Time to see if this massive intercooler fits! Our prototype design was based on critical dimensions taken from a test vehicle so we could expand the cooler as much as possible without causing fitment concerns. Let’s see if we succeeded on our first attempt!
The radiator and intercooler are thicker than the factory units, so we bolted the intercooler prototype to the new Mishimoto radiator prototype. Now attached to each other, we installed them together for the benefit of those customers who would want to purchase both components.
We then located a second local test truck. This particular truck was a bit more modified (aesthetically) compared to the first truck we had in the shop. Check out a shot of the truck on our Dynojet!
A big thank you to both vehicle donors for lending us their trucks for testing purposes! Now that we had the second truck in the shop, our engineers began installing the radiator and intercooler prototypes.
Whoa! Where did all these parts come from? While developing the heat exchangers previously mentioned, we also developed a silicone radiator hose kit, and we put together some prototype intercooler pipes. These pipes are only tacked together and will be used for test fitting before we produce the final versions. We will cover the piping in a separate article in the near future!
Now that our team was more familiar with the installation process, the overall time for install was a bit quicker and certainly went smoother. Check out a few shots of these coolers completely installed!
All components fit perfectly! Increasing the size of both the radiator and intercooler was successful, and all engine bay and shrouding components bolt up perfectly to this assembly. We found no fitment issues that would require correction of our final product design. This is fantastic, considering the increase in size we have provided for both these components!
Now, the only thing left to do is some product testing. Check back with us next time for a look at the testing process!
Thanks for following along with our video review series for the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost! We have three new videos featuring some really neat content. The first two videos are a continuation of our on-road driving review of the new Mustang. Check it out below!
Part 3: Driving Impressions Round 2
Part 4: Driving Impressions Round 3
The next video from our series covers the front suspension featured on the 2015 Mustang Ecoboost. We examine the components of the suspension in-depth, as well as which parts are unique to the Performance-Package model we have. Take a look!
Part 5: Front Suspension
We also have a small gallery of images highlighting the new front suspension setup in-detail. Check it out below!
Check back next time for a peek under the hood, and a look at the rear suspension on our 2015 Ecoboost Mustang
Catch cans are used only for turbocharged vehicles, right? This is a question we hear all the time. Yes, a turbocharged vehicle is more likely to produce greater blow-by, resulting in a more prominent collection of debris in the intake manifold and tract. That being said, any engine is certainly susceptible to oil and fuel collection due to the use of PCV and CCV systems, which improve engine efficiency and provide cleaner emissions. Mishimoto has been working on developing several direct-fit oil catch-can systems for a variety of vehicles. So far we have completed kits for the Subaru WRX/STI for 2008–2015. We have also experimented with a kit for the BMW E90, a vehicle that suffers from intake valve buildups that require frequent servicing. With the arrival of our 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost test vehicle, we also began tackling a kit for that particular model. Our most recent project involves two of our favorite vehicles, the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S.
We already carry a ton of products specifically for this chassis, including an aluminum radiator, cold-air intake system, silicone coolant hose kit, and a direct-fit oil cooler kit. To round out the GT86, we decided to create an easy-to-install catch-can solution that would help vehicle owners keep their engines clean. The best time to install a catch can is before the serious buildup begins, so we are hoping to catch these engines before they have serious mileage on the odometer.
One interesting factor that affects valve buildup is the use of direct injection systems on modern engines, including your FA20. You will find that several of the more recently released direct injection engines have valve deposit issues, and this is no coincidence. To understand why this occurs, you must first take a look at how these different injection systems function.
First, we have traditional port injection. In an engine with this system, the injectors are placed inside the intake manifold, and they produce a stream of fuel to atomize and mix with air. This mixture then enters the combustion chamber through a valve.
So, why is the port injection system less susceptible to valve deposit buildup? Well, as you may know, gasoline has very strong solvent properties, meaning it is fantastic for removing grease, tar, and waxes. (Some guys you find in the garage will even clean their greasy hands with a splash of gasoline!) The fuel mixes in the manifold and then passes through the valve to clean much of the debris and buildup. However, any point before the injection site is still susceptible to sludge buildup. This includes the throttle body and intake piping/tract.
Now to compare, let’s take a look at direct injection.
The fuel injector is located right in the combustion chamber, unlike the intake manifold location for port injection. This means the valve will not be affected by fuel, so its cleaning properties are not utilized. This setup is one of the primary reasons for direct injection valve deposit problems.
