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  1. #1

    Default W/A intercooler vs. standard

    From a performance standpoint, what's the difference between each system?

    I'm looking for pros and cons of both, and hopefully some stuff that i've never heard of before. This is more of a general question, i've already decided on a front mount for the Celica.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Verse a Standard intercooler, as in any old air to air intercooler?

    A water to air intercooler (or charge-cooler) is typically a heavier more complex system that is not as standard as an air to air system. You typically have a resevoir and or radiator that contains the medium that is going to actually cool the intake charge as it circulates through, just like a typical radiator. Then you have the intercooler itself in which the air flows through on its way to be ingested in the engine. The beauty of a WTA design is that you can theoritically cool the intake charge BELOW ambient air temperature, something that an air to air is NOT able to do. At the same time, your medium of cooling has a limited capacity in which it can store heat, versus the unlimited atmospheric air that is available for an air to air intercooler.

    Air to air is typically a simpler setup. They're a couple of different variations of the air to air cooler that go into the actual flow and design of the heat exchange device itself, bar and plate, tube and fin. An air to air intercooler is very capable of keeping intake temps at an optimal non dangerous level ( I believe below 120 C is ideal, anything above is pushing it).
    Last edited by Sean; 08-23-2006 at 09:15 PM.

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  3. #3

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    Shouldnt this be in forced induction?
    2000 Absolute Red Celica GTS 6-Spd
    1991 Crimson Red MR2 Turbo


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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luni
    Shouldnt this be in forced induction?

    Good point. Mods, do your magic, if you don't mind. I sorry.

    But... while we're talking here...

    So... would a W/A setup be noticably beneficial to say, a car setup mostly for drags?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ciento44
    Good point. Mods, do your magic, if you don't mind. I sorry.

    But... while we're talking here...

    So... would a W/A setup be noticably beneficial to say, a car setup mostly for drags?
    Its an ideal replacement for MR setups such as the mr2.

    Drags, sure. I dont know at what point if at any for instance the RC WTA intercooler is subject to boiling of its coolant, so I personally do not know the limitations and qualifications for a WTA intercooler.

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    2010 Lexus ISF PPE Headers JOE Z Exhaust K40 Radar
    2007 Range Rover Sport HSE

  6. #6

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    So basically, they both work fine for day to day, because the surround air will never get hotter than the air that it's replacing, anyways, and the water can actually keep it below ambient for the period of time that it itself is lower, until it evens itself out.

    So... i could drive the W/A like normal through normal days, then drop some ice in there for drag days, because colder = more HP?

    Or, am i really just overthinking this, and it wouldn't even be worth it for the vast majority of cars out there?

    What spawned this was that i was looking around at parts for the Z earlier today, and noticed that i could do a w/a setup for maybe 1.5 times the cost of a true front mount, instead of those lame sidemounts that i have. My guess is that w/a may not be worth it unless i'm out to set records, or have a ridiculously built engine in the future. Would that be correct at all?

    The other reason, is that a front mount is going to require some custom work to the bumper, unless i miss my guess.

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    ^ right but remember ice only last for so long and it will eventually heat up again and water holds heat for a long period of time even an hour after the engine is off. Its really on what your using it for and the type of conditions you are driving.

    Racing for a record go water to air.
    Just to use for street use, use air to air.
    advise priceless.

    o if you decide to use water to air, i suggest using a cooling fan to help cool the water down faster ( not that much fast, but it helps)

  8. #8

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    Hi,

    Whilst reading this and other forums over the past 5-6 years that Iíve had my ST185-GT4, Iíve considered and read about people wanting to upgrade to Air-to-Liquid on 3SGTEs from their Air-to-Air Intercoolers. Iíve considered it myself too, surely if nothing else, the fact that the RC version (if Iím correct) has Air-to-Liquid is good enough reason to believe with their advanced knowledge that it is surely better, in rally/fast road/race situations at leastÖ

    I knew I had read somewhere about these two systems in an Advanced Engine Tech book I had bought some time back, and was sure that Air-to-Air was said to be the more efficient of the 2 for cooling the charged air in Turbocharged systems.

    The text is based on the fact that the water is supplied via the main radiator and coolant system. Now, am I right in saying that the GT4-RC has itís own water supply and pump? If this is so, then this is an obvious added consideration, however, itís still an interesting read in the differences of the two based on a coupled water supply systemÖ

    The book, I now have lying on my lap as I type this next section verbatim, is called Advanced Engine Technology by Heinz Heisler and goes into very great detail on all aspects of all types of engines, itís a great read, but I must say I only understand little parts of it, but enough to understand charged air systems/ turbos to some degreeÖ Well at least I think to think I do anyways ;-)

    Right hereís a section from the book on both Air-to-Air and Air-to-Liquid IntercoolersÖ
    I havenít included the whole text, just the interesting bitís for each system and the comparisonÖ


    Air-to-Air Intercoolers;

    With a typical air inlet temperature of about 25 degrees C the pressurized output charge temperature from the compressor may reach 120 degrees C or even more, if it then passes through the Air-to-Air intercooler the chargeís temperature can be brought down to approximately 40 to 60 degrees C before it enters the cylinders.

