Talk about a disappointment. I was cruising around when I heard a pop and seen a check engine light come on. At that point, it was running fine but different. It wasn’t a huge concern to me, there was no smells, sounds, or smoke getting my attention. Well, during my week of repairs to clean up, I decided to do a boost leak test. I made one of those spiffy adapters and put the compressor on it. Before I even got to 1 psi, I could hear the air rushing out and I knew it was time to get to work. This was more challenging than I thought it would be, even with the car on the lift and the bumper removed.
I could hear the air, but I couldn’t feel or find it. I was ready to give up when I decided to check the rear side of the inter-cooler. It wasn’t hard, since it wasn’t bolted down tightly, I just pulled it up and gave the back side a glance. Staring back at me was a ton of crushed fins and bent tunnels. The make shift installation had been so sloppy that the bottom of the IC would slam against the lip of the cross member, which resulted in a 10 mm hole in the IC.
The better news here is that I had a MAPP torch and wasn’t afraid to test my hand at brazing. Yes, it will still need replaced, no it won’t work as well as before, no it did not look good. Actually, the results were so ugly, I refused to take any pictures for sharing. I was able to seal the hole up with an aluminum brazing rod and the torch in under an hour. It’ll hold the small amount of boost I’m running with just fine for now, but yes, it will still need to be replaced. More importantly is the lesson here about mounting. The top bolts securing the IC to the mount still had about 2 to 3 mm of space, allowing it to swing freely. Also, the bolts that secured the mount to the frame were about as loose, so stability just wasn’t a feature. Even with the IC piping connected, I could swing the whole IC pretty well back and forth. Once I had taken the ratchet to the bolts and set the piping back, I had a stiff installation that wasn’t going to be making out with the cross member any time soon.