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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
EDIT - as a disclaimer, please understand that I am in no affiliated with this product or any vendor. I haven't received any favors or discounts; I paid full price for this and all of my other mods. I have used many different vendors/distributors here and I'm not biased to any of them. I am just an enthusiast who likes to share data and help others.
While this thread mostly centers on my findings with the Wagner intercooler, there are many other proven products out there that will likely perform just as good (or perhaps better). The takeaway here should be, the OE intercooler is poor and easily becomes heatsoaked when towing or running an increased amount of load on the engine.
How you approach solving it is up to you, for many owners that do not tow often or at all (or are running stock tunes) - the OE intercooler is probably fine.

This is part 1 of a multi-part thread.
I got a decent amount of logs taken over the weekend and with the break in the rain, the new Wagner intercooler went in. First off, take a look at how beefy this thing is compared to the stock unit:
Tire Automotive tire Auto part Suspension Automotive exterior


Ok, I'll give the juicy information first and what was most surprising to me. The question I had was how drastic of a change in IAT will an aftermarket CAC actually net? What I did is set up the same run back to back, 2 prior to the CAC installation and 2 after. The runs were done from 0-80MPH and I launched the truck at 2000RPM each time. Every run was done with 4x4 engaged and TCS on and 4x4 remained on through the entire run. The goal here was I wanted to provide the maximum amount of sustained MAP load that would stress the intercooler.
The results speak for themselves on this first part.
Run 1 (pre-CAC)
Text Line Green Plot Diagram

Run 2 (pre-CAC)
Text Line Plot Font Diagram


Run 3 (post-CAC)
Text Green Line Font Diagram

Run 4 (post-CAC)
Text Line Plot Slope Ecoregion


I was absolutely floored at how fast the stock intercooler is being overwhelmed. You can see the initial drop from the idle/ambient state (when the truck starts to get moving airflow wise) and before even reaching 40MPH, it is building heat at an incredible rate. You'll notice that on both the Wagner runs, the starting IAT was higher based on me being in idle for a long period of time waiting to set the log conditions I wanted. On both of those runs, even with a higher starting IAT, the lowest temp reached 75-77 degrees (about 8 degrees cooler than the stock unit ever reached). The big difference is the sustained temperature the Wagner unit was able to maintain throughout the pulls.

So at this point, I thought how the heck could the stock unit be that inefficient. My initial thought thought was that the SCT tune and increase in boost/timing was exacerbating an already sub-par component. Turns out, it had nothing to do with the tune. I looked at both of my 0-60 runs, both before and after the tuning (from my previous thread here -> http://www.f150ecoboost.net/forum/13-f150-ecoboost-performance/3831-0-60-testing-sct-livewire.html)
On the 0-60 runs, both the before and after tune runs exhibited the same initial drop in temperature after the truck got moving but temperature never went higher than 10 degrees from the lowest observed temperature. So the obvious answer is the high loaded condition presented by running in 4x4 really pushed out what the stock CAC limitations are.
So I guess the bottom line on this first part is, if you are launching your truck on 4x4 and leaving it in that mode...you can expect the stock CAC to become heat-soaked very quickly. Based on this being MAP load dependent, I imagine that towing a large amount would also exhibit a very similar condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
This is part 2 of a multi-part thread.

Ok, so the 1000 dollar question is now why is a lower IAT going to help me? Well, if you know anything about turbocharging/supercharging a vehicle...then you should know that heatsoaking is one ingredient of many that can cause knocking events to occurs. To prove my point, here is a look at the same runs with the knock sensor highlighted:

Run 1 (pre-CAC)
Text Green Line Font Plot

Run 2 (pre-CAC)
Text Line Diagram Font Parallel


Run 3 (post-CAC)
Text Line Diagram Plot Technical drawing

Run 4 (post-CAC)
Text Green Line Diagram Map


While this isn't a huge change, the knock shown on the two runs prior to installation of the CAC is still consistent with the knock I have logged with the stock tune. The first two runs (pre-CAC) were 3.63 and 2.55 while the second two runs (post-CAC) were 2.03 and 1.75. The key point here is that the two runs after installing the CAC have logged two of the lowest knock events I have encountered on any WOT run. Clearly by maintaining the IAT at a steady lower temperature, the chance of inducing a knock event from a heat factor alone is much less likely. To further test this, I plan on doing the same test using the stock tune on the new intercooler. My guess is that it will have even lower knock events.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
This is part 3 of a multi-part thread.

Ok, so by having lower IAT...will I cause the coolant temperature to be lower too? Essentially the answer is maybe.
Here is the same test with coolant temperature displayed:

Run 1 (pre-CAC)
Text Line Plot Wave Slope


Run 3 (post-CAC)
Text Line Green Plot Diagram


I was actually rather surprised at how quickly this engine generates heat. I compared this back to my previous 0-60 (without 4x4 engaged) runs and there wasn't really any difference in how much heat is generated while at WOT. Obviously it was a little less by stopping the truck at 60 instead of 80.
As you can see here though, coolant reaction to the lower sustained IAT doesn't really have much impact. In fact, being that both runs started well over the stock thermostat setting (meaning that it should have been fully open), I really don't see how changing out the thermostat will really provide much value to this cooling system (especially at WOT). I need to do some more digging around in how/if the oil cooling is tied in, but if it is then there would likely be gains to be had by divorcing those systems. Much more so than an aftermarket thermostat would provide (IMO).

