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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Before I decided on purchasing an intercooler, I did what most hopefully do, and did a TON of research on which route I wanted to take. I knew off the bat:

1. I wanted something that could perform well to around 350-400whp.
2. I didn't want to chop the hell out of my car, in terms of safety, to make something work.
3. The fog lights had to stay, because this is a daily driver, and I didn't want big gaps in the front of my car, plus I live in the country, and in my book, the more light on the road at night, the better.
4. I knew I wanted something that was going to looked like it belonged on the car, as smooth and stock looking as possible, without completely hiding the thing.
5. I wanted the pipes to be hidden from a frontal view, but didn't really want pipes that had to run in front of the core, and route up through the bumper support.

I looked at many cores, which I will not name, because those are not what this review is about. I finally found a good amount of information on the Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) kits and spoke with Tom many times on the phone and through here, DSMTalk. Yes, he's a member (vendor) here, which made the communication much more open.

The cost of these kits is a little bit more than some would pay for the typical eBay or other intercooler setups, but please make sure you read on to see why I had no qualms buying through ETS.

All kits come with 2.5" piping, but 3" is an option. Also, recirculation piping is standard, but you can get the blow through setup pipes if you choose that route, which you can also get through ETS. You also have the choice of which BOV flange you want welded to the pipe. The pipes can be configured for whatever turbo setup you are running, whether it's the T25, 14B/16G, 20g, T3/T4, etc. These kits are designed so you pick out the core for your goals, and if you upgrade your turbo, a single pipe is all that needs to be replaced to be ready to roll again! There are a few other options, like an IC stencil, anodizing, and so forth. The larger kits come with good sized aluminum mounting plates to attach the top tabs of the cooler to the frame of the car for strong support.

At first, I decided on the 7" street kit with a blow-through setup. Because this would be able to handle my Big 16g, and a blow-through setup would allow me to flow better on the front of the turbo and clear through the intake track. I could try out venting, but as I guess most would say, this is not the reason I was choosing this setup. After talking with Tom multiple times, assessing my goals and concerns, I decided to ditch the 7" and the blow-through thoughts and went with Race core in recirculation. I saved money over my initial choice, and I have a core that can handle whatever I will ever throw at it. I want to point out, Tom did not try to convince me to go to a bigger intercooler so they could get more money. In fact, they would have made more off me if he would have kept me in my 7" and blow through mind set. Tom talked to me about what my setup is, where I plan on going, and what core would be ideal for it. He assured me he wanted me to get the setup that would work for me, not what would cost more. A+ service there. When I received my kit, I found that my core measured to 9.75" high, but it's advertised at 10.5". I went and checked the website, and the kit is labeled a 10.5" kit, but the posted measurements are 10" high. I figured, well, maybe there's a little rounding, just like when you purchase a TV and they say it's 50" when it's only 48", but none the less, this is at least a .25" loss over the posted height. But, then I measured the depth of the core, which was supposed to be 3"...and it was 3.5" Woah. I talked to Tom, and he informed me that a batch of cores came in a little bit shorter than the standard height, so I was upgraded to the Pro Race kit to cover the height loss at no cost. Wow, not only did I not get ripped off, I got upgraded automatically. 2:tree:s

The Pro Race core in all it's glory. Mmmm mmm.

The instructions that came with the kit were for the 7" T25 install..but that's fine because I didn't use the instructions at all anyway. There were very nice pictures in there, though. Like 50 of them if I remember correctly, along with step by step instructions for the install. :) A checklist of all quality checked and counting parts was included with the invoice, which was awesome to see that someone actually looked at all my stuff before sending it out. :tree:

Installation really is quite straight forward, just time consuming. Some cutting is required, but nothing structurally major such as core support, cross member, etc; just splash guards, bumper, and bumper support cutting were involved. :tree:

Everything was packed very nicely, with two cardboard sleeves installed on the core to protect the fins. All fins were beautifully straight! I was expecting blue ETS labeled couplers, but these seemed to be cut out of a standard 4-ply tube. Oh well, they still looks awesome and are incredibly tough! I swear I put the pipes in the couplers, and even without clamps, those damned things weren't budging (of course, I still used the clamps :eek:) :tree:

The silver powder coat finish looks really nice, but seems to be quite easily damaged. Just by rubbing them on plastic put swirls in the coat, and where they touch on the vents on the front bumper, it actually dug away some of the coating while installing it, on both the inlet and outlet pipes. I don't know much about powder coating, but I was under the impression that the stuff was Hulk tough? No matter, I just hope they don't rust where the coating rubbed, because these are standard steel pipes...