Numerous large vehicle manufacturers use this technology, so it must have some benefit. Direct injection of gasoline directly into the cylinder, results in smaller, more controlled explosions. This allows automakers to squeeze out greater fuel efficiency, resulting in more miles per gallon for your commute! It seems as if a majority of the recent adopters are having reasonable success with these systems, with only some minor bugs to iron out.
Obviously buildup of deposits on the valves is not a good thing, but you probably want to know: What does it mean for me? Will I ever notice a difference or see any negative impacts on drive-ability or reliability? More great questions! Internal combustion engines are not the cleanest machines on earth. They contain numerous fluids, put out a ton of byproduct, and commonly build up dirt and grime. Valve buildup is a small problem that can quickly escalate to a more serious issue. Deposit buildup can cause turbulence around the valve opening and even restrict airflow if the buildup becomes more prominent. The result is decreased performance and even engine misfires, not something you want. Check out below a shot of a dirty BMW E90 valve.
And take a look at what these are supposed to look like!
We want to keep these valves as clean as we can, to retain power output and keep the engine running optimally. So what should you do if you have an engine equipped with direct injection? Swap a port injection system? No, that would be quite expensive, decrease your fuel mileage, and be a complete nightmare. An easier way to reduce buildup is to install an efficient catch can setup. A catch can will remove contaminants (oil, fuel, etc.) from the engine before it enters the intake tract.
So why do these contaminants exist? Without going into too much detail, your engine features a CCV (crankcase ventilation) system that works to improve engine efficiency and emissions. During engine operation the crankcase generates pressure due to combustion gases passing the piston rings. This pressure is evacuated from the crankcase and is routed into the intake system to be burned in the combustion process. When the oil enters the intake, it coats the tract, throttle body, and valves. It is then burned in the combustion chamber, lowering the octane of the mixture. Although not optimal for performance, this creates a clean engine that requires no emptying of byproducts and contaminants (a common practice for most manufacturers.) Ideally, these contaminants should be separated, collected, and disposed of. This brings us to the function of our catch can!
CCV Systems Explained
For those who wish to learn more about CCV systems, read on! Otherwise, scroll down a bit for more information about this project.
Every engine is susceptible to blow-by from the piston rings, it is impossible to have a completely leak-free seal between the rings and cylinder wall. If pressure builds up in the crankcase, it will eventually find a weak point, normally a gasket or seal, and will result in fluid leaks. Two primary lines make up the CCV system equipped on the FA20 engine. The first, the makeup air line, routes from the valve cover to the intake piping. This line provides a light vacuum on the crankcase and is most used during wide-open throttle situations. The second, the ventilation line, routes from the back of the engine block to the intake manifold. This line utilizes the PCV valve and features a higher vacuum source than the makeup air line. The ventilation line is used during idle and part-throttle driving situations. The valve works to eliminate the pressure from the intake manifold so it cannot enter the crankcase. These two hoses/lines will function together to provide optimal crankcase pressures for efficient operation. Engines typically function better with a slight pull on the crankcase.
Now that we’ve discussed the need for a catch-can setup for the BRZ/FR-S, it is time to provide some detail for the kit we intend to put together. All our kits are direct-fit, but drivers could just purchase our universal catch cans and make them function with their vehicles. But, we want to take the guess work out of installing a can setup. We will include direct-fit brackets and lines and also provide detailed installation instructions so the process is simple and hassle free. Our goal is to make this kit appear as though it were factory-installed, and in reality it should be!
Before setting our engineers loose on this project, we decided to set a few guidelines for what our customers wanted out of this kit. We performed a reasonable amount of research through forums, our customers, and our vendors to help determine what product would best serve the BRZ/FR-S community. Check out our goal list below!
Kit must be 100% direct-fit and include all necessary components for installation.
Develop a PCV and a CCV catch can, and determine if both are necessary for the FA20.
Catch cans must be easy to service, and fluid removal should be an easy process.
Fully test the product to ensure safe and effective operation.
Now, as with other projects, we like to break these goals down and go into further detail about how/why we want to achieve each.
One of our primary goals for essentially all projects coming out of our shop is direct fitment. Our catch-can kits should fit perfectly and bolt into position using common hand tools. Fabricating brackets, finding lines, etc., can be a challenging/lengthy process for DIYers. For most, a kit designed for specific vehicles is the way to go (especially if it’s a great value for your dollar!). This kit will include direct-fit catch-can brackets that will mount within the engine bay. We are hoping to keep the lines as short as possible to avoid clutter, so strategic placement of the cans is vital. Our lines included in this kit will be pre-formed silicone; we are not throwing a roll of rubber hose in a box and calling this a direct-fit unit! Lastly, we will be using our baffled catch can, an extremely efficient catch can that uses a 40 micron bronze filter and internal baffling to promote increased separation of oil from air. We have had a ton of success with this can and hope to make it function with our latest kit!
