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How To: Porting A CTS-V Blower

GMEFI-CTSV1-01When Cadillac released the first V-model of its CTS, everyone and their mother took notice. Finally, an American four-door sedan with a manual transmission option, rear wheel drive, and a big V8 under the hood! It helped that the cars looked pretty cool too, albeit not much different than the regular CTS model. With a new CTS design released in 2008, many speculated what would power the pending V-model. GM threw everyone a huge curve ball with a gift from the horsepower Gods: a 556-horsepower supercharged LSA. They looked badass, had leather stitched everything, and made sweet noises. Naturally, gearheads still wanted even more power and that’s where companies like Fasterproms step in.

Why Port the Blower?

The concept of making horsepower is simple on paper – combine oxygen with a form of fuel and harness the energy generated from the combustion of this mixture. There are plenty of ways to do it, but all internal combustion engines operate this same way. In a naturally aspirated engine, natural atmospheric air (1-bar) is sucked in by the downward stroke of the piston like a pump. The efficiency of this “pump” can be enhanced with use of a power adder such as nitrous, an exhaust-driven turbocharger, or a belt-driven supercharger. These three power adders all accomplish the same goal of forcing more oxygen into the combustion chamber to be converted into power.

So, it would go without much thought that adding more air means potential for more power. This rudimentary idea has proven correct and hot-rodders have long since conceptualized a way to squeeze out more power by increasing their engine’s airflow. But, there is a catch! You can’t just go hogging out intakes and cylinder heads and expect massive power gains. There is a trade-off with velocity and airflow and understanding this relationship has been the quest for aftermarket tuners since day one.

Calling in the Experts:

Enter Fasterproms of Lutz, Florida. Spearheaded by renowned GM EFI tuner, Jeremy Formato, his company has been porting intake manifolds, throttle bodies, and cylinder heads for over 10 years. His methods started off simple, but as someone who takes the helm of a Sony Vaio laptop with HP Tuners everyday to tweak and tune GM engines, he wanted to push everything further. After countless ported intake manifolds were posting consistent power results, a new challenge presented itself – the Eaton 1900 supercharger found on the ’09-’15 Cadillac CTS-V and Camaro ’11-’15 ZL1.

Fasterproms is no stranger to the GM performance world. With more than 14 years of experience tinkering and tuning under the hood of performance GM vehicles around the country, Jeremy has amassed a laundry list of happy clients. It has also allowed him to fully encompass himself with the LS motor and learn all of its secrets to unlock power. “We feel it’s best to own the cars we work on to really find each cars personality,” he explains. With this mindset, Jeremy has owned multiple Corvettes, trucks, SUVs, a GTO, a new C7 Z51, and a CTS-V. The idea of owning a new CTS-V was just that; to learn its personality. With an all new LSA – the poor man’s LS9 – between the front struts, Jeremy knew that this was going to be a hot car. There would, however, be a steep learning curve as it was only the second GM V8 to come with a supercharger from the factory, just behind the venerable LS9.CTS-V Blower

Porting a supercharger is a little more tricky than a composite intake like the one found on an LS3. First of all, if you mess up, you’ll have to dish out a lot of coin to replace or repair it. Because of this monetary liability associated with porting a supercharger snout and case, not very many companies have attempted to take the risk. Fasterproms, with its very own development CTS-V were able to tinker with a spare core and go step-by-step to see what worked and what didn’t. After much R&D, Fasterproms was happy with the results it can consistently provide its customers – a sneaky, stealthy way to add affordable, reliable power to an LSA-powered GM vehicle – LS9 porting is available, too.

Without giving away the company’s trade secrets on how it achieves these repeatable gains, Fasterproms welcomed us into their underground lair to witness the porting process. On a separate day, we then scooted off to their favored local dyno, Proven Power of Tampa. There, right before our eyes, Jeremy made the swap look effortless as he transplanted a ported unit in place of the factory supercharger. This swap is a popular core exchange he provides his customers and can do so at the dyno to show customers real-time results. This was just that kind of opportunity.

