Bring a Jacket: Mishimoto’s Honda Civic 1.5L Turbo Performance Intercooler R&D

  1. Mishimoto

    Mishimoto Senior Member
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    #1 Mishimoto, Feb 27, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    I’ve been labeled a Nissan guy for a long time now. My 1995 Nissan 240SX has served me well during the six years I’ve owned it, sticking with me through the second half of college, nine states on the east coast and more drift events than I can honestly count. Being a Nissan guy (specifically a 240 guy) has really been the one thing I could easily identify with, other than usually being able to see over crowds and get the “Did you play college ball?” question. While I’m familiar with what is known as the S-Chassis, I’m a car guy through and through, and I can appreciate the builds and the individual styles that come from all sorts of different personalities and backgrounds. This is exactly why when I saw this new 2016 Honda Civic 1.5L Turbo Hatchback pull into our parking lot last week, I got excited.

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    Even though it isn’t a rough-around-the-edges mid ‘90’s drift car, I can appreciate something that is this good looking. These new 2017 Civic Hatchbacks are not very common yet, especially in this Rallye Red and with a six-speed transmission. The owner told us that this is the only Civic of its kind in the entire state of Maryland right now. It was special-ordered from Europe, and took about a month to arrive. With a factory turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine putting out a baseline 175 horsepower, a sleek, stylish and aggressive body, and a starting base MSRP just south of $22,000, I’d be hard pressed to find a better deal on a brand-new, 2017 car. Let’s also not forget about the increasing aftermarket support this application is getting. We currently have a performance intake and a baffled oil catch can kit readily available for this Earthdreams engine, so it’s time for us to slap the hood prop up and start working on what Mishimoto is well known for – an intercooler.

    Knowing we have products out for this car, the layout of the engine was not unfamiliar to our lead engineer. Our notoriety in the aftermarket performance scene is based off our proficiency with cooling, so bringing in our expertise with this newly designed Civic platform will create great potential for great builds.

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    Given that the Civic’s power-plant is relatively small, having only 1.5 liters of displacement, we expected smaller components in the intercooler system. The stock core uses a tube-and-fin construction as most stock applications do. This design is generally more lightweight, flows more air through the core exterior and are cheap to make. One drawback, however, is how damage-prone the intercooler can be. I know a lot of you Civic drivers are concerned about your intercooler sustaining road damage, especially in inclement weather, so durability is something that we must consider in our design. Tube-and-fin designs also are typically less capable of effective heat transfer (increasing the chance of heat soak).

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    The flip side of that coin are bar-and-plate intercooler cores. This is the most common route taken when it comes to aftermarket intercooler core construction. If you want to have increased cooling efficiency and higher resistance to physical damage, this is the design you want to go with. Due to their increased structural integrity over a tube-and-fin design, weight is sacrificed, making the same size intercooler heavier. Airflow through the core exterior is also limited as a result, but this can be overcome with an efficient design and adequate ducting to direct as much air through the core as possible.

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    An interesting subject about the stock intercooler core on this 2017 Civic hatchback deals with end tanks. These tanks have flanges that connect to the intercooler pipes instead of the more commonly seen couplings. It’s important to point out because the pipes seal to the end tank flanges with O-rings, which is something we’ll also need to think about when designing a core. This will affect how we upgrade the intercooler pipes, which will both have an increased inner diameter, making fitment something to keep in mind.

    With the end tanks, we will of course do away with the plastic. The constant heat cycling this plastic is exposed to can eventually cause cracking and boost leaks. No thanks. If I planned on keeping a car like this for a long time, I’d want to prevent the possibility of cracking end tanks. Our intercooler will incorporate cast end tanks, making for a sturdy core.

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    Our intercooler core design will also improve all-around performance for the Civic. Although we plan to make the intercooler slightly thicker, we aren’t putting all our eggs in that basket. Instead of making the intercooler as thick as possible, we think that it will be better if it were taller. Our engineer wants to push the core out slightly to clear the front crash beam enough to add some height and a bit of width to our core.

