Earth, Wind, and Water – Universal Air-to-Water Intercoolers

Air-to-water intercooling continues to be the main buzz in the realm of forced induction, and that’s not without reason. This setup boasts plenty of advantages over conventional air-to-air setups, so much so that OEMs have even started rolling vehicles off the production line with air-to-water systems equipped. However, one of the main drawbacks to liquid-cooled intercoolers is the lack of universal upgrades for these systems. That’s why we decided to engineer a comprehensive line of options for those looking for increased intercooling under the hood of your vehicle.

For those unfamiliar or who need a refresher on air-to-water intercooling, let’s review. When your turbo or supercharger compresses air to create boost, that process heats the intake air. Hot air isn’t as oxygen-dense as cold air and creates a less efficient burn in the cylinder, so it needs to be cooled, hence the intercooler. Air-to-air coolers utilize the ambient air rushing through the intercooler’s fins to whisk away the heat generated by compression. That means they’re much more effective when the intercooler is placed correctly, and the vehicle is moving forward. Slow-moving or stopped traffic could fill your intercooler with heat and rob some potential power from your vehicle. 

Air-to-water systems resolve heat soak with the constant circulation of coolant through the intercooler. After pulling heat from the charge air in the intercooler, the coolant sheds heat through a secondary radiator, more commonly referred to as the heat exchanger, located at the front of the vehicle.

One advantage of an air-to-water system is that water has much better thermal conductivity than air. In short, water can absorb and dissipate heat much more effectively than air. That means compact air-to-water intercooler cores are just as effective as monstrous air-to-air cores and have a constant cycle of fresh liquid coursing through the core for more consistent intake temperatures. In addition, since these intercoolers aren’t directly reliant on an air source, they can be placed anywhere in the engine bay, which is crucial for maintaining efficiency through the system. 

Air-to-Water intercooler placement is much less restricted than air-to-air intercoolers. Often they’re butted up against the throttle body, like Infiniti’s VR30DDTT intercooler setup. Some manufacturers have even incorporated the intercooler into the intake manifold, drastically reducing the need for intercooler piping.

One of the few advantages air-to-air systems had over air-to-water was the sheer amount of universal options available. No more! Armed with an extensive background in intercooling systems, our engineering team developed a line of air-to-water intercoolers suitable for just about any application. So, whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing system, convert from air-to-air, or you’re adding a forced induction and intercooling system to your vehicle, our line offers 12 different configurations for maximum customization. 

Air-to-water systems pack a lot of cooling power in a small package, but size and shape are still important to maximizing performance. All our cores use a robust bar-and-plate construction with the option of single or dual-pass coolant configurations. We also developed three different cores optimized for vehicles up to 500, 1000, or 1500 HP. 

Flow to and from the core is vital to your forced induction system, so we ensured that our end tanks were built to handle plenty of boost pressure. Every intercooler end tank is 5mm of solid cast aluminum, which provides ample strength and a slick surface for the charged air to flow over. These end tanks are secured to the core by precision TIG welds and are available with same-side or opposite-side outlets to maximize fitment potential. 

Inlet size is key to your intercooler’s maximum potential. Knowing this, we made sure to size the inlets on our intercoolers appropriately for each core size, ranging from 2.75″ to 3.5″ for consistent flow through the core. Our inlets are also precision CNC-machined to size and include ribbing for extra grip on silicone and rubber couplers. 

Every intercooler includes our solid 1/8″ steel bracket and mounting hardware to relieve some of the stress when mounting your intercooler. 

 Finished off in a sleek micro-wrinkle black powder coat, these intercoolers look right at home under the hood of any vehicle. No matter if you’re building a drag monster or just looking to get more consistent intake air temperatures, our universal air-to-water intercooler line has you covered. Make sure that you pair your intercooler with one of our performance heat exchangers for the best results!

Universal Air-to-Water Intercoolers

Thanks for Reading!

-Nick

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