The Differences Between Air-to-Air and Air-to-Water Intercoolers

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, September 19, 2018
  • What's the best intercooler, air-to-air or air-to-water? What are the advantages of different types of intercoolers?
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    Modern engines are trending towards downsized turbocharger solutions. In order to make power efficiently, air temperatures need to be cool before entering the engine. Turbochargers compress air, and doing so increases the air's temperature, decreasing density. That's where intercoolers come in, which use ambient air to reduce the temperature of the air used for combustion.

    There are two main styles of intercoolers, air-to-air and air-to-water. Both are effective, but they each have their own distinct advantages with regards to packaging, efficiency, turbo lag, throttle response, and of course cost. Check out the video to learn more about how these systems work, and perhaps decide which solution might be best for your own projects!

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Comment

  • Dammika Chathuranga
    Dammika Chathuranga  17 hours ago

    Can I know temperature values of water inlet and outlet

  • Henry Lima
    Henry Lima  14 days ago

    Im trying to do a water to air system (no ice), but Im afraid the performance will not be better than an air to air.
    What do you suggest?
    Wich system can get me more whp?
    Wich system will suffer less from heat soak?

  • John John
    John John  28 days ago

    I got the 335i n55 love it

  • Little Reptilian
    Little Reptilian  3 months ago

    I've seen a Mercedes with two separate coolant reservoirs, is it for the intercooler?

  • grx20jb w
    grx20jb w  3 months ago

    Every “Engineering Explained” video I watch has a massive error in logic, or fails to properly describe the method of action.

    He advises an advantage of air to air intercoolers is the fact that ambient air temp will be lower than the temp of the water/coolant, and totally fails to realise the main advantage of using a fluid coolant system.

    Cooling efficiency is affected by other things such as the fact water/coolant conducts heat far better than air.

    For example, place your hand in a 100°c oven for 10s and you will be fine. Place it in 100°c water for 10s and you will be on your way to the hospital.

    This means that you can have less heat transfer surface area in the intake, creating less resistance to flow where it affects engine performance.

  • James Pilcher
    James Pilcher  4 months ago

    Could they make refridgerated intercooler in a similar vein to an air-con unit?

  • Jesus H Medrano
    Jesus H Medrano  4 months ago

    Looks like turbo lag and german conplexity that will break in leas than five years. I hope u leased that pos

  • Big Mo
    Big Mo  5 months ago

    Hope your checking older comments - has anyone ever attempted to build an ammonia intercooler? Like Keg coolers or RV refrigerators? These uses a small heat source which could be pulled from the turbo it’s self (maybe?)

  • Jeepidiot
    Jeepidiot  9 months ago

    I realize this is an older video but I have a serious question regarding the heat exchanger. If I'm not mistaken, the heat exchanger for the X3 M40i is located on the right side of the front bumper behind the grill. The grill is open to allow airflow. My question is, what problems if any exist if that opening in the bumper is blocked off and not allowing air to the heat exchanger. I ask because BMW is currently shipping X3, X4, X5, and X7 models that are equipped with the heat exhanger(sometimes one on both sides) that are completely blocked off from any airflow. They are aware of the problem but have chosen to ignore it in order to ship quantity not quality.

  • Akın Orhan
    Akın Orhan  10 months ago

    The problem with having the intercooler inside the intake manifold is, that the intake manifold plenum volume will be influenced by the intercooler

  • maxar ______
    maxar ______  10 months ago

    Hmmm b58 what does this remind me of

  • Michael Guthrie
    Michael Guthrie  10 months ago

    Ummmm air to water is more efficient

  • Dimitry M
    Dimitry M  11 months ago

    2 years later: b58 recall will be out for coolant leaking internally causing the engine to hydrolock.

  • Joseph Keppler
    Joseph Keppler  11 months ago

    So if you have two heat exchangers and a pump, why don't you just make it a compressor and put in an expansion device and have a full blown refrigeration system for your intercooler?

  • ForestTDI
    ForestTDI  a years ago

    Why A2W? Better pedal response, better consumption, and finally because of emissions, because of ugly EU directions!

    Btw. one main advantage: you can cool charged air in times, your speed is low and your A2A intercooler is not cooling enough.

  • lkinchen101
    lkinchen101  a years ago

    But what is the better brans air to air intercooler system?

  • lkinchen101
    lkinchen101  a years ago

    Very very helpful, thank you.. love the show

  • Tiger Touge
    Tiger Touge  a years ago

    I guess the whole point is quicker throttle response. You can get the same results with the latest borg warner or garret turbo.

  • EvoL WRX
    EvoL WRX  a years ago

    🤔 how many times did you say so ? Lol

  • Jarrod M
    Jarrod M  a years ago

    I was worried you left your whiteboard at home and thankful your reassured me you didn't