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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Kannon's LSA Adventure **UPDATE PAGES 3,6,7 & 8**

**UPDATES on pages 3,6,7 & 8**

After adding headers and a Livernois tune last year, I knew a super charger was the next thing on my list. I started looking into the different kits out there and couldn’t decide between a Whipple or Maggie. One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to install everything myself and have the car tuned locally. I didn’t really consider an LSA because I didn’t want to piece everything together and then read for days trying to make everything work. I browsed through various LSA threads but couldn’t really find a good “how to.” Most of the LSA stuff on here is part numbers and a few nuggets of good info but it’s hard to sort through it all.

A few months ago I noticed the eBay listing for an SS LSA kit and that piqued my interest. The seller of these kits is West Michigan Automotive Technology and they have also have an online store, https://west-michigan-automotive-te...o-ss-lsa-supercharger-conversion-complete-kit. This made an LSA much more attractive to me. Yes, I could have searched for better deals on the parts but to me it was worth paying a little bit more for the kit because well…it’s a kit and nobody else is really selling these. The important part is that the kit included instructions. That’s really what West Michigan is selling. The “how to.” Anyone can buy all of the parts but unless you’ve done one before, it’s tough to navigate through all of the various LSA builds. Especially since everyone does it a little bit differently. I pulled the trigger and decided that I would use the long Memorial Day weekend to do the install.

It took about two weeks to receive everything. I was happy (and so was my son) to see those 4 boxes arrive. Everything was packaged nicely and labeled. The instructions were in an envelope and printed clearly. But no pictures. Just an intercooler routing diagram and LSA belt diagram. Hmmm.




Before I tackled the install, I wanted to get some baseline numbers. Only mods at the time were 1 7/8” American Racing long tubes with cats to stock mufflers, Roto-Fab intake and a Livernois tune.


390 hp 383 torque. Thanks Livernois. You did your job but now it's time to move on.

I took the ECM out of the car and gave it to my tuner. This way he could get a base tune in that would be safe to drive the 10 miles from my house to his shop. Didn’t want to deal with a tow truck and all of that hassle. He’d have to put some sort of base tune anyway so that made sense to me.

Now the hard part. I’ve never installed a super charger before but am pretty confident in my mechanical skills and can follow instructions well. I have a decent selection of tools but went out and bought a few things I’d need for the job:
• Harmonic balancer puller, 3 jaw
• Harmonic balancer install tool which is basically a piece of all thread, two washers and a nut
• 3/8” fuel line disconnect tool
• 250 ft pound torque wrench
• One of those hose clamp tools that have the grabber portion on a cable so you can clamp hoses in hard to reach spots (friggen MVP of this install!)

Sorry I didn’t document the process better but it became clear once I started that I’d be using the entire 4 day weekend to get this install done in time for me to be able to drive to work on the following Tuesday. I never rushed anything but I was moving with a purpose. Also, I had some friend and family stuff scheduled for the weekend so I knew it wouldn’t all be dedicated to wrenching on my car. I started the teardown on Thursday night which was all pretty straight-forward. Took the front bumper off for like the 4th or 5th time since buying the car and started pulling hoses and connectors while labeling everything that moved.



I felt pretty good about the teardown until I picked up the ZL1 Heat Exchanger and saw how large it was and how little space I had.

Well, the instructions came with some brackets and said it would fit so I didn’t worry too much about it. Off to bed….

Friday morning I took another look at the heat exchanger and reread the little section on the instructions and couldn’t for the life of me understand how this thing was supposed to fit in there without completely removing the windshield washer tank and doing some serious cutting of the plastic parts on the car. Not only that, but the “brackets” were two pieces of L-shaped 90 degree steel. Nothing lined up and even if I removed the washer bottle completely (which mounts behind almost the entire length of the front crash bar), the brackets still wouldn’t work. I called up West Michigan and spoke with Mike and he tried talking me through it but didn’t have pics to send to me and a lot of his folks were off for the weekend. I sent him pics and we had a couple email exchanges but basically ended with, “it’s not an exact science but it WILL work.” So I hit pause on the project thinking I was dead in the water and would have to put everything back on the car until I could order a new HX that fits without major mods. I knew STG Motorsports sells one for an SS so I even called Greg over there. I was seriously considering paying for their HX and begging for it to be overnighted. Unfortunately (fortunately), their lead time is a couple weeks so that wasn’t an option.

I’m stubborn so I took another look. I started removing the black plastic parts, unbolted the washer bottle and top of the radiator so I could tilt it back a bit. I was able to stuff the heat exchanger in front of the radiator but the washer bottle wouldn’t fit. Out came the Dremel. I started trimming parts of the bottle and was able to make it fit. Problem is, some of the parts I trimmed included the mounting holes. I hopped onto Amazon and ordered some heavy duty zip ties (thank you Prime and Sunday delivery!). These things are bomber and can hold almost 200 lbs. I later used them to mount the washer tank to the crash bar. Next thing to tackle was the “mounting brackets.” I started bending them with my vise in order to make them work and ended up with this:



Once I was satisfied with the mockup, I picked up some new nuts, bolts and lock washers and mounted it. This is what I ended up with but the HX took some obvious damage to the fins from being taken out and put back in half a dozen times. Thankfully, no leaks so far but man it took a beating. I figure I’m losing more cooling by a large part of the HX being blocked by the crash bar than the bent fins. I have a feeling I’ll eventually replace that. We'll see how the IAT's look...