    With the added height, there will be more fin surface area for the air to contact. This improves the cooling efficiency by increasing the intercooler’s ability to transfer heat. Core surface area and internal volume are important factors in cooling potential, but the path the air has to travel is just as important. In an application like this, a core that is more thick than tall, could wind up losing potential cooling efficiency. This is due to the added depth the air travels, and since the deeper end of the core would be pressed right up against the radiator, those fins will be much warmer. In addition to that, you also restrict airflow to the radiator, keeping things hotter in areas where you want things to be cooler with more circulating airflow.

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    Our engineer has made a basic frame to represent the dimensions of the intercooler core (above) You can see it is just as wide as the stock core, a little thicker and a bit taller – all attributes that make a superior design. When considering all of the plans we have laid down, the stage is now set for this project to begin taking shape.

    We love what Honda has done for this platform. It’s sad to say, but this generation has begun moving away from getting hands-on with cars. With the looming takeover of electric vehicles and the staggering technological advancements made in vehicular systems, it’s getting harder and more expensive to modify newer cars. Thanks to this Civic, the seemingly dwindling automotive aftermarket has been kept alive, with a well-priced, turbocharged platform we are confident will have aftermarket support. We have some really cool plans for this project, and I’m excited to bring you guys along as we roll out more updates. Stay tuned!

    -Diamaan
     
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  2. kshawn

    kshawn Senior Member

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    just don't charge $600 and you'll sell plenty xD
     
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  3. SilverGhost

    SilverGhost Ktuner tuned X2 CivicX.

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  4. dc2turbo

    dc2turbo Senior Member

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    when charge pipes comse out. you can just buy a universal intercooler for $100 and it be good enough for street use
     
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  5. kshawn

    kshawn Senior Member

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    Very true. Thanks for the advice!
     
  6. hawk02

    hawk02 Senior Member

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    The OE one works pretty good, just see all Vit's testing, NO need to upgrade intake, intercooler or down pipe to make great power UNLESS you upgrade the turbo!
     
  7. dc2turbo

    dc2turbo Senior Member

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    hes also running on race fuel
     
  8. hawk02

    hawk02 Senior Member

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    Actually he said the fuel he's using wasn't that great, I'll get his posts on Facebook
     
  9. hawk02

    hawk02 Senior Member

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    87 and 91 octane
     
  10. hawk02

    hawk02 Senior Member

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    Not knocking any new products just saying that for the average consumer who just wants a bit more performance a tuner is ALL that's needed, for me if I wanted a "RACE" car I would have not got a Civic unless I could afford the TypeR. I will make it fun to drive, look great and handle well though without stressing it too much.
     
  11. OP
    Mishimoto

    Mishimoto Senior Member
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    We are developing pipes for both the hot and cold side pipes as well that will make for a full kit. The design is actually not that straightforward and it won't necessarily be easy to simply attach any charge pipe kit to any core. Read more on that here!

    I appreciate your input. This car is still pretty new to the aftermarket and there will be a lot of third party testing to see how parts improve performance. That's the great thing about this car though, there will be a lot of room for potential given the stock power-plant. While an intercooler will be a bit more of an involved upgrade, over an intake for example, it is an upgrade that will be worth having for the crowd looking to go further with modifications to their Civic.

    Once we get a core prototype, we will do our own testing in house and report back with results. Time will tell!
     
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  12. kshawn

    kshawn Senior Member

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    What's really needed is a clutch upgrade
     
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  13. Bmorecivic

    Bmorecivic Bmore turbo civic

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    Hello there---I noticed on the pics the Maryland tags..I live in Baltimore & got a 17 Hatchback sport a few months ago..
    Definitely pleased by the look but would like to make it "sound " and "drive " a bit more aggressive---
    Any way to look you or the shop up close me..? Thanks again
    Dave---here are some pics

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  14. zrwizard

    zrwizard Senior Member

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    Give us a update, very interested and will a tune be necessary ? Or stock you will see an improvement?
     
  15. hawk02

    hawk02 Senior Member

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    How was the front and rear red badge install/removal?? Any tips?? Thanks.
     
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