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1G Best FMIC?

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The good old VRSF, no longer made but was popular. ETS also has some nice intercoolers (and a nice price).
 
The best fmic is going to depend on your power goals. A cheap $150 eBay kit is fine for a mild (<300whp build), but if your goal is a single digit 1/4 mile car, the core alone could cost you over $500, plus end tanks and piping.
There is no “best, one size fits all” fmic kit out there.
 
The good old VRSF, no longer made but was popular. ETS also has some nice intercoolers (and a nice price).
Thanks, I was considering the ETS because I can keep the crash bar intact.

Well I hate to tell you, there are probably a hundred options.
The vrsf used to be to go to cheap option. Theres the greddy style where the pipe goes where the bumper support is.
Here's punishment racing for starters https://www.punishment-racing.com/product-category/dsm-parts/intercooler-kits-piping/
Appreciate it!

The best fmic is going to depend on your power goals. A cheap $150 eBay kit is fine for a mild (<300whp build), but if your goal is a single digit 1/4 mile car, the core alone could cost you over $500, plus end tanks and piping.
There is no “best, one size fits all” fmic kit out there.
I was looking to make at least 400hp so Ebay is definitely out.
 
Going to ping in this post – Does anyone has more opinions on the best (not cheapest) 1g FMIC? My Goal is to get to ~450 WHP (comfortably) for street / road race conditions.

Currently running (see full spec here):
  • Forced Performance FP3052 Turbocharger
  • 44mm TiAL Wastegate
  • TiAL Blow-off valve
  • extrude honed 1g intake via FFWD
I see two bolt-in options that look good (requiring the usual modifications): Buschur Racing and ETS - have another to add? what do you love?

Second Question (if you're still with me): Why go bigger?

It looks like one can specify core thickness ranging from 3.5 – 5 inches. and inlet / outlet sizes of 2.5 or 3 inches. I imagine running a bigger core depth would help reduce the charge temps. (handy) Curious if anyone has experience with anything at 4 inches and wider and if they have thoughts on this. Why would we need a 3 inch inlet and outlet? I don't want to under- or over-engineer.
 
If I recall, the Garrett cores provide better cooling but block more incoming air to your radiator. ETS being the opposite. Just what I remember reading on a forum post by an ETS rep.

I've ran the 10.5"-3" ETS for 7 years and air temps may go up 1 degree over a 3rd gear pull..inTexas...in the summer. Barely goes up in temp at all over longer pulls but I don't recall how much. Does a great job for me at 600+ hp. 2.5" piping for 99% of DSMers and 3" for the rest with incredibly high hp cars.
 
I hope to add more data on the ETS FMIC I have, but my VRSF kit on my old 1G, in summer, in Florida, on a measly 16G SUCKED. The IATs shot through the roof on a pull, and honestly just meh. On a bigger more efficient turbo maybe it’s better, idk.

But I’ll be running an FP Green on my ETS Street 3” FMIC w/ A/C in the summer in Florida so I’ll post up logs and impressions.
 
Does anyone has more opinions on the best (not cheapest) 1g FMIC? My Goal is to get to ~450 WHP (comfortably) for street / road race conditions.
Of the 2 you gave links to, I would get the ETS. It is 10.5" high which is pretty ideal - big enough to be a "race" type intercooler but not so big as to be a stuff fit into the car.
I have a 10.5" x 3.5" thick ETS on my car. I just went out there with my tape measure to see what would happen with the Buschur core which is 13" tall. That would be jamming into the hood release mechanism I think, and it would block off air to the radiator more. With the 10.5" ETS there you've got the radiator sticking up about 5" higher than the top of the intercooler, so there is some decent space over the intercooler for air to flow back through there. I also don't know exactly what's going on at the Buschur shop these days because it isn't Dave Buschur any more and there are somewhat negative comments about it in EvolutionM lately.

You definitely don't need 3" piping. 2.5" is fine and it's what I've got.
I also think you don't need the core to be thicker than 3.5 inches, which is what mine is.
I like mine by the way and it's been on the car for 7 years. I bought mine when ETS could sell you a piping kit along with it which I did. But I had it all installed by English Racing anyway, just because they were taking everything out of my engine bay to put in a new engine, so they did the intercooler at the same time. They are just a few miles from ETS and they work together on stuff quite a bit.