“…the V’s run pretty hot on inlet temperatures and through the intercooler. I always recommend a good cold-air kit, an expansion tank for the intercooler reservoir, and heat panels to keep areas under the hood sealed off.” -Jeremy Formato

Jeremy does suggest cooling upgrades, “the V’s run pretty hot on inlet temperatures and through the intercooler. I always recommend a good cold-air kit, an expansion tank for the intercooler reservoir, and heat panels to keep areas under the hood sealed off.” These recommendations come as a result of his owning a CTS-V and wanting to squeeze out more power and consistency. His suggestions change from car-to-car and are based on application. If you’re interested in the idea of bumping up the power in your V, you’d be wise to give him a call.

With material removed, smoothed, or added in just the right spots, Fasterproms ported superchargers show consistent results. His reputation in the Caddy world is worthy of a bronze statue, as he’s helped countless V-owners gain easy and reliable power. What may be even more important than the power gains is the giggle factor. You’ll be laughing uncontrollably as you hear the whine of a supercharger under the hood your four-door family sedan as you raise Michelin’s stock prices. Porting not only works, it works well.

Getting Started:

We strap a supercharged V to the dyno and install a Fasterproms ported blower to see real before and after gains.

We strap a supercharged V to the dyno and install a Fasterproms ported blower to see real before and after gains.

This is where the wow factor comes in, and it's also where precision work is important. Pictured here is a visual comparison of where the snout mounts and feeds air to the rotors. More air in equals more power potential.

This is where the wow factor comes in, and it’s also where precision work is important. Pictured here is a visual comparison of where the snout mounts and feeds air to the rotors. More air in equals more power potential.

Notice the large area of material around the opening for the pulley shaft. While a well-engineered design, it's restrictive to making ultimate power.

Notice the large area of material around the opening for the pulley shaft. While a well-engineered design, it’s restrictive to making ultimate power.

Now take a look at this! The area is non load bearing, but you also don't want to compromise the shape or penetrate into the opening above - that would be bad news bears.

Now take a look at this! The area is non load bearing, but you also don’t want to compromise the shape or penetrate into the opening above – that would be bad news bears.

After shrugging off suggestions to enter the International Etch-a-Sketch Competition, Jeremy's concentration couldn't be broken. We were asked not to reveal some of the trade secrets of the process, so this is the best shot we can share. Essentially, Jeremy takes the helm of a large drill press and carefully removes large bits of material bit-by-bit while he forums around a shape that has proven the most successful. The snout is given the same Etch-a-Sketch treatment and both are blended by hand to ensure a seamless transition.

After shrugging off suggestions to enter the International Etch-a-Sketch Competition, Jeremy’s concentration couldn’t be broken. We were asked not to reveal some of the trade secrets of the process, so this is the best shot we can share. Essentially, Jeremy takes the helm of a large drill press and carefully removes large bits of material bit-by-bit while he forums around a shape that has proven the most successful. The snout is given the same Etch-a-Sketch treatment and both are blended by hand to ensure a seamless transition.

Here is a more detailed look at the smooth surface after it has been ported by hand and ready to install.

Here is a more detailed look at the smooth surface after it has been ported by hand and ready to install.

Here is a side-by-side of the snouts. Note that the left snout is from a ZR1 Corvette's LS9 and the right is from a CTS-V LSA. The major difference is the size of the bypass, but you can get the idea.

Here is a side-by-side of the snouts. Note that the left snout is from a ZR1 Corvette’s LS9 and the right is from a CTS-V LSA. The major difference is the size of the bypass, but you can get the idea.

If you've never seen the outlet on a supercharger, well, here it is. Seems small, right? Well understand that all of the air that has been ingested into the throttle body has been compressed into a small area - raising heat, but gaining pressure and velocity. To help you better visualize, this portion of the supercharger faces upward and feeds into the factory intercooler housed inside the lid.

If you’ve never seen the outlet on a supercharger, well, here it is. Seems small, right? Well understand that all of the air that has been ingested into the throttle body has been compressed into a small area – raising heat, but gaining pressure and velocity. To help you better visualize, this portion of the supercharger faces upward and feeds into the factory intercooler housed inside the lid.

Fasterproms makes the opening ever-so-slightly better and considerably smoother. In theory, this should allow the pressurized air to escape the rotors easier.

Fasterproms makes the opening ever-so-slightly better and considerably smoother. In theory, this should allow the pressurized air to escape the rotors easier.

This detailed image of the Eaton TVS rotor scrolls shows the small pathway air must travel through. Now vision this spinning at thousands of RPM - crazy!

This detailed image of the Eaton TVS rotor scrolls shows the small pathway air must travel through. Now vision this spinning at thousands of RPM – crazy!

