Peek Into This Transparent Intercooler on the Dyno at High Boost

The transparent end tanks give us a look inside, but they’re a little fragile at high PSI…

byLewin Day| PUBLISHED May 9, 2022 9:17 PM
Peek Into This Transparent Intercooler on the Dyno at High Boost
YouTube/Warped Perception

When it comes to the inner workings of engines, many of us have learned what goes on with the help of various pictures and diagrams. However, YouTuber Warped Perception prefers to see what's happening with his own eyes. His latest video features a transparent intercooler, showing off how the air flows within.

The intercooler is fitted to Warped Perception's 1000-horsepower Toyota Supra Mk IV. The 2JZ engine is fitted with a large single turbo setup, with the giant intercooler charged with bringing down intake temperatures to help make those big power numbers. We've seen this car before, actually, when a GoPro was stuffed inside the intake tract to visualize the injection happening at the ports.

The first attempt to build the transparent intercooler didn't quite go to plan. At just 15 psi, the custom transparent end tanks failed, leading to the end of the experiment. The solution came in the form of aluminum reinforcements to the end tanks to help them hold the pressure. There were still concerns that the tanks might shatter under high boost, so the car was babied on its way to the dyno so that if it did fail catastrophically, it would do so on camera.

On arrival, the Supra was rigged up on a hub dyno for a static RPM test. The throttle was configured to control boost levels while the engine remained at a constant RPM. A fog machine was employed to squirt smoke into the air filter to allow the flow through the intercooler to be easily visualized.

The first run was done at 2 psi of boost. With glycerine fog flowing into the air filter, the flow can be clearly seen with the naked eye. When the fog is switched off, it's easy to see the engine sucking in air as it passes through the tubes of the intercooler.

The intercooler was then cleaned with water sprayed into the turbo to remove the glycerine that had built up in the transparent end tanks. The function of the intercooler was obvious, as the cool side fogged up with condensation from the chilled water passing through. Further runs were executed at 8 psi and 15 psi without incident.

Sadly, though, the plastic end tanks couldn't hold up as the boost was increased. At 20 psi, the cold-side tank was blown off the side of the intercooler, with an almighty bang and plastic shattering in the process. Thus, don't expect transparent intercoolers to catch on anytime soon.

The intercooler couldn't hold up to 20 psi of boost. YouTube/Warped Perception

As for the measurements taken, peak temperatures were recorded as 204.6°F (95.8°C) at the inlet and just 73.6°F (23.1°C) at the outlet, showing the impact the huge intercooler has on inlet air temperatures. Cooler air is denser, and thus provides more oxygen to the engine for combustion for greater power output. Giant intercoolers are thus very useful on high-power turbo engines, where they remove much of the heat added to the intake charge by the turbo's compressor stage.

It's always great to see some quality footage that shows us what's happening in various parts of a car. Warped Perception is no stranger to the field; the man was creative enough to stick a GoPro inside a tire, after all. We can't wait to see what he shoots next.

Got a tip? Let the author know: