Tech: Focus ST Intercooler Upgrade

0 Focus ST Intercooler Upgrade Featured

Cool School

Installing a Ford Performance/Mountune intercooler on our Focus ST

By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of Mountune

If you have a heavily modded project car, odds are you also have a daily driver. Now, some of you might be disciplined enough to buy a daily that won’t even tempt you to mod it. That’s the safe bet. Yours truly made the choice to buy a fun daily, which makes the temptation pretty strong. That said, I have shown the fortitude not to go too crazy with the car—yet.

Weighing in at less than 20 pounds, the Mountune intercooler features a 746x296x50mm core with cast end tanks designed to manage airflow like the factory cooler, thus minimizing any turbo lag. According to Mountune, this cooler is said to reduced inlet temps by 39 percent and account for a 44 percent decrease in pressure drop across the core. It is also said to be far less prone to heat soak than a smaller intercooler core like the stock unit.
Weighing in at less than 20 pounds, the Mountune intercooler features a 746x296x50mm core with cast end tanks designed to manage airflow like the factory cooler, thus minimizing any turbo lag. According to Mountune, this cooler is said to reduced inlet temps by 39 percent and account for a 44 percent decrease in pressure drop across the core. It is also said to be far less prone to heat soak than a smaller intercooler core like the stock unit.

Currently, my daily driver is Project Silver Lining, a 2013 Focus ST so named because its purchase was the result of unfortunate circumstances. They led me to a buy a car that I fell in love with the moment I drove it. Sure it’s not a big throbbing Mustang, but it is gleefully fun car to drive with just enough power and handling to hold your interest.

Life is too short to drive a boring commuter, so it wasn’t too long after taking delivery of the car that the mods began. It made a trip to Steeda Autosports for the company’s handling springs and rear sway bar. These mods, particularly the rear sway bar, really sharpened then car’s handling. It also received a Steeda lower engine mount, which keeps then 2.0-liter out of my lap on aggressive shifts.

On the power side of things, PSL wears one of Steeda’s full cold-air intake systems fed by one of Ford Performance Racing Part’s behind-the-grille ram-air scoops. The exhaust is a complete FPRP cat-back mounted to a Steeda/Magnaflow high-flow-cat downpipe. And, the cherry on the sundae is FPRP’s amazing calibration delivered via its ProCal tuner. This cal turned the car into another animal with an infusion of torque that you can really feel.

Though the Mountune intercooler is compatible with the factory charge pipes, it seemed like a good time upgrade those as well. The Mountune Intercooler Charge Pipe Upgrade Kit is made up of wire-reinforced silicone hoses and a stainless steel lower pipe. The kit is said to not only improve turbo response, but to improve airflow by up to 39 percent. The Mountune charge pipes are compatible with the stock intercooler if you want to make the upgrades in stages.
Though the Mountune intercooler is compatible with the factory charge pipes, it seemed like a good time upgrade those as well. The Mountune Intercooler Charge Pipe Upgrade Kit is made up of wire-reinforced silicone hoses and a stainless steel lower pipe. The kit is said to not only improve turbo response, but to improve airflow by up to 39 percent. The Mountune charge pipes are compatible with the stock intercooler if you want to make the upgrades in stages.

In short the car’s level of mods is just about perfect. After recently installing the Ford Performance Racing Parts short-throw shifter, the only mod that I was left yearning for was a more efficient intercooler. Then I discovered that FPRP offers a wide selection of Mountune Focus ST upgrades as part of its product line. If you aren’t familiar with Mountune, this United Kingdom-based company has long specialized in EcoBoost upgrades and is one of Ford’s tuning partners across the pond.

As such, I chose to add the Mountune Focus ST Intercooler Upgrade (PN 2363-IC-BA; $999) and Mountune Intercooler Charge Pipe Upgrade Kit (PN 2363-CPK-BLK; $449) to round out the car’s modifications. So, follow along as I add the car’s “final” upgrades.

