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  • Why superchargers fail

    I used the search feature and found plenty on superchargers - but nothing technical about what goes bad beyond flatspotting on the drive balls.

    I was having a great Studebaker weekend when my supercharger seized up as I was doing 70 mph on the freeway. To silence the squealing I took it out of gear (4 speed manual), and the engine quit running - probably because of the drag from two non-rotating supercharger drive belts. Of course the loss of power brakes made for some momentary stopping fun. I was right at my exit, and I coasted all the way off the freeway and into a safe low traffic spot on a side street. Popped the hood and smoke was coming out the air filter and carb bonnet, but no fire. I left and got some tools and took the belts off and I was back on the road again.

    The supercharger is seized, still has fluid but it is all dark now (it was freshly filled two weeks ago). The pulley will rock back and forth but will not turn.

    What have you guys found when you disassembled a seized supercharger?

    Thomas

    Long time hot rodder
    Packrat junk collector
    '63 Avanti R2 4 speed

  • #2
    In Andy Granatelli's autobiography "They Call Me Mister 500", he related how they determined the problems with superchargers. He determined that there were minute differences in diameter between planetary balls from different lots, and they were randomly being installed during assembly. That meant that planetary balls of greater diameter were carrying a greater share of the load and failing early.

    Andy saw to it that increased quality control measures were initiated to ensure identical planetary bas were installed in superchargers. After that the problems went away.

    Whether that's your problem I can't say, but it's a starting place to look.




    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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    • #3
      At this point I do expect to find some drive balls with a differrent diameter (flatspots anyone?). My guess is that at least one drive ball is jammed in place. I'll take it apart next weekend.

      Thomas

      Long time hot rodder
      Packrat junk collector
      '63 Avanti R2 4 speed

      Comment


      • #4
        Great, something else to worry about! I just recently got my 63 R-2 GT back on the road after a ten year hibernation; for some reason (like ignorance) I ran Dexron II in the s/c for 20,000 miles from 1988 to 1999 - I changed to Ford type F during the resurection. Keeping my fingers crossed...Russ Farris
        1963 GT Hawk R-2 4-speed
        1964 Avanti R-1 Auto

        Comment


        • #5
          Not that it will help you in this case, but we had a chapter member with a R-2 Avanti with well over 100,000 miles on the original supercharger with no failures. He used to tell me that the key to long life was to remove the supercharger (I don't remember the interval, but it was pretty short), turn it upside down and COMPLETELY drain the fluid before refilling.




          Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430

          Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
          '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

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          • #6
            I believe in changing the fluid every 3000-5000 miles, but I do not remove the S/C to do it. I have posted the technique in the past.

            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by studegary

              I believe in changing the fluid every 3000-5000 miles, but I do not remove the S/C to do it. I have posted the technique in the past.
              I used to change my s/c fluid using the technique you mention. However, the member, Don Eireman, who you may remember from early SDC days, got after me about that saying that the only way to get ALL the old stuff out out the unit was to drain it upside down.



              Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430

              Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
              '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

              Comment


              • #8
                Has anyone every modified a supercharger so as to drill and tap threads on the bottom side where lubricating oil goes and then insert a drain plug with valve?

                <div align="left">John</div id="left">

                <div align="left">'63 Avanti, R1, Auto, AC, PW (unrestored)</div id="left">
                sigpic
                John
                63R-2386
                Resto-Mod by Michael Myer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Blower failures are due to heat generated and very little way to get rid of it. A recirculating system is the best way to go using a reservoir and cooler but the easiest way out is to go with a full synthetic auto trans fluid. You won't believe how much the running temp of the unit drops.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:Originally posted by 53k

                    quote:Originally posted by studegary

                    I believe in changing the fluid every 3000-5000 miles, but I do not remove the S/C to do it. I have posted the technique in the past.
                    I used to change my s/c fluid using the technique you mention. However, the member, Don Eireman, who you may remember from early SDC days, got after me about that saying that the only way to get ALL the old stuff out out the unit was to drain it upside down.



                    Paul Johnson,
                    There are different schools of thought on this. If there is something laying in the bottom that does not get suspended in the fluid, I would rather leave it there than dump the S/C over and get that item lodged in some unknown place. I believe that the important part is to change 99.5% of the fluid frequently.

                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer
                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      quote:Originally posted by nels

                      Blower failures are due to heat generated and very little way to get rid of it. A recirculating system is the best way to go using a reservoir and cooler but the easiest way out is to go with a full synthetic auto trans fluid. You won't believe how much the running temp of the unit drops.
                      I've heard that synthetic ATF is not viscous enough or has too low a surface friction for the drive balls to correctly spin and drive the supercharger. Is there a brand of synthetic ATF that will work that some member has experience with.

                      Also has anyone installed a SC cooler on a Paxton SN60 (it would take some drilling and tapping and adaptation but I wonder if someone has done it.

                      <div align="left">John</div id="left">

                      <div align="left">'63 Avanti, R1, Auto, AC, PW (unrestored)</div id="left">
                      sigpic
                      John
                      63R-2386
                      Resto-Mod by Michael Myer

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        John, I'll be testing out one of the dipstick coolers in the next week. I should be able to get temps of both the SC case as well as the air charge temps with and without the cooler. Although this information will not give direct evidence of extending SC life, one would think that if the dipstick cooler does in fact reduce the operating temp of both the SC and the air the SC delivers, it would be a good thing.

                        As to the synthetic ATF, my understanding is similar to yours. One of the reasons Paxton recommended Type F ATF was to provide the friction modifiers necessary for ball driver traction. The full synthetic ATF's are lacking in this requirement.

                        Jim

                        ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________Rabid Snail Racing
                        Jim
                        Often in error, never in doubt
                        http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

                        ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A few weeks ago I removed the S/C oil with a syringe and length of nylon tubing after some 3200 miles driven. As a check, I measured the volume of oil removed by this method at 225 ml. This compares with the 237 ml. put in over the winter for a 95% removal. The last bit of oil withdrawn from the bottom showed no sediment or metallic discoloration. I doubt if inverting the blower would remove any more and could very well yield less oil due to the dipstick tube.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'll bet I've burned up fifteen blowers in my day. All fifteen or so were with standard trans fluid. All ran so hot during a road trip that you could not check the fluid with out burning your fingers. I switched to a full synthetic about ten years ago and have never failed a blower since. Heat is the enemy and the first thing I noticed after using synthetic is a drastic drop in blower temp. I could check the oil without burning my fingers. I do add a teaspoon of STP to the mix to insure oil hangs on the output race after cool down. That is something I do as it seemed to make sense. I don't care what everyone has heard, this is what I have done and I am absolutely sold on it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              quote:Originally posted by jlmccuan

                              John, I'll be testing out one of the dipstick coolers in the next week. I should be able to get temps of both the SC case as well as the air charge temps with and without the cooler. Although this information will not give direct evidence of extending SC life, one would think that if the dipstick cooler does in fact reduce the operating temp of both the SC and the air the SC delivers, it would be a good thing.

                              As to the synthetic ATF, my understanding is similar to yours. One of the reasons Paxton recommended Type F ATF was to provide the friction modifiers necessary for ball driver traction. The full synthetic ATF's are lacking in this requirement.

                              Jim
                              Please update us on the dipstick cooler. Do you have a link to where you can order or purchase one of these dipstick coolers?

                              <div align="left">John</div id="left">

                              <div align="left">'63 Avanti, R1, Auto, AC, PW (unrestored)</div id="left">
                              sigpic
                              John
                              63R-2386
                              Resto-Mod by Michael Myer

                              Comment

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