E90Post
 


Extreme Powerhouse
 
BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > THE ULTIMATE Intercooler Thread - What to Look For Before Buying an FMIC



Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      03-02-2016, 05:34 PM   #1
mike@x-ph.com
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
mike@x-ph.com's Avatar
United_States
8142
Rep
96,371
Posts


Drives: 2007 e92 335i / 2013 F30 328
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Las Vegas

iTrader: (18)

Talking THE ULTIMATE Intercooler Thread - What to Look For Before Buying an FMIC

There has been numerous threads lately about intercoolers. From the usual which one is the best FMIC on the market to Ebay brands claiming to offer a high quality solution for a reasonable price.

I will be discussing the most important factors about intercoolers and why some FMIC will offer better cooling than others

Intercoolers and why replacement is recommended?

Turbochargers compress engine intake air which creates heat. The Intercooler then cools down the charged air. For remapped cars, temperatures up to 200įC after turbocharger can occur. Factory intercoolers are unable to sufficiently handle such high temperatures. This causes high intake temperatures and the oxygen content of the charged air drops significantly. As a direct consequence, the performance decreases, the thermal load on the cylinder head and valves increases. Worst case this can cause severe engine damage.

The colder the intake air, the higher the efficiency of the turbo-charged engine and less risk of engine damage. This can be achieved with an optimized intercooler system installed between the turbocharger and engine.

Construction of an intercooler?

Intercoolers can be categorized by two types of the core construction.

The BAR & PLATE core construction is relatively heavy so there is certain temperature inertia. Meaning under load the core takes longer to heat, but also longer to cool down once the load is removed. This is fine for on the road, but for use on the race track this core construction is not particularly suitable as it arrives at a constant cooling performance at varying loads in the full load range. Also weight reduction is an important consideration for track use.

The fine structure of the TUBE & FIN core makes them relatively light and exchange heat much faster. This type of core construction takes temperatures relatively quickly, but also very quickly transfers this away again. For a constant cooling performance in a dynamic throttle situation this is an indispensable feature. Tube fin intercoolers are suitable for street use as well as at the race track.

The OUTSIDE CORE is responsible for heat exchange with the running wind. The higher the density of the external core (fins), the better the cooling performance of an intercooler. But you also have to look which parts are behind the intercooler. Too much fin density means all parts behind the intercooler will be blocked. The worst case would be, youíve solved the problem of high intake air temperatures, but the engine coolant temperature climbs. High performance manufacturers note all these factors and develop the most suitable structure of outside core design.

Low Density Core // // // High Density Core

Name:  fin.jpg
Views: 6907
Size:  66.9 KB

Also notice the staggered offset fins for a larger contact area on the intercooler on the right

The INSIDE CORE is responsible for heat exchange with the hot charged air and also need to handle the additional air flow which is running through the intake system. Care needs to be taken when deciding the internal fin density. A high internal fin density gives great cooling performance but with a high pressure drop. The pressure drop of the cooling system should not be adversely affected by an aftermarket intercooler. Less pressure drop reduces the mechanical load on the turbocharger (stability & life time for the turbo). High performance intercooler manufacturers find the best balance between high cooling performance, reduced pressure drop and design their intercooler cores specifically for each vehicle.

The right ENTANK DESIGN is another key consideration when you are looking for the best intercooler for your car. It is easy to see the difference between a good and a bad aftermarket intercooler.

There are different approaches, some manufacturers use sheet metal end tanks and others use cast aluminium end tanks. At flow velocities of around 100 m/s it makes no sense to let the air flow straight in to a wall. This causes unwanted turbulence inside the end tank and higher pressure drop. Furthermore, uniform filling of the intercooler is critical for optimum performance. To aid this, some manufacturers add internal air guides.

Name:  20130712_180435.jpg
Views: 6798
Size:  218.4 KB

Size & Fitment

The size of an intercooler is not always proof of better cooling. There is an old adage which says "Power is nothing without control". This can be applied to bigger intercoolers. If you construct a bigger intercooler without working with internal air guide systems and flow optimized end tanks, the air will not flow through the whole system and choosing a bigger intercooler makes no sense because the intercooler is not being used effectively.

Although the size of the intercooler is changing, the installation should not require mutilation of the vehicle. To avoid nasty surprises you should always look at the installation instructions (if available). Additionally you can seek reviews from neutral and professional sources. I know sometimes it is quite difficult to recognize those sources.

Here is my advice on how to pick the right intercooler for you

Donít get an intercooler because someone on the forum says itís cheap, it fits and they feel it is doing a great job. Ask for logs.

Check if the manufacturer invests time and money in development/engineering, to get the latest technology in your intercooler. The needs of the cars and tuning them changes all the time.