Start the process by popping out the plugs from the radiator support cover with a trim tool.
Start the process by popping out the plugs from the radiator support cover with a trim tool.
Proceed by removing the hood latch release cable from the latch.
Proceed by removing the hood latch release cable from the latch.
Then remove the Torx fasteners that attach the fascia to the car.
Then remove the Torx fasteners that attach the fascia to the car.
Remove the belly pan like you were going to change the oil. Then you’ll need to unplug both foglamps.
Remove the belly pan like you were going to change the oil. Then you’ll need to unplug both foglamps.
The instructions also want you to remove the headlights, so remove the two Torx fasters and unplug the lights.
The instructions also want you to remove the headlights, so remove the two Torx fasters and unplug the lights.
Then you can remove the stock headlights. Put these in a safe place, especially if you have the pricey HIDs like ours.
Then you can remove the stock headlights. Put these in a safe place, especially if you have the pricey HIDs like ours.
With all the fasteners removed and harnesses unplugged, you can push down on these clips to release the fascia.
With all the fasteners removed and harnesses unplugged, you can push down on these clips to release the fascia.
Don’t be like your author and forget to unplug this harness on the driver side before you pull away the fascia.
Don’t be like your author and forget to unplug this harness on the driver side before you pull away the fascia.
With the fascia displaced, you can see the factory air management equipment. That box in front of the fender well on the driver side houses the PCM, should you be looking for yours.
With the fascia displaced, you can see the factory air management equipment. That box in front of the fender well on the driver side houses the PCM, should you be looking for yours.
You can see how these factory rubber air ducts direct airflow from the fascia to the radiator and the intercooler. You can also see how the Ford Performance Racing Parts scoop dips down into the air path to feed air into the airbox.
You can see how these factory rubber air ducts direct airflow from the fascia to the radiator and the intercooler. You can also see how the Ford Performance Racing Parts scoop dips down into the air path to feed air into the airbox.
Pull the ducts out of the way so you can gain access to the Active Grille Shutters.
Pull the ducts out of the way so you can gain access to the Active Grille Shutters.
Unplug the wiring harness from the Active Grille Shutters.
Unplug the wiring harness from the Active Grille Shutters.
Tape up the connector to keep the elements out, as you’ll be removing the AGS to make way for the larger intercooler. As such, the connector won’t be plugged in anymore.
Tape up the connector to keep the elements out, as you’ll be removing the AGS to make way for the larger intercooler. As such, the connector won’t be plugged in anymore.
Loosen the hose clamps on the inlet and outlet of the factory intercooler.
Loosen the hose clamps on the inlet and outlet of the factory intercooler.
Then you can remove the bolts holding the stock intercooler in place.
Then you can remove the bolts holding the stock intercooler in place.
Now the intercooler is finally free.
Now the intercooler is finally free.
Once all the stock air management ducts and the intercooler core are out of the way you can pry the Active Grille Shutter assembly from its plastic mounting clips.
Once all the stock air management ducts and the intercooler core are out of the way you can pry the Active Grille Shutter assembly from its plastic mounting clips.
If you are just installing the upgraded intercooler, you can start the intercooler installation process. Since the charge pipes were on the agenda for PSL, it was time to remove the retaining bolts from the engine block.
If you are just installing the upgraded intercooler, you can start the intercooler installation process. Since the charge pipes were on the agenda for PSL, it was time to remove the retaining bolts from the engine block.
With the bolts removed, the last step was to unclamp the hoses from the turbo and throttle body.
With the bolts removed, the last step was to unclamp the hoses from the turbo and throttle body.
To ensure the new pipes installed easily, I mocked up the Mountune pipes to match the stock charge pipes. You can see that the Mountune setup is a bit more free-flowing.
To ensure the new pipes installed easily, I mocked up the Mountune pipes to match the stock charge pipes. You can see that the Mountune setup is a bit more free-flowing.
With the assembly in one piece it was easy to mount it using the factory bolts and fasten the silicone hoses using the factory hose clamps.
With the assembly in one piece it was easy to mount it using the factory bolts and fasten the silicone hoses using the factory hose clamps.
