The intercooler is an important part of the engine turbocharging system. It is a heat exchanger installed between the intake manifold and the compressor. This device is necessary to cool the flow of air heated in the process of compression in the compressor. The better the quality of the intercooler, the more heat it removes. If only that part of the machine is broken, it can be repaired. But if the other main parts of the car became unusable, it is worth to give it to be rebuilt:

Reducing the temperature of the charge air is a must, because even a slight cooling of the airflow gives a significant increase in power. It also saves fuel and reduces emissions. On average, using an intercooler can increase the engine’s power by 20%.

However, not everything is as simple as it seems. By cooling the air, the intercooler reduces the degree of air passage. Accordingly, the boost pressure decreases. That is why the use of this part can be called a compromise between achieving the effect and the losses associated with this task.

There are two types of intercoolers:

water cooled;

air cooled.

Air coolers.

These systems are in demand because of their simple design. They consist of tubes interspersed with plates. The tubes increase the path the air travels, so it cools more. The plates increase the area of the cooler, increasing the heat output. By the way, the plates and tubes are most often made of aluminum. Sometimes it is replaced by copper. 

Air coolers can be installed above the engine, behind the front bumper and in the side parts of the fenders.

Water-type intercoolers

They have their advantages compared to the air systems. First of all, water intercoolers are compact, so they can be installed anywhere under the hood. Water removes heat better than aluminum tubes, respectively, such coolers work efficiently. But water tends to heat up, and it takes time for it to cool down.

The disadvantage of water intercoolers is also the complexity of construction. In addition to the water heat exchanger, they are equipped with a large number of pipes, water pump, air cooler and control unit. Because of this large number of components, water-type coolers are used only in cases where simple air systems cannot be installed.

Nuances of Intercooler Installation

Having decided to equip your “iron horse” with an intercooler, think hard about where to place it. Incorrectly installed the construction, you will get the opposite result: instead of cooling it will heat the air. Under the hood of the car is quite high temperature, so the device should not absorb it.

The optimal place for installation of the intercooler – in front of the radiator. For more efficient cooling, you can install a metal box around the edges, capturing a large flow of air and directing it to the intercooler. You can minimize pressure losses in the system by replacing the original pipes going from the cooler to the turbine with wider ones. They should also be wrapped with aluminum tape, increasing thermal insulation.

Additional option

Some models of intercoolers designed for sports cars are equipped with atomizers. These atomizers automatically spray water on the structure from time to time, cooling it down. This further reduces the temperature of the intake air.

Caution. Winter

In our country, roads are actively sprinkled with sand and salt in the winter. During the cold season, the intercooler is at risk if installed in front of the main radiator. All the dirt and salt from under the wheels of the vehicles in front of you will get on the intercooler. As a result, its oxide film will be destroyed. To extend the life of the cooler, you’ll need to flush it with water from time to time from the outside.

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