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Old 12-25-2010, 11:27 AM   #1
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Default Is there any difference between a cheap and expensive intercooler?

As some of you know I have a miata turbo project which I will be getting an intercooler for in the meantime I bought a new daily driver a ford focus st also known as a xr5 turbo uses the volvo t5 c30 engine in stock makes 225bhp.

The intercooler is supposed to be inadequate as standard and various companies have their offerings il show you but they seem incredibly expensive seems like a rip off to me...are the expensive ones much more efficient than the cheap universal ones?

$700 ok looks good with the # Does not block the air flow to the water cooling radiator like some other aftermarket designs This is because our cooler utilises a THINNER core than standard to aid the ambient air flow whilst increasing the internal flow capacity by 16%.
# Supplied complete with alloy ram air ducts

http://www.proalloy.co.uk/cgi-bin/si...76&id=proalloy

$856 the forge intercoolers dont look that impressive to me they say they have high flowing end tanks but you can see they are not they are boxy in design.
http://www.forgemotorsport.co.uk/con...duct=FMINTFSTI

$463 has nice smooth end tanks
http://www.ruderacing.co.uk/Air_Filt...duct_info.html

Aren't intercoolers very basic in design I cant imagine there being much difference between them no?

just the same as a 3" exhaust is a pipe 3" in diameter not much too it.

whats your thoughts and suggestions


p.s. what do i need and how do I go about measuring inlet and outlet temps?
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Old 12-25-2010, 12:19 PM   #2
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Why are those intercoolers so big? I bet you could fab-up some plastic ducting around the FMIC it will work much better. I don't think you need a 4 sq-ft intercooler for that stock turbo making 300whp.

My intercooler on the hottest day was reading 180*f and by 1/3rd way through the FMIC it was 105* on a 100*f day.

You may also want to email Bell Intercoolers. Mine feels sturdy of course but I'm impressed to see the fins still in tact after 2-years of track action...and very little paint on the bumper.

Last edited by hustler; 12-25-2010 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 12-25-2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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ive found this informative website it seems tube and fin is the way to go i think people have jumped on the bar and plate bandwagon it shows why tube is better.
Also i have found out all japanese tuning companies intercoolers are tube and fin Apexi, hks, Greddy if thats not enough to convince the masses out there then nothing will lol
http://www.are.com.au/feat/techtalk/...e%20and%20Fin?
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Old 12-25-2010, 01:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delcbr View Post
ive found this informative website it seems tube and fin is the way to go i think people have jumped on the bar and plate bandwagon it shows why tube is better.
Also i have found out all japanese tuning companies intercoolers are tube and fin Apexi, hks, Greddy if thats not enough to convince the masses out there then nothing will lol
http://www.are.com.au/feat/techtalk/...e%20and%20Fin?
The only reason people are jumping on the bar and plate bandwagon is because nobody wants to spend $1300 on an intercooler when a $100 intercooler has been proven to be just as effective in most of our applications.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:13 AM   #5
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The aerodynamics of the tube vs rectangular etc shape doesn't make as much difference as the internal structure of the inter cooler. For the beginners, there are little fins inside the inter cooler just like there are fins outside. Most cheap inter coolers have very little fins and some have none at all. Also lots of cheap inter coolers have the fins cheaply put together so bunch of them are bent which decreases flow inside the inter cooler.





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Old 12-28-2010, 02:53 AM   #6
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I'm with hustler on putting together some proper ducting. A sealed pathway from the bumper cover to the radiator that collects and contains as much air as possible will go a long way to keeping your charge and coolant as cool as possible. I've ducted a number of cars and they all benefit from this. And unless you are trying to squeeze every drop of power out of the car then there's probably no reason to spend the extra $$$ on the high dollar one if you do buy a new one.

Regarding the intercoolers in your post, my .02...

A tube/fin will typically net you more flow across the core and on to the radiator as your link point out, but will be less efficient with respect to heat transfer as there's less mass in the core itself when compared to a bar/plate core.

It's hard to see the actual end tanks on the first IC, and of the other two I'd choose the bottom one as the tanks look to be a little smoother. But neither of them look ideal. This is the best end tank design with respect to preserving flow, but hardly anything on the market is built like that, and they're ridiculously expensive to boot.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:42 PM   #7
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Check out Corky Bell's Maximum Boost, if you can. That book goes into a great amount of depth regarding intercooler design.

From what I understand, the key points are:

Core height is more important than longer or deeper due to transfer characteristics
Bar/plate vs tube/fin - doesn't really matter which
End tank design - Smooth transition into core with internal diverters if necessary
Intercooler placement - as others have stated, having open airflow to the core and/or sufficient ducting is important.
Check manufacture specs (if available) for design pressure drop across the core; lower drop is obviously better
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:57 PM   #8
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I read a post by Stephanie that said that they cut open a china cooler at the shop and there was hardly any fins in the middle.
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:11 PM   #9
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:53 PM   #10
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.autospecialists.co.uk/New...oduct-993.html
FTW!!!!!!! Ducting is KEY!

Thats part of the reason V-mounts were "in" not too long ago... Still love the v-mount look, lol
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:59 PM   #11
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What is v mount and can it be done on mx5?
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delcbr View Post
What is v mount and can it be done on mx5?
Please Google... theres a hundred thousand pictures... it can be done on any car, just more daunting on a MX5
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:44 PM   #13
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Everyone should read this book before tackling a turbo project.

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/1...oolerpage1.jpg
http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/4...oolerpage2.jpg

Bell, Corky Maximum Boost: Designing, Testing, and Installing Turbocharger Systems. Bentley Publishers, April 2003
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