Edit: after seeing some data from another member with a thermostat, it looks like it may be a worthwhile mod. Will certainly help keep the starting temperature lower, more testing in the future for this one.
Edit2: after installing the 170 degree Tstat, it is a definite improvement. Temps start lower from idle and it runs a good 15 degrees colder (on average) when cruising.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
This is part 4 of a multi-part thread.

Closing thoughts. Everyday usage on the stock CAC is probably sufficient for the standard user. Clearly the IAT portion is a no-brainer for those pushing their truck with hard launches, increased tuning, or taking runs down the track. I do question the actual "performance gains" you will see by just plugging this component in.
My reason is this:
On the Pre-CAC 0-80 MPH runs, it took 9.296 seconds and 10.749 seconds to reach 80MPH. On the post-CAC runs, it took 9.681 and 10.584 to reach 80MPH. This also checks with the early testing I did from 0-60. Going back to my first test (linked before), I did some testing with 4x4 engaged was able to achieve a repeatable 5.40 second 0-60MPH. After installing the CAC, the fastest 0-60MPH I got was 5.84.
This is probably due to the increase in total CAC footprint and it taking a slightly longer time to generate the same boost pressure the stock unit was seeing. If you take a look at the boost curves in part 3 (green), you will see there are very close to identical. The Wagner runs yielded just a slightly higher spike in initial boost, but overall the boost was pretty close to the same as the stock CAC.

The gains are probably going to be centered around the lower and consistent IAT at WOT. As the lower number is maintained, the ECU will likely try to start pushing stronger timing. Honestly though, I believe the big gains you would expect to see would have be done through custom tuning. Nothing else I've seen so far has shown any significant increase in overall horsepower by just bolting this on.

What about condensation? Well it is obviously too early to tell on the Wagner unit but here is an interesting note on the stock CAC:
After running the crap out of the truck (several WOT runs), and removing the CAC the following morning, there was still moisture in the stock CAC:
Auto part Automotive tire Floor Tire Automotive exterior
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Installation video!

 

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So, for the idiots guide to aftermarket CACs, it's a good idea?


Black Sheep of the Family
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great job, love the data!
Thanks :)

So, for the idiots guide to aftermarket CACs, it's a good idea?

Black Sheep of the Family
Absolutely, but it needs to be done for the right reason. If you are bolting this on expecting to gain a butt load of HP, I don't see it helping until after other modifications are done are you really start pushing.
I think the real benefit (for most casual users) is going to be in the towing condition. Imagine what the IAT I posted from the stock runs would be if I have a 10,000 lbs trailer I was pulling in addition to the weight of the vehicle. Now imagine further if you were going up a hill and how much the load increases while going up hill. Now imagine with all that heat, you come up on a truck in the right lane and you mash the gas trying to get around someone in the left lane. That kind of stress to an engine will cause things to fail in a hurry.
 

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Great write-up. I may have missed it, but what year is your truck? In another recent thread, it was mentioned that the 2013 CACs have internal baffling that may lead to the heat soak issue. I know on my stock 2011 CAC, without the band-aid shield, I only experience heat soak at long idles. Once the truck is moving, the IAT drops to about .8-1.5 degrees below ambient. This is even with towing 7500 lbs uphill on a 5* tune and with Boost Bars in the bumper opening.
 

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Fantastic info on the CAC that I just barely missed a good deal on a slightly used one....anyway thanks! Job well done!!


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Great info! I installed my Wagner just prior to leaving on a 6,000 mile trip pulling my 9500 lb fifth wheel from Vermont to the 100+ temps in the southwest, then up to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Never experienced limp mode, but saw coolant temps hit 240 briefly. This confirms what I hoped the Wagner was doing for me.
 

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BTW guys I wouldn't just say this applies only to the Wagner, any aftermarket CAC will provide these benefits, the key is how much heat soak can they avoid under load.
ATP did almost the same tests but on a dyno on their intercooler.
1. Stock Intercooler takes only 4.5 minutes to MAX OUT the air intake temp on the gauge. 157 Deg F.
2. After 4.5 minutes on the upgraded intercooler, maximum air intake temp observed is only 118 Deg F.
3. After 5.5 minutes of continuous pulls, the upgraded intercooler only reaches maximum temperature of 132 Deg F. It takes 12 consecutive dyno pulls in third gear to do this.
4. It takes the stock intercooler only 3 pulls (only 55 seconds) to reach the same 132 Deg. F
Conclusion: It does not take very long to heat soak the stock intercooler. In this case, it only takes 3 pulls in 3rd gear (about the same as 1/4 mile through 4 gears).
*Testing done Back to Back while Truck was strapped to the dyno.
The nice thing would be to have all the IC together and do this exact same test of loaded pulls to see which one does the best for heat soak. I honestly feel that on a stock truck each of the aftermarket intercoolers will offer about the same benefits for HP cold, which one will offer back to back heat soak resistance if hot lapping at the track or towing?
 
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