High Road – 2021+ Ford Bronco 2.3L/2.7L Performance Intercooler R&D, Part 2 – Prototyping

Hitting the high road is not for the unprepared. This road less traveled is pocked with treacherous trenches and littered with rocky obstacles. While your Bronco is designed to glide over such tribulations, even the more hardened off-roader is still prepared for the eventuality that even Ford’s mighty Bronco might get stuck. From training to shakedown trips, combined with the necessary recovery gear, man, gear, and machine make for the optimal off-roading team, and we want to make sure that your Bronco is ready for any excursion.

We take on the same concept here at Mishimoto as we make clearance for winches while improving your Bronco’s performance. Relocating the intercooler, especially a vehicle with technology dripping from every corner, is complex, to say the least. Where our 3D scanning equipment and modeling software provide a scale virtual workspace for our engineers, nothing can top physically installing the design into the vehicle. So, to help streamline our process, we fired up our welders and 3D printers to fabricate our fitment prototype.

This 1-to-1 scale prototype exactly matches the dimensions of our design, making it ideal for preliminary test fitting, and is much simpler to update over a full production unit. You may have also noticed that one of our inlets is shorter than the other or that they’re even visible in this post. Since we didn’t cover it already, let’s dive into our inlet and outlet design.

Real estate is at a premium on the front end of the Bronco, especially when it comes to routing charged air to the relocated intercooler. To help simplify things, we’re opting to keep the piping connection point in the same location to reduce the need for additional couplers and piping and retain compatibility with the OEM piping system. To do this, however, our engineer, Dan, engineered the end tanks to bridge the gap from piping to core. The trouble is that slotting these end tanks between the crash beam mounts is tricky, to say the least. So, Dan split the outlet into two sections allowing for some additional wiggle room during the installation.

While we always aim to retain factory equipment, the only way to fit this intercooler behind the grille is to ditch the shutters. Leaving the grill shutters behind doesn’t detract from the Bronco’s abilities. Still, the entire assembly provides mounting provisions for the entire grille and a portion of the points for the headlights, which is something that we needed to rectify. Not to mention we needed some sturdy brackets for this hefty new intercooler, so our fabricator, Mike, worked up a complete set of prototype brackets. With all of our prototype pieces assembled, it was time to see how it all fit on our Bronco

Let’s be honest, adaptive cruise control is one of the best innovations out there for those long commutes, and it’s not something that we want to forego with our relocation kit. So, we’re adding provisions to relocate your adaptive cruise control sensor to retain functionality with a recalibration.

Satisfied with the prototype’s fitment, Dan turned his attention to optimizing our design further. Without affecting the mounting of our intercooler, Dan revised our intercooler’s core and end tank designs for optimized flow through the system.

Serious expeditions require thorough preparation. Prototyping our new designs on these Broncos is key to ensuring a proper fit of our design for the perfect install to your vehicles. We still have some more to do before embarking on our journey to intercooler relocation, but we’ll make sure you won’t miss the trip. In the meantime, what are you planning to mount in place of the OEM intercooler? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for Reading!

-Nick

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