    The coolant air stream may be supplied by two methods.

    1. By placing the tubular matrix in a frontal position so that it is subjected to the ram effect as the vehicle moves forwards. This arrangement can reduce the hot compressed charge to a temperature between 50 and 60 degrees C, but it is greatly dependant upon the speed of the vehicle and the direction of the air flow.

    2. By placing the heat exchanger matrix immediately in front of the engine cooling systemís radiator, so that the engineís fan determines how much air is drawn through the finned spacing between the tubes. This more stable layout is used on commercial vehicles where there is more room, it is capable of bringing the heated chargeís temperature down to a consistent 40 degrees C.

    The major advantage of the Air-to-Air intercooler compared with the Air-to-Liquid intercooler is that it can bring the chargeís output temperature down to around 40 to 50 degrees C, whereas the Air-to-Liquid method of cooling can only reduce the chargeís delivery temperature to a value of about 5 to 10 degrees C above that of the engineís coolant temperature, i.c. 80 to 90 degrees C.

    Air-to-Liquid Intercoolers;

    The compact surface area of the tube and fin matrix is capable of dissipating heat so that the hot air charge temperature, which may be as high as 120 to 150 degrees C, can be reduced to something like 85 to 90 degrees C with an engine coolant jacket temperature of around 80 degrees C. Thus, cool liquid coolant is pumped from the water pump outlet to the intercooler tube matrix where heat is extracted from the hot charge. It is then passed back to the engine radiator header tank to be cooled in the usual way.


    Hopefully I typed all that correctly, Iíve read it a few times so it I think itís right.

    Itís an interesting difference in performance between the two, clearly in this setup Air-to-Air is better by far. However If Iím correct in guessing, from the pictures Iíve seen and recall, the RC version has itís own water supply and radiator ( I really havenít checked this yet), then the comparison would clearly be different. Iím not sure how different, but itís clear that Air-to-Air from what Heinz knows about advanced engine design is very, very efficientÖ.

    Perhaps some form of test may be useful, someone who could possibly try both intercoolers on the same car, and check the air temperature before it enters the throttle bodyÖ

    Also consider this, Air does not heat up by itself itís heated up by the ground, Air close to the ground is much hotter than air 1 meter or so above the ground. Air is too tenuous to be warmed directly by the sun to any significant extent. Itís the ground below it that heats up, warming the air from below and raising the air temperature. It follows that meteorologist measure air temperatures about 1.5 meters above the ground, to avoid influences by the grounds temperature. So FMICs will gather hotter air than TMICs on hot days. On cool days of course the opposite would surely be in effectÖ.

    This is the reason why, as Iíve seen mentioned on forums somewhere that you can get much cooler air across a top mount intercooler than one closer to the ground. So maybe if you had an ST185-MR2 maybe consider ramming the air from above the roof area, just above the rear window, you know like you see on the Paris-Dakar carsÖ Of course this is only true if you lucky to live in a sun drenched part of the world, unlike here in the Sunny UK.

    Also, Iím sure itís different depending on considering the application for an MR2 or GT4, you can get a good blast into the GT4ís top mount, but is it as good the way air is drawn across it on the MR2?

    Please let me know if Iím right in my assumptions about the Air-to-Liquid intercooler having itís own water supply and radiator, I guess this was the case only from the pics Iíve seen.

    Anyway, thought Iíd throw those thoughts into the mix for yaís as most of the time I only read the forums rather than post, hope it wasnít too long or boring to readÖ

    Stay inter-cooledÖ

    FrankÖ
    1993, Black GT4 ST185, 249BHP
    Chipped, Inducted, Ecoteked, Dumped
    Tinted, Wheeled - Locked & Loaded

  9. #9
    Ultimo Miembro FantŠstico Gigantesco Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean has a brilliant future Sean's Avatar
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    Frank,

    Really appreciate the response and conversation! Havent seen you post on here before, but your thoughts are much encouraged.

    You're correct, the celica WTA system does have its own supply of "coolant". Thus, the 90 C noted above would be way high in comparison to the temp of the coolant that is circulating indpendentely for the intercooler.

    From what I know, either the RC WTA from the celica, or a custom aftermarket ATA intercooler is FAR FAR FAR superious then the factory top mount ATA. The ATA is of very poor design, and from my questioning the experts, they also interestingly told me that it has a substantial pressure drop do to its poor design. Not sure of the dynamics behind this.

