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Old 02-14-2014, 07:30 PM   #1
ChrisB
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Front mount intercooler versus upgraded stock location intercooler questions

I was just curious as to what "real world" advantage would be obtained by going with a front mount intercooler over an upgraded stock location replacement intercooler?

It looks like custom brackets are needed to delete the stock intercooler when going with a straight up front mount. I also have concerns that a front mount will be more apt to get damaged. But other than those concerns, what real world advantage, as in % of cooling factor will a front mount net over an upgraded stock replacement?

I'm considering going Unitronic stage 2+ soon, and since I live in an area where heat and humidity is a problem, I'm just trying to cover all my bases before I decide on an upgraded intercooler. I also have memories of my 2012 WRX (a bone stock car) heatsoaking like a mofo during the months of July and August. That car ran like a total pig after it heatsoaked.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:23 PM   #2
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Ive currently got the Forge twintercooler front mount waiting to be installed as I too am going K04 next month.

Benefits over stock spot? Hard to say, it gets direct outside air because it sits right at the front unobstructed. It looks cool if you like the look of an intercooler like some people do. But overall I don't think its a huge difference over a well designed stock position replacement like the APR etc..

I chose the twintercooler more because I love the look of an FMIC, think it looks mean, and because it keeps the use of the oem intercooler as well, so its easy to replace/remove if the need arises.

Maybe somebody with a bit of data could chime in?
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
I was just curious as to what "real world" advantage would be obtained by going with a front mount intercooler over an upgraded stock location replacement intercooler?
You can't fit a front mount core large enough to outperform a quality stock replacement or twin cooler. The stock location can fit a larger core and more importantly one with a lot more frontal area. This advantage outweighs the disadvantage of being behind the AC condenser.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chris@DoubleApex View Post
You can't fit a front mount core large enough to outperform a quality stock replacement or twin cooler. The stock location can fit a larger core and more importantly one with a lot more frontal area. This advantage outweighs the disadvantage of being behind the AC condenser.
How big of a disadvantage is it to having it in the front rather than a stock replacement? I've wanted to get one too, but don't want a stock replacement for the same reason that I believe it looks cooler and more menacing being in the front where it's seen. I also don't want to have it be at such a disadvantage though where it's really not worth it, but if it's negligible between the two spots with just a nod going to the stock replacement, I'm okay with that.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:35 PM   #5
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How big of a disadvantage is it to having it in the front rather than a stock replacement?
For Stage 2 it's probably not a big deal if you go with a reputable company. Have any of the companies selling FMICs published test data? The twin cooler setups have shown decent results and give the look you want.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:15 AM   #6
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I just upgraded to a front mount. I gave plenty of consideration to stock location units but in the end I couldn't get past the fact they sit between the radiator and condenser. That just bugs me. Yes I know that they still perform very well, APR'S unit especially, but I just didn't like it.

I went with the front mount as it doesn't get any better for cooling by having it front and center. The unit I have is rated to 450 hp which is plenty for me as I have no desire for Stage 3. Installation is a breeze, especially compared to stock location, and you do not have to delete the factory unit. Plus it just plain looks cool hiding behind the bumper.

For how much better cooling, I honestly don't know but I'd imagine it's a fair bit better seeing as it's right up front getting all that fresh air and not being warmed up by the radiator and condenser.

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Old 02-15-2014, 01:43 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by STS3/SS View Post
I just upgraded to a front mount. I gave plenty of consideration to stock location units but in the end I couldn't get past the fact they sit between the radiator and condenser. That just bugs me. Yes I know that they still perform very well, APR'S unit especially, but I just didn't like it.

I went with the front mount as it doesn't get any better for cooling by having it front and center. The unit I have is rated to 450 hp which is plenty for me as I have no desire for Stage 3. Installation is a breeze, especially compared to stock location, and you do not have to delete the factory unit. Plus it just plain looks cool hiding behind the bumper.

For how much better cooling, I honestly don't know but I'd imagine it's a fair bit better seeing as it's right up front getting all that fresh air and not being warmed up by the radiator and condenser.

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What I care about is lag. More piping, plus stock inter cooler still there.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:57 AM   #8
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What I care about is lag. More piping, plus stock inter cooler still there.
Lag and reliability are my big concerns. From the looks of the install instructions, it seems as though a front mount is easier to DIY than the triple stack.

I tried searching and I saw no temperature numbers that comparing an aftermarket FMIC to an aftermarket stock intercooler, hence the reason I posted the thread.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:18 AM   #9
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What I care about is lag. More piping, plus stock inter cooler still there.
Lag should be negligible, I haven't read anything that indicates it will be much worse if at all with the twin FMIC setups..
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chris@DoubleApex View Post
You can't fit a front mount core large enough to outperform a quality stock replacement or twin cooler. The stock location can fit a larger core and more importantly one with a lot more frontal area. This advantage outweighs the disadvantage of being behind the AC condenser.
I disagree, a true FMIC does fit and is more efficient. This is mine PTE 600hp universal (uses their 675hp core). It fits behind the bumper cover without cutting it at all. Support is trimmed but still retains a functional tow hook. Uses 2.5" piping from the turbo to TB.







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Old 02-15-2014, 09:47 AM   #11
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Precision does make one of the best FMIC around. That looks great on your car, U-20T. I, too, have never been a fan of "stock location" FMIC replacements.
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:18 AM   #12
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Neuspeed has a great FMIC also.



Close up:



My review here: http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67244
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:00 AM   #13
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I've had the Twintercooler installed for 2 years, there is no lag and you can notice the difference in terms of heatsoak vs. stock.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:20 PM   #14
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Neuspeed has a great FMIC also.



Close up:



My review here: http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67244
Interesting... I'm torn between the Neuspeed and Unitronic intercoolers myself.
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