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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cooler Than Winterfell - Ford Focus ST Intercooler R&D, Part 1: Stock Review


Brace yourselves, winter is coming; and we are jumping into the frigid waters which we know well — improved intercooler performance. The patient going underneath our scalpel for R&D is the 2013+ Ford Focus ST, but per our usual process, let’s first take a brief second to examine the stock system.



Ford decided to use tube-and-fin construction for this intercooler instead of bar and plate. The difference between the two is pretty simple. Tube-and-fin intercoolers are more commonplace amongst stock applications. They are lighter and promote greater airflow through the core exterior. The trade-offs to these qualities are less heat transfer and more susceptibility to road damage.

Bar-and-plate intercoolers, however, have increased cooling efficiency over a tube-and-fin design. They are physically a stronger intercooler, meaning they can withstand more direct damage. The drawback here is weight. The greatest strength over tube-and-fin is a blessing and a curse in the sense that it has more thermal mass to work with, but it is a heavier item, adding some front end weight to your ride. Also, although it has a thicker core, this means more resistance to airflow than a tube-and-fin design. The core choice depends on which application the design is for, but those are the facts.



Back to the intercooler at hand. This unit has a height of 6 inches, and a width of 2.5 inches. From end tank to end tank, the length measures at 26 inches. Speaking of end tanks, these are constructed of plastic and we intend to fix that. As we all know, these end tanks are in a constant state of flux between hot and cold. This doesn’t bode well for the plastic because it can weaken over time, causing cracks in the surface, which would lead to — you guessed it — boost leaks. No one likes a boost leak. So we plan to incorporate aluminum end tanks to prevent this from ever happening.



Upon inspection, our engineer has also noticed that this intercooler has a fairly loose core construction. This means that fins inside the core are spaced relatively far apart. This is often the case with factory intercoolers, and there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with that. We are just going to improve it with a tighter core construction to allow for more heat transfer.


What’s Next?



The intercooler is out, so we will get to work on some design ideas. We are going to sample a few different designs and sizes to find the best balance of heat transfer, pressure drop and improved airflow. I’ll dive deeper into these aspects of the design in the next update. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

-Diamaan
 

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I don't see why this needs to be long and drawn out (In typical Mishimoto fashion for R&D).... Other than if you're trying the marketing ploy of dribbling out info to keep folks engaged?

You've got pre-made cores on the shelf that fit, that you already sell today. You only need to fab brackets, and get the right couplers. Testing could have been done and presented in the time it took you to take apart the car and take pictures of individual OEM parts.

What would be interesting is if you could improve on what you already offer in terms of an existing core, or a custom core that doesnt fit within the confines of the J/M/R line cores.

<--Monday morning coffee hasn't kicked in, I'm in a grumpy mood.
 

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I don't see why this needs to be long and drawn out (In typical Mishimoto fashion for R&D).... Other than if you're trying the marketing ploy of dribbling out info to keep folks engaged?

You've got pre-made cores on the shelf that fit, that you already sell today. You only need to fab brackets, and get the right couplers. Testing could have been done and presented in the time it took you to take apart the car and take pictures of individual OEM parts.

What would be interesting is if you could improve on what you already offer in terms of an existing core, or a custom core that doesnt fit within the confines of the J/M/R line cores.

<--Monday morning coffee hasn't kicked in, I'm in a grumpy mood.
Wowza. Sorry for whoever peed in your Cheerios :)

There's a lot more to IC selection than just whatever fits in the space. For most street cars, the difference is negligible. But, there's a lot of R&D work behind getting the proper-sized core for the turbo, flow, and engine. Further, ducting air to the core. The testing to balance size, volume, efficiency with flow, lag, throttle response, etc.

I don't know Mishimoto's plans, but if they are doing true R&D on a solution here, that's a heck of a lot more than finding a universal core and making some brackets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't see why this needs to be long and drawn out (In typical Mishimoto fashion for R&D).... Other than if you're trying the marketing ploy of dribbling out info to keep folks engaged?

You've got pre-made cores on the shelf that fit, that you already sell today. You only need to fab brackets, and get the right couplers. Testing could have been done and presented in the time it took you to take apart the car and take pictures of individual OEM parts.

What would be interesting is if you could improve on what you already offer in terms of an existing core, or a custom core that doesnt fit within the confines of the J/M/R line cores.

<--Monday morning coffee hasn't kicked in, I'm in a grumpy mood.
Hey, we all need that first cup of coffee to start the week off!

While we do have cores that can be matched to the piping we'd want, that always isn't that case in every project. There are times when we've had to design intercooler cores from scratch to fit with our design plans. We will sample a few cores here to see how we want to proceed with the kit. If you are looking for more substantial and inclusive content, that will be in the next update!

We just usually try to get things started off by analyzing the stock system. That not only benefits us, but also educates anyone reading through how we started the project. Transparency goes a long way, so we want to include you guys through in the product development process every step of the way. Hope this helps!

Wowza. Sorry for whoever peed in your Cheerios :)

There's a lot more to IC selection than just whatever fits in the space. For most street cars, the difference is negligible. But, there's a lot of R&D work behind getting the proper-sized core for the turbo, flow, and engine. Further, ducting air to the core. The testing to balance size, volume, efficiency with flow, lag, throttle response, etc.

