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  1. #1
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    Air to Water and Air to Air intercooler questions/discussion

    I've read until I couldn't see straight anymore and their were so many bad discussions with the arguments being all over the place. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel and know in the end 99% of the discussions conclude with just run an A2A. My questions would focus more on setups that are daily driven, non factoring in money at all, limited flowing stock frame turbos, no ice reservoirs, properly designed/sized IC setups with a good Heat Exchanger, IC, Pump and controller.

    Which flows better? Almost all discussions I've seen state that the A2W will have a lower pressure drop over an A2A, I would think with limited stock frame turbos this would be an important factor possibly allowing higher boost levels to be more efficient.

    Would Throttle response/lag be better? Typically A2W IC's are known for better response with the shorter distance. I'm not sure how much this could be helped given the placement of the turbo's and throttle body but assuming going over the engine or under with the piping to reduce distance. Thoughts?

    Efficiency? The discussions I've found states that water/fluid will cool the Intake Air much quicker and efficiently but I've seen mixed discussions on what temps the Charged air can get down to. Some state it can get down to ambient for a short time but others state it cannot even get down to A2A IC temps without an ice reservoir.

    What weight difference would their be? I've heard for a properly setup A2W IC you would need a good sized heat exchanger and putting all that weight on the front end would be bad. How many gallons would it take for a proper setup? Your already hanging a 20-25 lb IC on the front of the car now is it really that much of a difference.

    I've even found discussions on this forum where some current active members have stated that A2W IC's are so inefficient/expensive that manufacturers only use them when they do not have a choice due to packaging. Well a lot of newer cars are coming with A2W IC's and they aren't mid engine cars so that doesn't sound accurate.

    Would there be a noticeable difference if somebody were to take a stock frame turbo N54 and run a properly setup A2W running E85 and/or meth like most people do?
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  2. #2
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    A2W with E85 is the best thing. You'd probably set stock turbo records. You get less pressure drop and the charge cooling is fine with a smaller core due to better heat transfer.

    You have a efficiency loss in cooling since you have to cool the fluid with air afterwards, but people who think this actually matters are kinda mistaken. I mean, sure, fluid temp won't be ambient. But who cares? It's still doing a better job than A2A on average usually with less pressure drop. Heatsoak is only an issue if sized incorrectly or you track constantly at high boost. Kinda like A2A.... I digress.

    It's better OP. But it's also a pain in the ass compared to A2A. So much so I'd not use it unless I reaaaally wanted to squeeze everything out I could. Why not just get hybrids? Easier and cheaper per hp.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by V8Bait Click here to enlarge
    A2W with E85 is the best thing. You'd probably set stock turbo records. You get less pressure drop and the charge cooling is fine with a smaller core due to better heat transfer.

    You have a efficiency loss in cooling since you have to cool the fluid with air afterwards, but people who think this actually matters are kinda mistaken. I mean, sure, fluid temp won't be ambient. But who cares? It's still doing a better job than A2A on average usually with less pressure drop. Heatsoak is only an issue if sized incorrectly or you track constantly at high boost. Kinda like A2A.... I digress.

    It's better OP. But it's also a pain in the ass compared to A2A. So much so I'd not use it unless I reaaaally wanted to squeeze everything out I could. Why not just get hybrids? Easier and cheaper per hp.
    I get it's not worth the money, that's typically one of the main points that comes up when people asked. I'm more curious on if somebody did it properly would it be noticeable, most of internet discussions are based on hearsay and most likely a lot of improperly setup poor quality kits. My curiosity is based on the fact that the newer BMW's are using them, specifically the S55 which I've heard is supposed to be about as responsive as an NA motor and historically is setup for reliable track use.
    2008 135i - Cobb AP, JB4 G5 w/2Step&FSB, MS DP's, Berk street exhaust, AMS IC, VTT Inlets, UR Intake, ER CP w/Tial BOV, Spec 3+ & Steel FW, CDV delete, Quaife LSD, DSS Axles, M3 control arms, M3 rear SF bushings, M3 Trans bushings, SS brake lines. Pics