The pipe routing is very nice; nothing to installing these puppies in place. A couple bolts, a couple pipes, a couple couplers, a couple clamps. That's all she wrote. The routing nicely goes around all major structural points of the car without making the pipes long and ugly. The intercooler, though very large, fits perfectly between the fog lights, and the pipes clear them as well, which means the fog lights stay! Thing of beauty, and one of the deciding factors in me buying from ETS. The design is truly for this car. 2:tree:x

I did have to cut away some of the hood latch support to give the deep intercooler some room to fit behind the bumper, without cutting away all of the bumper. The instructions recommend hammering this out, but if I hammered it, I was concerned that it would throw my hood latch all out of whack, and I didn't want to deal with that.

With a little finagling, the pipes went in, the core fit nicely centered, and the thing was on the car!

This is an amazing kit, which didn't take a lot of stress to install like many things do, fits amazing, looks amazing, and hopefully does amazing. I still need some stuff before I can begin cranking some air through this thing, but, soon!
The customer service was top notch, and I think I talked the poor guy's ear off with questions, but he readily answered them all, and even called me back when he wasn't available to talk to. Awesome. 2 :tree:s

Again, my only concern in the whole package deal is the powder coating, which seems quite fragile, but maybe I have a misconception on powder coating, since I don't know much about it. I do live in North Eastern Wisconsin, and things around here are prone to rust, but I do not drive it in the winter, so I'm hoping that will help the situation. My beat up aluminum pipes didn't corrode, so I'm hoping these don't either...but if they do, I was informed everything is covered by a lifetime warranty from defects, corrosion, etc. What service, and what quality!

On the whole, ETS gets 9 trees out of 10. I hope the review helps out others looking for their intercooler purchase.

http://extremeturbosystems.com

Now, some pictures!

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the aluminum plates cut, bent, and mounted to the cooler. I also didn't take pictures of the installing of the galvanized steel mesh I purchased to use as a screen for the vents in the bumper, to protect the intercooler from rocks and other objects. I painted the mesh black so unless you're looking really closely, you can't even really see it...so you get the effect of the front mount visually, while also protecting it. This mesh was purchased at Menards. But, you can make out the mesh in a picture or two.


















 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One thing I forgot to mention is ETS has TONS of kits on its site for many different makes and models, not just 2gs, but not all designed to keep certain features, such as fog lights, and some modifications and/or relocations may be required on certain models or years.

The pipes can be powder coated black, silver, or you can get stainless steel pipes as well (added price). If you're in the market for an intercooler, go check them out and see how detailed their site is, how many options they have, and how accommodating they are!

Oh, and forgive me for the dirty car. I gotta get the thing washed soon. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Gamble said:
I think it looks like a great kit. Only thing I think the J pipe could be longer and they could weld more parts together to use less couplers.
You know, I thought the same thing.

But after doing this install, and all the wiggling I did to get it in line, I noticed the J-pipe takes a lot of the stress and movement of the pipes and the cooler, even with all the couplers. All that stress and movement that a solid welded pipe to the intercooler could cause cracks/breaks in the welds at the turbo outlet, since the rest of the system is flexible because of the couplers.

I've never welded, nor do I know all the mechanics of it, but from watching the movements of the pipes while they are clamped together, that J-pipe looks to have to take most of it. And I would guess if you don't have urethane engine mounts, and the engine bucks a bit, all that movement is going to stress on the really solid parts the most, which is the J Pipe at the turbo.

I might be wrong, but that's the way it looked to me when I grabbed the system and moved it around. This is my first experience with a front mount, so I don't have a lot of knowledge of them, either. Maybe it would be just fine?

Oh, another couple things I forgot to add. My core goes up into the bumper support, above the black section of the front of the bumper, but I didn't cut the front of the black section out. I did remove everything behind that black section that is not visible from the front, so air is still free to flow behind it and reach the top of the cooler, yet I kept the bumper from looking too hacked up, which was something I was shooting for from the beginning of my research.

Also, the pipes are not tapped for a boost source, and since I have the Big 16g, I don't have a boost source off the turbo either. So, for now, I have my boost reference coming from the BOV line, which I really don't like...but I hope to have a solution very soon.
 

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Let us know driving impressions... Are you coming from a smic or a lesser fmic?

ETS has a bigger core than that right?
Id like to see the difference in performance of a standard street core vs a monster gigantic 700+ hp core... Say on a 16g setup at that...

