability and noise concerns were refined, as well as a cost
effective manufacturing process, which allowed the Eaton supercharger to be
installed on the first production supercharged vehicle since 1957. The 1989 Ford
Thunderbird SC was awarded the Motor Trend Car of the Year award. In addition,
three engineers were also recognized for their work on the supercharger having
been awarded the Society of Automotive Engineer's first Henry Ford II Award for
Engineering Excellence. Just recently the Eaton has been used as original
equipment by Holden on the VS & VT V6 supercharged models.
The roots supercharger has been around for a
long time, how is the Eaton supercharger different?
The Eaton supercharger is essentially a Roots blower pump, with one substantial
design wrinkle; each rotor has been twisted 60 degrees to form a helix. The two
counter rotating rotors have three lobes, which intermesh during operation.
These twisted rotors, along with specially designed inlet and outlet port
geometry, help to reduce pressure variations resulting in a smooth discharge of
air and a low level of noise during operation. This arrangement also improves
efficiency over traditional Roots superchargers. With helical rotors and an
axial inlet the Eaton supercharger can be spun to up to 14,000 rpm, thereby
reducing package size.
How is an Eaton supercharger
different from a turbocharger?
A supercharger is connected directly to the crankshaft by a belt unlike a
turbocharger which is driven by exhaust gases. An Eaton supercharger provides
improved horsepower and torque, at lower engine rpm's, by pumping extra air into
the engine in direct relationship to crankshaft speed. The positive connection
yields instant response, in contrast to turbochargers, which must overcome
inertia and spin up to speed as the flow of exhaust gas increases. The
supercharger is a way to get around "turbo lag". The lubrication
system also differs, in that, the supercharger is self-contained whereas the
turbocharger requires engine oil.
How long has Eaton been manufacturing
Production for Ford Motor Company began in 1989, and was soon followed in 1992
by General Motors first supercharged vehicles.
What are the benefits of the Eaton
Patented technology to
i.e. reduced package size
lubrication, i.e. no external oil connections to the engine
Bypass system used for
unloading supercharger during idle and light load, resulting in better fuel
economy and quite operation
Are Eaton superchargers noisy?
The Eaton supercharger system incorporates a specially designed bypass valve,
which is actuated by a vacuum motor near the throttle body, and recirculates the
supercharger air flow when boost is not required. During typical driving
conditions, the engine is under boost around 5% of the time, which means the
remaining 95% of the time the engine is under vacuum, allowing for better fuel
economy and a quieter ride. In addition, the helix angled rotors, along with
specially designed inlet and outlet port geometry, also reduce pressure
variations resulting in a smooth discharge flow and a lower level of noise
during operation. The associated ducting and mounting used in installing the
supercharger can play a major role in reducing the noise emitted by the
Is an Eaton supercharger reliable?
The reliability of the Eaton supercharger was the first criteria, which was
addressed during early design development of the supercharger. Dedicated
engineers with backgrounds in compressors, gearing, tribology and metallurgy, as
well as thermal and structural analysis enabled Eaton to find solutions to many
reliability concerns. In addition, strict customer durability test criteria have
been achieved. Successful completion of numerous 500 hour durability tests
established a firm grasp on achieving a reliable product. In addition, numerous
vehicles have successfully completed 100,000 mile, OEM (original equipment
manufacturer), vehicle durability tests. Improvements in bearing and seal
designs also aided in a product which meets all OEM durability criteria.
Is the performance benefit offset by the
cost associated with an Eaton supercharger?
In comparing a supercharged 3.8 litre, 2-valve/cylinder V6 engine with a
non-supercharged 4.0 liter, 4-valve/cylinder V8, the supercharged vehicle will
provide better power [torque], and at a lower overall cost, than the
non-supercharged vehicle. This is due to complexity and tooling associated with
the more complex 4-valve/cylinder engine.
What about fuel economy and flexible
Supercharging is compatible with all types of fuels including flexible
fuels, i.e. CNG (compressed natural gas), propane, etc. Fuel economy is not
compromised, as described above in item #7, when utilizing the bypass system in
conjunction with the supercharger. EPA (environmental protection agency) figures
support this claim. A typical domestic vehicle equipped with an Eaton
supercharger shows no fuel economy penalty for highway driving, and only a one
mile per gallon penalty for city driving.
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