Anyway now ETS doesn't offer the piping kit anymore. So that's maybe a problem if you want to do the install yourself. English Racing would do a good job of making piping for it and installing it, but they would need your car there I think, and your car might sit there for a while.
There should be other shops that could make piping for you in the area. But you'd probably kind of want a shop that groks Japanese 90's performance cars. Surprisingly, there is a place in Everett that might be worth talking to called Dream Chaser's Garage (DCG). They are probably also booked up a few months out, but I would check them out. Larry Chen did a good YouTube video about them, here:
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One of my neighbors, YouTube "JDM Right Hand Drive" has some work scheduled there.
Here's some short clips he took at B-Line Auto and DCG which are right next door to each other:
2 shops in Everett

There is also a fab shop at 425 Motorsports which is in Kirkland now.

CXRacing offers a low-cost intercooler with piping. They are probably "the cheapest" which you maybe aren't interested in and I don't know who the heck they really are and who makes their stuff or where. It's a short core, 8" high, we usually call that "street" size.

It's all a bunch of stuff isn't it?
 
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I used the Punishment/Rev9/Cx (all the same Chinese thing with a different name) and was good for as much as 454 on pump gas with ETS stainless piping, a friend of mine had the same core and got to 576 at the wheels on a low reading mustang dyno with a 35r on e85 but at that level we could see it starting to heat soak after a few pulls and backed it down a touch. The ETS and Buschur cores are definitely nicer options if money permits but for what you’re looking to do the run of the mill China one sold under different names or VRSF would do just fine.
 
Making power is about making FLOW. When I see these intercooler designs with the endtanks being squared off and the inlet/outlet butt-welded 90 degrees to the core I shake my head. The flow on those couldn't be worse. The premise for whoever designed those is packaging and not power.

I have seen more than once people swap out their 'china' core for a legit core and pick up impressive power. If it's not spearco, garrett, etc, it's china and not optimal for cooling or flow.

The best without contest for our cars was DVDT FAB. Those giant and smooth flowing endtanks using the whole core, which was a legit core. Absolute perfection.

The best OEM I have ever seen is for a Mini Cooper S. Giant oval inlet/outlet almost the size of the core. Awesome.
 
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I also am curious to see how 2-2 1/4” piping does power and performance wise. Local guy made like 720-750awhp on his R34 GTR using 2” piping, which made me wonder at what point on our cars do we even need 2.5” piping? I’m gonna test that as well.


Thanks as well for everyone posting their experiences! I’m not OP but I’m taking all this stuff to heart.
 
We also used one of those big China cores off eBay for my buddy’s forward facing set up and did the end tanks ourselves. On an s366sx (1.0ar divided t4) on a 2.3 stroker on the same low reading Mustang dyno it was good for 551 at 28lbs on 93 octane pump gas and 735 at 41lbs on e85, IAT’s we’re not an issue. The s366sx has since been switched out for an s369sxe (in the same turbine housing) and is sitting happy at 45-46lbs on e85, while it has yet to be on the dyno on the s369 IAT’s have yet to be an issue.
 
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But you'd probably kind of want a shop that groks Japanese 90's performance cars. Surprisingly, there is a place in Everett that might be worth talking to called Dream Chaser's Garage (DCG).

Here's some short clips he took at B-Line Auto and DCG which are right next door to each other:
2 shops in Everett

There is also a fab shop at 425 Motorsports which is in Kirkland now.

It's all a bunch of stuff isn't it?
Thanks for the fabricator recommendations. I built the last pipes which ended up being messy... I would really like to find someone who can weld some aluminum ones that look good since they're right there when you open the hood. I will do some hunting. This is a great start. Thanks again!

Making power is about making FLOW. When I see these intercooler designs with the endtanks being squared off and the inlet/outlet butt-welded 90 degrees to the core I shake my head. The flow on those couldn't be worse.
This is a intriguing point. I feel like most things don't like to take hard 90º turns.

I know that one can purchase cores and perhaps get something fabricated, but there's a fair amount of engineering and fitting that would need to be figured out. Something to ponder.
 
