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WikiProject Automobiles (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
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  • How about a block diagram illustrating where the intercooler fits in the supercharger chain? I read this article knowing nothing about intercoolers, and was a little confused by different configurations discussed (intercooler vs aftercooler). A block diagram (or line diagram) for each type would have cleared this right up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:01, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The first sentence says, "An intercooler, or charge air cooler, is an air-to-air or air-to-liquid heat exchange device used on turbocharged and supercharged (forced induction) internal combustion engines to improve their volumetric efficiency by increasing intake air charge density through isochoric cooling."

I don't know anything about engines or cooling systems and I find this definition confusing. I was thinking someone should write a "plain English" definition to start the article. The technical definition could be included a little later.

Then again, most people that read this article probably know more about engines than I do. Do other people find this definition confusing or is it just me? If it's just me, disregard this suggestion! Maurajbo (talk) 18:01, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Reworking content complete[edit]

I finished reworking the content of the page. I don't really know how to best format the pictures and other things, but now the content that is there makes sense and is not incorrect or biased. I deleted a lot of useless detailed information that provides no information regarding the intercooler device, itself. - Kevin Kolasa 04 July 13:35H MST.


I am going to rework this entire section by reorganizing and simplifying it's content in order to make it more informative. I need to remove a lot of incorrect information, wrong facts, false assumptions, and generally bad physics. I have a BSc in Physics and know some aspects of thermodynamics quite well. I will attempt to fix this section for it to be high quality information. - Kevin Kolasa 04 July 2007 14:51H MST.

Toyota Supra[edit]

I believe the Supra has a Side Mount Intercooler. FMIC are only aftermarket for them. - Ajax 20 March 07 - 1:16PM

That is correct,all generations of the supra had side mount intercoolers stock.

It's also the same for the Nissan Skyline. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:17, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Intercooler vs. Charge Cooler[edit]

An anonymous user has made edits to this page changing most instances of intercooler to charge cooler. It seems like pedantry (insisting on an obsolete usage) to me, since every car manufacturer I know of says "intercooler" in their specifications for cars with post-compressor cooling. But I'd invite other comments before reverting. If it is to be kept this way, the first section needs to be brought into line with the article name (with respect to boldfacing), and it may need to be merged with charge cooler, which seems to be a different definition. -- Coneslayer 18:22, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm with you on this one. It's well and good to insist that "intercooler" isn't correct usage, but it's much more common than "charge cooler." If we're going to change this, we better start saying "turbo-supercharger" instead of "turbo" too. I vote for the revert. Spinolio 18:31, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

It's reasonable to explain how 'charge cooler' is the technically correct term - but nobody I ever met actually called it that. Revert. SteveBaker 22:09, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I've changed it back. For one thing, saying "The inter in the name refers to its location compared to the compressors" makes no sense when it's consisently called "charge cooler". User:Angr 10:17, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
The definition of charge cooler is incorrect. Also the name 'intercooler' refers to a cooler located between multiple compressors not a single compressor as in a turbo or super charged vehicle. This site is meant as an accurate place of information not one persons decision (Steve) whether people actually use the term or not.
The title of the article is "Intercooler" - lets talk about intercoolers - and let's use the terminology that people UNIVERSALLY use in the car business (rightly or wrongly). I'm happy to support a paragraph that explains that the terminology is incorrectly used and that 'charge cooler' is technically correct - but to replace every occurrance of the title of the article with another term is confusing. Please sign your comments. SteveBaker 13:03, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with SteveBaker. I can site several books that briefly talk about "intercooler" vs. "aftercooler" only briefly to point out the original technical difference in nomenclature, but from that point forward always refer to a heat exchanger (whether water or air cooled) for a supercharged internal combustion engine as "intercooler". Again, without regard to having a secondary water heat exchange phase, being direct air to air, regardless of location, regardless to compound charging. Maximum Boost by Corky Bell, or Forced Induction Performance by A. Graham Bell are good examples. Freonr2 04:35, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
The definition of an intercooler/aftercooler in industry is; Aftercooler: a cooler placed after the final stage of compression. Intercooler: a cooler placed between stages of compression. It is my opinion that the cooler between a turbo/supercharger and the engine is an intercooler because there is a stage of compression in the engine which is required before the working fluid (air) is able to be heated and allowed to do work.Noenegdod 21:45, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
I notice that the defenders of the universal term intercooler keep referring to how the term is universally used in the auto industry. The question then becomes, why choose the definition from the one industry that uses the term incorrectly? The trucking, industrial, aircraft, and marine industries correctly distinguish between the terms precooler, intercooler, and aftercooler. Legend has it that Volvo mistakingly put the word intercooled on one of its cars and the term stuck. Yes, there is no denying that the automotive industry always does use the term intercooler, albeit erroneously. If the article is going to do the same, perhaps the title should be Automotive Intercooler. Thanks. Anon. July 23, 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:47, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
The description "Charge air cooler" is in common usage as the term to describe the intercooler on large generator and marine propolsion engines. It is true that they have more or less the same function, but linking the two pages is sufficient.

