From oil pan to supercharger, the 580 horsepower Chevrolet Performance LSA crate engine cost under $12,000 from most retailers. That might seem like a lot to some, but consider an LS9 is nearly double the price and even a naturally aspirated LS7 cost more thanks to its exotic materials. Compare that to something chock full of aftermarket parts and it seems like even more of a bargain. Horsepower per dollar – the LSA is a pretty sweet deal. Of course, bargain hunters can find take-off superchargers and even take-out LSAs for a fraction of the cost. That has made the LSA swap attractive to a wide swath of enthusiasts. The rub, of course, is that the LSA supercharger demands a unique accessory drive system.
In a few weeks we’ll be covering a full install of Concept One’s Victory Series LSA Accessory Drive system (PN LSV01 SC03) on a 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS, but in the meantime we wanted to give you the download on one of the toughest aspects of any LSA swap. All factory applications of the LSA (namely the CTS-V and Camaro ZL1) utilize pedestal style engine mounts that lift the engine away from the frame, but often this is not the case with many retrofit applications – including older LS applications. The low-mounted A/C compressor, in particular, often does not jive with factory frame rail.
So what is a guy or girl to do if you want A/C and all the creature comforts, but still the sweet whine of the TVS1900? Concept One’s Victory pulley system uses a set of sculpted billet aluminum brackets and high quality accessories that are arranged on a single 8-rib belt. This makes for a compact – not complex – arrangement that is not only practical, but could be the centerpiece for a SEMA Show or Riddler Award winning engine bay – aka the LSA swap done right.
While you could very easily utilize one or two of the belts on the factory LSA accessory drive, that would mean skipping out on power steering, A/C, or possibly even the alternator. Without these more refined features, some would argue that LS swapping your ride was pointless. Unlike other LS applications, there isn’t a wide array of accessory drive setups on the market for the LSA. Some of the few kits out there simply tuck the A/C compressor in tighter to the engine, not always helpful, or join the blower and some accessories on a 6-rib belt – a recipe for belt-slip.
We spoke with Kevin Redd at Concept One who confirmed that the C1 LSA accessory drive has fit into first- and second-gen Camaros, Firebirds, GTOs, C10s, and even a mid-60s Lincoln. Concept One has provided a handy diagram with measurements to cross reference with your chassis.
Perhaps the only limitation of the Concept One kit is boost. “We only recommend 10psi of boost,” Kevin stated. “One of the guys at Magnuson told me at 14psi it takes around 80hp just to turn the blower, and that puts a huge strain on the water pump shaft, power steering shaft, and all those bearings that were not made to carry that load. With engineering there is always a give and take. We don’t want to run that much load, plus an 8-rib is not really made for that.”
The good news is that if 10psi from the little 1.9L isn’t enough, you can swap out the LSA supercharger for a variety of other positive displacement blowers and make plenty of power. The Concept One Victory kit was designed to be modular. In some cases, all you need is just a new supercharger pulley and you are good to go. Magnuson Heartbeat and standard TVS superchargers as well as the Edelbrock E-Force and Whipple supercharger kits all fall under the LS Victory Series and offer a performance upgrade from the factory blower. In nearly every case you’d gain displacement and efficiency. Doesn’t that sound delightful?