How to install an Aftermarket Intercooler
By Todd Schafer on January 25, 2014
Installing an aftermarket intercooler can substantially increase the performance of the engine by 5% to 10% with a reduction in temperature levels of about 35 degrees to 40 degree centigrade. Though after an aggressive drive the intercooler might face issues of heating up. A basic tip of tuner activity in this sphere is that the larger the size of the intercooler the longer it can avoid soaking up heat on the engine and getting too hot. Many companies make quality aftermarket intercoolers including AEM, APR, Agency Power, Alta Performance, Evolution Motorsports, HKS, Injen and Perrin.
This brief guide is only a vanilla version, not specifying any particular model car or intercooler. Your actual install will probably be somewhat different. It is intended to give you a idea of what you will be required to do if you decide to take on this upgrade.
To install a front mount intercooler, first the headlights need to be removed by unscrewing from the top of the headlight. Then the headlight’s harness needs to be detached and it has to be slid out carefully from the car. Next step is to remove the bumper cover. The side grille inserts are detached and the bolts from the bumper bracket are also removed. Then the fasteners and the screws holding the bumper to the fender are to be detached. Next the bumper is easy to be pulled out from the body of the car. The headlight washer hose has to be detached.
The following directions really will be car specific but should similar to these. We will remove hardware from the radiator support. The bolts are unfastened from the bumper shocks and the fender. The clamps holding the intercooler hoses are unclasped. Next, unclasp the lower hose clamp on both sides of the vehicle from the turbo outlet pipe. After this you will be able to hoist the intercooler up and push it towards the car front. It then can be pulled out. On the passenger’s side this action has to be done cautiously due to the air condition wires that run underneath. Once the intercooler is out of the way the driver’s side intercooler bracket is dislodged by drilling off the riveted heads. Once the heads are out of the way, dislodge the horns and the horn wiring harness which are behind the headlight. Drill holes are located in the frame rails and the horns are attached to it. Next the horn bracket is fixed to the passenger side rail frame and the horn is attached to the bracket.
Now that the intercooler has been removed from the vehicle you must make room for the new larger aftermarket intercooler. This is done by loosening the bolts holding the intercooler shrouds to the stock intercooler and the sides of the shrouds are trimmed off. Then the hoses are attached to the front mount intercooler using clamps. Then all inbound pipes are closed and the fenders are trimmed. Finally, the radiator support below the headlight openings is trimmed.
Now the intercooler is placed in position while taking precaution to avoid damage to the air conditioning wiring. Next the hose clamps are fixed between hoses of the intercooler and turbo inlet and outlet pipes. This completes the fixing of the new intercooler to the vehicle. The hoses might need to be oriented for the right fit. Next the hose clamps are to be fastened. The intercooler brackets might be left out as the intercooler is firmly affixed to the vehicle. The intercooler shrouds are now put back into place. Holes need to be made in the radiator to fasten the shrouds to it.
Reinstalling the radiator support is the next step and is accomplished by fastening the bolts on the fender and bumper shocks. The bumper is slid back in position and screwed firmly to the fender liner and the front grille inserts are attached. Lastly the headlights are put back into place and secured by tightening the screws at the top.
This finishes the process of installing an aftermarket front mount intercooler. The job was completed with basic home tools including screw drivers, rachets, cutters and drill. Not the easiest D.I.Y. job but one that can be done if you feel comfortable with your ability to modify. If not we always recommend finding a good reputable tuner shop that should have no problem performing this type of work. If you need to find a shop in your area that can do the install for you, check out our new installer locator. It can be found at the link on our home page.