Charge Cooling on a Budget – Cheap Intercooler DIY

SAAB 900 Intercooler

SAAB 900 intercooler: Can be found on eBay or a pick a part style junkyard.

Tools Needed: Flathead Screwdriver, #10 wrench or socket, Drill, 2 bolts, washers and nuts, small piece of straight metal.

It’s pretty basic that cold air burns better and makes for a better explosion which therefore makes for more power. Cold air also helps protect against detonation. When a turbo compresses the air and forces it into the intake, the air temperature goes up dramatically. The point of an intercooler is to lower those intake temperatures which in turn makes for more power, and decreases the chance of detonation.

While these instructions are specifically are written for a 93 – 2001 Impreza, they could be modified for nearly any car.

To install the intercooler, some adjustments need to be made. The first is to clear room for the intercooler. Here are the steps.

  1. Loosen the two bolts holding the ignition control module removing the back one completely.
  2. Twist it to the left and refasten the rear to the bolt just to the left. (see picture)
  3. Cut off about a 1/4″ off the intercooler end tank to allow clearance between the firewall and the throttle body.
  4. The intercooler will sit close to the firewall. You might want to build an “L” shape bracket to mount the intercooler. Take off the windshield wiper cover and drill two holes in the bracket and the sheet metal. Use a bolt with washers and nuts to mount the bracket. The intercooler side does not need mounting hardware, just two 5/16’s holes in the bracket. Make sure to slide this over first before actually drilling through the firewall.
  5. The end tank outer diameter is 2.25″ and every turbo setup is a little different, so you’ll have to figure out how to run the intake plumbing and BOV lines on your own.