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2014 ST3. Garrett Powermax turbo, Thermal Turboback, CPE intercooler, JBR intake, Innovative RMM
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of us that live in humid climates and run aftermarket intercoolers, i'm sure at one point or another you were cruising down the highway for a while and either dropped a gear to pass, or got off the exit and upon acceleration experienced a massive power cut where the engine chokes out and falls flat on it's face. A few seconds later it's back to normal like nothing ever happened and no codes are set. You more than likely experienced water ingestion due to condensation buildup inside your intercooler.

What happens is, much like a cold glass of beer on a hot summer day, during steady cruise, no boost, the inside of the IC tubes collect water from the humid charge air due to the surface temperature difference. Well this begins to drip down and collect in the outlet tank. Eventually you get into enough boost that this puddle is carried up into your engine and causes a total flame-out.

Having been exposed to this issue in the gen1 f150 ecoboost and having experienced it on my own 2013 f150 with both the stock intercooler and my Wagner intercooler, i knew the solution: drill a weep hole in the outlet tank, so the puddle could never form. Since installing the CPE intercooler on my ST i've experienced this a few times on long trips but never enough to bother changing anything about it up until recently.

Fast forward to this year, I started a new job thats 98% highway driving from my door to work. With the recent constant humid weather the last couple months where it's 70 and muggy at 6am, I've been experiencing this issue daily on my morning commute. It's never done it in the afternoon, I think that has something to do with the dew point but i'm not an expert on that matter.

The 3.5 ecoboost guys use a 1/16" (1.6mm) drill bit. I wanted to start small because i didn't want to create a noticeable leak off the bat. I picked up a pack of 0.3mm (advertised as 0.5mm) drill bits off amazon and borrowed a micro drill from my neighbor and drilled a hole in the lowest part of the passenger side (outlet) end tank. The CPE intercooler i have uses a diverter right in the center of the end tank so i chose to drill on the front half of that diverter first. That alone made a noticeable difference but on a rainy morning a few days later the issue was still there, although not as bad. Due to the difficulty drilling aluminum with a 0.3mm bit and having returned my neighbors drill i chose to pick up a titan micro drill kit for myself and go at it from there. I ended up stepping up and going with two 0.5mm holes, one on either side of the divider. I've run this setup through a muggy, nasty, rainy week and the problem is gone.

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Heres a link to the drill kit i ended up buying for the second round of drilling:



Most people are blown away by this. "Aren't you creating a boost leak?" "Won't dirt and water get into your engine?"
The leak you're creating is so minor that you aren't sacrificing any power. The intercooler is always equal to or above atmospheric pressure so no ingestion can occur. If you submerged the front of the car in water, it would slowly fill up through those tiny holes. In that case, though, you need to worry about who is getting your car out of the lake over anything else.
 

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I remember dealing with these issues 20 years ago. The look on people's faces when I explained what I did to resolve the issue. Priceless!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It created quite the unecessary concern. Thousands of f150 owners have successfully fixed their trucks by doing this. Fords stupid intercooler shields they released in their recall didn't work, just made the intercooler less efficient.
 

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It created quite the unecessary concern. Thousands of f150 owners have successfully fixed their trucks by doing this. Fords stupid intercooler shields they released in their recall didn't work, just made the intercooler less efficient.
Yeah as the efficiency of the IC increases so does the likelihood of this very thing occurring. Double edged sword.

If we only knew someone in the market that could taper the IC end tank in such a way that would promote pudding in that area. This way if the end user found this modification necessary they would have a logical and consistent solution.

... @CVF-Jason 🤔😜
 

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2016 ST2, Absolute Black, Monster FMIC, Turbosmart BPV, ALEX' Shift Bushings,PCV-OCC, Innovative RMM
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I haven't run mine long enough to see what happens.
The thought of drilling a hole crossed my mind, but hard to do that after just buying a FMIC and knowing the K03 is small.
Good point it's not on the vacuum side of the throttle body.

So far I've noticed the slightest hesitation with the stock K03 and monster 5" FMIC when first getting on it.
I wonder if that could be related to a little condensation? :unsure:
But overall improvement pulls hard after. Kinda reminds me of an old 20R carb Toyota I had where the vacuum advance on the distributor had been slowly dying. When I figured that out and put the new one on, WOW!

I still gotta do some logs and intentionally drive the car different ways to see what's going on.
 

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I just ran my car hard all the time, Humidity never had a chance to pool up, lmfao

Never had this issue, Depot Beast for like 80,000 miles.
 

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I know this is making the fix over complex but maybe a automatic air line drain with float could be used? They have some very small ones.

I have had this happen as I drive 60 miles a day mostly highway. Knew straight away what it was but it still sucks. I just ease into it a couple times before I get into it good.
 
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Need a small drain check valve that stays open at low pressure, but seals by the time you're at say 10 psi boost?
 

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I just ran my car hard all the time, Humidity never had a chance to pool up, lmfao

Never had this issue, Depot Beast for like 80,000 miles.
Ya me too and I live in NC. Turbo just needs to actually “drive” his car lol
 

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Yeah as the efficiency of the IC increases so does the likelihood of this very thing occurring. Double edged sword.

If we only knew someone in the market that could taper the IC end tank in such a way that would promote pudding in that area. This way if the end user found this modification necessary they would have a logical and consistent solution.

... @CVF-Jason 🤔😜
We went the route of designing this guy under the cold-side end tank. Just pop it off and drain - replug and you're good to go!

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Guess if you were lazy you could drill your vent hole in the center of the plug... 😉
 
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One other thought on the FMIC hole.

I believe some car manufacturers with DI and cam phasers intentionally open throttle when cruising to reduce pumping losses. Is that done only for NA cars?! That should help with condensation issue for forced induction if used on those too.

So while the hole trick might work for Ecoboost and many pre-DI cars, may want to consider in detail for other newer cars?
Will the control scheme ever result in vacuum at FMIC exit? Probably not, but worth checking first.
 

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A water catch can?
 

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Most people are blown away by this. "Aren't you creating a boost leak?"
This is hilarious because the other day when the thread came up, I was sitting here thinking about how one could drill a small enough hole so the pressure would slowly force the water out of the lowest point where it settles, but I didn't want to get laughed at. My idea included somehow gate it with one of those sintered metal filters to eliminate any "hiss" that may accompany the new hole. I'm just not so sure 25psi would even be enough to make any noise. Are you able to hear it at all?

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This is hilarious because the other day when the thread came up, I was sitting here thinking about how one could drill a small enough hole so the pressure would slowly force the water out of the lowest point where it settles, but I didn't want to get laughed at. My idea included somehow gate it with one of those sintered metal filters to eliminate any "hiss" that may accompany the new hole. I'm just not so sure 25psi would even be enough to make any noise. Are you able to hear it at all?

View attachment 394058
Maybe one of the screw in air control sintered elements could be combined with a restrictor to limit the hole size, kinda like the O2 defouler?
 

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Maybe one of the screw in air control sintered elements could be combined with a restrictor to limit the hole size, kinda like the O2 defouler?
or any kind of really small valve, even an old adjustable carb jet, that would you could close it off in the winter too since it wouldn't be needed
 
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