Donít get an intercooler just because people say it is the best. Get an intercooler because professional tuners say it the best. The best intercooler on a fully bolt on car with upgraded turbo might not be the best intercooler for a stock car with stage 1 tune.

Start by thinking ahead in terms of modifications that you will eventually add on your car. If you plan on going fully bolt on in 1-2 years, get an intercooler that suits the fully bolt on application.

Bigger is not always better. If you do not plan on getting stage 2 turbo, donít get an intercooler built for stage 2 applications. You want an intercooler that provides the best cooling with the minimum pressure drop.

If the right intercooler is over your budget, wait until you have enough funds or try saving on other mods so you can get the right intercooler.

Ebay Notes

Some justify getting an ebay intercooler for the following reasons:
  • Daily driver, No track use ever
  • conservative tune
  • Looking for a cheap solution that works, even if it is not the best one available

As mentioned above, getting a bigger intercooler does not always mean you are getting better performance. You might get better IAT than stock, but your pressure drop will be higher and so the couple hundred dollars you spent on a cheap solution did not help.

If you are not going to pick a brand that takes into consideration everything mentioned above, you are better off keeping your stock intercooler.

As i said earlier, dont get the biggest most expensive FMIC if your car is a daily driver with stage 1 tune. Talk to vendors / tuners, tell them your HP goals and mods + your budget. They will recommend an FMIC that suits your needs.
Appreciate 7
      03-02-2016, 08:08 PM   #2
mwahlert
Lieutenant Colonel
mwahlert's Avatar
65
Rep
1,668
Posts

Drives: 2009 335i
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NC

iTrader: (8)

This thread would be more ultimate if you showed pictures of the cores of various units so we could have a good sense of comparison across the manufacturers.
Appreciate 1
      03-02-2016, 09:03 PM   #3
bigdnno98
Lieutenant Colonel
bigdnno98's Avatar
Italy
221
Rep
1,884
Posts

Drives: 335is DCT
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Vicenza, Italy

iTrader: (8)

Intercoolers are so necessary on this platform too. I made my first two passes at the 1/8 this weekend in my 335is. Ambient was around 70*, DA was 1350. At the end of the first pass IATs were 140*. I let the car cool of and IATs were 150* after the second pass. The stock intercooler is terrible.
__________________
2011 335is DCT, FBO
Appreciate 0
      03-02-2016, 09:44 PM   #4
bpdef29
Private First Class
88
Rep
166
Posts

Drives: '09 E92 335i
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: OC

iTrader: (0)

I am currently FBO minus FMIC. Only other mod I may do is Stage 2 LPFP (no inlets, no hybrid turbos). Running MHD Stage 2 currently due to low winter temps and planning to run that year-round in So Cal. With the LPFP upgrade, I'd probably run the E40 OTS full time. No track time, no drag racing.

Should I go with the VRSF 7" or will the 5" suffice? Everyone I've asked that I know recommends the 7" due to size but this thread is making me reconsider.
Appreciate 1
denobd17.00

      03-02-2016, 11:20 PM   #5
Riceball777
First Lieutenant
86
Rep
395
Posts

Drives: S2000 618whp/ e90 335i
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Los Angeles

iTrader: (0)

I have a lot of different intercoolers in my life. I have had a lot of cheep ebay china intercooler from ebay before. I had an ETS intercooler on my evo and i have a custom garrett core intercooler on my s2000 and i have a 7"VRSF intercooler on my 335i.

The china/ebay intercoolers do look very bad up close due to how much space there is in between the fins. My vrsf 7" intercooler on my 335i in my opinions look very bad just like a china intercooler. The fit and finish is quite poor. But people say it works good.

The ETS intercooler i have on my evo looks great and the fin density is quite good.

The best by far is my custom 24x12x3.5 garrett core intercooler on my s2000. The fin density is very very dense.

Here is a pic of my garrett core on my s2000. Notice how densely packed the fins are


__________________
2007 e90 335i
pure stage 2 DD turbos, rb inlets
Jb4 with e85 hybrid back end flash, vrsf down pipes, vrsf 7" intercooler, vrsf charge pipe with tial bov and afe intake. Fuel it stage 2 pump and ethanol content kit.
spec stage 2+ clutch with new oem dmfw
Appreciate 0
      03-02-2016, 11:36 PM   #6
WedgePerformance
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
WedgePerformance's Avatar
United_States
1256
Rep
1,880
Posts

Drives: Slot Machines.. Keep Taking $
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Portland, OR

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
I had an AMS core on my car prior and I just recently upgrade to the AD Engineering 1000 HP FMIC.

Both Quality cores. But if you want the best, go ADE.

