Nothing looks cooler than a big intercooler showing through the front bumper on any car or SUV. Just like a predator baring it’s teeth telling everyone “Don’t mess with me”

While we all agree they look mean and bad ass, a front mount intercooler is first and foremost a very important performance item, especially in our very hot country. Most turbocharged vehicles, whether gas or diesel, have a top mount setup, and a few have a front mounts. But they all have one thing in common, the stock intercooler is always very very small. And some don’t even have intercoolers at all like the 2.5L Fortuners, Innovas and earlier Land Cruisers.

As for the top mount vs front mount debate (which there are a gazillion pages on the internet), I will quote Dave Coleman of Sport Compact Car when a reader asked him his opinion, and his answer is simply “Subaru World Rally Cars run a front mount setup” ‘Nuf said.

For this install, we have a Nissan Patrol that wants a power upgrade, and in this case it’s an absolute necessity since the stock intercooler is already leaking boost (the patrol is notorious for this) which makes this one sluggish ride.

1. We first take out the stock intercooler, bumper and other accessories such as horns, fog lights etc etc


2. Here’s the stock intercooler with the epoxy on the sides in an attempt to repair it to no avail. Another shot with the stock turbo discharge pipe. Both these items are going straight to the trash.


3. Our new delta fin front mount absolutely dwarfs the stock unit. Most stock intercoolers are the same size as this, whether it comes from a gas or diesel vehicle.


4. Silicon 4 ply hoses are used to keep the boost in.


5. We use T bolt clamps to keep everything tight.


6. We do a trial fit of the intercooler to see how everything will line up.


7. Since we are after power, we decided to throw in a K&N drop in filter to replace the old tired and dirty piece.


8. We use aluminum piping for our intercooler work. And here we mock it up on the car. This is why we need the car in the shop when doing intercooler installs, to make sure everything fits just right.


9. Here are the piping for the turbo discharge and the throttle.


10. A shot of the pipe underneath that connects to the intercooler.


11. We use small tack welds to hold everything in place.


12. Pipes are done and are ready to be fully welded.


13. The nice thing about aluminum as opposed to stainless steel is that its lighter, runs cooler and is easily painted in any color you want.


14. Once the paint is dry, we assemble everything together.


15. Now that is absolutely pretty.


16. Here’s the finished front mount intercooler, and despite the large ARB bumper, will still get a whole lot more air flow over the stocker.

The process of installing a front mount is pretty much 90% the same for any vehicle, whether it be a Subaru or a Land Rover. The materials and the components are all the same, it’s just a matter of finesse in how to route the pipe without hitting anything, and this is actually the tricky part for someone who doesn’t know or understand what he’s doing. As for the cost, our front mount setups are generally in the 40k range, and included everything, the piping, the intercooler itself, hoses, clamps etc etc, and it normally takes us 3-4 days to finish one up, which isn’t bad considering the performance gain you get as well as the bad ass shiny intercooler now staring at you in the face.