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Comprehensive Intercooler Discussion

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Old 02-16-2017, 01:10 AM
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Comprehensive Intercooler Discussion

I spent a significant amount of time reviewing the forums for intercooler threads. What I was unable to find is a discussion on which brand offers the best performance for the Mini or if there is no real difference.

I have found five brands:
Wagner: http://www.wagner-tuning.com/Mini-Co...1026_p_67.html

Helix: http://store.helix13.com/helix-2nd-g...e-intercooler/

Forge: http://www.forgemotorsport.com/Uprat...duct--723.html

Alta: http://altaperformance.com/i-2343899...o-engines.html

Tyrolsport: http://www.tyrolsport.com/performanc...t-intercooler/

All brands essentially claim they are the best and use different metrics to prove it.

The point - Has anyone done a comprehensive comparison or do the differences not matter?
 
  #2  
Old 02-16-2017, 05:14 AM
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You will barely notice the difference between any of them. One or two horsepower here or there isn't even a great metric because an intercooler's performance has almost as much to do with the material it's made of as it's physical design. Assuming they're all not made of the same exact type of aluminum, some types of aluminum heat soak in different environments than others.

Just pick the cheapest one you can find.

Hell, I have one I got on eBay for $200 that's identical to the Forge one, and I highly suspect they were made in the same Chinese factory. Flows better and heat soaks slower than the factory one, fitment was perfect, never had an issue with it.
 
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:12 PM
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We've been down this road before and nobody has done any comparison testing on any of the coolers. I also run a $200 Chinese cooler that has the cast aluminum tanks (Helix Copy) and happy with it. I've monitored it's performance with the Torque App on my phone with no complaints.
 
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:14 PM
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I got an ebay one as well but if you wanted to stick to name brand I say Helix. Don't not buy alta overpriced. I asked Detroit Tuned the question the other day and lets just say there is a reason the stopped selling Alta.
 
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Old 02-18-2017, 12:47 AM
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Ebay does have a good selection of no name brands for about one third the price. Has anyone had a bad experience with an ebay intercooler?
 
  #6  
Old 10-23-2017, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by bcriverjunky View Post
We've been down this road before and nobody has done any comparison testing on any of the coolers. I also run a $200 Chinese cooler that has the cast aluminum tanks (Helix Copy) and happy with it. I've monitored it's performance with the Torque App on my phone with no complaints.
Still happy with it?
 
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:39 AM
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I am very happy, $154 and 15 for 2 years replacement. Free shipping.
 
  #8  
Old 10-23-2017, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Neal3000 View Post
Still happy with it?
20,000 miles and I'd buy another one if I had to.
 
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2017, 05:04 AM
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I have a Forge Copy I got off ebay for $135 and it's performed great.


I only tracked (drag strip) my car once before putting it on. What I noticed was While waiting for my next run the stock one my intake temps would get as hot as 30 - 40 degrees warmer than ambient, so I'd be launching a fairly hot car. I ran a fastest of 14.2 @100mph with just a Manic stage 2 tune on Map B (no other mods besides the spark plugs). After I go the intercooler and downpipe on I've ran a best of 13.5 @102mph. Also while sitting waiting for my next runs my intake temps would never exceed maybe 20 degrees higher than ambient. while cruising my temps are right at ambient now or within 1 degree.
 

Last edited by 4mikebruns; 10-26-2017 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:26 AM
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Ebay Intercoolers

Aside from the brand name list of intercoolers the OP posted, most of which cost between $550 - $1095, these generic Chinese made ebay intercoolers offer a significant savings in hopes to replicate the same operation (or better) than our stock intercoolers to provide lower ambient temperatures for those who seek to tune their cars. I haven't found any true comparison of how these Chinese versions perform against the known name brand intercoolers so use of them is a roll of the dice! So lets hear from those of you who have ebay intercooler versions and please chime in about your ownership experience.


X_Tuing https://www.ebay.com/itm/FRONT-mount...1YvMj3&vxp=mtr


ZPCSport https://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-New-F...dS~soa&vxp=mtr


Magic https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Front-M...5ZR4hf&vxp=mtr


Majesty https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Front-M...5ZKlv8&vxp=mtr


P&X Evolution https://www.ebay.com/itm/Alloy-Front...JW8kf3&vxp=mtr


LS https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-BMW-MIN...JX7xhs&vxp=mtr


Just Off Road https://www.ebay.com/itm/High-per-Fr...JZzeKN&vxp=mtr


Direct Tuning Part https://www.ebay.com/itm/Front-Mount...lZ2DnA&vxp=mtr


ASI https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intercooler...hYoSaD&vxp=mtr


Alloy Works https://www.ebay.com/itm/FRONT-Mount...5ZzeDt&vxp=mtr


OZ4x4Plaza https://www.ebay.com/itm/Front-Mount...ZZ0RZP&vxp=mtr


D2 Performance https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-FRONT-M...pZ3FYT&vxp=mtr


Cooling Online https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Front-M...xZ2zp1&vxp=mtr


NOTE: Im going to stop here due to noticing that all these links seem to be from the Rowland Heights, California location which leads me to believe they all could be from the SAME SELLER just utilizing the different account names. This is something to watch out for and could be problematic should you want your money back or not receive delivery, SO IF YOU CHOOSE EBAY, BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!
 

