Charge Air Coolers
The Charge air cooler is a vital component of all forced induction engines. As the name suggests, it's incorporated to reduce the temperature of charged air before it enters the engine. This is mainly done to improve efficiency.
How charge air coolers Work
To fully understand how these devices function, one first needs to know how air acts when hot. When compressed, air tends to heat up and expand, which results in a pressure increase. To get the best out of forced induction, more air needs to get into the engine. It would thus be necessary to cool the air in order to reduce pressure, which would allow the intake of a larger air volume into the engine.
This is where a charge air cooler comes in. The device resembles a radiator, although its functioning is somewhat different. Air passes on both the outside and inside the cooler so that its temperature reduces with density increasing. This way, more molecules can be forced into the engine for combustion.
Charge air coolers vary in size, depending on the engine into which they will be fitted. The smaller ones are usually fitted to road vehicle engines, with the larger ones reserved for colossal marine diesel engines. The latter could weigh as much as two tonnes. Depending on the design, they could use water, air or a combination of both as a cooling medium.
To get the best effect of a charge air cooler, it needs to be installed at the right place. For most cars, this is usually right behind the front bumper to allow easy contact with cool atmospheric air. Still, the location also needs to take into account the location of the engine cylinder so that air isn't heated any further after leaving the chamber. However, the air duct between the engine's inlet manifold and the device can also be insulated to combat this.
Buying a Charge Air Cooler
There are some vital considerations to keep in mind when buying a charge air cooler, either as a replacement or for aftermarket installation. First is core size; bigger isn't always better as far as these devices are concerned. One has to get a proper size that will deliver efficient cooling devoid of any boost lag.
Though some replacement piping is made to fit many different vehicle models, most charge air cooler pipes are only made to fit a single model. It's also important to get acquainted with the installation procedures. Most charge air cooler manufacturers strictly recommend professional installation.