It took me a good 5 hours of messing around with this in order to give me the confidence to carry on with the rest of the install. That’s why there are even less pictures moving forward. I became less concerned with documenting the process and more worried about running out of time.

The next thing I did was remove the SS balancer. It took my wife standing on the brakes, a breaker bar and cheater pipe but the bolt came out. The 3 jaw puller did its job and it came right off. The kit came with a crank pinning kit but the drill bit wasn’t hard or sharp enough to do much to the crank snout. Maybe it was just my wimpy 14v cordless. Even with the radiator fan out, there’s not a ton of room to get a straight angle to drill. I had to use one of my ¼” bits to get deep enough for the pins. The little balancer install tool I bought worked like a champ. The LSA kit came with a stock TTY bolt but I bought an ARP balancer bolt ahead of time because I didn’t want to buy a torque angle gauge. Plus I wanted to make use of my fancy new 250 ft lb torque wrench :)

The blower itself comes ready to mount except I had to install new gaskets which go on with two rivets each (all included in the kit) and cut off a locating pin which won’t work with our cylinder heads. The kit comes with new 65lb Deatschwerks injectors and a ZL1 fuel rail which is all pretty straight-forward. The mounting brackets for the coil packs need to be modified by drilling new mounting holes so the bracket sits about a ½” lower on the valve covers.

The kit comes with wiring pigtails for the MAP, throttle body and IAT harnesses but they aren’t plug and play. They require cutting off the stock connectors and soldering the extensions. Of course the pig tails aren’t color-matched so you have to pay very close attention to which wires you’re splicing together. One issue I had was the throttle body connector being too short. Either the pigtail they sent me wasn't long enough or I didn't move the factory harness from the passenger side far enough over. I had to extend the provided pigtail about 12 inches to reach the throttle body. All pretty easy stuff though.

The kit comes with enough hose and AN fittings to route a new fuel line from the rear passenger side of the fuel rail to the supply line at the firewall (driver side). I also had to run new lines to connect the PCV system. I bought a G8 bracket to mount my Elite Engineering catch can to a ground bolt next to the fuse panel (thanks for the tip Bonecrrusher!).


Next was time to mount the included Bosch IC pump and run all of the plumbing for the heat exchanger. I mounted mine on the driver side frame. Thought it was a great spot until I put the radiator fan back in and realized it was in the way. Doh. Had to move the pump back a few inches to clear the fan. The hosing definitely isn’t the most elegant thing about the install. I could have probably run it cleaner but I was mostly trying to avoid bends that would cause the hose to kink up. The kit comes with a decent mount of ¾” hose, a couple 90 degree hoses, reducers and fittings for the intercooler connections. It also includes a fill tube so you can add coolant. I ran my lines per the instructions in the kit. This is by far the biggest eye sore of the install. I will most definitely be re-routing the hoses sometime down the road and getting something a little nicer looking. Function of form on this one I guess. Again, we'll see how those IAT's look.




The last thing to take care of was to find a way to make the connection from the throttle body to my Roto-Fab intake. I knew from the beginning that some modifications would need to be done in order to make it work with the Roto-Fab. The kit instructions mention the Roto-Fab intake by name and provide some small instructions on how to do it but once again, they details are slim. They provide a section of 4” pipe, a couple silicone couplers and some hose clamps. And basically good luck! A picture would have helped immensely but again, I was left on my own to figure this out. No matter how I tried to manipulate the pipe and the Roto-Fab, I couldn’t defeat physics or geometry. I gave up, went to Pep-Boys and browsed the section everyone loves to make fun of….

This was Monday. I had to be done that night. I was desperate. I bought a couple different cone filters, some random 4” pipes, 60 degreee, 90 degree and more couplers. I didn’t want to have to go back to that place or get caught in that aisle again. I just needed to be drivable and figured I could sort out the Roto-Fab situation later. Ended up with this:




Not bad I suppose. I know that 90 degree silicone elbow will be a problem because it probably sucks in during heavy throttle. All can be replaced down the road. At least I was finally in a place where I could start the car for the first time.

So at 6pm on Monday evening with about 12 hours to go until I had to drive to work, my SS with 22,700 miles began its new life as a forced induction vehicle. She fired up like she always has and it was thankfully uneventful. No fuss, no leaks, no abnormal sounds. I let it idle for a bit so I could top off the coolant. I put the bumper back on and took her for a spin. I didn’t want to romp on it but took it up to 5k a few times and knew right away I was in love. Confident I could get to work and back the next day, I parked the car for the night, took a shower and crashed. Sore back, beat up knuckles but a pretty good feeling of satisfaction. Oh…I also drank a beer.



Now I’m just waiting for my tuner to free up so I can leave the car with him for a day to dyno tune it. I did do some data logging yesterday so he could make some tweaks.