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    Is anybody even running air to water on the N54?
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by brusk Click here to enlarge
    I get it's not worth the money, that's typically one of the main points that comes up when people asked. I'm more curious on if somebody did it properly would it be noticeable, most of internet discussions are based on hearsay and most likely a lot of improperly setup poor quality kits. My curiosity is based on the fact that the newer BMW's are using them, specifically the S55 which I've heard is supposed to be about as responsive as an NA motor and historically is setup for reliable track use.
    The A2W allows the new m3 to have very short charge pipe since the core is on top. The low restriction (pressure drop) keeps air velocity up traveling to the manifold at all boost levels. Also, the m3 is kinda about maximizing everything. A2W helps in those goals, sure. But also the S55 is just a superior engine design for that too.

    I don't know anyone running A2W in a N5X. I have only personally used it in a fiero build with a friend. Car had about two feet of charge pipe including the intercooler, was nice with a built 3.4 dohc v6 with a gt35R and 7800rpm. Wasn't a cheap setup but performed astoundingly, car made nearly 500whp with barely any boost.

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    2 out of 5 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    was wondering about this

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mecanoman6 Click here to enlarge
    was wondering about this
    Hmmm you feel like a spammer
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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    I find this speculation entertaining. On the GMC Syclone and Typhoon that comes with an A2W Intercooler from the factory, the big upgrade was to go to a front mount air-to-air unit. After you got moving, the temps stayed down better than the A2W unit...of course the A2W unit sits right on top of the engine. One of the more interesting projects was putting a A/C evaporator in the A2W unit and cooling the water below ambient....just plumbing it into the stock A/C system. Sure it would not last forever because the A/C compressor kicks out at WOT, but the "bank" of cold water was there to draw on.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Syclone Click here to enlarge
    I find this speculation entertaining. On the GMC Syclone and Typhoon that comes with an A2W Intercooler from the factory, the big upgrade was to go to a front mount air-to-air unit. After you got moving, the temps stayed down better than the A2W unit...of course the A2W unit sits right on top of the engine. One of the more interesting projects was putting a A/C evaporator in the A2W unit and cooling the water below ambient....just plumbing it into the stock A/C system. Sure it would not last forever because the A/C compressor kicks out at WOT, but the "bank" of cold water was there to draw on.
    The Syclone and Typhoon were designed over two decades ago. Impressive trucks but from what I understand a lot of parts needed to be changed to make them reliable.
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    FWIW this is what I do for a living hahaha...A2W is certainly a better design as far as cooling capacity is concerned. That being said, a liquid cooled system has to have cold liquid. If you could use your A/C compressor to generate the cold fluid and pump that through the HX you'd have your solution. Pumping water through a HX wouldn't really get you anywhere...the water would pick up heat from the pump and continue to get hotter; you'd have to have a secondary HX to cool the water and even then you would never actually cool it to ambient temps. You need energy to make cold fluid which you can then use to make cold air. That energy is going to come from the engine one way or another. Ambient air isn't as "good" as cooling the compressor outlet air temps but it's free; free and OK > energy parasite and better. At least from a business and cost effectiveness standpoint. If money is no factor then it might be worth doing a study to see how much energy it takes to create the cold fluid vs the gains seen from using said fluid to drop intake air temps.
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    The only parasitic drag I can think of is the the water pump which is usually running off the electrical system pushing the water to the radiator to cool it back down. So maybe there's a drag on the alternator but..that's running regardless.

    I don't really agree with the idea of A2W succumbing to heatsoak as much as my research has led me to believe. If that were the case, my(VF kit on a S54) IAT would only go up, and that just isn't what I've observed in my logs. Once I get moving, IAT will drop back down. Now to what extent it would drop vs A2A..that I can't say.

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    I made a pretty long thread about this. I live in the desert. Ambient isn't very nice. Let me find the link for reference.