Appreciate 1
      03-03-2016, 09:06 AM   #7
Shane303
Private First Class
115
Rep
180
Posts

Drives: BMW 335i
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Mesa, Arizona

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2009 BMW 335i  [0.00]
News flash news flash news flash... VRSF intercoolers ARE China/ebay intercoolers!!!
Appreciate 5
bNks334311.00

      03-03-2016, 09:30 AM   #8
335NJ
Colonel
United_States
512
Rep
2,899
Posts

Drives: 2008 335i 6MT E90
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NJ/Philadelphia Suburbs

iTrader: (1)

Mike, I don't know if you stock each common IC, but I think laying them all out next to each other and getting comparing pictures of the key points to look for you made above in those comparison shots would be huge.
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 10:07 AM   #9
thaar
Second Lieutenant
20
Rep
202
Posts

Drives: 2009 335i x-drive MHD
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Centennial, CO

iTrader: (0)

Good info. Has anyone compiled logs or have a list of aftermarket FMIC's and how much they lowered temps over stock? I recall someone saying they were going to compile a list, but I don't recall it ever happening.
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 10:30 AM   #10
ZNITE
Private First Class
ZNITE's Avatar
22
Rep
114
Posts

Drives: E92 335i M-Sport
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: ATX

iTrader: (1)

Was gonna purschase a FMIC this week for my 2009 E92 335i..I guess I'll further research and wait what the majority opinion/verdict from this forum topic will be?
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 12:14 PM   #11
Mike@N54Tuning.com
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
Canada
3145
Rep
77,476
Posts


Drives: 2007 335i, 2015 M3
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: N54tuning.com

iTrader: (89)

Quote:
Originally Posted by WedgePerformance View Post
I had an AMS core on my car prior and I just recently upgrade to the AD Engineering 1000 HP FMIC.

Both Quality cores. But if you want the best, go ADE.

AMS is a great core... I had one of those on our car several years back.

Also like mentioned above the ETS is a fantastic core. The Evolution Racewerks is another SUPER high dense core across all their FMIC models.

Mike
Appreciate 1
      03-03-2016, 01:05 PM   #12
Jeff@TopGearSolutions
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
Jeff@TopGearSolutions's Avatar
United_States
2714
Rep
58,624
Posts


Drives: C6 Z06, 09 335i, 10 335xi
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: www.TopGearSolutions.com

iTrader: (37)

AD Engineering makes a great FMIC but overkill for a typical stock turbo guy.
__________________
|Like us on Facebook||Evolution Racewerks| |Active Autowerke| |ETS| |Burger Tuning| |PURE Turbos| |Mishimoto||VRSF| |AWE| |Wagner|

|Holiday Sales All December!| |KW| |Spec| |ST Coilovers| |Koni| |Bilstein| |Borla| |Magnaflow| |AFE| |Fabspeed| |Injen| Up to 10% Off!
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 01:30 PM   #13
Mellow Yellow
Private First Class
42
Rep
162
Posts

Drives: 2008 335i
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: SoCal

iTrader: (2)

Took a picture of my ER through my grill. Hope it helps.



Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 01:34 PM   #14
MarcusE92
Private
2
Rep
53
Posts

Drives: 2007 BMW 335i Coupe
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Cincinnati, OH

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpdef29 View Post
I am currently FBO minus FMIC. Only other mod I may do is Stage 2 LPFP (no inlets, no hybrid turbos). Running MHD Stage 2 currently due to low winter temps and planning to run that year-round in So Cal. With the LPFP upgrade, I'd probably run the E40 OTS full time. No track time, no drag racing.

Should I go with the VRSF 7" or will the 5" suffice? Everyone I've asked that I know recommends the 7" due to size but this thread is making me reconsider.
I was literally just about to order vrsf 7" but I am about to reconsider...
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 01:37 PM   #15
007_e350
Lieutenant Colonel
007_e350's Avatar
United_States
134
Rep
1,897
Posts

Drives: 335i 2008 MHD'd / x5d E70
Join Date: May 2013
Location: left lane

iTrader: (3)

whoa did that thing fit under the radiator ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by WedgePerformance View Post
I had an AMS core on my car prior and I just recently upgrade to the AD Engineering 1000 HP FMIC.

Both Quality cores. But if you want the best, go ADE.

__________________
Mods: 7" VRSF FMIC, Forge DVs, RB PCV, BMS Oil Cooler, VRSF DPs, MHD, JB4g5, OFT DIYs: Walnut blasting : Trans Oil at 45k, w Filter at 65k : Diff Oil Flush @ 45k : WP&TS @ 69k : Alternator @ 79k --- E70d Alphabet Soup del 44.4k : JR Stg2.25 tune : Buzzken Catted Exhaust : Trans fluid drain/ fill (3 Qrts), both Diffs fluids flushed Wheels: Style 95s on PSSs (Sold): AG 359s on S04s : 162s on Blizzaks : Rohana RF1 Matt black
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 01:48 PM   #16
Torgus
Slow.
Torgus's Avatar
United_States
1425
Rep
4,874
Posts

Drives: Single turbo N54 on meth!
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Boston, MA

iTrader: (2)

Garage List
2007 BMW E92  [5.00]
2007 BMW E90  [0.00]
2006 BMW E91  [0.00]
I think the answer is anything is better than stock is enough for 95% of the people. So buy the inexpensive stuff imo. VRSF or Big Tom will do just fine.

