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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so i'm gonna go ahead and get this thread started tonight- i promised i would do sort of a mini faq and install procedure for my front mount intercooler install.

I'm gonna begin the process tommorow- i should have just about everything i need to make it work (except perhaps a special drill bit) and i don't see it taking to long to complete.

The intercooler i'll be installing is a cx racing intercooler (just-intercoolers is the name of their ebay store) with dimensions 28x5.5x2.5 and should be good to about 300 bhp. the core inlets and outlets measure 2 inches in diameter, and i'll have 2 inch piping all the way through.

even though this is the specific intercooler i'm installing, obviously this thread will apply to front mounted intercoolers in general.

Like i said, i'll take plenty of pictures on the install and even do a write up on the procedure- if everything goes as planned it'll all be in order by the end of tommorow.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
well......

alright well it looks like i ran out of daylight today! I wish i would've started a bit earlier because i probably would have finished.

Anyway, heres where i stand now:

Finished mounting intercooler (drilling was a *****)
Finished charge side piping to intercooler

So i still need to finish the piping on the turbo side. Altogether this job takes MUCH longer than it seems, i've spent 6 hours already. I kind of forgot it gets dark at about 5 20 now.

My garage is JUST barely too short to have enough room to keep the door closed and have enough room towork, so this is why i rely on daylight, otherwise i'd probably try and finish out tonight.

I will say trying to drill the damn holes for the IC is NOT fun at all. i got the first hole to go (i did by a special cobalt tipped metal bit) and so its very tightly secured on one side, although i had to rig up a special way to mount it at the other end. no matter how hard i tried (i spent easily 2 hours just trying for this hole), i could not get the bit to go through, and i ended up dulling all my bits. I am surprised how sturdy it is with what i've rigged up, its basically set in place and BARELY budges at all. I will go more into this later after i finish tommorow. I'll also include a few different techniques for drilling in general, hopefully some of which you'll have more luck with than i did.

Other than the holes, the process is straightforward, albeit time consuming. Got the bumper off very easily, and the first part of the piping was pretty easy as well.

I had to roll my car back into the garage and call it quits for tonight, but i'll finish up tommorow and then complete this tutorial.

Heres one picture of where I am now- as i said, the rest comes tommorow.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Should be a good read, but isn't 2" piping a little small?
i wouldn't think so, the stock intercooler piping is 2'' as well. I know there are quite a few other people on here that had 2.5 inch inlet/outlets- but used 2.5 to 2.0 coupler reducers just so they could have 2 inch piping.

The bigger the piping, the harder the turbo is going to work to fill the space. Obviously if we were talking huge HP numbers i would probably want a larger diameter pipe, but my core is supposed to be good to 300hp, and i don't aim to go past that.
 

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lookin good man. told ya drilling the holes is a blast! sooo fun. haha.

have fun rigging up the piping for the hot side tmrw. thats a pain too. its a very tight space. the subframe is right in the way when trying to get all the piping aligned and what not.

i see you got t clamps too. nice. are you taking your bottom grill pieces out or no?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
i think i will take the middle insert out, but leave the inserts next to the piping in place. I'll see how all the combinations look but i can't wait to see the intercooler sticking out of the grill :cool:
 

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yah its a beautiful site haha.

oh and the grilles are a one time use. soi think. i couldnt figure out how to get them out. the only way i got them out was to break all the tabs hahaha. so yah i have no grilles still. lol. looks badass thou kinda like mouths haah
 

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Discussion Starter #12
alright. all i can say is FINALLY. FINALLY. took so long but i finally finished the install, my fmic is up and running, and i even had time to take it for a little spin :cool:

in the few minutes i drove it- i can say, the FMIC is a vast improvement over the stock intercooler. boost comes on MUCH faster and stays longer, its like i was driving a whole new car. I didn't expect such a huge difference but i have now concluded, although it can be a ***** to pull off, that this mod is definitely worth the time.

i'll complete my faq and write up tommorow, i've been workin all day in 20 degree weather and i can barely even type this my hands are practically frozen solid.

As a closing note today, if you have the cash and have been considering it- do the FMIC, especially for AERO HOT owners, you'll be the ones to notice the biggest difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This is great! I have a 2000 Aero M/T and so I should be able to copy everything you did!
yep. there is one other faq that another guy on here did, and i'll say i didn't really follow his procedure much at all.

The way i rigged up my piping is a lot different, depending on the kit you buy theres a lot of ways you can do it- i chose my path because it allowed me to keep a full 90 degree angled piece on the turbo side of the intercooler (i did this so i could minimize cutting and keep a "rolled" edge on the outsides of the piping.

