Livernois Motorsports’ G8 GXP “Heart” Transplant

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*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.

Magnuson Superchargers' TVS 2300 Heartbeat blower will become the source of boost for our G8 GXP test car. Good for an additional 125 hp over that of a stock LS3 engine with just 6-psi., this particular example used for this test features a polished housing lid for added bling.

Magnuson Superchargers’ TVS 2300 Heartbeat blower will become the source of boost for our G8 GXP test car. Good for an additional 125 hp over that of a stock LS3 engine with just 6-psi., this particular example used for this test features a polished housing lid for added bling.

“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.

Out with the old. The project G8 GXP’s LS3 6.2L engine is yanked in preparation for its Livernois Motorsports 419 stroker makeover.

Out with the old. The project G8 GXP’s LS3 6.2L engine is yanked in preparation for its Livernois Motorsports 419 stroker makeover.

The comprehensive, ground-up rebuild includes align-honing the block and fitting it with ARP main studs that enable more accurate torque values because, unlike bolts, they don’t twist during tightening. And because they remain stationary during tightening, the studs stretch in one axis alone, providing more even, accurate clamping forces.

The comprehensive, ground-up rebuild includes align-honing the block and fitting it with ARP main studs that enable more accurate torque values because, unlike bolts, they don’t twist during tightening. And because they remain stationary during tightening, the studs stretch in one axis alone, providing more even, accurate clamping forces.

A Livernois Spec’d 4340 forged steel crankshaft with a 4.00-inch stroke is what takes the 376-cube LS3 to its 419-cubic-inch displacement – a 0.38-inch increase over the stock 3.62-inch stroke.

A Livernois Spec’d 4340 forged steel crankshaft with a 4.00-inch stroke from Manley is what takes the 376-cube LS3 to its 419-cubic-inch displacement – a 0.38-inch increase over the stock 3.62-inch stroke.

Complementing the forged crankshaft are Manley forged H-beam rods and Livernois Exclusive Ross thermal-coated pistons. The compression for this force-inducted combination comes down a little to about 10.3:1, to keep things pleasant and detonation-free under boost.

Complementing the forged crankshaft are Manley forged H-beam rods and Livernois Exclusive Ross thermal-coated pistons. The compression for this force-inducted combination comes down a little to about 10.3:1, to keep things pleasant and detonation-free under boost.

The bottoms of the bores require a smidge of clearance to make room for the longer-reaching connecting rods, as evidenced here by the notch at the upper-right of the cylinder.

The bottoms of the bores require a smidge of clearance to make room for the longer-reaching connecting rods, as evidenced here by the notch at the upper-right of the cylinder.

In the breathing department, the original heads were swapped for Livernois Motorsports CNC-ported LSA heads, which deliver 360 cfm on the intake side and are assembled with 2.160-inch intake valves, 1.590-inch exhaust valves and dual-coil valve springs rated to .690-inch lift. There are titanium retainers, too.

In the breathing department, the original heads were swapped for Livernois Motorsports CNC-ported LSA heads, which deliver 360 cfm on the intake side and are assembled with 2.160-inch intake valves, 1.590-inch exhaust valves and dual-coil valve springs rated to .690-inch lift. There are titanium retainers, too.

A custom, 10% Overdrive damper incorporates an 8-rib pulley for the blower belt. A steel hub resides inside of the lightweight aluminum case, along with a free-floating wet friction clutch pack that uses spring-loaded inertia rings to dampen crankshaft harmonics.

A custom, 10% Overdrive damper incorporates an 8-rib pulley for the blower belt. A steel hub resides inside of the lightweight aluminum case, along with a free-floating wet friction clutch pack that uses spring-loaded inertia rings to dampen crankshaft harmonics.

Here’s the assembled short block, ready for the oil pan and ancillary accessories before being reinstalled in the G8. A comparable, boost-ready long block assembly like this runs in the neighborhood of $11,750 from Livernois Motorsports.

Here’s the assembled short block, ready for the oil pan and ancillary accessories before being reinstalled in the G8. A comparable, boost-ready long block assembly like this runs in the neighborhood of $11,750 from Livernois Motorsports.

With the long block back in the car, the Magnuson Heartbeat supercharger is carefully lowered onto it. It’s a tight fit under the cowl, but there is an inch or so of clearance after the lid is installed on the blower case.

With the long block back in the car, the Magnuson Heartbeat supercharger is carefully lowered onto it. It’s a tight fit under the cowl, but there is an inch or so of clearance after the lid is installed on the blower case.

