Home » 11th Gen Civic 1.5T Intercooler Upgrade Development Part 1

11th Gen Civic 1.5T Intercooler Upgrade Development Part 1

Like most any modern turbocharged vehicle, intercooler heat-soak quickly becomes a major limiting factor in regards to power delivery and engine. Honda’s engineers did a fantastic job in developing a well-performing, cost-effective, fuel-efficient vehicle for the general public. Unfortunately for niche spirited drivers, power-hungry enthusiasts and customers living in hot climates, the factory intercooler leaves much to be desired. Charge intake air temperatures rapidly rise as turbocharger boost pressure, ambient air temperatures and/or repeated spirited driving times increase. Intake air temperatures play a major role in the ECU’s power delivery – high IATs will cause the ECU to dial back timing and boost, among other parameters, and can be dangerous when ignored. Though an intercooler upgrade isn’t necessarily intended to be a power-adder, the factory intercooler should be thought of as a power-limiter. An intercooler upgrade is one of the best modifications that can be purchased for your vehicle.

Our focus is to develop an intercooler upgrade that fits like factory, but looks and performs like a premium product customers want to be proud to showoff. The 11th Gen Civic’s facelift forced our engineers to draw up a complete redesign, but the engine’s characteristics are still remnant of the previous 10th Gen 1.5L Turbo platform (more-so the 10th Gen 1.5T Accord, actually). While Honda’s new engine bay and front end actually increased space notably (possibly for increased airflow/cooling?), the Civic’s new front bumper actually provided us with spacing constraints. Going off of data we have collected from previous platforms, we have drawn up a proposed intercooler core that offers similar internal airflow volume as our intercooler upgrade for the previous generation Civic. Maintaining this internal airflow volume (and fin pitch design) was important to us, because we have seen the negative affects of increasing internal volume too much with Honda’s 1.5L Turbo platform in the past. These proposed core dimensions are suited perfectly for the 1.5L engine displacement, factory turbocharger and most any aftermarket turbocharger size that will be offered for this car. Though this new design will be a bit shorter than the 10th Gens, it will still offer a significant increase in frontal surface area and utilize a dense fin pitch for desired cooling, all without hindering airflow to the radiator. No cutting or modification are required and factory bumper air guides are retained. As always, no tuning required!

As per usual PRL fashion, we will be using billet 6061 aluminum end tanks in our intercooler assembly. Viewers may notice a two-piece end tank design on the driver side – this two-piece design allows us to fit the end mills on our CNC machines into the end tanks for machining. Our end tanks will feature a smooth internal profile to avoid turbulence and a modular design for compatibility with both factory and future PRL charge pipe upgrade.

We expect to have a prototype intercooler sample, designed to spec, in-hand within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for final dimensions, testing data and more information!

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