I don't know Mishimoto's plans, but if they are doing true R&D on a solution here, that's a heck of a lot more than finding a universal core and making some brackets.
Thanks for the kind words! There are a lot of factors that must be considered when designing an intercooler kit. Piping is a very big one. Balance is very key when you want an intercooler to really do some good on the performance. Again, transparency is key, we want to include you guys in every step of the process. In the next update, we will layout our plans and ground a foundation for how we will proceed with this project. Stay tuned!
 

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I was getting ready to ask when you guys would do an intercooler...and maybe exhaust. Looking forward to more info!
 

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Subscribed!
 

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I don't see why this needs to be long and drawn out (In typical Mishimoto fashion for R&D).... Other than if you're trying the marketing ploy of dribbling out info to keep folks engaged?

You've got pre-made cores on the shelf that fit, that you already sell today. You only need to fab brackets, and get the right couplers. Testing could have been done and presented in the time it took you to take apart the car and take pictures of individual OEM parts.

What would be interesting is if you could improve on what you already offer in terms of an existing core, or a custom core that doesnt fit within the confines of the J/M/R line cores.

<--Monday morning coffee hasn't kicked in, I'm in a grumpy mood.
Pipe down sunshine.

Some of us like to see the analysis of the original part in addition to the development of the aftermarket replacement, rather than HERE'S A PART and a link to buy it.
 

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Don't knock plastic... it will hold 20+psi and 240*F++ coolant and not leak. Just because its cheaper to cast aluminum ends tanks, does not make glass fiber reinforced plastic "weaker". Pound for pound, it's hard to beat.

Otherwise.. where were world be without marketing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Don't knock plastic... it will hold 20+psi and 240*F++ coolant and not leak. Just because its cheaper to cast aluminum ends tanks, does not make glass fiber reinforced plastic "weaker". Pound for pound, it's hard to beat.

Otherwise.. where were world be without marketing!
Very true!

Starting out, plastic components are great, but when it comes to durability and longevity, aluminum end tanks tend to be the stronger option. This is evident on plastic radiator end tanks because over time (sometimes not even a long period of time) they begin to crack and leak with the constant exposure to hot and cool temperatures. In no way do I intend to slight the benefits of plastic in certain applications, but the reason why a large majority of the high performance race applications use aluminum end tanks is because of their superior, heavy-duty strength.
 

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Ive waited on this FMIC so long that my sponsorship code expired. First heard about the rumors at carlisle in July of last year. Any updates, I need an excuse to take my 5.5" Depo off and put it on my mustang.
 
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Last I heard it'll prolly be late summer.
 

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Last I heard it'll prolly be late summer.
Ill make sure to harass the Mishi girls about it at carlisle, maybe if i bug them enough they'll give me one to test out.
 

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Ill make sure to harass the Mishi girls about it at carlisle, maybe if i bug them enough they'll give me one to test out.
LOL!! I harass em enough for all of us! Got a Levels on order but would switch it out for a Mishi. Be a good comparison
 

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LOL!! I harass em enough for all of us! Got a Levels on order but would switch it out for a Mishi. Be a good comparison
I'm just waiting on the announcement of size and at what price point they will be selling. Might just keep the DEPO on the ST and put a Mishi on the Mustang. Only time will tell, for now I think ill mock up the stock ST FMIC on the Mustang.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Cooler Than Winterfell - Ford Focus ST Intercooler R&D, Part 2: Prototype Core
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Full-size car

It looks like mother nature is giving the tell-tale signs to us gearheads that it’s time to get ready for track season. The weather is getting warmer and tracks all around the country have kicked off calendar seasons with maiden 2017 events already in full swing. A common mod many of us who are boosted, especially ST owners, want during this time of year is the intercooler. The 2013+ Ford Focus ST features quality design for its the factory intercooler, but improved efficiency is something we like to target. In the last update, we talked about the shortcomings of the factory core and how we plan to make an even more efficient intercooler. Now that we have received our production samples for the first time, we can get into the details of the design plan and what our goals are to improve performance.



Intercooler fitment is always a very important aspect of intercooler design. Since the pipes are connected to vital parts of the engine, the core needs to be in a place that allows flexibility in its connections for when the engine moves. This is why we need to devote time to checking, re-checking and then triple checking how parts fit. The closest we can get to seeing how our proposed design fits, is to make it a reality, so the lead engineer for this project has rigged up a wooden frame for the core and attached in-hose 3D-printed end tanks.





The prototype’s sample showed our other design ideas are suitable. While we plan to have a core volume of 924.59in³, which is an increase of 128% over stock, we intend to keep the factory intercooler shrouding intact as it will properly direct airflow to our intercooler. One thing that will have to be axed, though, is the active splitters that come with the car. There simply isn’t enough room to keep them with our much thicker core. The splitters are an interesting feature that comes with this car from factory, because they open up when air temperatures get too high and allows more airflow. However, now that the front face of our core is much closer to the front grill, plenty of constant airflow is better for performance over anything impeding that. After all, this is a performance upgrade. With a 32% increase in external fin surface area, we want as much air slamming the front of this intercooler as possible. On the bright side, it will ease and simplify the installation!



With our early stage prototype fitting as expected, we had to wait for our production samples to arrive at our headquarters, an easy enough step but sometimes gets repeated. We went through several samples and design changes, settling on one that we were comfortable with. They were fairly minor changes, but this process nevertheless delayed the project. However, we are back on track with brand new functioning samples ready to test, so let’s continue the progress. See below for shots of our core.





Our loaner 2013 Focus ST will go through dyno testing soon, equipped with the new intercooler prototype. It’s just a matter of first deciding which color to throw on the car!



-Diamaan
 
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