Last edited by KCLARK; 10-24-2017 at 11:55 AM.
  #11  
Old 10-24-2017, 10:00 AM
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Mine is this one. G-Plus: https://www.ebay.com/itm/252514811757 My ownership experience was stated in my last reply. Its been very good to me.
 
  #12  
Old 10-24-2017, 05:01 PM
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Mine is the Majesty from CSK-Performance. Shipping was less than a week from China.
 
  #13  
Old 10-24-2017, 11:20 PM
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There are a lot of R56s with upgraded intercoolers but very little data for making comparisons.

I posted before and after data here: https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...ml#post4031739

OK guys - paid version of the Torque app ($5) plus an OBD2-> Bluetooth gizmo (under $20) and anyone can do what I did.

My method was logging RPM, Boost, and IAT for a 3rd gear pull from 2000 rpm to redline. If anyone thinks they have a better idea, let's hear it. Take some data and post it up. You guys with the eBay knock offs, here's your chance to show those of us who paid $hundreds more for the name brand what yours can do and how much money we wasted. Let's get some data so we can compare (as directly as possible) the various brands. If we can get some good data in here I'll add it to the Gen2 FAQ.
 
  #14  
Old 10-25-2017, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by squawSkiBum View Post
There are a lot of R56s with upgraded intercoolers but very little data for making comparisons.

I posted before and after data here: https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...ml#post4031739

OK guys - paid version of the Torque app ($5) plus an OBD2-> Bluetooth gizmo (under $20) and anyone can do what I did.

My method was logging RPM, Boost, and IAT for a 3rd gear pull from 2000 rpm to redline. If anyone thinks they have a better idea, let's hear it. Take some data and post it up. You guys with the eBay knock offs, here's your chance to show those of us who paid $hundreds more for the name brand what yours can do and how much money we wasted. Let's get some data so we can compare (as directly as possible) the various brands. If we can get some good data in here I'll add it to the Gen2 FAQ.


I use the Torque pro to monitor all of the above every day. I'll log a 3rd gear pull for you. IDK about starting at 2,000 rpm though as I will likely hit boost cut that low going WOT. I can start from 2800-3000. I guess I'll need to figure out a way to get the log posted to here.
 
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Old 10-25-2017, 07:30 AM
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In Torque, go to Settings-> Data Logging & Upload, select which PIDs you want to log. After you get the log then upload it as a .csv file, open in Excel, and create graphs. Grab a screenshot of the graph and post the picture here.
 
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  #16  
Old 10-25-2017, 07:44 AM
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What tune are you running though. I'm on Manic Stage 2 Map C so this will be a big variable as I will be pushing as much boost/heat as possible.
 
  #17  
Old 10-25-2017, 07:58 AM
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I do not have a tune (yet), my graphs are for the stock ECU. If you have the sps switch you could turn it down to stock or closer to it so the data would be more directly comparable. If not, the main thing to look at is the rise in IAT over ambient, since you have higher boost the rise will be higher but it should give a good idea of how effective the intercooler is.

For bonus points, run logs for stage1, stage2 map A, map B, map C. Would be really interesting to compare the graphs.
 
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by squawSkiBum View Post
I do not have a tune (yet), my graphs are for the stock ECU. If you have the sps switch you could turn it down to stock or closer to it so the data would be more directly comparable. If not, the main thing to look at is the rise in IAT over ambient, since you have higher boost the rise will be higher but it should give a good idea of how effective the intercooler is.

For bonus points, run logs for stage1, stage2 map A, map B, map C. Would be really interesting to compare the graphs.
So totally messed up the data logging. I did a pull from 2000 and I hit boost cut. Tried again from 2800 and it went fine. Ambient temp was 64F I'm attaching a snapshot showing IAT at 62F just before the pull was made. I saw IAT rise to about 74F by the time I hit redline. Never went above 74. This is all 20-22psi MAP C pulls. I'd imagine it would barely raise on a stock map.
 
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:27 AM
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I just ordered the eBay Wagner knock-off. I'll follow squawSkiBum's example for the data collection and should have something thrown together by next week.
 
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 4mikebruns View Post
So totally messed up the data logging. I did a pull from 2000 and I hit boost cut. Tried again from 2800 and it went fine. Ambient temp was 64F I'm attaching a snapshot showing IAT at 62F just before the pull was made. I saw IAT rise to about 74F by the time I hit redline. Never went above 74. This is all 20-22psi MAP C pulls. I'd imagine it would barely raise on a stock map.
Cool! Very similar results to what squaw found with his wagner, about +10_deg above ambient.


Originally Posted by Angryson View Post
I just ordered the eBay Wagner knock-off. I'll follow squawSkiBum's example for the data collection and should have something thrown together by next week.
Please do. I'm on the fence for knock-off versus brand-name. Hard not to want to save $400+
 

Last edited by sani; 10-25-2017 at 05:00 PM. Reason: spelling, what else!
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:14 PM
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This is great, I hope we can compile some data!

Here's a bit more detail on logging with Torque:

From the Torque starting page,
1. Settings (the Gear icon) -> Data Logging & Upload -> Select what to log.
2. Three vertical dots at the top right -> Select what to log.
3. Select the checkboxes for Ambient Air Temp, Engine RPM, Intake Air Temperature, and Intake Manifold Pressure, and anything else you want to log, click OK.
4. Use the back arrow to get to the Data Logging & Upload menu, then select File Logging Interval. I used 0.2 seconds. The more items you log, the slower your overall logging rate will be, so this may take some experimentation.

The above steps set everything up. When you're ready to log the data, from the Real Time Information display, touch the gear icon then Start Logging. Then Stop Logging when you're done, and Email logs to send yourself the data.

The data is a .csv format file, open it with Excel. Torque will give you gps data and other stuff you don't care about, you can enable/disable that with Settings -> Data Logging & Upload -> Automatically log GPS.

The spreadsheet I used to create the graphs is attached, the math is obvious. It would be really cool if other people added pages to this with the same data for their intercoolers, then we'd have a doc with side by side comparisons of the differences between each model.
 
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Old 10-26-2017, 03:51 AM
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How do you know which ebay so called brand is a knock off from a helix, a forge, or a wagner? I asked my mechanic this and he said forget what it looks like on the outside because the details that count are on the inside. Meaning you'd have to look in and see the fin density and how they are arranged as this is what controls cooling in addition to the TYPE of materials that are used to make the intercooler make the performance of each of them vary. I don't think any of the ebay links I posted actually show the INSIDE of the intercooler so for me its hard to say how one is designed to be like a helix, a forged, or wagner knock off. So are you guys just saying you have a wagner knockoff because it LOOKS like a wagner
 
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by KCLARK View Post
How do you know which ebay so called brand is a knock off from a helix, a forge, or a wagner?
...
So are you guys just saying you have a wagner knockoff because it LOOKS like a wagner
Yes
 
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by KCLARK View Post
How do you know which ebay so called brand is a knock off from a helix, a forge, or a wagner? I asked my mechanic this and he said forget what it looks like on the outside because the details that count are on the inside. Meaning you'd have to look in and see the fin density and how they are arranged as this is what controls cooling in addition to the TYPE of materials that are used to make the intercooler make the performance of each of them vary. I don't think any of the ebay links I posted actually show the INSIDE of the intercooler so for me its hard to say how one is designed to be like a helix, a forged, or wagner knock off. So are you guys just saying you have a wagner knockoff because it LOOKS like a wagner
Probably because it is a lot easier to reference the visual styling of the three basic designs rather than something like the fin density or branding. For instance the Wagner-esqe intercooler I bought is rebranded under 10 different labels on eBay and Amazon. These are not actual reputable brand names like Forge, Helix or Wagner, these are random fly by night made up companies. They're like the Michael Scott Paper Company of auto parts. So yes, without getting all esoteric about it, it's a Wagner knock-off because it LOOKS like a Wagner or it's a Forge-ery because it LOOKS like a Forge.
 
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by squawSkiBum View Post
This is great, I hope we can compile some data!

Here's a bit more detail on logging with Torque:

From the Torque starting page,
1. Settings (the Gear icon) -> Data Logging & Upload -> Select what to log.
2. Three vertical dots at the top right -> Select what to log.
3. Select the checkboxes for Ambient Air Temp, Engine RPM, Intake Air Temperature, and Intake Manifold Pressure, and anything else you want to log, click OK.
4. Use the back arrow to get to the Data Logging & Upload menu, then select File Logging Interval. I used 0.2 seconds. The more items you log, the slower your overall logging rate will be, so this may take some experimentation.

The above steps set everything up. When you're ready to log the data, from the Real Time Information display, touch the gear icon then Start Logging. Then Stop Logging when you're done, and Email logs to send yourself the data.

The data is a .csv format file, open it with Excel. Torque will give you gps data and other stuff you don't care about, you can enable/disable that with Settings -> Data Logging & Upload -> Automatically log GPS.

The spreadsheet I used to create the graphs is attached, the math is obvious. It would be really cool if other people added pages to this with the same data for their intercoolers, then we'd have a doc with side by side comparisons of the differences between each model.




I'm going to give the logging another go this afternoon, with your excel sheet we can just copy and paste our numbers over and it does the equation for us.
 

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