Seat Aftermarket Intercooler Repair

Alloy Intercooler Repair

This is what happens when you mount an oversize intercooler, and then drop the car on the floor as low as possible; speed humps and rough local roads all add to the damage.

Many things can affect the performance of your car – a holed, leaking intercooler can play havoc with boost levels and drastically reduce overall power. So not an ideal scenario. The key to modifying cars (and bikes) is if you are going to, is to make the changes safely and well engineered. If this intercooler had managed to pick up dust and or stones when scrapping the tarmac this could have led to a catastrophic failure of the engine. Luckily this wasn’t the case this time.

Looking at the above Intercooler repair you can see that the bottom corners had been worn through and needed cleaning and repairing, I used the alloy chequer plate corner patch plates to give a bit more thickness and strength to the bottom corners.

My customer used the slots in the mounting brackets to lift the intercooler about 10mm higher to try and reduce the chance of further damage. My advice was if there was still a problem with it bottoming out in future, modifications to the end cans could be made to shorten the overall height by some 20mm, this would have been ideal but would have taken a little more work.

We look forward to keeping you up to date.

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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Induction Kits and Performance after market filters – do they really give more BHP

Do Induction Kits or High Flow Air Filters really increase engine power.

To understand the principle of filters we can compare an intake system on a normally aspirated 4 stroke engine to our own air intake system. Humans have very High Flow Air intake system with minimal restrictions slowing the air intake. We have hairs in our nostrils and we have mucus lining our air nasal system to trap or capture dirt and dust, this dirt and dust is removed by Cilia (tiny hairs in the lining of the nasal cavity and trachea) which move these “contaminants” back up to throat, which is then coughed up or mechanically blown out through the nose. Still our lungs are susceptible to dust ingress which long term could damage the lungs efficiency.In exactly the same way an engines intake system must have some method of “filtering” the air intake to remove dirt and dust. This is even more critical to an automotive engine as it has no way of removing any damaging dirt particles that may reach the combustion chamber and damage the internal parts of the engine and cause premature wear. If the air is not filtered to a high level before the air charge enters the combustion chamber there could be the opportunity for these particles to damage, pistons, cylinder bores, combustion chamber, spark plug electrodes, injector nozzles, piston rings and so on. This could all lead to premature wear or imminent failure of the engine.

Typical “element” air filter

Shown above is a typical “element” style air filter used in most cars. These are adequate at filtering out dirt and dust but by no means the most efficient when it come down to air flow and performance.

What are we trying to achieve with an after market Induction Kit ?

Many claim to improve air flow, many claim to improve BHP or engine power or torque or all of these.

Mmmmm lets think for a moment !

A bit of science first. Cold air is more dense that Hot air so common sense tells us that cold air will have a higher concentration of oxygen particles in the same volume of air when compared to hot air !  FACT.

Therefore forgetting about Performance Filters and spending wads of dosh – consider getting a cold air supply to your intake. If you want to get more “BANG FOR YOUR BUCKS” you need to be feeding COLD AIR into your intake system. If your intake system draws air from under your bonnet you may well be sucking hot air (engine heat, manifold heat, turbo heat etc etc)  into your intake a BIG NO NO straight away. Now we have a cold air feed or an intake pipe that is drawing cooler air from outside of the engine bay we can consider filters, filter boxes, etc.

There are many differing types of after market filters available, do a bit of research and take time to make a “judged” decision. Panel, cone, paper element, wire gauze, cotton, sponge are all types that could be found to fit your car or bike or truck or whatever vehicle you are looking for ! So now we have considered air supply, lets look at the filters available – Above are a selection of filters you might come across when searching for intake filters By methods of research and testing FLASH CUSTOMS can say from experience that lightly oiled cotton filters offer the best flow rates of any. This is ok but many applications are not covered by these types of specialist filter.

We would recommend for average FAST ROAD use that a modern gauze type filter or sponge filter (panel, cone etc) be used with impregnated dirt re tentative spray, both far better than a standard paper element filter. Only a very slight coating of oil spray will aid filtration. If excess oil is coating the filter this may actually reduce the flow and even worse clog up your MAF sensor (Mass Air Flow) and confuse your ECU, simply making matters worse. Make sure you clean the MAF sensor regularly if this is the sort of intake system you have.

