Think eBay intercoolers are the same? Think again.

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High Mileage
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Think eBay intercoolers are the same? Think again.

Post by High Mileage » January 21st, 2009, 2:18 am

So this is a long read, but well worth it. I put the cliffnotes in bold and blue for you skimmers...

davidbuschur wrote:Here you go, we finally did it. I hope everyone is happy now. I know I am.

My car is on the dyno making huge power, 640 whp with the new HTA35R on it. We have our Race FMIC on it which I say is the best FMIC you can buy with your hard earned money. The tempurature today is 62 degrees F in our dyno room.

I made a bunch of pulls this morning and the car was making within 1-3 hp on the last few of 640/511 torque.

When I got done I decided to leave the car on the dyno and put on the Ebay intercooler that is a copy in appearance to the AMS FMIC.

My car is running C16. I am using NO air temp correction for fueling other than when the air is BELOW 50 degrees F. So if the air temp goes UP the fuel stays the same. I am using no timing compensation for anything either. What I am telling you all is the map is the map, it is running what I told it to and not making adjustments.

The last pull I made with our Race FMIC was 643 whp and 511 ft lbs of torque. I MADE NO CHANGES. I left the dyno, had Ted bolt on the new intercooler and came back when he was done.

Here is the important data:

Air temp after the intercooler at the start of the pull, 62.60 degrees.
Air temp after the intercooler at the end of the pull, 69.80 degrees.
Increase in air temp 7.2 degrees.
Peak boost was 40.3 psi.

We then bolted on the Ebay special that is an AMS attempted copy. Absolutely NO changes were made to anything other than bolting on the I/C.

Car made 633 whp and 505 ft lbs of torque. So not a bad loss at this HP level.

Here is the BAD part.

Air temp after the intercooler at the start of the pull, 62.60 degrees.
Air temp after the intercooler at the end of the pull, 122 degrees!! That is an increase in air temp of 59.4 degrees in a single gear pull!
Peak boost went up which I find strange as it hit 42.1.

The knock count went up considerably with these higher air temps. To run the car safely I would need to pull atleast a few degrees of timing.

**So in summary the intercooler with 2 more psi boost made 10 less whp than our Race FMIC at that is at big HP levels. The problem is the intercooler is NOT EFFICIENT AT REMOVING HEAT. Which is what it is there for. I am betting the stock FMIC is not much worse than this. An increase of 59.4 degrees is absolutely HUGE in a single gear pull. On a summer day or road race/autocross situation this intercooler would absolutely SUCK.

Bottom line is, you get what you pay for and buying one of these I do not think is a good investment of your money.

davidbuschur wrote:2nd test didn't come out to good.

I had also bought a new LARGE FMIC to test awhile back. This is the really big one with the 3" inlet/outlet.

First off it does not fit with our FMIC plumbing and it has not mounts. It's just a big Ebay intercooler.

We had some 3" to 2.5" couplings and attempted our best to put it on the car. It was fine at 25 psi but would not stay on at 40 psi. Looks like it is a turd anyway so here is what I could get for data:

Air tempurature after the intercooler at start of test, 64.40 degrees
Air tempurature at end of test (test ended at ONLY 6200 rpm as the pipe blew off 2 times) 82.40 degrees.

Peak boost pressure was 41.58 psi.

The test of our Race FMIC were run from 3,000 rpm to 8,000 rpm. Temps were taken at the start and end of the pulls for all these tests.

So even this very large FMIC increased air temps 18 degrees and it wasn't even close to being a full pull. For comparison the smaller ebay intercooler from start to 6200 rpm had increased to 86 degrees.

This concludes our Ebay intercooler testing. I have both of these for sale or you can buy a real intercooler and call us to order the Race FMIC.

davidbuschur wrote:Our Time Attack car last season was fitted with our 20g-9-5, of course since it is small it is not the most efficient turbo and makes quite a lot of heat when pushed.

I have our datalogs from Summit Point Time Attack pulled on my laptop from last year.

We were out for a session which took 6 minutes and 30 seconds. This is a warm up, 3 full runs and cool down lap.

The car had out Race FMIC on it. Boost levels were a peak of 27.3 psi. No alky injection, no water sprayers. Just turbo and our FMIC.

The very beginning of the log shows AIT's of 104 degrees F. (so it was pretty warm outside combined with engine bay heat and such I suppose) The air temps at part throttle boost around the track, through corners and such would go up to around 107 degrees F. Robert had a few decent long straights. The car would accelerate up to 118 mph on one where the AIT's reached 111.2 F. Then he would slow down for a corner and they would remain close to 111 F. The next long straight he would start the long pull with AIT of 109 f and at the end of the straight he was doing 124 MPH with AIT's of 116.2 degrees.

This was the very first lap, a warm up lap.

Now, looking at the 3rd all out lap the air temps are holding a steady 120 degrees. On the first straight the car hits 122 mph, so you can see he is pushing harder. The AIT's at the end of this is 123 degrees. The longest straight shows vehicle speed at 130.6 mph and intake air temps up to 125.6 degrees.

The part of this that you should find impressive is that road racing is going to build a lot of heat and keep the intercooler hot. Here is an example of a car with a fairly small turbo running 27 psi of boost on a very warm day. Started a Time Attack session with AIT's of 104 degrees and after beating the car for 6 minutes and 30 seconds the AIT's only saw a high peak of 125.6 degrees.

That is some damn good heat control right there. A rise of 21 degrees.

The two Ebay intercoolers we JUST tested on a 60 degree day with starting temps of 60 degrees gained almost 60 degrees of intake air temp IN A SINGLE GEAR RUN.

I hope this will finally show there is a difference.

The power on my particular car even with the Ebay stuff on it is decent. BUT, if you tried to run this intercooler on ANY OTHER vehicle with air temp correction the results would be a lot less favorable in the HP department. The factory ECU would kill the car with fuel and timing adjustments as would any other car that had corrections for air temp turned on.

I chose to test the intercooler without these corrections to let it just do what it could and show the real truth behind the products.

Truth is, had the intercooler done really well, I would not have posted any of this information. Luckily for me it performed poorly in the cooling department.

Thank you and have a great day.

Testing was done by Buschur Racing. Enough said.

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Re: Think eBay intercoolers are the same? Think again.

Post by ex_on_lsd » January 21st, 2009, 2:35 am

Great Find!!!! :thumbsup:
You are still missed...

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High Mileage
Posts: 576
Joined: January 13th, 2009, 2:38 am

Re: Think eBay intercoolers are the same? Think again.

Post by High Mileage » January 21st, 2009, 2:40 am

ex_on_lsd wrote:Great Find!!!! :thumbsup:

Found it on WR, which was found from TampaRacing, which was found from wherever David Buschur posted it.

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Perfect Tool
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Re: Think eBay intercoolers are the same? Think again.

Post by Perfect Tool » January 21st, 2009, 3:46 am

Great read. Buschur and his team also have alot of great writeups at

I bought a Mitsu tuning book and David Buschur was the author, they really know their cars.

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Re: Think eBay intercoolers are the same? Think again.

Post by datsun280zxt » January 24th, 2009, 10:10 pm

It's interesting to see the boost level went up. Have you ever tested to see what the pressure drop across the core is when running high boost (on your "good" intercooler?) It appears that the Ebay cooler was less restrictive. The less time the air is in the cooler, the less time it has to change temp. It would be interesting to see material differences as to fin count on cooling fins as well as the thickness of the tubes themselves. Lastly, just curious if this is a tube and fin style or bar and plate cooler?

EDIT: My bad, I didn't pay attention that this was a cut and paste from somehwere else...thought it was actual discussion

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