    Get rid of the factory "heater" atop the engine, and good things shall come.

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  10. #10

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    Thanks for the explanation Frank.

    That does verify that even a normal W/A intercooler would be plenty fine for daily drives, and also, it would make sense that if the RC setup is the way that it is, that it would perform at least as well as a decent fmic. Plus, if you want to go to the drags, dump some ice in there!!

    I'd love to do the tests, but unfortunately, the car in question that i was asking about isn't a Celica, and to swap the different setups would run me at least $2k on the car in question, being a 300ZX TT.

    I already decided on a front mount ATA on my celica, because i don't want to deal with finding an AT or CS hood.

    Stick around and post if you've a mind, i personally prefer reading big chunks of information over the two sentence replies that one normally gets on message boards.

  11. #11

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    Sean,

    Cool, cheers man, thanks for your encouraging words...

    I'm most encouraged now too by your comments of the stock ATA too, I will look into getting mine changed at some point to ethier and aftemarket one or indeed the W/C one maybe... And If I can, when I do it, and I've got the cash, I'll drop in a temp gauge myself before and after, this maybe some time away though as during the last 3 weeks of fixing my overboost via mostly replacing split induction pipes before and after the 'heater' ahem, my clutch has bitten the dust. So I've got to drop in an Exedy (Can't afford more) as soon as possible, when I've saved up enough, sigh...!

    I'll have a root around about pressure drop too to satisfy my curiosity on the matter, but I'm sure as you say it basically a heater ;-)

    This board has been invaluable to me whilst fixing issues with my car in the past, so I thought I'd try to even up the balance a little...

    Thanks again, keep up the great work peeps,

    Frank...
    1993, Black GT4 ST185, 249BHP
    Chipped, Inducted, Ecoteked, Dumped
    Tinted, Wheeled - Locked & Loaded

  12. #12

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    Exeddy is actually a really good clutch, from my experience.
    I killed a Clutch Masters clutch disc, and due to limited funds, I replaced JUST THE DISC with an Exeddy disc.
    This took repeated 6K launches, with the CM pressure plate.
    I had absolutely NO problems with it.
    When I resealed my engine I replaced the clutch with a Spec.
    I am having the same problems with it that I had with the CM.
    So I might end up going back to a Exeddy disc in the future....

    As far as WTA IC, as far as I know, all have a separate reservior. It would be plain silly to use the engine coolant. WAY too hot.
    The RC setup also comes with a fan for the heat exchanger.
    In addition, the ST205 [basically same setup, just newer. With a larger ic] WRC has sprayers for the heat exchanger stock. Granted they are not wired up, and are not the most efficient nozzles, but it's there.
    One other benifit to the Toyota systems is it is a TMIC, which gives you better response, but the WTA part helps greatly to reduce heat soak, a MAJOR problem with the ATA version.

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  13. #13

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    The other thing to bear in mind, and the thing which makes me more interested in a frontmount is complexity.

    A FMIC doesn't need an extra res, heat exhanger, pump or any of the associated wiring, and in my books, this simplicity can only be a good thing.
    1990 Series 5 Celica GT-4
    Needs: New brakes. New gas struts for rear hatch AGAIN >_< Repairs to drivers side after "adventure" with bridge.
    Wants: Tien coilovers. Audio system (planning at the moment), found System 10 door panels, system ten amp, need speakers and head unit and wiring and and and...


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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by alltracman78
    Exeddy is actually a really good clutch, from my experience.
    I killed a Clutch Masters clutch disc, and due to limited funds, I replaced JUST THE DISC with an Exeddy disc.
    This took repeated 6K launches, with the CM pressure plate.
    I had absolutely NO problems with it.
    When I resealed my engine I replaced the clutch with a Spec.
    I am having the same problems with it that I had with the CM.
    So I might end up going back to a Exeddy disc in the future....
    Thanks dude,

    That's kinda made my mind up on the clutch issue for me, I too presently have limited funds, so I'm glad Exedy make a great cheap replacement...

    This is a bit far fecthed I know but, how about redirecting your A/C blower, ditching the cooling inside the car, and redirecting to blow over the I/C...
    Actually that's probably a mad idea, but it probably would work, somehow... Then again the people that go for out and out speed have probably already thrown out their A/C system to save waight in the first place...

    Ignore that ^^^ lol, think it was a strange dream I had last night, hehe..

    Cool, anyways, my next purchase (after clutch) is either an uprated Air-to-Air TMIC, or a switch to Air-to-Liquid TMIC...

    Frank.
    1993, Black GT4 ST185, 249BHP
    Chipped, Inducted, Ecoteked, Dumped
    Tinted, Wheeled - Locked & Loaded

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