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Supercharger Drive Balls

Guest DRN

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My supercharger has been developing a grinding noise over the last two years which I get fixed only to have the noise return.

Two years ago, the noise started, and I quickly took the car to the mechanic (a Studebaker and Avanti enthusiast himself) for diagnosis and repair. He noted that one of the five drive balls in the supercharger had developed a flat spot and replaced it. Problem solved.

This summer, 3500 miles later, the noise returned. The car went back to the shop. Ball replaced, noise gone.

On December 9, only 350 miles later, the noise returned.

The fluid level in the supercharger is regularly checked and is in the operating range, with no leaks visible. The car is driven regularly and normally, not babied, but not beaten either. It is driven on good paved country roads and when on a trip, the highway at 60-65 mph.

Is this the "nature of the beast"? Should all balls be replaced at the same time? Or, are the worn balls just a symptom of another problem that is not being addressed?

Any guidance would be appreciated.


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I think Andy Granatelli answers your concerns in his book "They Call Me Mister 500!" He discusses the problems they had when he took over at Paxton Products and the high failure rate of the superchargers. They found out that the problem was lack of quality control in matching up the planetary balls and all were not sized equally. When the superchargers were being assembled (all high quality parts), balls of slightly differing diameters were being installed together. Due to this, the larger balls were carry excess load and were failing prematurely due to excessive heat.

What you need to do is make sure all the planetary balls are precisley identical in diameter, even if it means having to replace them all to do so. I would also use a high grade synthetic fluid in the blower as it will handle the heat better than mineral based transmission fluid. I'd ask a speed shop for a recommendation of a good fluid.

Take care of your balls and they won't let you down! :rolleyes::D

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