The life of an exhaust system
A turbocharger compresses air from the engine intake which creates heat. An example being, you'll notice the air that's being released from a tire is much hotter than the ambient air. The function of a turbocharger is to force compressed air into your engine which allows for more fuel and ultimately more power. The problem with this is that hot air can cause detonation and so almost all turbocharged vehicles has to be fitted with an intercooler.
The intercooler's job is taking the air that the turbocharger has compressed and cooling down the temperature. This can be done in two ways, either with a liquid cooled intercooler or an air to air intercooler. A liquid cooled intercooler has much greater cooling potential, but the liquid will eventually become too hot unless an auxiliary radiator is used. That is why most intercoolers you’ll find on turbocharged vehicles use an air-to-air design.
You'll find that most intercoolers on turbocharged vehicles using the air to air design as it's more friendly and efficient. While a liquid cooled intercooler has much better cooling potential, the liquid eventually becomes too hot
To minimize production cost, most of the time OEM intercoolers are fairly small. It will typically get the job done, but as soon as you start increasing boost pressure or adding bolt-on modifications, the intercooler starts lacking. Adding a larger intercooler without any tuning will not really add any power. The charge air temperature will be lower resulting in denser air, but the larger intercooler can add a slight amount of drag which can somewhat negate any power gains.
The upside to installing an aftermarket intercooler is the ability to run a more aggressive tune without running into detonation. A larger intercooler is also less susceptible to heat soaking which means you can stay out on the road or race track longer without losing power.
A larger intercooler itself will not add any horsepower but if you're doing an aggressive tune, that increases temperatures significantly so an aftermarket intercooler is ideal, as factory intercoolers are unable to sufficiently handle such high temperatures. The colder the intake air, the higher the efficiency of the turbo-charged engine and less risk of engine damage.
This can be achieved with an optimized intercooler system installed between the turbocharger and engine. It's also good to know that bigger doesn't always mean better. If your intercooler is too big for your vehicle, it'll cause more lag and drag in your turbocharger. With that said, you'll most likely never run into this problem as spatial constraints will not allow you to fit an intercooler that is much larger than the factory unit.
The intercooler that is suitable for your car depends on what you plan to get out of your car. Are you planning to tune it? Do you just want colder air intake for your daily drive? Intercoolers should correspond with the needs of your car. If you're getting stage 2 turbo, you should get an intercooler built for stage 2 applications. So you can expect a wide range of different level of functions of intercoolers to choose from.
The most important part of the intercooler is the core. This is where the air gets cooled down before entering the engine. Intercoolers can be categorized by two types of the core construction.
Bar & Plate
The bar & plate core is a rather heavy construction so there is a degree of thermal inertia. That means that when it's under load, the core takes longer to heat, but also longer to cool down once the load is removed. This is acceptable for the road but the construction is not really suitable for race tracks as it arrives at a constant cooling performance at varying loads in the full load range. Weight reduction is also an important factor for track use therefore not very applicable. Most of the aftermarket bolt-on intercoolers you see will be Bar & Plate and is the more common choice.
Tube & Fin
The tube & fin has a light construct and exchanges heat much faster, although this means they are more prone to damage on front mount applications. It takes and releases temperatures much quicker than the bar & plate, making it ideal for a consistent cooling performance in a dynamic throttle situation, varying on the load you are applying. Tube & fins are fine for street use too, but most of the aftermarket bolt-ons will be Bar & Plate. Tube & fins are lighter, but also more flow restrictive.
The external core is responsible for heat exchange with the running wind. Higher density fins means better cooling performance but it's also important to look at what's behind the intercooler. Too much fin density blocks whatever that sits behind the intercooler. While you may have achieved high intake air temperatures, it would be a pain to see your engine coolant temperatures rising instead. These are factors that manufacturers take into consideration when developing the most suitable external core.
High density on the left, low density on the right
The internal core is responsible for exchanging heat with the hot charged air and also to handle the additional air flow which is running through the intake system. It's important to think carefully when deciding the internal fin density. A high internal fin density provides great cooling performance but at the expense of a higher pressure drop. The pressure drop of the cooling system should not be negatively affected by an aftermarket intercooler. High pressure drop increases the mechanical load on the turbocharger which can compromise the longevity of the turbo. Well constructed intercoolers should have a good balance between high cooling performance, reduced pressure drop and built specifically for each vehicle.
Intercoolers are not a one size fits all. To get the best out of your car, you need an intercooler that is tailored to how you utilize your car. Getting the largest available intercooler if you're only daily driving or getting any random aftermarket intercooler for your stage 2 tuned car wouldn't work well. Talk to us about your driving needs and we can recommend a suitable intercooler for you!
Contact us on Whatsapp using this link https://wa.me/6597883616 or email us at email@example.com and we will assist you in getting the optimal intercooler for your car.
Login to post comments