Whatever after market filter you fit, remember one rule of thumb:- the larger the surface area of the filter, the better the air flow.Most after market filters allow for complete removal of the original air box, good and bad arises from this.

  1. You will generally have far more induction “ROAR”, boy racers may love this !
  2.  Better AIR FLOW can generally be achieved with after market filters.
  3. Positioning of “open” filters is critical (due to hot engine bay temps)
  4. A 20 degree rise in temperature can reduce BHP by as much as 3%
  5. Smaller engines sometimes suffer from a POWER LOSS when fitting “free flowing” after market filters
  6. Sometimes it is best to fit a replacement “free flowing” after market panel filter in your standard air box particularly for smaller engine sizes.

So as you can see there are positives and negatives to after market filter kits, getting the right one for your car, keeping intake charges “cool”, fitting in a designated “air box” or open is all things that need to be considered.

Filter with cold air feed pipe

Filter positioned at back of engine where lots of heat will accumulate

A shielded Filter set up, reducing the impact of under bonnet temperatures

Simple aluminium ducting that can be used to direct cool air into the filter

At FLASH CUSTOMS we still recommend a specially built induction box to fully surround the after market high flow filter with a cold air feed into the box. This must be sealed to stop hot under bonnet air entering the box and in some instances I have seen customers insulate this box as well!

I have personally seen many young drivers add a simple after market induction kit mounted totally in the wrong place, open to hot air temperatures with no cool air supply and wonder why it makes no difference what so ever to the performance of their car. But, it makes lots of induction roar so it must be going faster ?

With a little bit of thought and not always a lot of money these sometimes quite expensive induction kits can be made to work a lot better and actually give your car some extra performance.

Another “myth” that some kits promote is “RAM AIR” where simply a feed pipe is mounted in the front grill or under the bumper in the flow of air hitting the front of the car. Ram air systems really don’t work up until you reach approx 100mph (so absolutely no use what so ever in normal road driving conditions. Secondly many performance filters tend only to really work at higher engine revs and will in fact be detrimental to the lower end power band.

So personal conclusions to this blog on after market filters is that:- if you have a smaller engined car go with a high flow panel filter to simply replace the original and make sure that you have a nice cool air feed to the intake. For larger engines if you can go with a cotton gauze filter with a cold air feed and an enclosure to prevent hot air getting into the intake.

A final take on this subject, no matter what you do to your intake system to improve it if the intake manifold is rough, and edges and lumps and bumps in it, has mis-matched joins that do not allow “smooth” air flow you will be wasting your time trying to improve your intake system. Get the manifold “gas flowed” and the make sure that every piece of pipework and join is smooth as can be to help air flow.

Here at FLASH CUSTOMS we tend to prefer smooth bore thin wall aluminium tube to make up an induction pipe run, this is much more efficient at allowing air to flow smoothly compared to other types of pipework such as concertina type aluminium or plastic air hosing.

Smooth bore mandrel bent aluminium tube


Recommended Reading

This work is aimed at the enthusiast engine tuner and race engine builder. Founded on the author’s many years of experience in building, tuning and modifying high-performance engines, it sets out the principles involved in forced induction, supported by tables and numerous illustrations. From basic theory through to building a rugged engine, all the important aspects of supercharging and turbocharging are explained and analysed.


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Why is it important to use Antifreeze in your Car Cooling System

Use Antifreeze in your cooling system summer and winter ! – Why you might ask?

One main point to remember when considering your vehicle cooling system is that modern engines use a range of materials now. Some of which are more susceptible to corrosion than others. Corrosion is a common denominator in reducing cooling system efficiency by means of cooling fluid contamination and blocking the inner bores of cooling pipe work and water jackets, hence reducing efficiency.

Making sure that you’ve got the correct anti-freeze in the right concentration is critical to the health of your engine.

Cooling capacities of modern vehicles are generally smaller, operate at higher temperatures and pressures and therefore require more maintenance to ensure efficiency is maintained.

