Thursday, February 14, 2008

Inside the intercooler

Intercooler openedFascinating for some...

Here's what the inside of my intercooler looked like once I had the covers off. The fins on the pipework are much more detailed than I was expecting.

It's easy to see why the air has not been getting through, with those years of grime that you can see built up there.

I get the impression that these covers have probably never been taken off, or certainly not very recently.

The cover on the port side was particularly reluctant to come off, in the end I had to resort to violence and so ended up breaking the, pretty substantial, gasket in the process.

One thing I had done was invest in a cheap air ratchet via eBay, on account of the sheer number of bolts that needed undoing. That air ratchet at least made the task somewhat easier.

The plan is to clean the built up oil and grime on the internal pipework using a spray gun which I've got kicking about.


  1. Fred (WWR)11:06 AM

    Wow!, looks like too much fun :). Oh well, like they say, "It's a dirty job but someone has to do it".

    What do they recommend cleaning it with? Confined space, fumes, mess and all, I hope it is nontoxic and nonexplosive.

    Be careful Tim.

    Good luck

  2. Financially if you inadvertantly damage it whilst cleaning, its repair or replacement could clear the national debt! :o)) not really! but I damaged mine ( it was corroded badly) on my volvo and the replacement was several thousand pounds, not to mention that on the other engine the intercooler just leaked a little and filled the engine with water, so you can imagine the cost of repairing that! as you know, its very important to keep the intercooler in good condition (I do now) you will notice that the smoke level from the exhaust will reduce when you start it again too.

  3. Hi Fred

    I have a mask to wear when doing stuff like this, plus the engine room is pretty well ventilated.

    As to a dirty job - you betcha.



  4. Hi Rob

    I'm only taking off the front and back covers and have no intention of taking it out if at all possible.

    Hopefully the non-contact spray gun cleaning with de-greaser will do the job just fine.

    I figure that I'll never get it as clean as it could be, but it will certainly be working so much better.



  5. Anonymous7:31 PM

    I can't help wishing I could actually see inside the intercooler. Don't suppose you'd mind getting a piccie closer in?

    It looks like grease in there. I wonder where that's come from? I guess it must have blown-by the bearing seals in your turbo.

    How obstructed is it really? It's hard to tell in the picture.

    You will eventually have both the turbo- and manifold-side off the thing. At that point you should be able to spray engine cleaner all over inside, wait, and flush it with water.

    There'll be a huge mess that you'll have to pump out of your bilge into a drum and send to an oil disposal.

    Consider using s citrus solvent (eg:
    if you're worried about fumes. Once all that crap's disolved in it you still can't just pump it out though.

  6. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Maybe cut a piece of perspex to fit over each side and then fill the entire intercooler with varsol.

    You could have fill and drain fittings on the perpex panels and get a flushing flow of solvent moving through the thing.

    It sounds elaborate, but a bit of vinyl hose, a parts-washer pump and an 18 litre bucket of solvent is all you'd need to do that.

    It looks pretty yucky to just clean with rags and q-tips.

  7. Marcus9:54 PM

    Is this just a cleaning? or are you gonna rust bust the intercooler and paint it again (looks like it needs it, as you well know im sure). Thats the funny thing about projects, once you get into them at least 5 mini projects come about. The ole "well while its apart...". ~Good luck from Versailles Ohio!

  8. Hi anonymous

    For more pics of the inside of the intercooler, look at my Flickr stream for example this one where I have just posted more.

    As to cleaning up the mess, there s no question that this will all end up in an oil disposal some place or other.

    I keep containers on board for waste oil and oily 'stuff' to get rid of from time to time when I do a tip run.



  9. Hi Anonymous

    The perspex and pump idea is a truly great one.

    I was thinking that I'd get an ok kind of clean out of using the spray gun.

    Pumping cleaning fluid through the intercooler would do a much more thorough job, and probably far less messy too.

    Thanks for that.


  10. Hi Marcus

    I certainly intend to cleanup and paint the covers, and associated pipework, once the internals of the intercooler has been done.

    The only issue at hand is what colour to paint the intercooler.

    Those pipes will be green (seawater) of course.



  11. Anonymous1:58 PM

    In looking at other pictures of the intercooler I saw that you had the piping blanked off with a larger end blank.

    What we use over here is a 1/4" plate cut in the form of a pan with handle.
    The round part is cut to the same dia. as the gaskets.

    You don't have to pry the pipes as far apart.
    Bill Kelleher
    Toledo, Ohio USA

  12. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Are you referring to the plates between the seawater pipe flanges?

    I kind-of think that those plates have a through-hole on one side and are blocked on the other. By undoing the flange bolts and sliding the plate over you can get a blocked or un-blocked state and the flange distance does not have to be altered. ie: no prying of pipes.

  13. Anonymous2:15 PM

    I looked a little closer since the comment below mine and your Monday comment about the blanks and can see now how they can be spun back and forth.
    I was more use to piping in plants where you didn't blank very often.
    Bill Kelleher
    Toledo Ohio USA

  14. Hi Bill

    I can well understand - your original comment is of value to me elsewhere on LJ though.

    On the piping itself, truth be told, I still don't know what all the pipes are for.

    I'm kind of learning as I go along.