Boosted Bafflegab: Cadillac Boost On A Chevy Budget

If you’ve ever wondered what type of person would have been the first to eat an onion, you need look no further than our own automotive equivalent known as Richard Holdener. Richard has been asking the hard question of, “what if?” for years and his proximity to Westech’s Super-Flow dyno makes quantifying the results digestible for the rest of us.

Richard’s latest cross-matched quandary focuses on a lowly 4.8L LS engine and what would happen if you could bolt a supercharger from a Cadillac on it. Why a Caddy, you ask? According to reports on Cadillacforums.com, the EATON M122 superchargers were used on the STS-V and XLR-V cars, but when GM filed bankruptcy in 2009, they left the supplier with over 1,600 of these units, new and unused. They would eventually work their way into the wild through various sales avenues and re-sellers.

Eaton’s M122 supercharger originally found its way atop the Cadillac Northstar 4.4L V8. Image: CadillacForums.com

We have seen online ads for these superchargers for under $500. According to Mack Daddy Parts, the blower itself is fully capable of 650-700whp before any serious modifications. When you consider that these units feature an integrated intercooler, sealed upper plenum, 80mm throttle body and everything needed to make this beauty run, you can see why Richard was interested in testing one on the ever-popular LS platform.

The M122 supercharger contains everything from intake, supercharger, and intercooler which features four Laminova laminar flow heat exchange tubes (right). According to Mack Daddy Parts, the entire install is about 9 inches off the valve cover. Not much taller than a factory truck intake. Images: CadillacForums.com

The only down side is that the supercharger, while a complete unit, was designed for use on GM’s Northstar 4.4L engine platform and not anything relating to LS. You could be like this brave soul on the CadillacForums and “modify” your supercharger housing with a Sawzall to make it more fitting to your application, or, thanks to Mack Daddy Parts you could simply opt for one of their adapter kits, or a complete supercharger installation kit.

Mack Daddy Parts has everything to mate the Caddy blower to the LS engine. Another Caddy quirk, the throttle body is located on the "backside" of the supercharger and Mack Daddy Parts has an adapter available to convert it to cable-operated throttle bodies. Images: Mack Daddy Parts

Our local mad scientist got his hands on one of Mack Daddy’s adapter kits and was soon spinning wrenches to get it fitted atop the humble-sized V8 residing on the dyno. In this video, Richard stretches the belt to see how much power this transplanted boost-box brings to the table – all in the name of science, of course! Starting small, Richard focused on pump fuel to feed the little V8. In the video below, he later boosted timing to see how E85 does.

In the end, many comments focused around what benefit this swap would bring to say, a 6.0L V8. Since Mack Daddy Parts has kits designed for both cathedral-port heads and square ports, that question may be answered at some time. While the superchargers have been languishing on the ‘net awaiting a proper re-purposing such as this, the overall height of the supercharger and intercooler may keep it from being a consideration in anything but the roomiest of under-hood areas. Likewise, whittling at aluminum with any sort of precision comes at a price, and even with liquidator pricing on the superchargers, the cost of everything for a running engine adds up pretty quickly.

Check out Richard’s video for all the info on what this particular setup brings to the table. As you would expect, the supercharger does boost the engine’s output quite nicely. Whether or not this exact swap is right for you depends on many things, but at least Richard was willing to take that first bite of the onion to give us an idea if the experience would be livable or not.

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About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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