Here's how we found the KB...
Here's how we found the KB manual transmission test mule in mid-installation. It looks like a body shop was up to something here, but actually the front fascia, headlamp, and so on remove fairly quickly.
Eyeballing the engine compartment...
Eyeballing the engine compartment where you'd normally find the air-filter box shows the curved opening cut into the inner fender to clear the KB intake tube. The rubber edging is provided in the kit, but you get to saw the fender.
Peering up at the car from...
Peering up at the car from the front shows the rest of the air tube clearance cutting, this time in the radiator support. Making room to make the cut is why the inner fender must be removed.
Here's the top of the engine...
Here's the top of the engine with the Kenne Bell intake manifold and intercooler installed, but before the blower is set atop them. Plastic is used to keep debris out of the air path; the black tube with blue tape on it is the bypass passage.
A strong young man can get...
A strong young man can get the 2.8-liter blower in place by himself, but doing so with the aid of a helper is always best. Again plastic is used to keep ruinous foreign objects out of the intake path, plus protect the blower from tool dings.
Ken Christley-the talented...
Ken Christley-the talented all-rounder at KB who lays out the kits, does all the electronic tuning, dyno testing, and instruction-manual writing-guides the air inlet tubing into position. Interestingly, KB retains the stock plastic inlet scoop because it blows cold air on the outside of the big, chromed KB inlet, cooling it off. KB says typical underhood temps are 180 degrees, and the inlet air temps drop when driving if the scoop is retained.
Ken fits the air filter for...
Ken fits the air filter for the camera. The giant filter poses no inlet restriction, is surprisingly quiet off boost, and allows a delicious moaning scream when doing it's thing, but you might want to be careful fording rain-swollen intersections. The stock mass-air electronics are swapped into the inlet tube just upstream of the filter.
Ken demonstrates the simple...
Ken demonstrates the simple KB pulley change during dyno testing. A single nut in the center of the pulley does all the clamping and is the only fastener requiring attention. Remove the bolt and the pulley about falls off; the bar of aluminum is KB's $25 pulley changing tool and is required to hold the pulley when torquing the bolt. Depending on the blower pulley diameter, it may be necessary to relocate one easily accessed belt idler pulley, or rarely, swap to a different belt. Generally this is a three-minute job, so pulley changes to accommodate different fuels on grudge night are easily done.
On The Dyno
We tagged along as Ken Christley labored on his development work with the KB manual-transmission test car. This was a major pain as the computer kept closing the throttle (something the automatic test mule never did, interestingly), but we were able to obtain good baseline 8- and 10-psi numbers.
We must explain that the baseline figure was set in totally stock configuration, with the ignition timing advancing as far as Ford has it tuned: 26 degrees total advance. The 8-pound number was set as KB normally sells its kits, with the ignition timing capped at 22 degrees-the practical limit with 91-octane fuel. If 94-octane fuel is available, then a smaller blower drive pulley can be installed and the ignition timing (electronic tuning) can be left alone.
However, if race gas is available (KB tests using 109 research octane unleaded for these conditions), then the 10-pound pulley can be run with 26 degrees of timing. Due to the difficulties in sorting the new Ford software, this was the only 10-psi run we obtained by press time, so we're showing that result and estimating what the 10-pound pulley would make with the timing at 22 degrees. Thanks to all variables being controlled and the linear response of the Twin Screw blower, such guestimates have proven surprisingly accurate with KB blowers.
Of course, it can't escape your attention that the entry-level 8-pound Kenne Bell kit made a staggering 177 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque over stock. This is outstanding performance, so good compared to other reported dyno results (even elsewhere in this magazine) that a reasonable person would want an explanation.
First, remember that besides differences in superchargers and electronic tuning, all dynos do not read equally (sometimes by 40-plus horsepower), and also remember the Kenne Bell is using a huge inlet breathing outside the engine compartment while others suck through smaller tubes inside the engine compartment. In addition, the manual transmission KB test car was wearing a Pypes muffler and tailpipe kit.
|3.875||10||22||583 est.||486 est.||94-octane limit|
| ||Baseline ||KB, 8 PSI ||Baseline Vs. 8 Psi|
|RPM ||HP ||TQ ||HP ||TQ ||HP ||TQ|
| ||KB, 10 PSI||8 PSI VS. 10 PSI|