Instead of building the piping from the intercooler to the turbo, i started with the turbo and built outwards to the intercooler. This actually in turn made things a little tougher altogether i think, but hey, lesson learned, and next time i'll remember that.

like i said it ends up being a pretty tough job, and you'll get frustrated a few times for sure with drilling/fitting the piping. If you feel up to it, theres no real reason why you cant tackle the job, and if you're into modding cars, its definitely one of the first couple of mods i'd be doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
the WRITE UP

Alright here we go- as promised- my write up on the FMIC install.

I'm not really going to go into the easy stuff (I.E. taking off the bumper) as if you're ready to delve in to this kind of modification you should know how to do this already/have some form of instruction on hand for things like these already. I know there are also plenty of other write ups on this.

My guide can be broken down into three sections really:

Drilling the holes for the intercooler (in my mind, the hardest part)
Mounting the intercooler (i'l go into what i rigged up on the left side, as after 2 hours of trying i still couldn't get a hole thru on this side)
and finally- rigging up the piping and clamps (this can be difficult, the key with this is really patience and taking your time)


Drilling the holes: The toughest part. If you can get past this, theres no real reason why you cant finish everything.

Before i began, i read up on EXACTLY what i would need to accomplish this. I don't have any pictures of this part, but the key here is accurate measurement, endurance (you'll see what i mean) and a steady drill hand.


There are a few things you should definitely have on hand for this part:
1. High speed electric drill (not a portable one)
2. STRONG drill bits (i bought cobalt tipped bits, and they felt like they BARELY got the job done)
3. oil (you need to keep the bit lubricated, as you'll be drilling fast and its going to get HOT)
4. some serious elbow grease.

Once you have measured the first hole (this one isn't NEAR as important as getting the second correct, however) begin drilling. Remeber to keep the bit lubricated! this is important as it will significantly prolong the bit life.

Don't think you're gonna get thru the bumper in 2 minutes- this takes TIME. it probably took me about 20 minutes for the side i actually got through. Take breaks if you need them, your arm is going to get TIRED. You'll probably get frustrated, but stick with it if you can.

Now for that second hole. This is the one, that no matter what i did, i couldn't get through at all. I spent 2 hours trying to drill this hole, and eventually my bits just STOPPEd cutting. nothing was happening.

So after a lot of cursing and thinking, i decided to rig something else up to hold the IC in place. Metal wire. Yes, sounds very very cheesy, but it gets the job done. I got it as TIGHT as possible- and you could almost mistake it for a bolt now, the IC is very tightly in place, i can just barely wiggle it with substansial pressure.

I doubt this wouldve worked if i didnt at least get the first hole drilled, try as hard as you can to get both. If you cant, youll need to get creative with how you mount it and come up with something on your own.


Mounting the IC: pretty self explanatory- like i said, its a matter of having the right bolts and drilling the holes, if you can get both holes drilled- then great- just bolt it right into place.

If you cant, however, you need to rig up something on your own. The piping will HELP hold it in, although you should not be relying on it at all. You just need to make sure the IC is snug, and doesn't really move if you try to with your hand.

Compare it to the stock IC, it has a little play when you try and move it, but it doesn't move much.


Piping and clamps: this part is really hyped up, but it really isn't that bad at all. A lot less measuring then you think. When coupled (no pun intended) together, they have some good "play" in their movement, so you should be able to squeeze everything in without having "exact" measurements, so to speak.

Here we go. This is what it will look like on the output side of the intercooler. This pipe is actually VERY easy, took me all of 10 minutes to complete this side. All you need here is a 90 degree angled pipe (comes in almost ALL piping kits on ebay). All youre doing is cutting off some of the straight length on the end side of one of these pipes so it will fit into the ic, and it doesn't come out TOO far so that you can still fit it into the stock hose on this side.

My strategy when i'm doing stuff like this is ALWAYS cut LESS then you will need in the end FIRST. go small bits at a time. I really didn't have to measure at all for this part, i just went slow and kept cutting straight length off until i could fit the pipe in both sides.

Now you just need to clamp the pipes down. As you can see in the picture, the kit i bought came with "t" style clamps (these really are the ones you should get, they do the best job of ensuring even pressure on the coupler)

I used the stock clamp to secure part of a coupler to the hose, i just jammed the coupler straight in there, and when you tighten it down far enough, it should be sufficient, mine wouldn't budge at all even with the stock clamp.


now i was always worried from the beggining about my pipes blowing off while im driving, so i wanted to take the neccassary precautions to ensure they wouldn't.

