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  1. #1
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    Post REVIEW: KL Racing (aka Big Tom) FMIC Install

    I'd like to start this review by saying that I'm the type of guy that likes to try different things from time to time and sometimes its just fun to go against any/all vendor hype.

    Now, I've had my Helix V1 fmic since it came out and recently sold it to try a few other options. When I got it the main reason for going with it instead of a few other options were independent user reviews and great results some tuners got with it. So, even in that case, I was putting aside all vendor provided info and just going off of what the end users were reporting through datalogs, not so much their own personal "opinions" and butt dyno overstatements.

    Over the course of time I've owned my Helix V1 I've been VERY happy with it and it performed extremely well. This intercooler isn't "hype", it works really well and the V2 improves on it with the new end tanks. I remember once recently having meth stop working while on a dyno for 2 hours and my IATs not going above 100F still after a bunch of pulls which was a true testament to this FMIC's IAT control. I was really glad I had such a great product that worked well. Funny thing is that time on the dyno I made a world record breaking N54 pump gas dyno of 471whp STD (472whp uncorrected) so I was happy even though I didn't squeeze out max numbers due to meth not working.

    I've got literally tons of data with my Helix in all sorts of weather, boost, meth/no meth, on and off dyno/street/strip. Reading Big Tom's and other end user reports on the KL Racing FMIC I just wanted to try the damn thing and see how it'd stack up. Sold my Helix, got the Big Tom and got it installed 3 days ago with Ivo@ColumbusAutomotive.

    Now many may say that a decision to change from a much more expensive unit on which money was already spent and which obviously worked really well on the car, and go for KL Racing FMIC that many say is a "low quality, chinese made" unit was a mistake. I am not an FMIC design or fluid dynamics expert by any stretch of imagination. Under my belt I have a decent understanding on intercooler design from Corky Bell's Maximum Boost book, bunch of online reading and experience with real world setups on some other boosted cars in my area with dynos that back them up. I also realize the differences between max IAT suppression and lowest pressure drop when it comes to cores used (shorter and deeper vs taller and skinnier) and, fin and end tank design. In short, I am a car enthusiast like many of you and this is my hobby. I have money to spend on it once in a while and have fun trying different setups on the car as well as racing. In addition to that I always use my data to make any of my decisions and gather opinions from others in the community.

    Before getting started with any real world testing, here are some points that made me want to try the KL Racing FMIC:

    1) Curiosity Click here to enlarge
    2) Car is out of warranty, don't care about hacking up plastic behind my bumper
    3) Tall + skinny vs. stepped/fatter core
    4) 3" inlet/outlet. Depending on how testing turns out I'm planning on making some custom 3" piping from the fmic cold side to the throttle body possibly minimizing bends but to start out I'm just using a 3" to 2.5" silicone reducers and stock sized piping (stock plastic up-pipe + ar elbow + Stett chargepipe). Depending on how that goes I'm also planning on making some turbo to fmic piping that merges 1.5" turbo compressor outlet tubes to a single 3" going to the fmic hot side in a more gradual way instead of stock that goes 1.5" to a squished 2.5" merge then opening to a 3" for the inlet.
    5) I'm running meth ALL the time. IAT suppression isn't a concern as meth takes care of it a lot better than any air-air intercooler. I'm mostly concerned with pressure drop and that remains to be tested. I'll be using tons of WGDC logs that i have with my Helix V1 to compare how much harder the turbos are working at the same boost levels with the KL Racing one. Hoping to see, at the very least, equal wgdc logs (i.e. turbos not working any harder at same boost levels).

    First things first though, I've got the FMIC installed and will just run it with stock piping. I got a really nice custom install with brackets for it. Brackets were made out of a single metal rod cut to size and hold the FMIC in place very firmly and without interfering with the radiator or anything. brackets on each side are slid into a heater hose for cushioning.

    I love the way it looks on the car and definitely stands out a lot more when looking at it from the outside than my Helix as its sitting considerably closer to the bumper front mesh. So that's a small win in the looks department but that's last on my list.

    Datalogs and testing to follow once my clutch is broken in. My hope is that it'll at least do as well as my Helix but remains to be seen of course.

    Here's some pics:

    Getting started, fmic supported with a tranny jack so we can take measurements. this is after we've cut out the plastic in the back of the bumper
    Click here to enlarge

    Brackets done with heater hose wrapping/cushioning Click here to enlarge you can see where the bottom of the bracket and top of the bracket are secured with bolts...

