MotoBlog: Vibrant Intercooler Installation

MotoBlog, Miata Vibrant Intercooler Install

 MotoRep Miata Project: Vibrant Intercooler Installation 

MotoBlog Guest Post


As with almost anything in performance modifications, once you add a few items here, upgrade a couple things there, you soon find a new bottleneck. Some might have existed all along, as others introduced themselves as your project progressed. 

Case in point was the intercooler on Motovicity Rep Bryan Spears’ 2002 Miata project car. With the higher intake flow coming from the new GT3076r turbo along with new intake and exhaust components, the existing intercooler was not able to keep up. Rated at 350 hp, it had been pushed beyond its capacity last summer, so it was time for a change. 
The new Vibrant intercooler (rear) versus the existing unit.
To fill this gap, Bryan decided on a Vibrant (PN: 12801) intercooler, which measures 27-inches wide and is rated for engines up to 550 hp. Because there wasn’t a “plug-and-play” option on the market that had the capacity he needed or that would physically fit – and because he has a friend who’s a 'killer welder' – Vibrant appeared as the most viable option. 
“I chose Vibrant because their intercoolers come with configurable mounting tabs and plenty of hardware. And because Vibrant makes such a wide variety of fabricating components for plumbing and tubing, I could get the capacity I needed while getting a clean-looking installation,” Spears said.
Having thawed out the Miata, work begins on disassembling the front fascia and removing the old intercooler.
Step one was to remove the front clip, headlamps and existing intercooler. Once open, the next step was to start measuring the Vibrant intercooler and locating points on the chassis. He notched some metal from the Miata’s core support in order to locate the intercooler high enough for proper ground clearance. Once roughed-in, the mounting tabs were welded and the intercooler was bolted in.
Next on the to-do list was to pick up some Vibrant aluminum mandrel bends and weld up some new plumbing. Because the new intercooler inlet and outlets are ½-inch larger and he wanted a clean looking installation, Bryan scanned through the Vibrant tube selection guides to find the best options, and the sections were tack welded to determine the best routing.

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