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Dez Racing's Air-To-Water Intercooler Install - Chillin' Like A Villain
Dez Racing's Air-To-Water Intercooler Makes Its Way From The Track To The Street.
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They say racing provides a trickle-down effect of technology from the racetrack to the street. Advancements made in the harsh racing enviroment help push product development, and that holds true from the Big Three automakers down to your local Mustang shop.
We hooked up with Mike "Dez" Dezotel of Dez Racing (Seekonk, Massachusetts) at an NMCA street-legal drag race last year and saw an interesting intake manifold on his record-holding Street Race class car. The intake manifold caused quite a controversy in the class as Dez pushed the rule book to its limits. What he didn't realize was that while he sought a solution to class restrictions, he actually opened up an avenue that would benefit serious street/strip Mustangs equipped with a supercharger or turbocharger.
Street Race class rules require the intercooler to be mounted forward of the firewall. Most forced-induction class entries utilize a front-mounted air-to-air intercooler, and that worked well for most of the competitors. "Mounting the cooler in the front of the car made my Mustang too nose heavy," says Dez, the '05 Street Race champion. "That made the car unpredictable. I figured-why not run the aftercooler and upper manifold as one piece? We were trying to get rid of nose weight."
This wild-looking intake was one of the key components to keeping his ride in front of the competition in 2006. Needless to say, the intake worked flawlessly-that meant it was banned due to severe racer uprisings. Dez complied with the NMCA tech officials' request to remove the intake for the remainder of the season. He wasn't mad or regretful about it. "I was somewhat disappointed," he says, "but I was happy to have built the intake, which ultimately benefited my customers."
There are two types of intercoolers: air-to-air and air-to-water intercoolers (sometimes called aftercoolers). The air-to-air intercoolers are usually front-mounted because they rely on the air rushing over the fins to drop the temp of the pressurized air inside the unit. An air-to-water intercooler is an air-to-air unit that has been enclosed and has ice water pumping through it to cool off the air inside the intercooler.
Dez looked to an air-to-water intercooler due to the more efficient cooling capabilities in his 800-plus rear-wheel horsepower combination. Normally, when people think of an air-to-water intercooler, it is either in mild street or wild racing applications. The mild street version is found in some centrifugal supercharger kits as well as positive-displacement superchargers like those on the '03-'04 Cobra and '07 Shelby. The hard-core air-to-water intercoolers usually sit in the passenger seat of the Pro 5.0 and Outlaw cars on the racing circuit. Their huge box size and weight dictate the placement inside the cockpit because it is the only place it fits. Dez set out to build something in the middle of those applications that fit the Street Race rules and was efficient enough to run in a serious street/strip Mustang.
Dez utilizes a TFS lower manifold due to its efficient runner design for the 356ci-supercharged engine. It would be the basis for a fabricated upper intake manifold that includes an intercooler core. Dez Racing is a full-on speed shop, but the fabrication of an aluminum upper intake was too big of a task to handle itself. The staff called in Dennis MacPherson of DMC Racing for help. DMC is the fabrication shop responsible for the chassis work on Dez's Mustang.
Past experience pushed these guys to run the Spearco pass-through intercooler because of its efficiency. The water enters on the left side of the intake, flows across the fins, and exits on the right side. Many designs route the water over the fins and then recirculate it to the same side of the manifold. By the time the water turns around and heads back, it has been heated and negates some of the cooling effect.
MacPherson started with a Reichard Racing billet lower base that connects to a TFS "R" lower. He then laid the Spearco core in place and built a hat on top and a funnel piece on the bottom. Reichard Racing is credited with the billet pieces used to enclose the aftercooler core. MacPherson also added a variety of vacuum ports and sensor locations to the unit. A custom throttle cable bracket was also welded in place.
The sheetmetal hat can be configured for a variety of throttle-body positions, including the side entry that is common on almost all small-block Ford EFI manifolds. Dez chose to run a forward-facing throttle body for this application due to aesthetics. "If a guy runs a turbocharger in front of the engine, then the forward-facing throttle body would make it easy to run an inlet pipe," he says.