q Man’s everlasting search for horsepower is pretty common in the ATV and UTV world. We need horsepower to race against our buddies on the trails and in the dunes, win at the track, and haul heavy loads. In every issue of Dirt Wheels, we test at least one of a variety of ways to add horsepower to your ATV engine, including exhaust and intake systems and big-bore kits and turbos. This month we are going to take a look at a supercharger system from Pro Charger.
A supercharger system works by forcing air into the intake through an impeller fan connected to the engine’s crankshaft. Used in conjunction with a modified fuel supply, power increases dramatically. Pro Charger claims their system increases horsepower numbers by 40 to 50 percent.
You might ask, what is the difference between a supercharger and a turbo? The difference is that a turbo relies on exhaust pressure to force air into the engine, and typically there is a noticeable lag in throttle response before you feel the boost of increased power. Plus, turbo systems generally send warmer air into the intake than is desired.
We chose to install the Pro Charger system on a 2010 Ranger Crew for several reasons: it’s a heavy machine, weighing well over 1500 pounds, it’s powered by an engine designed to move a 700-pound 4×4 quad, plus power is needed even more when the seats are filled and the bed is loaded with cargo. This unit always gets used and has needed more power from day one. Pro Charger’s Supercharger is available for 2010–2011 Ranger 800s, the XP 900 and the new XP 900 four-seater.
Installing a supercharger is not a quick and easy job; however, it is something you can do in your garage over a weekend. Pro Charger supplies a very detailed instruction book with color photos to help walk you through the installation. Long-term maintenance is limited to checking belt tension and occasional oil changes in the supercharger unit.
To power the supercharger, basically a pulley gets connected to the flywheel on a new output shaft that you install, along with a billet-aluminum flywheel cover that comes with the kit. You don’t have to remove or disassemble the engine at all. The pulley turns a belt, which is connected to the supercharger. Depending on how much power gains you want, you can change the pulley size to make the supercharger spin faster and force more air and draw more fuel into the engine. The air is ducted through an inter cooler unit and then right into the stock throttle body. A new high-pressure fuel pump and several new vacuum lines also had to be installed. While we were at it, we upgraded to a stronger EPI clutch kit as well.
The supercharger unit adds just over 30 pounds to the machine when installed. That weight is distributed in several places so it’s not noticeable and the package doesn’t affect the Ranger’s tilt-bed capabilities. There is only a little gear and fan noise in the system, which isn’t any louder than the normal engine noise. Pro Charger recommends using the stock exhaust system as well, which we were happy about. The system works well with aftermarket exhausts too.
Pro Charger claims this system has an acceleration advantage over stock of six seconds from 0–40 mph. We think it might be a little quicker than that. The newfound power isn’t throw-your-head-back fast, but it does make the Ranger Crew feel exciting. In stock trim, it feels like someone left the parking brake on and was even slower when loaded down. With the supercharger installed, our equipped Ranger Crew was now fun to drive.
When you stand on the throttle, the rpm builds much faster than stock. Power is as smooth as stock, but with more torque on the bottom, mid-range and top end. Another good thing about this supercharger system is that you can tell the engine is not struggling to make the extra power. There is no lag between pushing the throttle and the response from the engine. Even if you are on and off the throttle on a tight trail, power and throttle response are impressive.
The power is so enhanced and linear, you only have to push your throttle pedal an inch to get 2 inches of power. On the top end, we hit the rev limiter pretty easily, which we never did in stock trim. A Dyno Jet ignition box can be used to get rid of the throttle limiter if desired.
At $4599, the Pro Charger unit is not cheap, but the 40–50 percent power increase ended up being a great addition to our Ranger Crew. No matter if we take it camping for the weekend or load it up for work with people, cameras and other gear, the extra power of the Pro Charger Supercharger gets put to use. For a machine that takes us far away from civilization and helps us get our jobs done, having the extra reliability of basically a stock motor is worth the price.