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SPM Intercooler Install and review.

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A_Bowers

Moderator
Soooo, after about a month of waiting (didn't have hoses in stock) I got my Intercooler in to the house.

Here are some before install pictures and initial thoughts about it.

I will say this. The SPM unit is a heck of a deal at $565.00 shipped compared to the very similar Unitronic IC that is $699.00.

That's a whole other story and I'm not going to get into it.

On to the review.

The package that shipped was roughly 35.0 lbs and I'm counting about 3lbs of that as shipping boxing and packaging.







It's a hefty unit.





Fin structure is good. It's not a straight thru design front to back. It has the fins offset.

My iPhone behind the IC just to see some light through.



Plus hand welded endtanks.




The tabs at the bottom are machined out not welded on, so that's another plus.



Clampco Clamps!!!


I'll be posting up pictures and more impressions as I go.

Big shoutout to Grambles...he will be assisting me today doing this install..Plus we are doing a DSG flush too. Busy night.



Shots from the OEM IC for comparison

Here are some photos of the OEM intercooler. Been too long since I updated this thing.







 
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A_Bowers

Moderator
Okay, install was A PITB....HUGE PITB. Im hurting and will be for the next few days after that one. Im getting old :(

Once again, HUGE thank you to Grambles....big help there.

I will go ahead and say that the Intercooler is a big upgrade. It was only 70 degrees out tonight and i spun halfway through 3rd gear....never done that before. Wild stuff.

REVIEW!

Overall impressions. I'm happy. Which is ultimately the important part. Does it work....heck yes. HUGE improvement over stock. Is it worth the money. Here in Alabama where the heat is a big factor, yes....it is worth every penny. Other areas may be able to get away with an S3 unit....all depends on the location you are in, and the money you have to spend.

Pros:.

Cost.
This is SPM's marketing Niche. They sell decent performance upgrades at a much lower rate than the competition. From the downpipes and exhausts i have seen, the quality is there.

For $565.00 shipped via FedEx, this is a huge plus in my book. I was able to finalize my stage 2 bolt on status with the extra 500 bucks i saved over the APR core. Magnaflow exhaust going on this week :eek:

Will it perform as well as the APR unit...time will tell. Im not sure how we are going to do it, but I will manage to find a way.

As far as the fitment with the rest of the components, everything lined up PERFECTLY. Intercooler hoses went on great, the aluminum coupler went into the pancake pipe perfectly (MUST USE THE OEM GREEN GASKET!!!!!), SPM supplied Clampco Clamps...they worked great.

It is a solid piece overall. Id rank it a 6.5-7 out of 10.

CONS:

FITMENT!
:mad0259:

I DO NOT like having to hack up my bracketry to get things to fit, let alone not use it at all. This might be a fluke in the cast.....or it may be like all the rest.

Let me reiterate. This fitment issue was on the AC condenser hose bracket. THe intercooler itself fit fine (Biggest part).

Other than that, everything was kosher.


Overall score/review/recommendation

Like i said for the money 6.5-7 out of 10.
Dropped that many just due to the bracket. No biggie but i want everything to fit, the first time.


The install was.......not fun. Just hard manual labor to get the thing in. 2 people are really your best bet.

If you arent mechanically inclined, dont do it.






Okay on with the pictures....this will be all sort of a picture dump...i will organize tomorrow because I am exhausted tonight...and havent had a shower yet.

Bumper off....TONS of screws....I mean tons


Housing for Heat exchangers off... yes...that was a


And obligatory Thumbs up photo


Supported before install






Me crawling around looking for tools.



Stupid AC condenser bracket that wouldnt fit....









The final product and what I ended up going with...enough clearance and the inlet hose keeps the metal from rubbing on each other...



Me putting the final torque on the Clampco Clamps





Nice to have another GTI in the garage








Major update. Its been a while since I updated this post and I think its time.

I have been super pleased with this Intercooler.


To understand what I'm about to say , you need to know what Heat soak is and how an updated intercooler deals with it. When i get a chance I'll link a good description I used a while back.

The unit is great. Have not begun to reach its capacity to cool even in hot Alabama late summer temps.

Long story Short, it is very efficient in doing its job. As soon as it has any air moving over it the heat transferred from sitting idling is gone.

