1987 Iroc TPI 350 - Intercooler installation and photos
Turbocharged 1987 Iroc TPI 5.7 - Intercooler Install Page 2

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July 20, 2010 - Order #1 has arrived!  Thanks to Handheld Items for a great deal and fast shipping!  This is a 25" X 12" X 3" core intercooler with 3" inlet and outlets. I'm running 2.5" aluminum tubing with blue silicone couplers and t-clamps.  The whole order was a little over $200 including 3 day shipping. Out Manx kitty Garrett is checking out everything. Yes, he's named after the turbo brand because he is so fast!
July 20, 2010 - I set it in place to see how it fits. The good news is it fits.. the bad news is I'm going to have to trim the bottom of the headlight support assembly to clear the 3" inlet and outlet. I also removed the X rod supports in front of the AC condensor to make more room to set the intercooler as far back as possible. Mounting the intercooler as far back as possible is only giving me about 3.5" of clearance between the intercooler and the back of the crash bar at the driving light location.  This is gonna make it a real tight fit for my retracting driving light plans, so I'm going to go ahead and get the intercooler fully mounted and functioning before finishing up that project. Tomorrow I will start on the mounting brackets for the upper mounting points. The rest of my parts should arrive on Friday so I can get the tubing ran all the way from the turbo to the throttle body this weekend!
Before starting on the brackets,  I positioned the intercooler where I'd like to have it and closed the hood all the way down. I think pulled on the hood safety latch all the way and confirmed clearance of 1/4" to the top of the intercooler. The intercooler is sitting on the edge of the plastic air-dam that mounts directly under the AC condensor/radiator mount. Close but perfect!
Using some 1" square tubing and 1" flat stock, I built these two brackets for the intercooler's top mounting points. They bolt into the radiator support but will be below the plastic trim panel that sits around the hood latch. This intercooler looks so cool that I'm tempted to leave that panel out though! 
Since I went with a 3" inlet/outlet FMIC, I had to choose between mounting it lower or trimming the headlight support bracket and assembly. I really didn't want it sitting lower so I got out the sabersaw and went to work. You can also see the upper brackets from the previous picture. Since the rest of the system is 2.5", there is no other trimming needed.  If I used 3" tubing I would have to trim a bit more of the headlight buckets.
And here is everything in place to make sure it fits still. Now to remove the nose and start drilling holes for the tubing to get into the engine bay.
July 21, 2010 - I relocated the fan relay that mounts below the headlight and drilled a 2-5/8ths hole using a holesaw. My tubing kit only came with two 90 bends and two 180's.  I tried cutting a 180 in half and using it at the turbo outlet but I think I'm just going to order an extra 90 to get the angle better.  This is just mocked up for now, as I'm still waiting on my BOV flange pipe which will sit in the straight area between the two 90's. The engine bay already looks 10x more interesting though with shiny tubing instead of that silly stock looking box with the turbo going directly into it. I can't wait to see the finished setup!  
July 22, 2010 - Not much time to work on it tonight. I worked late and only had about an hour and a half before it got too late to use the chopsaw (don't want the neighbors mad about noise).  I managed to drill the second hole and make the cuts on the rest of the tubing. Luckly I ended up with a 90 left over, so I am going to use it for the first piece coming off the turbo, which will result in a better looking alignement to the next piece than in the previous photo. After nearly a year, it finally *looks* like a turbocharged engine should look! Tomorrow I will likely have the whole system ready to run, or the next day at the latest.  Can't wait to turn up the boost!
July 24, 2010 - After some minor tweaks with tube lengths and the two openings I drilled, it's on!  The hardest thing about finishing was I have limited time to work in today (I'm best man in a wedding tonight LOL) and I wanted it done.  To save time I used a 3/8" NPT galvanized coupler to make bungs for the MAT sensor and boost refernce port for the bottom side of the BOV.  Of course it's bad to weld galvanized anything, so I put a big fan right behind me and did my best to hurry up. I'm going to remake this part out of stainless ASAP but it works for now. I used a short piece of 3" pipe between the 4" -> 3" silicone coupler on the throttle body and the 3" -> 2.5" elbow reducer, drilled two holes and chopped the galvanized coupler in half.  Then I welded the halves of the coupler to the holes I drilled. It works but ugly welds.
July 22, 2010 - The nose fit perfectly!  I just stuck it on with a few bolts so I could drive it today. Tomorrow I'm going to cap the ends of the square tubing and paint them black.  That way I can remove the cover and show off my intercooler whenever the mood strikes.  Cover is off for the photo. Drove it today in 90 degree weather and the manifold air temperature stayed under 100 during full boost!  Even doing long brake boosts the temp stayed under 100. This is a huge improvement over the 160+ degree temps I was seeing before the intercooler. On the downside, the engine coolant temperature stayed warmer than before and could become a problem using the AC in heavy traffic on a really hot day. The highest coolant temp I saw was 213 after idling for a while with Max AC on. Driving around and hammering on it, driving in traffic etc it settled between 200 and 206, but that was without the AC on. Both fans are set to come on by 195 deg.  I'll have to do some cooler driving tests at night to see what happens. I was able to add in 4 more degrees of timing in the 3000 rpm range with no signs of detonation.  That was a very sensitive area before and I think I have a lot of room to increase timing now. Amazing how much better it feels with that 4 degrees in it. That extra timing and the cooler charge seems to be really taxing the stock fuel pump now. Next stop is to upgrade to a Walbro in-tank 255 pump.
Hope you enjoyed the install.
For some of you, after reaching this point you will likely just install an RS louvered grill or just leave it open and enjoy high airflow to your new intercooler. For me,  I will be attempting to motorize my driving light mounts and tag mount.   Be sure to visit my Retracting Driving Lights page for details on that project.
 Be sure to keep an eye on my Youtube Channel for the most recent mods/action with this car.

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