Of course, the requisite heat exchanger is mounted behind the grille area for the liquid-to-air intercooling system. Pretty standard stuff so far.

Of course, the requisite heat exchanger is mounted behind the grille area for the liquid-to-air intercooling system. Pretty standard stuff so far.

With the exceptional thermal efficiency of the Heartbeat supercharger, combined with methanol injection to assist, Livernois retained the kit’s standard intercooler pump.

With the exceptional thermal efficiency of the Heartbeat supercharger, combined with methanol injection to assist, Livernois retained the kit’s standard intercooler pump.

Livernois Motorsports made a number of special modifications to adapt the Heartbeat blower, including shaving the top of the water pump to make room for the throttle body.

Livernois Motorsports made a number of special modifications to adapt the Heartbeat blower, including shaving the top of the water pump to make room for the throttle body.

The polished lid for the blower case is bolted down in preparation of the installation of the upgraded fuel system.

The polished lid for the blower case is bolted down in preparation of the installation of the upgraded fuel system.

Big-flow, Injector Dynamics ID850 injectors are fed by a OEM-type dual fuel pump setup, ensuring adequate delivery at low- and high-rpm engine speeds. The engine also features methanol injection from Alky Control to reduce the inlet air temperature and stave off detonation.

Big-flow, Injector Dynamics ID850 injectors are fed by a OEM-type dual fuel pump setup, ensuring adequate delivery at low- and high-rpm engine speeds. The engine also features methanol injection from Alky Control to reduce the inlet air temperature and stave off detonation.

Changing the fuel system to a return-style enables it to maintain optimal fuel pressure under the sudden demand for lots more fuel, like when the supercharged engine goes to WOT. It consequently requires a new fuel pressure regulator as part of the project, as seen here.

Changing the fuel system to a return-style enables it to maintain optimal fuel pressure under the sudden demand for lots more fuel, like when the supercharged engine goes to WOT. It consequently requires a new fuel pressure regulator as part of the project, as seen here.

Lots of little things had to be adjusted under hood, too, such as relocating the power steering reservoir. In that respect, the installation was like many off-the-shelf blower kits.

Lots of little things had to be adjusted under hood, too, such as relocating the power steering reservoir. In that respect, the installation was like many off-the-shelf blower kits.

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A GM LS- type 90mm throttle body is used at the mouth of the Heartbeat blower. Simple as that.

Livernois Motorsports fabricated the air intake system, slicing and dicing one of their Gen 5 Camaro systems to fit with the angle and position of the throttle body. The tricky part was positioning it with enough straight tubing to satisfy the mass airflow meter.

Livernois Motorsports fabricated the air intake system, slicing and dicing one of their Gen-5 Camaro systems to fit with the angle and position of the throttle body. The tricky part was positioning it with enough straight tubing to satisfy the mass airflow meter.

Closing in on the final assembly, the 3.2-inch diameter drive pulley is bolted to the blower’s driveshaft. Along with the big Innovators West damper, the combination generates about 11 pounds of maximum boost.

Closing in on the final assembly, the 3.2-inch diameter drive pulley is bolted to the blower’s driveshaft. Along with the big Innovators West damper, the combination generates about 11-pounds of maximum boost.

Finally, the coolant for the liquid-to-air intercooler is fed into the system to cap off the installation. An electric pump circulates coolant through a dedicated circuit for the supercharger.

Finally, the coolant for the liquid-to-air intercooler is fed into the system to cap off the installation. An electric pump circulates coolant through a dedicated circuit for the supercharger.

Here’s a look at the finished installation. Considering it is a custom installation, it looks like a purpose-built kit. Livernois Motorsports estimates a custom Heartbeat blower installation like this, including tuning, would run about $10,950 – not including the return-style fuel system or engine mods, engine installation, etc.

Here’s a look at the finished installation. Considering it is a custom installation, it looks like a purpose-built kit. Livernois Motorsports estimates a custom Heartbeat blower installation like this, including tuning, would run about $10,950 – not including the return-style fuel system or engine mods, engine installation, etc.

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On Livernois Motorsports’ Dynojet chassis dyno, the methanol-injected, Heartbeat-blown 419-inch stroker LS3 sent 733 horsepower to the rear wheels and 662 lb-ft of torque. That’s a helluva result and the car has tremendous street manners – a daily driver with killer capability.

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