No loss in boost pressure on the unit, have graphs and logging to back that up as well.

Thermal drop is good. From 2000-6800 it dropped 10 degrees f. Got back to ambient and held it all through the run. This is after several WOT runs for other logs.

I'm very pleased with my choice with SPM, and will recommend it to anyone who is in the market for an upgrade.

EXPLANATION OF HEATSOAK.
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f25/please-explain-heat-soak-50397/
 
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SkullV

Thunderbunny.....
Man I was all excited to see this thread, thought there would finally be a real review. :(. Can't wait to see it installed. You going to run some logs? Mine should finally be in 2 weeks from today.
 

A_Bowers

Moderator
Man I was all excited to see this thread, thought there would finally be a real review. :(. Can't wait to see it installed. You going to run some logs? Mine should finally be in 2 weeks from today.

Not gonna try the heat gun tests. Don't have a gun that can move enough air. :-/
 
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MKV727

Go Kart Champion
Don't you live close to Grambles? Why don't you get with him to perform some logs on the stock intercooler and then on the SPM? It's something that needs to be done at this point.

Preferably log the following:

- IAT (make sure to note ambient, humidity and time of day)
- CF per cylinder
- BTDC Timing curve
- Boost request vs actual
- N75 duty cycle

This will give us am idea of its cooling capabities and its subsequent effect on timing. I'm curious to see the boost and N75 data because of how dense the core is, you'll still hit target boost but if the N75 duty cycle ramps up a bit it'll less us know if its too dense. If Grambles feels like comparing it to the APR intercooler that same day directly after your test that's okay too :) . It's not really apples to apples comparison but if its done in the same ambient conditions and say the APR intercooler is 9 C above ambient and the SPM intercooler is 8 C above ambient with an IHI it will give a little bit of a comparison.

Disclaimer: All aftermarket intercoolers add surface area, part of doing its job will lower boost pressure as its compressing the air due to it becoming more cool and dense which will lead to a little bit of a pressure drop.
 

dsm1983

Go Kart Champion
The IC looks great, Bowers. Hey -- are you planning on doing 'The Birmingham Run' tomorrow (Sunday)? That's the huge cruise that RJ was telling us about last weekend.
 

grambles423

Automotive Engineer
Still at work. I think I'm leaving soon so we might be able to jump on this much much sooner
 

SkullV

Thunderbunny.....
MKV727,

I'll have all of those logs when mine is installed if these guys don't get to it first. I am going camping next weekend or it would be even sooner.
 

MKV727

Go Kart Champion
Just read that Grambles is helping with the install, that's interesting :cool:

Considering I'll be in Alabama early and then staying til Sunday perhaps a full tank of gas and a good meal could coax you into helping me with an APR intercooler install if I bring all necessary tools and parts? I did the S3 intèrcooler by myself but I was missing a part and had to rig it in there so I really want to rip it out.... I'll PM you.
 

MKV727

Go Kart Champion
MKV727,

I'll have all of those logs when mine is installed if these guys don't get to it first. I am going camping next weekend or it would be even sooner.

Schweeet, I have been dying for some tangible data on this intercooler. I'm not buying it personally as I may have an opportunity for a heavily discounted Twintercooler from Forge or stick with my original plan of going APR.

I think the forum really needs to see the SPM intercooler in action, its price and photos of the core have grabbed everybody's attention. Do you plan on logging the values I listed earlier? I really want to see the complete data set comparing this to the stock intercooler.
 

SkullV

Thunderbunny.....
Sure, I can log any parameters you want.
 

A_Bowers

Moderator
Just read that Grambles is helping with the install, that's interesting :cool:

Considering I'll be in Alabama early and then staying til Sunday perhaps a full tank of gas and a good meal could coax you into helping me with an APR intercooler install if I bring all necessary tools and parts? I did the S3 intèrcooler by myself but I was missing a part and had to rig it in there so I really want to rip it out.... I'll PM you.

I'm guessing for the BBQ. We can try for the Friday before. I'm not off that day but I do get off around 4. Soooo if you trust me enough to give you a hand. Sure thing. Hah.

We will get in touch via pm later.
 
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