Innovate Motorsports Supercharger Kit Installed - 2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Scion FR-S: Innovate Motorsports Supercharger Kit Installed

July 18, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Back in May 2012, when I first drove a pre-production example of the 2013 Scion FR-S, Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada described to me in some detail the protracted genesis of its flat-four FA20 power plant. That they wanted 100 hp/liter. That Subaru's FB-series wasn't going to cut it in its then-current form. That Toyota handed the next generation of their D-4S direct injection technology to Subaru, their competitor, in order to make it happen. That it had a big ol' torque hole right smack in the middle of the rev range.

Actually, Tada-san never mentioned that last bit. I discovered it for myself the first time I touched the FR-S's throttle to the carpet. Such a terrific chassis and little punch to really exploit it.

We've been angling to remedy that for some time in Project FR-S, our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S. The other day the stars aligned, and Innovate Motorsports got busy installing their twin screw supercharger kit onto it. This is a bolt-on, belt-driven positive displacement supercharger kit that promises a bump in peak power, sure, but more importantly a slug of Tabasco in the midrange. You know, where the FR-S actually needs it.

The company originally told us installation would take four hours. It took less than three hours. Bolting this much power onto a highly-tuned normally aspirated engine has never been this easy.

[Update: installation time-lapse video added at the end of this entry.]

2013 Scion FR-S

Then again, we had an ace in our corner. Innovate Motorsports' Gary Kubo (of NHRA drag racing fame) did the entire installation solo while Mark Takahashi (who shot the photos you see here) and I made fart jokes.

Gary's done a half-dozen installations of the kit already, so he's pretty adept at it by now. However, the company recently had a first-timer install the kit, and it took that guy less than five hours.

2013 Scion FR-S

The contents of the box. Most of the hard work is already done, as the supercharger comes pre-installed on the new intake manifold.

2013 Scion FR-S

Here's a better look at the Innovate Motorsports supercharger kit's main event: its twin screw blower and a proprietary intake manifold. Our car is receiving the base kit, which is not intercooled. The base kit is low boost and the calibration was developed on California 91 octane.

Sean Crawford of Innovate Motorsports tells us they've been thrashing their supercharger-equipped shop car for 7,000 miles while developing the calibration and it hasn't missed a beat, and that includes track-testing in the California desert during summer.

No permanent alterations to the donor car are needed to install the Innovate Motorsports kit. Also, an intercooled version is in the works and the intercooler hardware is modular, meaning it can be easily retrofitted to the base kit down the road, for those inclined.

2013 Scion FR-S

The stock airbox is retained once the supercharger is installed. This is significant because the stock airbox is a rather nice piece. It draws cool, high-pressure air from the nose instead of sucking in hot air from the engine bay like the intakes found in other kits. And, because the stock MAF is not moved or relocated, its voltage characteristic remains as-stock. There's also enough voltage headroom built into the stock MAF to accommodate the higher airflow rate of the Innovate Motorsports kit.

2013 Scion FR-S

Simple hand tools are all that's needed. There's one bolt in the kit that requires an oversized hex key, but not to worry, the hex key is included with the kit.

2013 Scion FR-S

Twin screw superchargers are generally more efficient than Roots blowers, since a twin screw has internal compression and a Roots does not. In a nutshell, what this means is that a twin screw supercharger typically generates cooler discharge temperatures than a typical Roots.

While modern 'TVS' Roots blowers generate similar peak efficiency as a twin screw, the disparity in efficiency between the two blower types grows increasingly wide when you look at off-peak values. Suffice it to say that a supercharger can't always operate at peak efficiency, especially when it is being driven by an engine like the FA20 that has a large rev turndown (7,400 rpm fuel cut).

Discharge temperatures are said to be around 140 degrees F. when driven hard on the street, a bit higher after a good heat soaking on the track. Sean recommends that guys who track their supercharger-equipped cars also install an oil cooler.

2013 Scion FR-S

Most of the installation time is taken by the removal of the stock intake manifold. Once you've reached this point, you're already over the hump.

2013 Scion FR-S

Gary pops o-rings into the Innovate Motorsports manifold prior to installation.

2013 Scion FR-S

Because the throttle body is relocated, its original electrical connector won't reach. Innovate Motorsports includes this neat plug-and-play throttle extension harness to resolve this space-time conundrum.

2013 Scion FR-S

Injector bungs on the new manifold. All of the kit's castings look very nice, and the black power coating lends the kit a near-OEM look. Same goes for the assorted bracketry and hardware that comes with the kit. It all looks very well thought through and sano, with no corners cut.

2013 Scion FR-S

Almost there. The blower's home, the drive belt and tensioner are installed. All that are left are a few ancillary attachments, the trick roto-molded intake tube and a reflash.