Take a look at our catch-can!
This is a highly engineered product that really displays the talents of our engineering group! More on selection of catch cans in Part 2 of this build!
One Car, Two Cans
We will be designing a kit with two cans, one for each of the systems. Unfortunately, these lines cannot be combined into a single catch can due to pressure differences. We will be selecting optimal engine bay locations to ensure that the cans are not impeding space for other components. Also, for our RHD (right-hand-drive) owners, the firewall differences between the two cans will be important. To ensure we will need two catch cans, we will be testing both systems to see which produces a greater amount of byproduct. More on that below!
The baffled unit is completely serviceable and the filter is washable, providing a lifetime of use. We expect that most people purchasing this kit will appreciate a can that is easy to empty and does not require complete removal of the setup. Our plan is to have just the removable base come off, be emptied, and then reinstalled in a quick fashion. Once again, careful attention to can placement will be necessary.
Product testing is a huge deal within our engineering group. If it doesn’t pass our tests, it does not leave our garage. We do not produce products that are less than 100% functional, and we do our best to design the most effective solutions possible. For this particular project, we are planning to conduct real-world testing on an FR-S belonging to one of our accountants, and also a BRZ belonging to a member of our sales team. We should have no problem dropping by their desks to steal the keys for test fittings! We are also planning to install this kit on one of their vehicles for a long period of road use to determine the effectiveness of our system. Stay tuned for more on this later!
That rounds out our plans and goals for this project. If our R&D processes are effective, we should easily produce a kit that meets the needs of the enthusiast world.
Check back next time for a look at the mockup of our first prototype unit!
Thanks for reading, and feel free to follow up with any questions or comments!
Now that we outlined our project goals and had all the test data from the factory intercooler, our engineers were ready to design a prototype intercooler. Using dimensional data from a rendering of the truck as well as the actual measurements we took from the test vehicle and factory intercooler, our team was able to create a very nice looking prototype. Check out a couple renderings of the design!
When designing this intercooler, our team experimented with different end-tank diverters to provide better air dispersion through the core. Our goal is to spread the airflow to all portions of the core so we can take full advantage of the surface area available. Check out this neat shot of our test results using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software.
Eventually, we elected to incorporate a diverter into our end tank design. Our testing showed significant improvements in airflow and dispersion toward the upper portion of the core. Although this may not provide huge gains in power that can be felt while driving, it should provide reductions in air intake temperatures (AITs) and exhaust gas temperature (EGTs), especially on higher-powered trucks.
Next, check out the drawing of what our prototype would look like!
Note the two bungs on the right-side end tank. These are present in the design for those who wish to install an NPT sensor in the tank or for those running meth injection. The portions are not predrilled, but they do feature greater material thickness for ease of drilling and tapping the tank. We have added this feature to several of our recent intercooler designs for those searching for a port location.
First Prototype Analysis
Now that our product was designed in 3D, we worked up a few prototype units that we could use for testing. This is the exciting part! Keep in mind, this prototype is a completely raw aluminum unit. Our final version features a powder-coated finish, which provides some additional protection against damage from debris.
A cool look at the machined inlet/outlet on the Mishimoto prototype.
In the image above, you can just see the beginning of the diverter we designed to help disperse airflow evenly throughout the core. Pretty neat!
As mentioned earlier in this article, we would be using a bar-and-plate core for our prototype unit. Our team designed two different cores that would be tested using different bar-and-fin sizes.
Larger bars will allow for additional core volume and lower pressure drop; however, this will reduce the size of the fins, which will have an impact on the core’s capabilities for heat transfer. Larger fins will improve heat transfer but will result in smaller bars, which could be restrictive and cause pressure drop concerns. Core design is a give-and-take process; we use CFD software to narrow our choices and get reasonably close to an optimal design. That being said, there is no match for real-world testing, so we will be testing two different cores to see which performs best.
Check out a shot of one of our prototype cores.
Now we can place our prototype unit next to the factory intercooler, and the physical differences are quite obvious. The Mishimoto intercooler appears to be far more robust, and the size differences are significant.
The weld quality on this particular intercooler is quite impressive. Check out a shot of one of the long runs along the end tank.
Our last image for this segment shows the thickness comparison of the factory core with the Mishimoto prototype. Check it out!
So let’s take a look at the actual physical size of the core featured on the Mishimoto intercooler.
