2002-2007 Subaru WRX/STI Top-Mount Intercooler, Part 2: Prototypes and Test Fitting
Interested in purchasing our WRX/STi top-mount intercooler? Check out our product page for more information!
Before we attempted the initial design, we first took a good look at the stock Y-pipe design. Although the spaced ports provide dispersion of air throughout the stock core, we saw immediately that this portion of the design needed improvement.
Kevin, our lead engineer for this project, began by taking measurements of the stock engine bay and intercooler. He used these measurements to begin developing a Solidworks model that would emulate the direction we wanted to go with the overall design. Once the model was completed, it was time to utilize our 3D printer to create a prototype. The initial prototype would be used primarily to test fitment and check clearance before we developed a final prototype. Because this was a large component, we separated the model into portions for 3D printing and then reassembled the pieces.
Once fully assembled, this unit was installed so we could get a good picture of how this design would work. Instead of utilizing the stock Y-pipe, (as many do) or including a silicone replacement, we decided to create a single-entry end tank and use a single silicone hose to route air from the turbocharger compressor housing into the intercooler.
Using this prototype, we could see where modifications to the design were needed to obtain proper fitment. The image above gives a good look at the engine bay limitations we have to deal with when designing a product like this.
This design is a unique approach to creating improved airflow and eliminating any restrictions. Our engineers were confident that this overall design, paired with an efficient bar-and-plate core, would result in a very efficient cooler.
Once we had feedback from this test fit, Kevin began modeling his revisions and working on a useable prototype for on-car testing. Check back next time for details on our first round of fitting!