Heres what you can do:

Score the pipes at the end. This is what they'll look like


Spray some hairspray on the ends of the pipe. Sounds wierd, but it works. When it dries, it becomes a great type of adhesive that will help hold the piping together. I actually didn't have any hairspray, so i used clear coat. Also, sounds very odd, but its even stickier than hair spray and will work just the same.

And lastly, make sure your clamps are TIGHT! you dont need to have em so tight that they'll rip the coupler to shreds, but to ensure they're tight enough- tug on em after they're clamped. you SHOULD NOT be able to move the pipe around without the coupler AT ALL. the pipes should be pretty solidly in place.

If you do all this, you really shouldn't have to worry about your pipes coming off at all. I tested mine after i finished and they held up great even under WOT.

Oh i forgot- credit to ZACHC for these ideas, he is where i got them.


Now the turbo side of the intercooler. The fun part. This is really where i strayed from what everyone else did, i got creative with it and went my own way.

The biggest difference you'll notice here is that i STARTED from the turbo, and built OUTWARDS towards the intercooler. I wish i would've done it the other way around though, as it probably would've been a bit easier. So for the sake of this guide, go ahead and start from the intercooler, building towards the turbo.

Again, measurement of the pipes does not factor in quite as much as you think. One of the things that helped me ALOT here was to use the stock piping as a template for what your pipes are going to look like.

Heres a quick list of what i used:
1x 90 degree angled pipe (because of the way i did this, i didn't need to cut this pipe AT ALL)
2x 90 degree coupler (many people only use one, but at the time, this is just how it played out for me)
2x little sections of straight piping (very easy to cut, both will be approx 3-4 inches long)
and 2x straight couplers

Because there are SO MANY DIFFERENT ways to do this part, its tough to walk you through exactly what to do. If you want to use the piping schemes i used to the letter, please do, but it may not be what works best for you.

Alright from the beginning, heres what i did:

Start at the turbo, and attach the straight coupler to the turbo inlet. Now put a small section of straight pipe in here (this is really just to give it rigidity) and attach a 90 degree coupler to the end section of the straight pipe. If you do it this way, it'll come out looking something like this:



now this is where the great part is, and my reasoning for doing the piping in this unorthodox way. I was able to use the 90 degree piping supplied with my kit- completely uncut.

I did this so i could keep the "rolled" edges on the end of the pipe, and really just to minimize cutting altogether.

heres what this part is going to look like:





i also went this route to get the hard part done first. It made the hard part much harder indeed, but once you get the couplers and piping sorted out near the turbo, this is what you're left with:



so now this is where that second 90 degree coupling comes into play, i just took a bit of straight pipe, connected it to the coupler on the IC, connected that to a 90 degree coupler, and then that coupler went right on the full 90 degree pipe!

Now its just a matter of clamping everything down, and you've completed the job.

Like i've said, this is just the way that worked for me. Once you really get into the job, you'll discover you'll want to take your own path on how you cut and configure your piping. Its not nearly as scary as it seems, just make sure you take your time, keep your cool, and keep at it. It will take a while, but i promise it will be well worth it.


So thats basically it for my little write up here, i know i could've gone more in depth on a lot of stuff, but honestly, a lot of this ends up becoming pretty clear once you start the procedure. A lot of it is just working up the nerve to start, and once you do, you'll be inclined to finish.:cool:

after all is said and done, this is what mine ended up looking like:
(note i left the foglight lower grille inserts in, just because of the blue couplers on the left side)



WOW- sorry some of the pictures turned out like crap, but you can still see whats neccassary. This thread will also function as a discussion on this topic, so any other comments/questions/anything is welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
thanks! yeah i can tell you you'll definitely enjoy it. are you gonna run 2.5 inch piping all the way thru then? it'll probably be a tighter squeeze but still completely manageable.
 

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I'll be interested to see any gains...seeing as how although thicker, the intercooler's surface area is 1/3rd that of the OEM on...so seriously WTF, not trying to pick at you, but...why?

Oh and for the pipes this is what I did:



I've had my setup for 3 years now and no blow offs...knock on wood....no chunks of JB, I used JB Qwik BTW and scuffed up the ends with sandpaper and then cleaned before rolling the end of the pipe in the puddle of JB Weld...I used the JB Qwik because it's strong enough and sets up in 4 minutes...you have to hold the pipe while it sets up and rotate it occasionally to keep a good lip...the standard 2 hrs would not have been doable
 
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