Having my helix($$$) or your vrsf is not going to make a lick of difference in 1/4 mile times all things being equal.


Link for more intercooler pr0n:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=711491
__________________
E92 ACF ST 6466 + Meth Motiv / E70 #1 JBD / E70 #2 JBD / E90 PTF retired

Originally Posted by TheAxiom
FYI - I don't drive hard at all. So I'm not interested in more clamping force when I won't use it. Even on my car, I take it easy. It's just too loud to be enjoyable.
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 02:36 PM   #17
E92 420
Second Lieutenant
United Kingdom
45
Rep
206
Posts

Drives: 2006 Auto e92 335i
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Norfolk

iTrader: (0)

Iv had 2 intercoolers my first was the active Autowerk sport FMIC the company has a good rep, it has a high density core, the build quality and finish were lovely but man it was terrible at cooling. Typical temps in a WOT pull from 3rd to 5th were 145 -160f so I ditched it in favour of a CX racing FMIC which is a cheap China option with a low density fin pack and seriously in the same ambient temps on the same set up and tune after Multiple WOT pulls my IAT's now never rise above 110F and my WGDC are slightly lower. So how does that work???
__________________
UK
V8bait Tuned
Built motor FBO 335i
Appreciate 3
whyzee125298.00

      03-03-2016, 03:16 PM   #18
Mike@N54Tuning.com
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
Canada
3145
Rep
77,476
Posts


Drives: 2007 335i, 2015 M3
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: N54tuning.com

iTrader: (89)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mellow Yellow View Post
Took a picture of my ER through my grill. Hope it helps.



Awesome pics..

Really show what a great CORE there is in the ER FMIC.

Mike
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 03:25 PM   #19
ATLIEN
Lieutenant
ATLIEN's Avatar
70
Rep
459
Posts

Drives: 2008 BMW 335i
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: GSU

iTrader: (0)

I just bought a VRSF 5 inch that should be here on Monday.
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 03:38 PM   #20
mike@x-ph.com
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
mike@x-ph.com's Avatar
United_States
8142
Rep
96,371
Posts


Drives: 2007 e92 335i / 2013 F30 328
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Las Vegas

iTrader: (18)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdnno98 View Post
Intercoolers are so necessary on this platform too. I made my first two passes at the 1/8 this weekend in my 335is. Ambient was around 70*, DA was 1350. At the end of the first pass IATs were 140*. I let the car cool of and IATs were 150* after the second pass. The stock intercooler is terrible.
Agree!
This is the main reason why i decided to take my time and explain inrecoolers the simplest way possible
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 03:40 PM   #21
mike@x-ph.com
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
mike@x-ph.com's Avatar
United_States
8142
Rep
96,371
Posts


Drives: 2007 e92 335i / 2013 F30 328
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Las Vegas

iTrader: (18)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpdef29 View Post
I am currently FBO minus FMIC. Only other mod I may do is Stage 2 LPFP (no inlets, no hybrid turbos). Running MHD Stage 2 currently due to low winter temps and planning to run that year-round in So Cal. With the LPFP upgrade, I'd probably run the E40 OTS full time. No track time, no drag racing.

Should I go with the VRSF 7" or will the 5" suffice? Everyone I've asked that I know recommends the 7" due to size but this thread is making me reconsider.
Since both options you are picking are the same price and your car is FBO, i would go with the 7"

Both would do good
Appreciate 0
      03-03-2016, 03:42 PM   #22
mike@x-ph.com
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
mike@x-ph.com's Avatar
United_States
8142
Rep
96,371
Posts


Drives: 2007 e92 335i / 2013 F30 328
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Las Vegas

iTrader: (18)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riceball777 View Post

The china/ebay intercoolers do look very bad up close due to how much space there is in between the fins. My vrsf 7" intercooler on my 335i in my opinions look very bad just like a china intercooler. The fit and finish is quite poor. But people say it works good.
I have seen my fair share of intercoolers for this car, VRSF looks much better than the standard Ebay intercooolers starting from fin density to fitment

Maybe you got a defective one? We sold hundreds of VRSF FMIC, fitment is spot on
Appreciate 0
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:00 PM.




e90post
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
1Addicts.com, BIMMERPOST.com, E90Post.com, F30Post.com, M3Post.com, ZPost.com, 5Post.com, 6Post.com, 7Post.com, XBimmers.com logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST