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You Can Call Me Al(uminum)

You Can Call Me Al(uminum)

After we rebuilt and installed the 1.8T into the Passat last week, we decided to ramp up its cooling ability just a bit.

Now, this is our own car, and we almost always get a good degree of leeway when it comes to messing around with cars that have our name on it. For example, now that the 1.8T is installed in the Passat, we needed to find an intercooler solution that would suit our nefarious plans for the car. The OEM C5 RS6 intercoolers we had in the shop were too large to fit where they normally would on the Passat body, so we went with another solution. We’ve had this intercooler sitting around for quite some time (years, probably), so we figured we’d finally get some use out of it. This wasn’t built for this car, so we’d have to do a bit of custom fabrication to make it work, but it shouldn’t be too much. First, we placed the intercooler in the exact spot we wanted, using wood blocks to hold it up. It was absolutely important to get the height right, lest we end up with an intercooler that won’t fit behind the stock bumper.

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From there, we fabricated a mounting system that is relatively simple in design, taking a stylistic hint from our mysterious build. Two simple pipe-shaped mounts would be welded together at the correct angle to hold the intercooler in place. One bolt goes into the body, one into the intercooler. About as easy as you can get. Here’s the first piece of a mount just after hitting the welding table.

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As you can tell from the pictures below, with the mounts fully welded and in place, the angles weren’t exactly easy to mate up. That’s part of the reasoning why this type of mount was utilized; we’re able to navigate pretty much any angle with this setup, and TIG-welded steel is strong enough to withstand just about anything (barring, you know, high speed front end collisions with solid objects).

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As the mounts were being done, we also modified the endtanks of the intercooler to accept the new charge pipe routing. Originally, this intercooler had its inlet and outlet on the back side of the intercooler. With this car, though, that presents a problem, as nothing can really bend to that angle and get around all the other crap in the engine bay (and trust us, there’s a lot of crap in there). For that reason, we chopped off part of the intercooler’s endtanks, and went about welding in replacement piping that points in the correct direction. The intercooler was a bit old, so there was a good amount of scraping and wire-brushing to get all the impurities off the welding area prior to welding taking place.

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With the mounts and endtanks welded into place, we wanted to make sure that the intercooler was still performing as intended. For that reason, we custom welded a pair of endcaps and set about pressure testing the intercooler core to ensure that nothing would go awry. The results? Great success!

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With the intercooler shown to be performing at 100%, we set about getting both sides of the intercooler piping together. We’ve already welded in both the hot and cold side of the intercooler, so now it’s just a matter of cleaning everything up and putting it away. While we missed the welding shots of the intercooler pipes, we did catch the blow-off valve installation taking place. It’ll be poking out just next to the foglight on the driver’s side. Most people on the road will have no idea where that noise is coming from, seeing as how the B5 Passat is one of the most banal looking vehicles on the planet.

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Have a great start to your week, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

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