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    Here it is. Not directly related to your question, but there is quite a bit of discussion on the topic of A2W and AC systems. Never got a chance to test it as real life has been getting in the way of me getting back into an N54. But I'll be buying one again this year sometime.

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    It seems like proper A2W systems aren't tested very often to begin with let alone adding extra things to them. Ford toyed with the idea of adding an AC cooling option several times. I can't even find proper testing on A2W intercooled supercharged cars. I figured that would have had plenty of studies to showing different heat exhangers and pumps but from what my buddy says in the GT500 community it's just somebody tries something and the performance numbers say it was a good move so everybody does it. Drive's be nuts how many times his "Tuner" has changed things with no logging results or dyno sheets.
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    I wish someone could explain to me the theory that water recirculating and in constant contact with higher than ambient temps(200*?), will be more cool than air that is cooled by the same ambient air that only comes in contact with heated components once...

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by GearHead03 Click here to enlarge
    I wish someone could explain to me the theory that water recirculating and in constant contact with higher than ambient temps(200*?), will be more cool than air that is cooled by the same ambient air that only comes in contact with heated components once...
    Simply, the air is less "dense" than the water, and the specific heat of the water (how much heat energy water can absorb before heating up 1 degree) is much higher than air. So, water is in better contact with the metal core, and absorbs more energy faster than air rushing by would, leading to a faster decrease in core temp.

    Think of a stove heating up an empty pot. You turn the stove on high, and put about an inch of water into it and the pan stays cool for a long time as the water heats up. You can reach in after a minute of direct high heat and probably still touch the bottom of the pan without getting burned. If you instead just tried to cool the pan with a fan, well, the pan will get hot very fast.

    It doesn't necessarily cool it to lower temps since the water has to also be cooled afterwards (by air, in a second heat exchanger), but it will more than likely hold IAT temperatures at a lower average on hard acceleration runs, which is more important.

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    I would love to do a proper A2W system on an N54

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by THATDONFC Click here to enlarge
    I would love to do a proper A2W system on an N54
    Describe your vision?

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    Windshield washer nozzles routed as intercooler sprayers with some sort of aquarium micro cooling elements in the reservoir. Oversimplified enough?


    You you asked for his vision Klips. I gave you my hallucination.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by R.G. Click here to enlarge
    Windshield washer nozzles routed as intercooler sprayers with some sort of aquarium micro cooling elements in the reservoir. Oversimplified enough?


    You you asked for his vision Klips. I gave you my hallucination.
    I vaguely remember someone on 1addicts rerouted his windshield washers to mist the intercooler.

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    That will provide some evaporative cooling in dry climates like AZ or similar but when ambient humidity is >70% (every day in SoFla during the summer) you're just wasting water. It doesn't even have to be >70%; really any humid condition will limit how much water can evaporate. But for your AZ summer kids, DOIT.
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    My city is number 1 in the nation for lowest average humidty. Spit turns to dust before it hits the pavement.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by R.G. Click here to enlarge
    My city is number 1 in the nation for lowest average humidty. Spit turns to dust before it hits the pavement.
    LOL, where are you from? Florida claims to be the hottest state, but thats on average. Never do they see the extreme temps we get every year in AZ. Hitting 120 is no biggie. Walking around outside literally feels like you are walking in a huge blow dryer set to high. Ambient air on top of scorching pavement isn't doing shiat for the FMIC.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by klipseracer Click here to enlarge
    LOL, where are you from? Florida claims to be the hottest state, but thats on average. Never do they see the extreme temps we get every year in AZ. Hitting 120 is no biggie. Walking around outside literally feels like you are walking in a huge blow dryer set to high. Ambient air on top of scorching pavement isn't doing shiat for the FMIC.
    Look to the West Klips I'm right next to ya. Well North West anyway. It's already 90 degrees out here, should be a fun summer.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by klipseracer Click here to enlarge
    Describe your vision?
    I see an integrated A2W intake manifold with supplemental port injection.

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