(click for bigger pics)
Now this was the easy
bit.... in fact, compared to the fitting of the intercooler, the
design and general faffing around was a walk in the proverbial park.
Firstly we need to mount
the intercooler which was relatively straight forward enough and
helped to boost the old confidence factor that this will work.....
Kinda led me into a false sense of security more like !!!!
Easy enough..... Now the
fun starts. Obviously it wouldn't fit without cutting a bit of the
bumper so, now that the intercooler is mounted, its time to get the
bumper cut so it will go back on unless I want stopped by the police
all the time ;)
Firstly, the coloured section was removed
from the black backing and a hole cut in the black backing to take the
With this section removed
(you don't see it anyways as its hidden behind the coloured panel) the
bumper skin wrapped neatly around the intercooler...... Yeah ok, after
a coupl.....er... a lot of minor alterations (basically I went mental
with the Dremel) -
Ignore the fact that the top section of
numberplate area has been removed (the bit where you can see the
screws) as this has been changed so that only the bottom half is
missing to allow airflow to the top of the intercooler.
Now comes the delicate
part.... so delicate I wimped out and got someone to help as they had
done it before (cheers Russ). The bit I am talking about is the
trimming of the coloured scoop of the bumper.
Around 1-1.5 inches had
to be trimmed back so that the bumper could go back on. This was
reason I chose to get a custom intercooler made up. I knew some of the
bumper would have to go but, with the one I designed, it kept it to a
minimum whilst still having a VERY effective intercooler (see power
run results later).
As you can see, you
hardly notice that the scoop has been trimmed at all -
Now that the
"tricky" bit was past (or so I thought) I concentrated on
getting the intercooler plumbed in..... After all, it would be no good
to me just having that great hulk of metal sitting there doing nowt.
The pipework was
relatively easy once it was figured out...... Aint it amazing how what
you think things should go like and how they actually do
go like are totally different ??
First off, the standard
intercooler had to come off to allow the pipework of the new cooler
in. This involved removal of the radiator/intercooler unit and then
splitting the unit apart to remove the intercooler. This was all done
Now onto the actual
The main stumbling block
here was, surprisingly, not really my fault although I should have
thought about it as we are talking about the masterminds of Vauxhall
here. I had assumed (first mistake) that Vauxhall would be using 50mm
diameter pipework for the standard induction path and so had bought
all the hoses in that diameter. I also acquired the metal
piping needed from my brother in 50mm as well.
So here is me, under the
car ready to start fitting the pipes. I was going to use the existing
turbo "down pipe" which was a 90o bend and simply
rotate it through 180o to attach it to the rest of
the new pipework (2nd mistake) This is where it got interesting.
As mentioned above, I had
assumed Vauxhall to use the standard 50mm piping all the way through.
Not chuffing likely !!!!
"boffins" at Vauxhall had decide to do was to take the 50mm
turbo exit and use a reducer on the 90o bend I was going to
use so it dropped it to 45mm.... I mean they went to all that hassle
to drop the poxy induction pipework bore by a lousy 5mm !!!!
So here is me with a 50mm
metal pipe and a 45mm end.... What to do. I needed the car the next
day as it was going to Aberdeen (see Unichip
story) After more cups of tea I called Russ. He happened, as always,
to have the answer - a spare bit of 50mm 90o bend hose that
I could blag. Now, how to get the 30 miles to his place.......
I decided to try my best
so I slit the 45mm end at the 2 sides and forced it onto the metal
pipe. Not surprising, the hose blew off under boost so I had to put me
thinking cap on and within minutes I had the answer...... DUCT
I forced the pipe back
into the hose and wrapped LOTS of duct tape around it to stop it
moving out. This got me far enough (Russ's house) to get the spare
pipe and, after 30 mins, the job was done and the custom intercooler
was fitted and working great =)
Was it worth the hassle
Check out below -
A topic that has caused
some debates recently (and in the past) has been What is best -
fitting a chargecooler OR a front mounted Intercooler to your forced
induction car ??
Well I like to think I am
now in a position to help you decide after having both devices added
to my own Cavalier Turbo independently of each other.
First off, lets describe
the main differences between a chargecooler and an intercooler for the
benefit of everyone. Both devices have the same aim which is to reduce
the temperature of the charge air between the turbo and the inlet
manifold. This increases the charge density and therefore more power
The cold air also reduces
the potential for pinking or detonation within the chamber and so
preventing engine damage.
A chargecooler is a
water-to-air heat exchange device which uses cold water as the medium
to transfer heat from the charge air that has come from the turbo and
thereby reducing the charge temperature before it reaches the inlet
The water is then
re-cooled by passing it through a small radiator at the front of the
Heat Exchanger where heat transfer
takes place in the Chargecooler
This is an air-to-air heat
exchanger which uses the surrounding air to cool the charge by forcing
it through a large radiator type device.
Intercooler shown in scoop area
So now that we understand
how it all works lets get straight onto the results -