2013 Scion FR-S

Gary uploads the proprietary EcuTek reflash. By the way, this kit is CARB EO pending.

2013 Scion FR-S

It lives! Stay tuned for updates, as there's much more to come: dyno-testing, acceleration results, driving impressions and more.

Innovate Motorsports

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor


  • gtiguy3 gtiguy3 Posts:

    Fantastic! Now, don't do anything I wouldn't do.

  • lmbvette lmbvette Posts:

    Wow, that is a very nice kit. How much did it set you back? What sort of power do you expect it to make? What sort of power on the inter-cooled version?

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    Question: does this kit now violate pedestrian crash standards? It looks like it's using up the room under the hood. Which is there to meet improved crash standards...

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Since Jeremy Clarkson doesn't frequent this site, I'll say it for him: "POWAAAAAAAAAR!"

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    So $3,700 for the kit, plus call it $400 to install and reflash. So by my count the car is up to around $36,500. I thought you would be going with a turbo kit - around $6k plus tuning, so this is much cheaper, but I also thought you would be putting an intercooled FA setup on the car. I see this kit took their development car from 167 whp to almost 212, and torque from 140+ to 178+ on a Dynojet. Those are nice gains, but not on the level of factory turbo 2.0L (intercooled) engines, especially in terms of torque. This is a "low-hanging fruit" approach, which does not aim for huge power gains, but observes the handicaps of a factory 12:1 compression ratio, 91-octane CA gas and no intercooler. Those are large obstacles to forced induction and it will be interesting to see how well the car tolerates it.

  • banhugh banhugh Posts:

    This latest update about the supercharger officially opens the floor to the next whining subject: Clutch disk upgrade... Seriously though, good job on the supercharger. I like your balanced approach on power gains. This is how I would go.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Tentatively excited, but still waiting for some numbers and impressions. I also think that you should look at some more ancillary engine work since you're going to run into some limitations if you want to add even more power. Oil cooler as was mentioned is a good start. I looked at IM's website and the "Off-road only" line cracks me up. I see it all the time sure, but for a specifically road-going vehicle is seemed funny. I assume "Non-compliant" just doesn't have the same ring to it. Anyway like I said, excited about the boost but I really want to hear how the car's character evolves.

  • mfennell mfennell Posts:

    The mainfold is completely custom? I'm shocked they can get it cast and machined, combine it with the SC and ancillaries, sell it for $3200 and still make a profit. I wonder what kind of initial buy in THAT took?

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    So pleased this is installed!

  • Cool! Hope the CARB certification is granted, too!

  • Awesome! When I first clicked on the long term road test link and saw "supercharger kit installed" I made an audible "Yes!" in my office. Ha! So glad this finally happened been looking forward to reading about this. Can't wait to see how it performs on track and on the road. The only other thing I am more excited to hear about is the installation of the turbo'd long-rod VVT BP engine that's in the works for the Mighty MX-5. Good job guys!

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    That looks like a surprisingly high quality kit, at least from the pictures. The drivebelt layout isn't 100% ideal, but whatever. It looks absurdly easy to install and it seems like everything is included. Best bet- buy a Toyobaru used in a few years and add this??

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Nice, and about time, although I know it's not IL's fault that the aftermarket has taken so long to provide a good forced induction product. I seem to recall reading that this car was coming to the end of its 12 months soon. I really hope you hold on to it for a while longer to see if the charger creates any long term reliability issues. Plus I really want to see it take on the Miata whenever the dwarves finish the engine.

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    Looks great. Can't wait to see the dyno and other feedback. Also, really glad to see them moving forward with CARB testing as that impacts such a huge portion of the car crazy population (BTW - NY has adopted CARB so that nonsense is spreading).

  • Thank you, great post!

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    very nice looking kit. @fordson notes that now that your cost has crept up over $36K. Would it make more sense to buy a (idk, Mustang GT or WRX?) different car rather than do all the upgrades? Not sure if you are just trying to create the best handling go fast car or what as part of the build. I guess the original intent was to see what incremental changes make to this car. So maybe mission accomplished. I hope we get a summary at the end to see if you feel that the cost justified the final result.

  • mike475 mike475 Posts:

    So Innovate Motorsports does not even make in claims on HP/Torque? or is just a fix for "torque dip" and more power comes in stage 2?

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @noburgers: The problem is that Edmunds invested in a lot of stuff that just doesn't seem necessary. Skip the wheels and exhaust; go for the suspension pieces (debatable depending on how much DD usage you're thinking of, there's other ways to add smaller

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    I also appreciate Edmunds trying out a bunch of upgrades, even if they aren't all worth it to the majority of drivers. It's good info!

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Well, it's been five days now. If this were the CX-5 or the Passat, there would have been three other posts since then. You blow it up or something?

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