    Click here to enlarge

    Click here to enlarge

    Click here to enlarge

    Click here to enlarge

    View from the bottom looking up, showing a nice space between the radiator and no rubbing at all. There's about 3/4-1" space there, added some VERY fancy cushions between the fmic and radiator to ensure no movement there too Click here to enlarge

    Click here to enlarge

  2. #2
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    Very cool that you are taking the time to do this.

    One bit of information that will help out people a lot is pressure drop data. If you can gather that data it will be very very useful for people wanting to see improvdements in WGDC at higher boost.
    Some people live long, meaningful lives.

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    Click here to enlarge

  3. #3
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    Very cool that you are taking the time to do this.

    One bit of information that will help out people a lot is pressure drop data. If you can gather that data it will be very very useful for people wanting to see improvdements in WGDC at higher boost.
    Improvements in wgdc may be a lot to hope for but we'll see. I'm just hoping they won't be worse, i.e. more wgdc for same boost levels...i'm not daily driving my car anymore so it'll take a while before i have some logs as I need to cover 500miles for clutch break-in

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by dzenno Click here to enlarge
    Improvements in wgdc may be a lot to hope for but we'll see. I'm just hoping they won't be worse, i.e. more wgdc for same boost levels...i'm not daily driving my car anymore so it'll take a while before i have some logs as I need to cover 500miles for clutch break-in
    When you do get a chance to test, try and do it at the same ambient conditions as you did with your other intercoolers. FMICs are very sensitive to ambient conditions.
    Some people live long, meaningful lives.

    Other people eat shit and die.

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    Click here to enlarge

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    Got a picture of the front showing the intercooler as seen when the bumper is on?
    Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    When you do get a chance to test, try and do it at the same ambient conditions as you did with your other intercoolers. FMICs are very sensitive to ambient conditions.
    Ya, of course, otherwise gets hard to direct compare and data just becomes trashed by everyone including your neighbor lol trying to keep it clean with low $#@!show potential

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Brey335i Click here to enlarge
    Got a picture of the front showing the intercooler as seen when the bumper is on?
    I'll get one

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    Nice. Glad your doing this. Sometimes hype of a product doesn't mean it's better just more pricey for the end user at the end!

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    I have the V1 helix intercooler and love it. I'll be looking forward to this data, it's great that you take the time to do such extensive testing!
    Click here to enlarge
    ESS 6XX kit

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    I can assure you is not going to disappoint

    is 1 as I have done hundreds of tests and is much better than my old vk

  11. #11
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    We'll see, hopefully it'll show to be worthy its praise

  12. #12
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    Clean install!
    It'll be interesting to see the outcome. Click here to enlarge
    GT-R R35 ​coming up...

  13. #13
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    nice, you must have been bored... looking forward to the data.

  14. #14
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JoshBoody Click here to enlarge
    nice, you must have been bored... looking forward to the data.
    I'm never bored Click here to enlarge just curious

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    Well done.

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    Interesting to see if there is any measurable difference.
    Do you remember the diameter of the throttle body?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 654 Click here to enlarge
    Interesting to see if there is any measurable difference.
    Do you remember the diameter of the throttle body?
    TB must be something like 4" right?
    Click here to enlarge

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    I would guess somewhere around 3.25

  19. #19
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 654 Click here to enlarge
    I would guess somewhere around 3.25
    sounds about right

  20. #20
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    Nice write-up.
    Looking at the pictures, is there anything holding this FMIC in place exept gravity, or is it just resting on your made brackets?
    Did you make any pictures of what you had to cut out of the front bumper to make it fit?
    There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works

  21. #21
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
    Nice write-up.
    Looking at the pictures, is there anything holding this FMIC in place exept gravity, or is it just resting on your made brackets?
    Did you make any pictures of what you had to cut out of the front bumper to make it fit?
    No brackets from the "top" of it but the top plastic piece that sits behind the grills sits on the top above it and we made a heater hose cushion in between that plastic and the top of the FMIC...this thing won't budge no matter how hard you push/pull on it, its very tight in there, at least that's what she said..

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by dzenno Click here to enlarge
    at least that's what she said
    Well, she's gonna do all the shaking so she wil know Click here to enlarge
    Just could not tell from the pictures. It looked like there was a lot of room between the FMIC and that middle piece.
    There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works

  23. #23
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    Forgot to take a pic at the end of the install before putting the bumper cover on but there's a thick cushion made out of heater hose in between the fmic and the top plastic piece...this thing is in there tight and not going anywhere

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by dzenno Click here to enlarge
    ...this thing is in there tight and not going anywhere
    That is what she said!!! Click here to enlarge

  25. #25
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by farbmw Click here to enlarge
    That is what she said!!! Click here to enlarge
    yep, something along those lines for sho!

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