A month ago, June 2014, I purchased Levels’ new bolt-on front mount intercooler(FMIC). One of the main selling points was the price. This intercooler comes in a few hundred dollars cheaper than some of it’s main competitors. Also, it did not require drilling into the crash bar like some of the other intercoolers out there. With those key bits going for it, I decided to try one out, and so far I have not been disappointed.
– Intercooler core is 24 x 8 x 3.5
– End tanks are designed in Autocad, CNC cut and hand tig welded
– Mates directly to factory charge pipes
– Direct bolt-on! No drilling required
– Includes upgraded T-bolt clamps to ensure proper sealing
– Yields charge air temperature drops of 50+ degrees
Installation was fairly straight forward following this video.
For me this was the only complication I had with the install. My wrenches were not thin enough to get around the bolt on the inside of the crash bar. What I ended up doing was drilling the holes taller so I could get the wrench under the bolt.
Many people in our club purchased this intercooler and did not have this issue. I am noting this as it’s a possibility you could have this issue, but it does not seem common. If you do have to drill, drill slowly and use a titanium bit.
Without any issues the install takes about an hour.
Driving and other Impressions:
When installing it you can see the craftsmanship and build quality is very high. Comparing the stock to this one makes the stock one seem like it’s made of cardboard; which is probably why you can heat soak very quickly.
Driving around I noticed a huge difference in my charge temps. Whether, driving hard or stuck in traffic, I would be around +2-5 degrees above ambient. Going wide open throttle(WOT) from low RPM to redline I would notice a slightly larger rise, up to maybe +15, but that would drop back down quickly once off the throttle. In a comparison test, I did a 4th gear datalog pull on my stock FMIC. It was 85 degrees out, at night, and about 65% humidity. By the time I hit 7000 RPM my charge temps were up to 147 degrees. The next day I did another datalog on the same section of road. The temperature was again 85 but the humidity was slightly lower at 60%. By the end of my run my charge temps were at 94 degrees. Note that I also had upgraded Hot and Cold Charge pipes from MBRB as I did the installs together. So some of the temp drop can be attributed to the new pipes, regardless, this is a huge improvement over stock. I didn’t even have my tune adjusted for the FMIC.
I have driven the car hard for hours at a time and other times doing up to 14 autocross runs in a day and have yet to experience heat soak. Some intercoolers have an issue where they are so big, that by the time the air gets to the throttle body they have lost a good amount of psi. This is not the case with the Levels FMIC, from my logs I have only dropped maybe a quarter to half psi, which I can get adjusted in my tune as I’m only at 23 psi currently.
I would highly recommend this FMIC on both the price, build quality and performance.