After the air is diverted away from intercooler setup it heads to the ports where it will be introduced to fuel. Here we see the factory injector bulges.

After the air is diverted away from intercooler setup it heads to the ports where it will be introduced to fuel. Here we see the factory injector bulges.

Just like the principal applied to cylinder heads, Fasterproms removes restrictions and frees the path to the port. The amount of extra material removed from the injector bulge is noteworthy.

Just like the principal applied to cylinder heads, Fasterproms removes restrictions and frees the path to the port. The amount of extra material removed from the injector bulge is noteworthy.

On the right is a stock blower case with the factory gasket attached. This is to give you an idea of what Fasterproms uses for its template to make it's alterations. They hand ports each case meticulously and safely brings the material closer to the edge of the gasket - which is a near perfect match to the cylinder head port once installed.

On the right is a stock blower case with the factory gasket attached. This is to give you an idea of what Fasterproms uses for its template to make it’s alterations. They hand port each case meticulously and safely brings the material closer to the edge of the gasket – which is a near perfect match to the cylinder head port once installed.

If you own a CTS-V, there's a good chance you've heard a strange clunking noise under the hood - usually off throttle or at idle. To rid your Caddy of this strange issue, Fasterproms will replace the pulley isolator with this solid isolator seen on the right. Voila! No more rattling engine.

If you own a CTS-V, there’s a good chance you’ve heard a strange clunking noise under the hood – usually off throttle or at idle. To rid your Caddy of this strange issue, Fasterproms will replace the pulley isolator with this solid isolator seen on the right. Voila! No more rattling engine.

For the most part, these are the only tools Jeremy brings to the dyno when he makes a supercharger swap. He makes primary use of both an 8mm and 10mm socket, as well as a speed handle.

For the most part, these are the only tools Jeremy brings to the dyno when he makes a supercharger swap. He makes primary use of both an 8mm and 10mm socket, as well as a speed handle.

The first step under the hood is to clear the way for the evacuation of the stock Eaton 1900. The factory strut tower brace has to be removed and set aside until the conclusion of the install.

The first step under the hood is to clear the way for the evacuation of the stock Eaton 1900. The factory strut tower brace has to be removed and set aside until the conclusion of the install.

Because Jeremy mostly performs a core swap at the dyno, meaning that he accepts your supercharger as an exchange for one that has been ported at a prior time, real-time results are possible. They begin to disconnect all of the electronics.

Because Jeremy mostly performs a core swap at the dyno, meaning that he accepts your supercharger as an exchange for one that has been ported at a prior time, real-time results are possible. They begin to disconnect all of the electronics.

Next, the top lid that houses the intercooler is loosened.

Next, the top lid that houses the intercooler is loosened.

In this photo, Jeremy is pointing out the factory boost controller's position. This depth measurement is very crucial and if it's off too far, the car will make not make boost at all.

In this photo, Jeremy is pointing out the factory boost controller’s position. This depth measurement is very crucial and if it’s off too far, the car will make not make boost at all.

While taking care to avoid hitting the boost controller, the blower lid can now be set to the side. If they were to disconnect the inlet and outlet hoses at the back, the car would puke water/coolant all over the place so they stay attached.

While taking care to avoid hitting the boost controller, the blower lid can now be set to the side. If they were to disconnect the inlet and outlet hoses at the back, the car would puke water/coolant all over the place so they stay attached.

With the lid out of the way now, this exposes the final bolts that hold the blower case to the engine. Jeremy tackles these quickly with his speed wrench, then carefully removes the fuel lines so the whole supercharger unit can be taken out. A rag is placed below the fuel line to catch the fuel that pours out.

With the lid out of the way now, this exposes the final bolts that hold the blower case to the engine. Jeremy tackles these quickly with his speed wrench, then carefully removes the fuel lines so the whole supercharger unit can be taken out. A rag is placed below the fuel line to catch the fuel that pours out.

Jeremy has found its easiest to remove the whole package assembled. Once it's on a flat surface, the fuel injectors and rail come off. This is a great time to upgrade your injectors and it's suggested if you plan to run a smaller pulley and increase boost.

Jeremy has found its easiest to remove the whole package assembled. Once it’s on a flat surface, the fuel injectors and rail come off. This is a great time to upgrade your injectors and it’s suggested if you plan to run a smaller pulley and increase boost.

