Keeping Your Cool | BRaptor Whipple Intercooler Install/Test | IAT Buster
We hold this truth to be self-evident, More Boost = More Better. You know the thing. The problem is, more boost also leads to power robbing increased charge-air temperatures. That’s where a part like the Whipple Intercooler we recently installed on our Bronco Raptor has the opportunity to shine.
While the entire Bronco lineup is capable of impressive off-road performance, the factory equipped intercooler leaves a lot to be desired in terms of power production potential. This is especially true for the unit found on the higher powered 3.0L EcoBoost equipped Bronco Raptor. In our testing we’ve found that it heat soaks fairly quickly, and really starts to have trouble when you throw more boost at it.
Check out out full install and review video.
A few weeks back we installed a JB4 module from 5 Star Tuning, which gave us a very nice bump in performance. It works by basically fooling the factory ECU into allowing the turbos to make more boost. While it definitely lacks the refinement of a full custom tune, it’s hard to argue with ~31 more horsepower and an additional ~48 LB-FT of torque. Unfortunately, the limitations of the OEM intercooler meant that increased power level could not be sustained over a useful period of time. Put simply, the IAT2 numbers were going through the roof by the end of a ¼ mile run.
The first order of business is to get the barely adequate stock unit out of the way.
That’s why we partnered up with Whipple Superchargers to help them test their prototype intercooler for the BRaptor. While they are best known for their ever expanding line of twin-screw superchargers; Whipple has been building power packages, based around their fully-welded intercoolers, for Ford EcoBoost powered vehicles for the past several years.
The differences in material choice and construction between the two units is very obvious here.
Like all Whipple Intercoolers, this one is fully welded with cast aluminum end tanks. This makes it very robust and capable of handling pressures far greater than the factory crimped plastic tanks. The Whipple unit also features more plates and fins, as well as a much thicker cross section. This all adds up to 58% more core volume, 128% more cooling fin area, and a double digit reduction in restriction from side-to-side. That means your intake air will be cooler and suffer less pressure loss across the core. So you’ll be able to make greater power for a longer period of time than the stock piece could ever hope to provide.
No plastic crimped on tanks with the Whipple unit, just TIG welded cast aluminum.
The install is fairly straight forward and featured in the video posted above. We turned to the crew at Pro-Dyno in Fort Mill, SC to perform the work. Paul had our BRaptor apart and back together in no time. He even threw in an oil change while we had the skid plates out of the way. From there we made a few pulls on the dyno to ensure everything was working as it should.
This gives you an idea where Whipple is gaining a lot of their cooling capacity. By ditching the active grille shutters (which are fuel economy aids) Whipple is able to take advantage of the now present extra space and make their core thicker.
However, a standard chassis dyno setup is a poor way to test an air to air intercooler. It’s very difficult to generate a long enough run with enough air flow to simulate real world conditions. But we knew the perfect way to test out the Whipple’s effectiveness. While towing our ~4,200 pound No Boundaries 19.6 back home from NMRA / Holley Ford Fest in Bowling Green, KY we monitored readings IAT 1 & 2 as well as boost. Pulling mountain grades while producing 6-9 PSI we saw just a couple degrees of increase in intake temps. That means we were essentially not seeing any loss in performance due to sky high IATs (which force the ECU to pull timing among other things).
This is a much better look. The BRaptor is built like nothing else in its market.
After experiencing that, I have to say I’m very pleased with the performance of the Whipple Intercooler in my BRaptor. But beyond that, I think it looks great. We deleted all the factory obstructions in front of the intercooler. This not only gives the air a clear shot into the core, it makes it much more noticeable from the front. You no longer have to squint to see the intercooler behind an array of shutters and covers. The Whipple Intercooler is outside for the world to see, just as nature intended. This is one of my favorite mods we’ve added to the BRaptor. It adds as much to the trucks aesthetics as it does its performance. I call that a win-win, and I’d recommend anyone with a Bronco consider picking one up. It’s a great part, and makes me all the more excited to try out Whipple’s upcoming BRaptor tune. That should make things even more interesting. Fun indeed.
This included bracket allows you to mount the active grille shutter actuator and keep it plugged in. That will prevent you from getting an annoying check engine light without effecting performance.
All bolted back together and looking great. I really like the look of the unobstructed Whipple intercooler right out front.