Multiple merge[edit]

Front mounted intercooler, top mounted intercooler and charge cooler have been tagged to be merged into this page, following a brief discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Automobiles. Any further comments welcome. --DeLarge 10:52, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Mar 6th 2007 cleanup[edit]

After the merge the page needs lots of cleanup. I added some pictures that I think apply and fixed some glaring technical errors. Mainly, intercoolers do not compress the air charge, but they do increase its density. I replaced the use of "compression" in the article to describe the effect with "densification" though I don't like the word anyway. It really needs to be reworded from scratch to just explain intercoolers increase density via temperature without compressing it at all. Also simplified some of the explanations. Still lots of wordiness, repetition, and just ugly flow throughout the article. I'll try to pull some books off the shelf when I get the chance to add some references and make a second pass at it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Freonr2 (talkcontribs) 02:57, 7 March 2007 (UTC).


The PSA link in the phrase PSA Peugot-Citroen needs to be linked to an article, not a disambiguation page. Someone who knows what this is referring to needs to change it -- I don't even know, or I'd do it myself. 07:46, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Mthill77 16:37, 12 October 2007 (UTC) Done. The link had the brackets in the wrong place. "PSA Peugot Citroen" should have linked to only one article.

Way too Automotive Based?[edit]

Intercoolers are found on more then just automotive engines, Maybe some write-up about intercoolers on Aircraft, Locomotive, Truck and Marine engines is needed? --Chesapeake (talk) 20:36, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Intercoolers are found in a lot of power generation cycles. What about bringing in applications to power plants, etc? Dannery4 (talk) 02:09, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

MCI manufactures buses (busses if you prefer) with turbocharged diesel engines. For E- and J-series buses, the air-to-air intercooler is located at the left side near the rear of the vehicle, with venting to the outside and behind to the engine compartment. Not sure of direction of airflow but I suspect from the outside in. Perhaps this could be added as another example of location possible? (talk) 06:10, 8 February 2010 (UTC)


I just read on the website for Vestas ( about their role in developing the intercooler and I was hoping to find some details about the origination and invention of the modern intercooler here. Does anybody have any good sources for such information? ---Puff (talk) 17:11, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

They were certainly around long before Vestas got involved - pre-WW2 for certain. The first automotive application appears to have been that fitted to Frank Lockhart's Miller 91 in 1927, but I'm pretty sure they were already in use on aircraft engines prior to that, as Lockhart consulted with Dr. Sanford Moss of General Electric when developing his car.Mr Larrington (talk) 11:26, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
May I defend Vestas? The article specifically refers to large turbo charged marine diesel engines. For auto motive applications, refer to the "intercooler" page. Vestas we asked to develop a product by Burmeinster & Wein. At more or less the same time, GEA in Germany were doing the same thing for Sulzer Brothers engines. Prior to that, these large engines were not turbo charged, so there was no charge air cooler. astat101 (talk) 13:30, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Apparently, an intercooler is a charge air cooler, and the other way around is true too. So let's get rid of one of'em, i suppose Charge air cooler, as it contains hardly anything compared to this one. --Jerome Potts (talk) 08:33, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Support merge: Two nations divided by a common language. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:53, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

In the UK, "Charge cooler" refers exclusively to an air/water cooling device - the intake charge is cooled by water. "Intercooler" refers to an air/air cooling device - the intake charge is cooled by air passing through the engine bay. This article now seems to confuse the two terms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:19, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

The two articles describe opposites. One says it's isobaric (constant pressure) and the other says it's isochoric (constant volume). We know it's a cooler, so the only other important thermodynamic variable is if it's isobaric or isochoric. So this leaves me with no fundamental understanding of what it actually is. My guess is that it's isobaric. Ywaz (talk) 11:07, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Remember - the ideal gas law says that pressure times volume is proportional to temperature times number of molecules of gas. We know that the intercooler reduces the temperature - but we can't tell from the equation which of the other things is changing to counteract that temperature drop.
The intake valves on the engine are continually opening and closing, that means that when the intake valves are closed - you have constant volume - so at that moment, it's an isochoric system. But when the valves open and the pistons suck air in - the volume of the system is increasing - so it's definitely not isochoric at that time. Worse still, the turbo/supercharger is pushing more air in - so the number of molecules also changes over time. Given that the speed of the turbocharger depends on the amount of exhaust gas - which in turn depends (in part) on the pressure exerted by the seems highly unlikely that the pressure wouldn't fluctuate - so it's not isobaric either.
Hence I'd be very surprised if the Intercooler were either purely isobaric OR purely isochoric. The extent to which either of these two terms is applicable must change as the valves open and shut - and might well also change over the RPM range of the engine.
Using either these two terms when the number of molecules is changing is at best "iffy".
CONCLUSION: Unless we have a solid reference to say that intercoolers are either one or the other - it would be better to say nothing at all on the subject. SteveBaker (talk) 16:12, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Support - even if there are subtle diffences in the usage of the two terms "intercooler" and "charge air cooler" - their meanings are sufficiently similar (and indeed overlap) that we should merge the two articles. SteveBaker (talk) 16:12, 26 October 2010 (UTC)