Jeremy assistant on the install takes a can of brake parts cleaner and begins to clean out as much gunk from the factory intercooler and cover. Oil deposits accumulate over time and just make things nasty.

Jeremy assistant on the install takes a can of brake parts cleaner and begins to clean out as much gunk from the factory intercooler and cover. Oil deposits accumulate over time and just make things nasty.

This CTS-V already had a Fasterproms ported throttle body, so it's transferred over to the ported blower. Jeremy noted that "a ported throttle body helps considerably with drivability and throttle tip-in, but we haven't found any real power gains from them." So it shouldn't influence testing.

This CTS-V already had a Fasterproms ported throttle body, so it’s transferred over to the ported blower. Jeremy noted that “a ported throttle body helps considerably with drivability and throttle tip-in, but we haven’t found any real power gains from them.” So it shouldn’t influence testing.

After the parts are migrated over to the core, the entire process is reversed and the ported blower is lowered into place and Jeremy begins tightening the bolts.

After the parts are migrated over to the core, the entire process is reversed and the ported blower is lowered into place and Jeremy begins tightening the bolts.

The finishing touches are performed and the cleaned cover is bolted back down. Having the completely assembled and ported supercharger ready to install makes this process happen in well under an hour in real time. We stopped to take photos along the way and drink a few Gatorades, but Jeremy was still able to keep things in a healthy time window. This means the installation costs for you are minimal and you get to see your gains in real time - his customers love that!

The finishing touches are performed and the cleaned cover is bolted back down. Having the completely assembled and ported supercharger ready to install makes this process happen in well under an hour in real time. We stopped to take photos along the way and drink a few Gatorades, but Jeremy was still able to keep things in a healthy time window. This means the installation costs for you are minimal and you get to see your gains in real time – his customers love that!

In addition to his porting prowess, Jeremy is a world renowned GM tuner and can safely dial in the programming to take full advantage of the new parts. The car made several pulls as he tweaked the tune along the way. This increased heat soaking, but also provides a more accurate apples-to-apples comparison. Once again, Jeremy stressed the importance of cooling upgrades for the V. Going to a higher flow intercooler pump helps a lot. A heat expansion tank adds more capacity to the coolant reservoir that feeds the intercooler, thus dropping inlet temperature performance over a longer period of time. Ice can also be dumped in at the dragstrip to give you a little extra kick going down the track. This car did not benefit from these enhancements at the time of our testing.

In addition to his porting prowess, Jeremy is a world renowned GM tuner and can safely dial in the programming to take full advantage of the new parts. The car made several pulls as he tweaked the tune along the way. This increased heat soaking, but also provides a more accurate apples-to-apples comparison. Once again, Jeremy stressed the importance of cooling upgrades for the V. Going to a higher-flow intercooler pump helps a lot. A heat expansion tank adds more capacity to the coolant reservoir that feeds the intercooler, thus dropping inlet temperature performance over a longer period of time. Ice can also be dumped in at the dragstrip to give you a little extra kick going down the track. This car did not benefit from these enhancements at the time of our testing, however.

At the end of the day, the new parts and final tune provided a consistent gain of around 40rwhp across the board, 43.19rwhp at peak. There was a torque spike issues with the dyno on all of the follow-up runs, but Jeremy highlighted the area around 4,000rpm where you can see a 50.08 lb/ft gain to the wheels. While the modern day GM muscle cars may have computers controlling everything, old school tech still works well to make big power. If the car benefitted from the aforementioned cooling enhancements, a smaller overdrive pulley, ported cylinder heads, or a nice cam, these gains would be even greater. If you have an V, give Fasterproms a call and figure out a mild-to-wild package for your setup.

At the end of the day, the new parts and final tune provided a consistent gain of around 40rwhp across the board, 43.19rwhp at peak. There was a torque spike issues with the dyno on all of the follow-up runs, but Jeremy highlighted the area around 4,000rpm where you can see a 50.08 lb/ft gain to the wheels. While the modern day GM muscle cars may have computers controlling everything, old school tech still works well to make big power. If the car benefitted from the aforementioned cooling enhancements, a smaller overdrive pulley, ported cylinder heads, or a nice cam, these gains would be even greater. If you have an V, give Fasterproms a call and figure out a mild-to-wild package for your setup.

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