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The mkiv Supra Owners Club

Front Mounted Intercooler

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Front Mounted Intercooler


Also known as:



SMIC (Side Mounted Intercooler)


What is it?

A turbocharger works by compressing air and forcing it through the intake into the engine. Because the intake air is under pressure, more air enters the engine which can be mixed with more fuel to produce more power. However, increasing the pressure of a gas also increases its temperature (Boyles law). Also the turbocharger itself gets very hot, and some of this heat is transferred to the intake air as well. This is bad, because hot air is less dense than cooler air, and also hot air can make the fuel/air mixture ignite before it is supposed to in the engine (detonation). The colder the air going in to the engine the better for power and for reliability. This is why cars are more powerful in colder weather.

An intercooler is an air to air heat exchanger. The intake air going into the engine flows through it and is cooled down by air passing over the intercooler like a normal car radiator. The Supra as standard has a fairly small side-mounted intercooler in the right-hand sidepod under the headlight. It's pretty efficient, and fine for stock power levels, but for more power you need something a bit better. A front mounted intercooler is much bigger, and sits in front of the car, in front of the radiator.


An alternative is an uprated Side Mounted InterCooler (SMIC).



Cooler intake charge means less risk of detonation (or more boost for the same risk), more power, looks good, usually comes with hard pipes.



Blocks airflow to the radiator so more risk of overheating

You need some ducting to get the most out of it, otherwise a large proportion of the incoming air goes around it - path of least resistance. You don’t necessarily need a bigger apeture in your front bumper if it’s ducted.

You usually also have to remove the active spoiler mechanism to fit one.


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