In a normally aspirated car, one where the engine breathes on its own, the air going into the carburetor or intake is under regular air pressure. In a car that has a supercharger, there is a blower installed that compresses the air, makes it denser, so that it can pump in more fuel and get a more powerful explosion in the cylinders. Decades ago, these superchargers were installed mostly on very high-performance race cars or street cars owned by racing fans. They could take a well-built performance engine and make it incredibly powerful. In modern times, these engine boosters are added to very small engines so that they can get an incredible increase in power when needed, but otherwise be economical the rest of the time.
The Supercharger Runs From A Belt
The typical booster has a large, wide belt that goes down around the crankshaft and back up to the blower so it gets direct engine power. When you step on the accelerator, the blower blows more air immediately. There are also exhaust driven blowers, usually called turbochargers, that get their power from the exhaust gases leaving the engine. The disadvantage of the turbocharger is that there can be a momentary hesitation before it kicks in due to the lag-time for the air to exit the engine.
One of the disadvantages to the supercharger is that it can be a little noisy at times. When it kicks in at the higher RPMs it begins to work hard sucking air, compressing that air, and pushing it into the engine manifold. This is normal and hard to eliminate but through careful addition of insulation and sound deadening materials that sucking noise can be lessened.
Foster SC Mods share good info that the other noise that a lot of people love, is the supercharger whine that comes from the impeller and its bearings spinning at incredibly high speeds. In the past, that whine was seen as a badge of honor, meaning that you had some killer power under the hood when you needed it. In modern times, some people dislike the supercharger whine and hope to muffle it or eliminate it altogether.
Depending On The Make And Model Of Your Car
There are various ways to quiet down a loud supercharger. Sometimes changing the tension on the belt that runs it will do the trick but you’ll have to experiment. One caveat though, making the belt too tight tends to wear out the bearings faster and letting it be too loose has other risks as well.
Useful suggestion from fosterscmods.com – One of the best ways to find out what is best for your particular car is to visit online forums for people with either the exact same car or the same engine in a different car. Then read through to see what others have done to quiet the supercharger whine that they are experiencing. It usually takes some tinkering and experimentation to get the best balance between loudness, performance, and longevity.
If you’re not an experienced mechanic, this may sound a little over your head. However, there is no harm in investigating under the hood, be careful, buy the manual, read on the forums and you’ll eventually learn all about your particular car and engine.