I would really like to find someone who can weld some aluminum ones
Usually the good intercooler pipes are made from stainless steel. Here's the ETS page for Evo 8 and 9 intercoolers and piping. The piping is all stainless.
ETS Evo piping kits

I vaguely remember that when I bought mine, they offered the piping made in either stainless or aluminum. I chose stainless because heat transfer through stainless is slower than through aluminum, and the upper intercooler pipe that has to travel back through the hot engine bay, you don't want that transmitting a lot of heat to the air inside the pipe.
Even without that though, aluminum pipe will dent easier unless it is a lot thicker. General strength, like for the clamping forces which are pretty fierce where you have to clamp a silicone rubber coupler to the metal pipe, it's more secure with stronger pipe like stainless.
For corrosion - Seattle is a low corrosion area but bare aluminum will get this white corrosion layer on the surface if you have to leave the car outside very long. It just about has to be anodized. Stainless on the other hand can just be polished or even left unfinished, and it will be fine and look nice for a long time.
 
Usually the good intercooler pipes are made from stainless steel. Here's the ETS page for Evo 8 and 9 intercoolers and piping. The piping is all stainless.
ETS Evo piping kits

I vaguely remember that when I bought mine, they offered the piping made in either stainless or aluminum. I chose stainless because heat transfer through stainless is slower than through aluminum, and the upper intercooler pipe that has to travel back through the hot engine bay, you don't want that transmitting a lot of heat to the air inside the pipe.
Even without that though, aluminum pipe will dent easier unless it is a lot thicker. General strength, like for the clamping forces which are pretty fierce where you have to clamp a silicone rubber coupler to the metal pipe, it's more secure with stronger pipe like stainless.
For corrosion - Seattle is a low corrosion area but bare aluminum will get this white corrosion layer on the surface if you have to leave the car outside very long. It just about has to be anodized. Stainless on the other hand can just be polished or even left unfinished, and it will be fine and look nice for a long time.

Honestly you about have me convinced to get some custom stainless piping made next. Lol.
 
Eventually the temperature of the piping in the engine bay becomes static no matter the material. But how many milliseconds do you think the air is in those pipes, and how much of that air is actually in contact with the material? Choice of piping should be based on cost, ability to work with it, weight, strength, etc. Heat transfer shouldn't be a consideration IMO. No disrespect!

I feel like most things don't like to take hard 90º turns.
I never think about it in my mind as air, rather water. Which is the same as far as fluid dynamics goes it's just easier to visualize. You want no turbulence. Anything other than a straight line is a restriction to flow. The goal is "laminar flow", which has zero effing chance with crappy end tanks. End tank design is one of the biggest flaws I see on turbo car setups. Everyone is all about smooth flow elsewhere [port the head, port the manifolds, mandrel bends, etc], but when it comes to the endtanks it's the most shit of design possible yet doesn't matter for some reason in people's minds. I seriously don't get it.
 
Just sharing some experience that has not been mentioned yet.
A decade ago I had a 4" thickness ETS street intercooler in my 1g eclipse. It was working great to reduce the inlet air temp (Actually it was really good). It's a bit pricey if comparing to the other common ones but what I liked a lot besides its cooling efficiency was it has very thick gauge extra plate as protector on top and bottom of core. Once I hit the lower side of intercooler really hard with a curbstone but the core had no damage at all. The protector saved my money for buying another intercooler. It's pricey but may be cheaper than buying a so-so intercooler twice. That's what I honestly thought.
It allowed me to have the factory crash beam without any modification, but it required to trim the plastic bumper since 4" is kinda thick. This may not require if it's 3" or 3.5" thickness.

A story of cheap eBay intercooler, one day long time ago, a local customer bought a cheap eBay intercooler and installed in his 2g GSX. He went to drive the car and pulled a couple of times with low boost, maybe only 20~25 psi or so. When he came back we found that the intercooler core is totally deformed by inflating a lot, was almost bursted :ohdamn:
 
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I will likely upgrade my old 3" vertical core to a thicker and better quality 4" vertical core. The end tanks are top and bottom with inlet outlet both on passenger side. This allows for a bit shorter piping run and less pressure drop. I know there is a long debate on vertical vs horizontal cores but this is my current preference.
 
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