Supercharger Kits for Your Scion tC

As nostalgiacore as the Scion brand has become in the 20s, many enthusiasts agree that it wasn’t Toyota’s best move. The cars were great, sure, but something failed.

Scion was targeted at younger buyers and featured a lineup that was supposed to be youth-friendly (cheap). The darling of Scion’s stable was undoubtedly the tC, a compact FWD 2-door that many considered a spiritual successor to the Celica.

Perhaps one of its greatest redeeming qualities is how well the 2AZ and 2AR powertrains can handle forced induction. It’s no wonder why Toyota made its own TRD supercharger kit for these motors.

The TRD kit was so good that aftermarket manufacturers didn’t even bother to follow suit. In this article, we’ll take a look at said supercharger.

Installing a TRD Supercharger Kit On a tC

TRD-supercharged tC

Installing a supercharger kit on the Scion tC is a pretty involved process, but it’s quite straightforward. The kit comes with a supercharger of the centrifugal Vortech variety, as well as all the necessary hoses, pulleys, new injectors, and a new oil pan.

What exactly is a centrifugal supercharger? A centrifugal supercharger is a less common type of supercharger not often seen in stock cars.

First things first, the stock injectors need to be swapped out for the new ones that come with the kit. Don’t worry about the fuel system, as the updated injectors bolt right into the stock fuel rail. After that, you have to drain all the oil to install the new oil pan.

The pulley bolt also requires a replacement, as the kit comes with a stronger replacement. After that, the kit bolts in with the included bracket. You also have to install a new upper radiator hose and new spark plugs. Then, the supercharger kit can finally be installed.

Once everything is over and done with, the last thing left to do is an ECU reflash, as the supercharger requires its own custom map.

The Best Supercharger Kit Option

Previously on Low Offset, we’ve discussed Scion tC turbocharger options. There are quite a few, and they run the gamut from means to an end, from off-brand turbo kits to legitimate kits from reputed aftermarket equipment manufacturers.

With tC supercharger kits, it’s a slightly different story; there’s only one. It’s the TRD kit that was officially offered by Scion as a dealer accessory, which meant it wouldn’t void the car’s warranty if you decided to install it.

While this in itself sounds great, there’s one small problem. The Scion tC has been out of production for almost a decade, and the TRD supercharger kit has been out of production for even longer. Scion only offered it on the 1st generation tC which was sold from 2004 to 2010.

VVT-i engine cover on supercharged Scion tC

If you have the 2nd-generation TC, going with a turbo kit is the most viable option. However, if you own a 1st-generation TC, installing the TRD supercharger kit is possible. 

As mentioned previously, everything you need to get the kit installed and up and running comes in the box. If the kit you’re looking at is missing parts, you might have a hard time trying to find them, so make sure that it’s in good condition and includes every part necessary to make it tick. 

Where To Find The TRD Supercharger Kit For The tC

You can source an original TRD supercharger for the Scion tC at a few different places. Our top recommendations include trailing eBay, owner forums, and Reddit. Generally, the prices for these kits run the gamut from $1,000 to $2,500.

While they are somewhat less expensive than a lot of the higher-quality turbo kits for the tC, you have to keep in mind that they’re all used. Always check with the seller about how many miles they’ve done with the supercharger equipped, and ask them why they’re selling it.

If they agree to give you the serial number, you can check if any work has been done to the supercharger, including rebuilding.

This is one of the easiest ways to check that the supercharger is in working order and has been taken care of. Finally, take a general look at all the components and make sure they are in good condition.

Arguably even more important than the condition of the components is their presence. Ensure that the kit you’re looking at has all the necessary parts. 

Potential Power Gains And Changes

Supercharger kits generally don’t give quite the same power gains as turbos, but the TRD kit for the Scion tC can still provide a healthy boost in horsepower. For reference, the stock first-gen tC puts down 160 hp at 6000 rpm, or 139 whp, and 163 lb-ft of torque at 4200 at rpm.

With the supercharger kit on its own, it can provide a substantial wheel horsepower gain of around 50 whp, for a total of around 190 whp.

As neither the car nor the supercharger kits are still under warranty, a crank pulley and additional bolt-ons can send you way past that. Remember, the Scion tC engine can take quite a beating.

Concluding Summary

Silver Scion tC

The Scion tC will always be an underrated Japanese car. It’s super affordable, and it can take a beating when it comes to even the most serious of performance upgrades.

A turbo kit is an obvious choice for a lot of people, but if you want your tC to offer up a unique experience behind the wheel with a more linear power curve while maintaining most, if not all of its drivability and fun factor, the TRD supercharger kit is a fantastic choice.

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