Project Silvia’s Girlfriend – Part 1


Yet another contributing factor to the car's overheating woes was probably this ridiculously oversized intercooler. A 250 hp car does not need this much intercooler, but it does still need airflow to the radiator. Also, a bumper is a nice thing to have sometimes…


We did some scrounging around and found this intercooler from an old turbo Maxima project. It was still plenty of cooling for the charge air, but would leave a lot more undisturbed airflow for the radiator. The incredibly thick core (about 4″ thick) is a double-edged sword. This thickness hurts cooling airflow through the core and can potentially even lower the efficiency of the intercooler. On the other hand, it increases the area available to charge air flowing through the intercooler, reducing pressure drop. This reduces load on the turbo, making the incoming charge air cooler in the first place, and reduces exhaust backpressure and detonation sensitivity of the engine. So it could be good or it could be bad. The intercooler was free, so we decided it was good…


The intercooler plumbing needed re-doing for two reasons. Obviously the intercooler end tanks moved with the new, smaller intercooler, but the throttle body on the S13 engine is also in a different location form the original S14 one. All that crap went up for sale and new pipes were made. I didn't learn how to weld aluminum until I made the aluminum exhaust for Project Miatabusa, so the pipes are steel. Project Silvia's intercooler plumbing was made shorter by moving the radiator back and mounting the intercooler behind the core support. With Sarah's A/C requirements, this was impossible this time around, so more conventional (and convoluted) plumbing had to be made.  


Care has to be taken to make sure everything will be serviceable after installation. The hose clamp on this joint would have been harder to get to in the engine bay, but by dropping it into the wheel well, it actually has easier screwdriver access.


Naturally, I've lost the pictures of the finished product with the bumper installed, but here it is without a bumper. The aluminum plate on top serves triple-duty as an intercooler mount, a mount for the JDM headlight brackets, and a duct to keep air from bypassing the intercooler. As you can see, we also painted everything black, because we're adults.

With a daily-driver tune from Jim Wolf Technology and no boost controller, the car makes a flexible 263 hp at the wheels. That's a safe, easy power level that can still do track days, drive to work, and not overheat. Next up: whatever other pictures I can find…


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