Attaching the Mountune intercooler doesn’t require any drilling. You simply hold up the radiator support with a jackstand and remove the two bolts attaching the radiator support. You can then install the supplied brackets with spacers and new fasters. The instructions call for you to install the brackets on the intercooler and then mount the whole assembly. We found it easier to install the brackets first.
Attaching the Mountune intercooler doesn’t require any drilling. You simply hold up the radiator support with a jackstand and remove the two bolts attaching the radiator support. You can then install the supplied brackets with spacers and new fasters. The instructions call for you to install the brackets on the intercooler and then mount the whole assembly. We found it easier to install the brackets first.
To make room for the larger intercooler, you’ll need to relocate the horns using the bracket supplied in the Mountune kit.
To make room for the larger intercooler, you’ll need to relocate the horns using the bracket supplied in the Mountune kit.
Here’s a comparison of the stock and Mountune intercooler-to-throttle-body piping. Again, you can see the streamlined Mountune hose might just free up more flow.
Here’s a comparison of the stock and Mountune intercooler-to-throttle-body piping. Again, you can see the streamlined Mountune hose might just free up more flow.
Don’t forget to remove the manifold absolute pressure sensor from the stock intercooler. You will need to re-use it.
Don’t forget to remove the manifold absolute pressure sensor from the stock intercooler. You will need to re-use it.
Installing a US MAP sensor in the Eurocentric Mountune intercooler requires this bracket and fastener supplied in the kit.
Installing a US MAP sensor in the Eurocentric Mountune intercooler requires this bracket and fastener supplied in the kit.
After loosely bolting the intercooler to its new brackets, it was time to slip the new charge hoses over the intercooler connections and clamping them down.
After loosely bolting the intercooler to its new brackets, it was time to slip the new charge hoses over the intercooler connections and clamp them down.
Having made the hose connections, it was time to final-tighten the intercooler to its mounting brackets.
Having made the hose connections, it was time to final-tighten the intercooler to its mounting brackets.
I opted for the black Mountune intercooler for a more low-key look, plus it matched the silver and black them of my ST. However, the Mountune unit is also available with a silver finish. Either way, the intercooler is much larger than the stocker.
I opted for the black Mountune intercooler for a more low-key look, plus it matched the silver and black them of my ST. However, the Mountune unit is also available with a silver finish. Either way, the intercooler is much larger than the stocker.
If you weren’t sure, here’s a comparison of the factory intercooler and the new Mountune unit.
If you weren’t sure, here’s a comparison of the factory intercooler and the new Mountune unit.
From this view, you can see the Mountune intercooler is a bit thinner, but much taller than the factory unit.
From this view, you can see the Mountune intercooler is a bit thinner, but much taller than the factory unit.
One of the really cool features of the Mountune unit is the built-in air management, which directs air across the core. I wasn’t able to log IATs before and after the upgrade, as the FPRP cal didn’t want to get along with an aftermarket handheld device. However, when I did beat on the car a bit, it did seem stronger in the midrange and there was now perceptible lag after the upgrade.
One of the really cool features of the Mountune unit is the built-in air management, which directs air across the core. I wasn’t able to log IATs before and after the upgrade, as the FPRP cal didn’t want to get along with an aftermarket handheld device. However, when I did beat on the car a bit, it did seem stronger in the midrange and there was no perceptible lag after the upgrade.
With the intercooler install completed, you can reinstall the front fascia and headlights. Don’t forget to plug in all the lights and sensors you unplugged to remove the fascia.
With the intercooler install completed, you can reinstall the front fascia and headlights. Don’t forget to plug in all the lights and sensors you unplugged to remove the fascia.
You might have noticed that I also added one of Mountune’s Lower Sport Spoliers (PN 2363-CS-AA; $249) to add a bit of panache to the install. This unit just slips onto the lower fascia and attaches with double-sided tape and two screws.
You might have noticed that I also added one of Mountune’s Lower Sport Spoliers (PN 2363-CS-AA; $249) to add a bit of panache to the install. This unit just slips onto the lower fascia and attaches with double-sided tape and two screws.

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