1987 Iroc TPI 350 - Intercooler installation and photos
Turbocharged 1987 Iroc TPI 5.7 - Intercooler Install Page 1

July 17, 2010 -  After nearly a year, the Turbocharged Iroc is still running great. Many said it couldn't be done, but I have boosted 10 psi non-intercooled for the past six months with zero problems. The manifold air temperature MAT) is high and as a result my total timing is relatively low. Currently I have the Megasquirt boost controller circuit limiting the boost to 9.5 psi. I've driven it in 97 degree weather without any detonation due to my conservative timing and furter reduction in timing based on the MAT. In 85 degree weather, I am seeing nearly 170 degrees F by third gear at 9.5 psi (with fully heat-soaked engine). An intercooler will open many doors to increasing power with more timing and additional boost potential.  I plan to run 18 psi once the intercooler is operational.

Not only is this an intercooler install however... I am not about to do the standard routine of taking everything out of the nose and cramming a visible intercooler in there. I will be keeping the outside appearance completely stock.  The driving lights will retract back and up during boost. The center tag mount between the driving lights will be modified to open inward.  This will allow significant airflow to reach the intercooler, which will be placed as far back against the AC condenser as possible. I will also be retaining the factory crash bar intergrity as much as possible. This will require significant work, but the end result will be a stock appearing Iroc with James Bond like coolness (retracting parts!) and no loss of front end safety features.

The front air-dam and the driving light trim panel/tag mount are removed to reveal the nose skin behind the tag mount.
The nose and headlight support comes off as one piece.  Underneath reveals crash absorbing honey-comb material attached to the front of the crash bar. Behind that you can see plastic air ducting for the radiator/condenser. The hood latch mounting bracket sits in the way of the future intercooler location! Lot of work to get to this point.
I removed the honey-comb material from behind the tag mount area and marked an area to cut out of the crash bar (red lines).  I also temporarily put the hood-latch trim panel (which is from a TBI/Carb car since I'm no longer using the TPI air filter system) to check clearances.  On the floor is the driving light trim panel/tag mount so you can see how that will line up with the new opening I will cut into the crash bar. I made the opening fit in between two vertical supports that are built into the crash bar. I used a drill to make a hole in the corner of the marked area, then a saber saw to make the cut. It took 3 blades to finish the cut!
Next, the noseskin was marked to make a matching cut. Because of the way the driving light trim/tag mount attaches to the nose, I left the ends of the nose skin in place.  This will also keep the nose from sagging vertically, plus the hole size in the metal crash bar is smaller than the area blocked by the tag mount. You'll see in the next photo how this works out.
Excellent!  Now I will have to work on cutting the fiberglass driving light trim panel where it is stamped "CAMARO". This actually sits a couple of inches lower than the opening in the crash bar, so the plan is to make it swing inward (think of how the rear tag on the camaro swings down) when the engine is seeing boost. The cutout will be about the size of a tag but slightly narrower. It will be hinged at the bottom, so the fully 'open' position will be angled slightly upwards to direct airflow into the crash bar opening. The driving lights will sit in the stock location and swing backwards and up to reveal a direct air path to the intercooler.  More on this project later.
Now we start to work on eliminating the bottom 2/3rd of the hood latch mounting bracket to make room for the intercooler. A centerline is established and 3/4" square tube stock is clamped to the top of the crash bar. A centerpunch was used to mark bolt locations (taking care to avoid locating the bolts over the vertical supports built into the crash bar).  A pilot hole was drilled and then a 3/8" bit was used to complete one hole.  A stainless 3/8" X 1.5" bolt was dropped in to keep that end in place while the second hole was made. Gun oil was used to lubricate the bits during the drilling.
After vacuuming up the shavings, I securely installed the two 3/8" stainless bolts and proceeded to take another piece of 3/4" square tubing to mark the original nose bracket.  Next we'll use a grinder to remove the paint around the marked areas so it can be welded. It is important to keep the original bolts tight as well as the new bracket bolts, so everything will line up once the old bracket is cut off.
After some measuring, a piece of the 3/4" square stock was cut and clamped onto the old bracket as well as sitting on the new bracket.  It was then tacked on using my TIG welder. Next we will installed 3/4" square tubing from the new bracket to the hood latch bracket.
The same process of marking, grinding, and tacking continued until the entire bracket was mocked up. Also the old nose bracket was unbolted from the hood latch bracket and the un-needed part was cut off before the additional tubing was tacked.  By leaving the original bracket bolted in place during the fabrication of the new bracket, alignment will be exactly the same as it started with. In the unfortunate event of a front-end mishap, the angle of the new bracket should push the latch assembly upward and minimize damage to the radiator support. Hopefully!
After removing the hood latch bracket, the lower section of the original bracket was cut off as it is no longer needed!  Tons of space now!  Also it will be very easy to remove this new bracket to faciliate removal of the intercooler (after removing the nose-skin of course).
Intercooler Install Page Two
 Be sure to keep an eye on my Youtube Channel for the most recent mods/action with this car.

Return to main Iroc Page | Contact me