NG 900/9-3 Ebay Intercooler

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Overview

The ETS inercooler is becoming the choice of enthusiast who are tuning their NG 900/9-3 to stage 3 and beyond. It offers the largest size and best price point that the competition.Overall, I spent around $200 to fit the intercooler, including parts and a little bit of welding done by a shop. Way better than $450 for a "drop in" one that still would've required me to buy the expensive hot side hose for a cross flow IC. Plus the ebay IC has 2.5" outlets which will help with my full 2.5" intake project.

Diagrams

Parts

  1. CXRacing 29"x9"x3" Intercooler (21"x9"x3" Core)- $80 from cxracing on ebay. (There is also a 23"x7"x2.5" available for $45 that would fit without the welding and everything, you'd just need to get the proper reducers and elbows)
  2. 2x 2.5" Tight Radius Cast Aluminum Elbow- $10 each from kinz-import on ebay
  3. 2x 2.5" to 2" Silicone reducers (not sure which ebay seller I bought these from, just went with the cheapest, they were $6 each I think.)

Notes

  1. My IC is not held in by anything other than the hoses. The bottom rests on the metal line for the oil cooler underneath the actual radiator, and the top is held in place by the bumper with some foam rubber strips between the IC and bumper and IC and radiator to prevent metal on metal rubbing. It's a very tight fit and once the bumper is on with the rubber strips compressed the IC is held in place rather solidly.
  2. To make the IC fit as described above, I had to remove the bosses welded on the top and bottom of the IC. Hacksaw/dremel works good for this.
  3. I also had to loosen the bracket on the AC expansion valve/dryer assembly and move that up about an inch, which involved some bending of the metal AC lines. Be careful here that you don't kink them. Moving this upward in turn interfered with the grille and I had to cut out a little of the extra plastic on the back of the grille so it fit correctly.

Steps

Details

The biggest hurdle was the 2.5" inlet/outlet to the intercooler and getting that size pipe through the stock hose locations. On the Viggen and 93 HOT the piping to the intercooler goes between the passenger side frame (where the bumper bolts to) and the radiator, then through the IC, and then back to the engine bay between the radiator and driver side frame. There's about 32" between the two frame members. This intercooler is almost that big from end to end, and as such routing the hoses in the stock locations requires some modification. I've seen people routing the IC outlet hose around the frame instead of between the frame and radiator to get around this, but I wanted to keep my piping as short as possible. My plan was to use the 2.5" bends to get through the openings to the side outlets of the IC.

Originally the plan was to use some 2.5" silicone connectors to attach the bends to the IC, but when checking the fit, the bends weren't going to fit through the openings, the intercooler was too wide. The solution turned out to be pretty simple. I measured the width of the radiator and the size of the space on each side where the hoses would go, and then cut the inlet/outlet pipes on the intercooler down until the bends would fit through whe they were welded on. For reference, my radiator was about 25.5" between the openings, with a 3" gap on the passenger side and a 3.5" gap on the driver side. That means the widest the bends could be was 32" minus the little bit of clearance for the clamps to attach the IC to the rest of the intake

I ended up sawing off the entire hose connector on each side of the IC to get the proper fit, and with no place to clamp the silicone connectors needed to get the bends welded on. No biggie, now it looks really good and I've got two less joints to leak. Since the welds were so simple it only ended up costing me an hour's worth of labor to get them done, and it only took an hour.

Once the elbows were welded, I attached my 2.5" > 2" reducers. At this point you basically have a "drop in" intercooler. Since my car is not a HOT, and I wasn't about to spend $150 on the hose from turbo to IC inlet, I used the same method as Dmitry to make the hot side intercooler hose. Basically chop up the old turbo to IC hose and us the bits to fabricate a pipe. I also had an extra elbow lying around like him, you may need to take a trip to the local junkyard.

Summary

  1. Take off the bumper to check the clearances on your car for routing the piping
  2. Cut the intercooler outlets short enough that the short radius bends will fit through the openings on either side of the radiator
  3. Get it welded
  4. Fabricate a cold side hose using the old cold side hose
  5. Connect everything up and pressure test before you put that bumper back on
  6. Enjoy