What Is A Diesel Intercooler?

As previously stated, there are some minor variances in the words used in various applications. The following are the definitions for each term:

What’s a Charge Air Cooler?

A charge air cooler cools the air between the turbo and the intake manifold of an engine. Turbo coolers, intercoolers, and aftercoolers are all referred to as turbo coolers.

Charge air coolers and turbo coolers are the same thing. Which one you use is entirely a question of personal preference. In some applications, intercoolers and aftercoolers differ slightly from charge air coolers, but in the commercial vehicle industry, they’re all the same.

What’s a Diesel Intercooler?

In a multi-turbo arrangement, an intercooler cools the air between the turbos, hence the word “inter.” If an engine has three turbos, for example (though this is uncommon), an intercooler could be used between each of them.

Of course, in commercial vehicle applications, using an intercooler between turbos is uncommon. This configuration is common in industrial and aviation applications. When a mechanic working on a commercial vehicle refers to a diesel intercooler, they are referring to a charge air cooler.

What’s an Aftercooler?

The ultimate heat exchanger in a series of industrial and aviation engine applications with several turbos, each with its own intercooler, is known as the aftercooler—hence the word “after.”

The aftercooler, like the intercooler, is just another term for a charge air cooler.

How does an intercooler work on a diesel engine?

A Turbo Diesel Intercooler is an essential component of your engine, designed to create the most efficient impact possible!

An intercooler is a unique component that is typically found on turbocharged or supercharged engines. Its job is to gather and selectively cool the air compressed by the turbo and supercharger. This lowers the temperature, allowing for higher volumes of air to be forced into the engine—which brings us to another crucial point about why turbo diesel intercoolers work the way they do. When it comes to having an engine that can transport you from point A to point B, power is everything. The science is the key to having a highly functional Turbo Diesel Intercooler. The question of “What is air density?” is the starting point for a well-functioning intercooler. In the most precise terms, it is the mass of air per unit of volume it occupies; this concept, when paired with intercooling procedures, yields the best results. With increasing air density, the presence of oxygen becomes more obvious. When there is more oxygen present, more fuel is burned, resulting in more power!

Another item to consider when buying a Turbo Diesel Intercooler is the location of the air outlets, since this will have a significant impact on how they work. While some turbo diesel intercoolers have a design that suggests a clean and smooth flow, the more significant topic of concern is the ability to cool just as well as it permits airflow.

As this article has shown, turbo diesel intercoolers are extremely sophisticated tools that require a full understanding of how to utilize them and what they do in order to get the most out of them. In order to get the most out of your turbo diesel intercooler, there are a few key measures and instructions to follow. Everything about a turbo diesel intercooler must be designed and sized correctly, or the system as a whole will fail to perform as it should. Overall, some turbo diesel intercooler experts advise choosing a large one because there’s less of a potential for air to become trapped within the actual intercooler and begin blocking the cooling function owing to heat build-up. To be the greatest, an intercooler needs reliable, maximum airflow, and that doesn’t mean sticking one on the front of a vehicle and calling it a day. It’s vital to note that for the turbo diesel intercooler to be exceptionally efficient, air must travel through nothing but the turbo diesel intercooler itself.

Why do diesels need an intercooler?

An intercooler on a diesel engine is essential for preventing the engine from experiencing temperatures that could melt pistons, damage valves, or destroy a turbocharger. While OEM intercoolers will enough for most people, many in the performance industry prefer to double or triple the horsepower of their vehicles, which necessitates upgrading to aftermarket units with larger cores and greater boost ratings (the AFE cooler pictured below is rated for a whopping 200 psi). While adding an aftermarket intercooler typically results in EGT decreases of 100 to 200 degrees, we’ve seen an air-to-air unit from BD Diesel cool EGT by 250 degrees in an over-fueled 5.9L Cummins application.

Does an intercooler increase horsepower?

An intercooler is a device that cools the air that is pumped into a car’s engine. Because the act of compressing air in turbochargers or superchargers causes the air going for the engine to heat up, it’s mostly used in turbocharged or supercharged autos.

The intercooler minimizes the chance of detonation in the engine by assisting in the cooling of compressed air as it goes to the engine. It also generates a richer air-to-fuel mix in the engine’s cylinders by making compressed air denser when it enters the intake manifold. As a result, power output is boosted.

So, yeah, the question is answered! The use of an intercooler aids in the growth of horsepower. If your car’s engine is naturally aspirated, though, an intercooler isn’t necessary. This is because the air delivered to such an engine from the radiator and cooling system ducts is already at a low temperature. The output of an aspirated engine will be unaffected by the addition of an intercooler.

Let’s have a look at the many types of intercoolers that you could use to modify your engine.

Can you run a turbo without a intercooler?

Running a turbo without an intercooler allows hot air into the combustion chamber, causing it to detonate prematurely. Because there is no intercooler to cool the air before it enters the engine, using a turbo without one will result in extremely hot air entering the engine.

What happens if intercooler fails?

