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Camaro ZL1 RX Performance Super Chiller A/C Assisted Air-to-Water Intercooler Install - Super Chiller

Can an air-conditioned intercooler really chill your supercharged air temps?

Justin Cesler Mar 10, 2013

Heat is the enemy. It’s been the enemy since the very first internal combustion engine fired up well over 150 years ago, and will continue to be the enemy for, well, forever. This isn’t an engineering obstacle; it’s a fact of life and, unfortunately, not something a bunch of car guys are going to "fix" just because it would help us run faster at the track. As temperature rises (assuming pressure and volume stay the same, which we are going to do) density drops, which reduces overall power production. Remember, the more air molecules (volume and density) you can stuff in the cylinder, the more fuel you can add and the more power you can produce. If the Ideal Gas Law wasn’t bad enough, hotter air also increases the likelihood of pre-detonation within the combustion chamber (AKA knock), which left unchecked, will turn shiny new pistons into paperweights before you can even lift out of the throttle.


Now, on a naturally aspirated engine, heat is normally just a function of the outside air temperature, assuming you don’t have any major air intake tract restrictions or a ridiculously hot engine bay. The hotter the day, the less dense the air, and the less power you make. But, on a forced induction application, thermal management is a much more complicated issue. For starters, compressing air heats it. Yeah, read it again, it sucks. Compressing air will always heat it up, which means we need a way to cool it before jamming it into the combustion chamber. Luckily, hot rodders invented intercooling, which transfers heat out of the pressurized air, cooling it, and increasing its density in the process. These intercoolers work in a variety of ways, such as air-to-air, air-to-water, and even chemically, but they all rely on a transfer of heat to work properly. You’ve seen this at the track before, with turbocharged and supercharged drag racers stuffing tanks full of water and ice, which circulate through the intercooler to transfer heat away from the compressed air and into the water. This method is great, but for us street guys, it’s just not feasible to carry around 200-pounds of ice in the trunk that we can refill every time we want to smash on the loud pedal.


2. The RX heat exchanger intercepts refrigerant from the factory installed air conditioning system, and this manifold will need to be spliced in line between the condenser and evaporator. The solenoid controls flow into the cabin and can be engaged in “competition mode” to allow racers to run the A/C system without dripping water onto the track.

But, what if there was a way to introduce cold, almost freezing air into the system without ice. What if there was some system on a car that could use refrigerant to condition the intercooler coolant taking it from ambient temperatures to something much colder. Maybe you’ve used something like this before? I believe it would be called air conditioning (A/C), and we’re thinking that most cars come equipped with it. Now, instead of running the A/C in the cabin to cool your little behind and chill the cabin air, what if there was a way to divert that chilled charge to an "air-to-water" intercooler, and chill your charged air instead to decrease intercooler coolant temperatures. Would it drop incoming air temperatures enough to make a difference? Well, there is only one way to find out…


Redline Motorsports
Pompano Beach, FL 33064
RX Performance Products

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