Approximately 60% of engine failures can be attributed to cooling system problems.

As a rule of thumb, only about 28% of the thermal energy released by burning fuel in the engine is available for driving the car.

  • About 7% is used to overcome friction in the engine, drive train, tyres etc.
  • Another 35% disappears out of the exhaust, and
  • The remaining 30% has to be removed by the coolant or the engine block, otherwise internal components would start to suffer overheating, rapid wear and fatigue, leading to failure.
If you are unfamiliar in the operation of automotive cooling systems this cheap book below is an ideal starting point.

Antifreeze is multi-functional and vital to the correct operation of the engine. A modern coolant/antifreeze needs the following features:

  • Corrosion prevention
  • Excellent heat transfer
  • Protection from freezing
  • Prevention of scale build up
  • Compatibility with hard water
  • Stability at high temperature
  • Compatibility with plastics and elastomers used in the engine
  • Low foaming

So as you can see with so many functions to perform it is very important to the maintenance and health of your engine to regularly check the ratio of water to antifreeze in your system

Bluecol – Recommended Antifreeze 5L

Every couple of years it is also a good idea to flush through the coolant system, this is especially important if you buy a second hand car and have no idea when the coolant was changed last

 Wynns 56064 325ml Radiator Flush – Recommended Coolant System Flush

Its also important to remember that any antifreeze added to your system should be to the specification stated by the vehicle manufacturer.

Ethylene glycol is a product of the petro-chemical industry and is used as the basis of antifreeze, this has the added advantage of raising the boiling point of the cooling mixture. More recently propylene glycol has been introduced as a less hazardous alternative to ethylene glycol.

The important recent technical advances have been in the field of corrosion prevention, hard water compatibility and control of scale build up.

Engine design has changed to improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions as well as reducing weight and costs. These demands have made engine operating conditions even more severe, so that much more is required from the cooling system.

Leak free coolant systems are a must as almost all modern cooling systems run under pressure, once this pressure is reduced the coolant may boil at a lower temperature.

On this note any system that has developed any leaks must be rectified as soon as possible.

 K-Seal recommended permanent coolant system leak repair.

It is generally recommended that a mixture of  between 40 & 50% Antifreeze to water is used for summer coolant and winter freezing prevention. Coolant systems are “sealed” generally and should not need topping up, however if water levels in the coolant tank are noticed to be reducing then it is important to inspect the system for leaks. Also important to check is if the coolant mixture is cloudy or “sludgy” as this may also indicate issues of combustion gases / oil getting into the cooling system via a cracked block or head or head gasket leaking problems. Get it checked out asap.

National standard for antifreeze are – BS6580:2010 or ASTM D 3306 and such fluids should provide a basic level of performance for cars and light vans.

New developments in cooling technology has led to the introduction of Organic Acid Technology (OAT). Corrosion inhibitors in OAT products last much longer in use than those in traditional antifreeze and that is why many service specifications only require coolant fluid changes are completed every 5 years now.

On a final note, water quality in certain areas vary tremendously still. There are areas that are known as being “hard water” areas and this can affect the performance of your vehicles coolant system – think about the furring of your kettle element or washing machine elements.

To finish; a few points to look out for concerning your cooling system.

All above pictures point to poor coolant system operation and in some instances major engine faults.

  1. See the thermostat – top left covered in corrosion deposits that could render it inoperable.
  2. Top right small corrosion showing on radiator – this may only be a small “pin” hole in the radiator and not noticeable or indeed affect the operation of the system until it is up to working temperature.
  3. Third image – the thermostat housing sludged up with “gunk” reducing the bore size for cooling fluid to flow through.
  4. The last one at the bottom – radiator header tank overflowing with brown sludge – a sure indication that oil or combustion vapours are entering the coolant system.

Dont forget – here at FLASH CUSTOMS – we can custom make alloy water pipes, alloy radiators and supply silicon hose kits and parts to make up smooth bore, high flow cooling systems, for fast street and race use.

Hope this blog has been of some use to you, thanks for reading :)

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Into Modified Street Cars & Car Cruises

Looking for ideas, body styles, customising ideas for your car, have a look at some of the images and details on this site.

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