If the intercooler breaks, the engine will not get enough cool, dense air, resulting in incomplete combustion and unburned fuel exhaustion. Failure to replace the intercooler can have a direct impact on horsepower, fuel economy, and emissions.

Why do you need intercooler?

An intercooler is an automotive cooling modification that lowers the temperature of air flowing into the engine. It’s commonly utilized in supercharged vehicles since their engines heat up too quickly.

The intercooler reduces the risk of detonation by cooling compressed air before it reaches the engine. It also increases the density of the cool air, resulting in richer air-to-fuel ratios in the primary cylinders of the engine. As a result, you’ll have more power and performance.

So, yes, an intercooler helps assist your car’s horsepower increase–but there are exceptions, of course. There’s no need for an intercooler if your car’s engine is naturally aspirated. As the air is supplied into the engine through the radiator ducts, naturally aspirated engines already cool it. The temperature is already cool, therefore any additional cooling provided by the intercooler isn’t substantial.

So now that we know that intercoolers do increase horsepower, the question is how much more? When seeking for a solution to this question, there are various elements to consider.

When it comes to cooling compressed air from a turbocharger, most intercooler manufacturers aim for at least 70% efficiency. All of this, however, is very reliant on the design and piping of the intercooler, as well as its size and how you choose to attach it around your car’s engine.

Given all of these factors, an aftermarket intercooler is typically worth 5-10% more in power improvements than a stock intercooler.

Do intercoolers use coolant?

Intercoolers, which are found in turbocharged and supercharged engines, provide much-needed cooling that a single radiator cannot supply. We’ll go through why you might need one before we go over how they function.

For the purpose of simplicity, we’ll utilize turbocharger-equipped engines as an example. While compressing air, turbocharged engines generate a lot of heat, which aids in squeezing as much air as possible into the engine.

More power means more air (among various other benefits such as fuel efficiency and reduced waste). That may appear straightforward, but compressed air becomes extremely heated, resulting in a loss of density and, as a result, oxygen.

Oxygen is essential because it helps combustion in the fuel-air mixture. The compressed air must be chilled in order to increase density and oxygen content, which is where the intercooler comes in.

From hot to cold

In high-performance automobile applications, a forced induction engine is typical. It offers a variety of advantages while remaining lightweight, which is a huge plus, especially for racing.

In extreme situations, though, all that compressed air can reach temperatures of above 205 ° C. As previously stated, heated compressed air is not conducive to combustion. An intercooler can help with this.

This is aided by the intercooler, which cools the air before it enters the engine and combustion chamber. Depending on the type of intercooler, the cooling process may differ slightly.

Types of intercoolers

An intercooler is a heat exchanger that cools air by passing it via fins, similar to a radiator. Intercoolers are divided into two categories:

This is the most popular use for daily vehicles because it is a fairly basic system that involves:

It works similarly to a radiator in that it relies on ambient airflow from the front of the automobile to go through the intercooler and cool the compressed air.

A liquid to air intercooler is significantly more complicated, but because of its increased efficiency, it is becoming increasingly used in automobiles. The procedure is as follows:

  • The air is heated and transported to the intercooler, where it is cooled before being sent to the engine.
  • The hot coolant is cycled to the radiator, which then returns the cold coolant to the intercooler for further cooling.

Because there are two circuits carrying air or coolant, more accessories and fittings, such as hoses, are frequently required. As a result, it’s a touch pricey, but it’s still a very effective technology – especially in applications like drag racing automobiles.

One potential issue is heat soak, which occurs when there is a build-up of residual heat near the engine and insufficient cooling capacity to lower the temperature.

This may usually be fixed by letting the car run for a few minutes before turning it off to allow the cooling system to continue to work.

Using ice or other substances for brief periods of time can increase efficiency.

Common intercooler faults

As previously stated, there are a few things to be aware of when it comes to intercoolers. Fortunately, most of them are simple solutions, but if you need to replace something, it’s not difficult to do so. Among the most common intercooler issues are (but are not limited to):

  • Heat soak or overheating (due to bad intercooler placement and reliant on ambient airflow)

Signs and symptoms

  • Coolant leakage is noticeable (which could indicate other problems such as radiator failure)

If your intercooler needs to be repaired, Natrad workshops all around Australia can help. If fixing isn’t a possibility, Natrad offers a variety of intercooler parts as well as custom-made replacements.

What are the benefits of a bigger intercooler?

The OEM intercooler is frequently undersized to keep production costs down. It will usually do the job, but once you start increasing boost pressure or making bolt-on modifications, the OEM intercooler can prevent you from reaching your machine’s full potential.

Adding a larger intercooler without any tune, on the other hand, will not add any power. Although the charge air temperature will be lower, resulting in denser air, the larger intercooler will contribute a little amount of drag, potentially negating any power increases.

The ability to run a more aggressive tune without detonation is the actual magic of installing an aftermarket turbo intercooler. A larger intercooler is also less prone to heat absorption, allowing you to stay on the drag strip or race circuit for longer without losing power.

How much HP does a intercooler add on a diesel?

You gain one percent horsepower for every ten degrees cooler. Three percent more horsepower is gained for every one psi increase in boost.