Hopefully in the next week or so I can update this post with some dyno numbers and a real review of the added power.

But really, most everyone agrees that the LSA is a great bang for the buck so we know how that’ll go. But I wanted to make this post because there isn’t much information out there on SS LSA self-installs and more importantly, LSA “kits.” I’m a little torn on this one. The kit included everything it described and allowed me to put a blower and IC system on my car during a long weekend. All of the parts were there and everything was new except the blower which had a solid isolator coupler pre-installed. If it included some better instructions and maybe some pictures for reference, it would have been a much more enjoyable experience. As I said in the beginning, the price tag for this kit isn’t the sum of the parts, it’s the knowledge in how to make those parts work. Are they the nicest looking parts? No. Are they the best parts for LSA installs? Nope. I give West Michigan Auto props for putting this kit together and I’m sure they’ll work out the install instructions down the road. About a third of the way into the install I realized I could have easily gathered all of the parts myself and done it for cheaper and a little cleaner. Hindsight though. The instructions are what I really bought. That being said, I don’t want to email anyone the instructions I received for this kit because to me, that’s West Michigan’s work. I emailed a forum member the instructions upon request the other day and felt a little dirty about it afterwards. If someone else wants to share them, then that’s up to them. I’m happy to answer any questions people have if they want to tackle this themselves though.

I'm sure there are those out there that will snicker at the mechanical work, cleanliness of the install or usage of some less than stellar parts (HX, pump, "CAI") and that's fine. I've never been intimidated by trying to do things myself and if there's one thing I can pass on to my kids, it's that. I still have lots to learn about this car but feel pretty good about solving any issues that spring up since I'm the one who wrenched on it and know where every hose, connector and bolt is. Talk about a good way of getting to know your ride. I paid in blood and sweat but it's really tough to beat the satisfaction of knocking out a project like this on your own. Bonus points that everything works perfectly :) Thanks for reading and good luck DIYers!

 

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No, this should be titled Kannon's LSA "Excellent" Adventure...I look forward to reading through all this great info! Thanks for taking the time and effort to document.
 

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Great write up, Kannon! This thread will no doubt provide the impetus for others to pull the trigger and go blown. Like you, I too did not wish to muddle my way through all the fabrication to get everything to work. Ended up with the ProCharger kit, which supplied everything needed, plus excellent instructions, to get the job done. Forced induction makes these cars run like they should have from the factory, IMO...
 

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Thanks for the post and the pictures! As you said, sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words!

Something to note for others as well, is that West Michigan Auto DOES in fact sell just the instructions by themselves. I picked them up about a week or so ago to mark the start of compiling my LSA goodies.
 

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No, this should be titled Kannon's LSA "Excellent" Adventure...I look forward to reading through all this great info! Thanks for taking the time and effort to document.



Note: I could have gone without seeing how affordable these are. :smile
 

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Kannon had a fabulous SS to start with and has now taken it to another level! The man did this MAJOR DIY project over an extended 3-day weekend, managed his family obligations, documented his efforts as well as any others on this forum, completed his task with a successful, drama-free start-up and then apologizes for not doing a better job of documentation - seriously? We should all be as talented and driven!

Congratulations on a great job. The little work-arounds will be dealt with and I'm sure you'll detail everything out to match the well-planned out and super clean changes made to the rest of the car.

Will you share the name of your tuner please?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone!

Will you share the name of your tuner please?
The tuner is Mike, the owner of Zippy Performance. Really small shop in Vegas but with a great reputation. He's always super busy and does no real advertising for himself since he has all the work he can handle. Word of mouth in this world goes a long way I think.
 

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Nice build and congrats on getting it done!
 

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Great job and great write up Kannon!

How did the IAT's do in the data logging? I've got the zl1 HE but was thinking about the interchiller instead.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not too sure yet. I didn't have time to really go over the data with him. He wanted to tweak fuel trims a bit since he wasn't too sure about the injectors when he tuned it pre-install. It was hard to see on the laptop while I was driving around but it was about 95 degrees outside and I was seeing 110's-30's while driving. Sitting in traffic when I took that pic it was in the high 140's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Very nice, I know you'll enjoy passing everything but a gas station. Did you stay with stock heads and cam then?
Yes, everything else is stock. MPG definitely took a hit but can't quite tell yet if that's my foot or the thirsty engine :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I drive both freeway and surface streets to go to and from work. Average dropped 1-2 MPG so far. But again, I've been enjoying getting up to speed much quicker than I normally drive ;)
 

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Sweet that you got it installed! Best of luck, maybe you should send your comment to the company so they can better update their instructions and maybe include plug and play wiring? You know give them some feedback so people like me will have an even easier time when I pull the trigger on one of these. Hahaha
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sweet that you got it installed! Best of luck, maybe you should send your comment to the company so they can better update their instructions and maybe include plug and play wiring? You know give them some feedback so people like me will have an even easier time when I pull the trigger on one of these. Hahaha
Good call. I emailed them the link to this thread. Maybe they'll chime in.
 
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