Compared to the specs of the factory cooler, the Mishimoto intercooler is massive! The factory cooler volume is rather small, while the Mishimoto core provides a 101% increase in total volume!
Check back with us next time as we test fit this intercooler into a truck to ensure that fitment is perfect!
Alright, it is finally time to see how our engineering team did with the development of this product! First, we measured the physical properties of the Mishimoto radiator compared to the factory radiator. Our first chart highlights the most common selling feature of a performance radiator: core thickness.
We squeezed out as much additional core thickness as possible without causing any fitment concerns with factory equipment. The factory core came in at just under 1.7” thick, while the Mishimoto radiator measures 1.95” thick, making the Mishimoto radiator 13% thicker than the factory radiator. This additional core thickness allows our product to provide a greater fluid capacity and promote improved efficiency, which is reflected in the following charts. Our second chart shows the improvements made in core volume.
Once again, we are seeing big gains with the increase in size. As with core thickness, the core volume of the Mishimoto radiator is 13% greater than the factory radiator. So how do these size improvements benefit overall fluid capacity? Thanks to larger coolant tubes and a larger core, we’ve seen big gains in fluid capacity, as shown in the chart below.
The Mishimoto radiator provides nearly 1 full gallon of additional fluid capacity, resulting in an increase of 39% compared to the factory radiator. This capacity gain provides a significant impact on fluid temperatures and temperature recovery. The next two charts are related not as much to size, as they are related to the density of our core. As discussed earlier in this series, the core composition plays a huge role in the amount of heat transfer the radiator can provide. The greater the heat transfer, the more efficient our heat exchanger will be. Check out the two charts below showing fin area and cooling tube area for both radiators analyzed.
The Mishimoto radiator provides improvements in both areas of core components. Cooling fin area is increased by 13% and coolant tube area is increased by 9% compared to the factory radiator core. These two improvements are key for providing reduced temperatures from improved heat transfer.
So how does this work? Airflow moves through the external fins of the radiator. These fins are attached directly to the coolant tubes. The heat from the coolant tubes is then transferred to the fins, which are cooled from air passing through the core. A greater number of fins allows for more contact points and greater heat transfer. These reduced temperatures are important for those who work their trucks hard and drive under extreme conditions, including towing, hauling, or just general driving in hot climates.
Now that we’ve identified the basic physical benefits, it was time to do some road testing for this radiator. Our team installed all our data collection equipment, including temperature sensors on the inlet and outlet of the radiator. After driving the truck under normal conditions, we saw minor decreases in fluid temperatures. Unfortunately, we were unable to fully test the potential of our radiator, for several reasons.
Ambient temperatures were quite low during our tests, so stress on the cooling system was reduced.
Our testing vehicle was borrowed, so we were unable to really push the truck.
We were not able to put any appreciable load on the engine (such as during towing or hauling conditions), which would truly reveal the efficiency benefit of our radiator.
Does our lack of testing data mean the performance of this radiator is not validated? Absolutely not. Our physical evaluation of the Mishimoto radiator reveals that our product is designed to promote greater heat transfer and improved heat dissipation compared to the factory radiator. Our data alone is proof that this radiator will outperform the factory radiator in any condition. Additionally, we intend to test the Mishimoto radiator under full-load conditions during the next hot season in our area. We will then be able to fully support our product. We are still planning to release this radiator with the support we currently have, because we are fully confident that this radiator will provide the cooling your Cummins needs for daily use, hauling, towing, and any other driving conditions you anticipate.
Now that we’re finished with product development and testing for now, we could recap our goal sheet and evaluate what we accomplished and what tasks we still needed to address in the future.
Must be a direct fit and require no vehicle modification.
We have confirmed through product test fitting that this radiator fits into place like the factory unit and does not require any additional vehicle modification. All factory engine bay components bolt to this unit just as they did with the factory radiator.
Increase fluid capacity and core size.
As noted in the charts posted above, we have significantly increased the fluid capacity with the Mishimoto radiator as well as provided improvements to the core size. The basic specs of this radiator’s physical benefits over the factory unit are summarized below.
13% Increase in core thickness
13% Increase in core volume
39% Increase in core fluid capacity
Improve cooling efficiency.
Thanks to a highly efficient core design, our engineers anticipate this radiator will provide significant improvements in cooling efficiency under high engine load conditions. Unfortunately, several factors limited us from fully testing this during our road testing.
That wraps up this project for now! As mentioned above, we will be revisiting this project in the spring or summer to collect test data on high temperatures and heavy loads. In the meantime, this radiator should be released in a few weeks, and we will update our thread at that time with more details on this radiator!
Feel free to follow up with any questions or comments!