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Intercooler or chargecooler?


nicksmelly
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I'm looking for an intercooler to put in my racer with a 3.0 litre BMW diesel engine. The engine is going to be tuned and fettled to get the best from it, and everyone I have spoken to who races these engines says get the biggest intercooler you can fit in. But what about Turbo lag, and can you go too big to be efficient? The engine is from a 330d and the intercooler in the car is about 400mm x 80mm x 80mm, so quite small.

Whilst looking at intercoolers on ebay, I came across an air - water charge cooler.

Ebay linky chargecooler

Has anyone fitted a chargecooler, and what are the benefits? How do you compare them to the size of an air - air intercooler?

Nick... the smelly one

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Guest diesel_jim

Is "turbo lag" not the amount of time it takes a (large,for example) turbo impellor to spin up to a speed where it creates a usable boost, as opposed to the amount of "air space" (ie, pipework,large intercooler etc) that needs to be filled with the compressed air? :unsure::unsure:

reducing exhaust backpressure will let the turbo spin up faster, or using a smaller diameter impellor? or a variable vane jobbie? :blink:

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That's true, Jim. What you get with a big intercooler is not so much turbo lag but a less responsive engine as it takes longer for the air to get from the turbo to the inlet manifold. I'm half tempted by the idea of a charge cooler as it should be more efficient but I'm going to wait until I see how Si White gets on with his and whether it makes any real world differance. The conversion is reasonably easy anyway as you'll convert your intercooler to have smaller bore pipework and a filler and then plumb it into the charge cooler with a pump to circulate the coolant.

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There's more to it than just filling a volume with air (and at the air velocities we're looking at through the intake, it's a pretty small time anyway). Consider with the chargecooler that you're taking advantage of better heat transfer to the fluid, but then have to dump that to atmosphere anyway so there are two transfers taking place. Then think about the extra weight of the more complex system and the performance penalty if it packs up early in a lap - I'd take a large charge cooler if the choice was available.

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How large is large? I could fit a 600mm x 300mm x 100mm jobby off ebay which costs £139 and i've seen one in the flesh and they are very well made, proper fins, good welds... this is a lot bigger than what is fitted to the engine as standard. I could get an intercooler off a Leyland DAF Roadrunner like some racers do, or i could spend an arm and a leg with Mr Fearn or Alisport Andy and get what they suggest, which might well be similar to option 1, but they say theirs are far superior.

I have a straightforward suppies full width intercooler on my 90, it looks very industrial, made in China, no frills, but its loads better than the standard one...

Bugger it... i'm gonna buy the "huge intercooler" off ebay Huge Intercooler

If anyone has a bigger one let me know :D

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Charge coolers are great but dont forget you need a whole secondary cooling system for the cooler to work and so if space is an issue its a bit of a no brainer, go with a bigger intercooler. Charge coolers can also suffer heat soak if you get it wrong, and then loose efficiency.

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