Like will the top of the line monster drag cores actually allow more boost to be ran on say pump gas due to better cooling... Will it allow any significant additional timing advance or leaner afrs since the air entering combustion chambers will be cooler and less heat soaked... How pronouced are the differences basically, ive always wonder how worth it it is to just go all out on a fmic... I know a turbo chargers efficiency is mainly all about how efficent the intercooler....
 

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Powder coating isnt supose to rub or crack, you should be able to hit it with a hammer and no damage the paint...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hmm...maybe I misread. I thought these were powdercoated, but they are definitely rubbing/scratching. Well, I'll run with that.

I am coming from the stock SMIC running a ported/flapped Big 16g. The car seemed to pull pretty well before on 15lbs or so for the first run, but after that it needed a little cool down time :eek:

I haven't been able to get a good run out of it yet, because my BOV is having issues opening...because I need to get a solid vacuum for it, and not have the BOV, boost controller and wastegate all running on the same line. I bought a NPT fitting, so hopefully that will solve that issue.

But, the little driving I did do seemed about the same as before. Spool is the same, pulls pretty well for it being a hot day and babying because I don't like comp surge! I'll update when I can get a good pull on it.

Thanks all for looking so far :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you mean the black strip at the top of the FMIC opening, yeah, I was gonna cut out the black top "lip" as I've come to call it. But then I decided to leave it to keep the bumper from looking too chopped up. What you see is all that is there. Right behind the bottom edge of the lip, everything is gone. The black portion is merely there to keep the bumper from looking too hacked up, but the air has free flow right behind the visible portion.
 

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Black_ bullet said:
Let us know driving impressions... Are you coming from a smic or a lesser fmic?

ETS has a bigger core than that right?
Id like to see the difference in performance of a standard street core vs a monster gigantic 700+ hp core... Say on a 16g setup at that...

Like will the top of the line monster drag cores actually allow more boost to be ran on say pump gas due to better cooling... Will it allow any significant additional timing advance or leaner afrs since the air entering combustion chambers will be cooler and less heat soaked... How pronouced are the differences basically, ive always wonder how worth it it is to just go all out on a fmic... I know a turbo chargers efficiency is mainly all about how efficent the intercooler....
The core Adam is using is a Pro-Race which is 3.5" thick. We can go all the way up to 6" in one inch increments for big turbo guys, and have recently seen below ambient temps logged on Jeff Bush's 1G with our GT42R kit and 6" intercooler kit.

JPJ2007 said:
Powder coating isnt supose to rub or crack, you should be able to hit it with a hammer and no damage the paint...
You're correct it should be fairly durable and put up with some scuffing, but we definitely wouldn't expect it to hold up to abuse from a hammer. If you're having issues with powder coat flaking or scuffing off Adam then we'll be happy to warranty those pipes, just get a hold of me.

Tom
 

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Sry, lol I didn't actually mean from a hammer. However From flaking or rubbing it shouldn't come off at all.
I also Plan to buy from ETS, Its more, but you get what you pay for and I can't wait untill I have the money!
 

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ETS Kits are fabbed in the USA, by Americans, by hand. They are HQ. They have NO issues bolting on. They make kits that 600 awhp is not even scratching the surface and all this is avalible to the common guy, wow!
You getting a better product, the price comes with it.
Pay a little more, get what you want rather than pay a little less and regret it later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Well it's been a little while and I think it's time for an update.

I took the car out for quite a few spins and the car feels strong. I'm not talking like 100hp gain, but it feels nice when that boost punches in. I've been running around 18psi and when it pulls, it pulls nice. I've been having some "here and there" issues where sometimes the car isn't as responsive as I know it should be. I know on the 1g and for the good 8k miles after my engine replacement, my car was spot on with uniform acceleration and boost onset, but it seems to be slipping back to where it was with my toasted 7bolt...randomly deciding it just won't pick up like it should. Well, next year I'll dig into it again.

I cut the black strip off the nose of the car so the FMIC is opened up all the way to free air. The thing looks much bigger with that strip out, and I don't mind the cut up look to the car.

I also decided to switch over to a blow through setup and a 4" Dejon intake, as well as a GReddy Type S I got my hands on. Tuning the MAFT was cake...way easier than I expected it to be. With the logger and wideband, it literally took me 20 min to get it dialed in. No problem. I took it out for its first hard pull...and I took my father with me to monitor the trims and timing, and I almost crapped myself. The car screamed like a banshee. A little MAFT tune made the car feel like a lot stronger. I've been running around 18lbs since I upgraded my intake and things are looking decent. Next year, hopefully I can get into some more. :cool:

I'm also increasingly happy that I installed that mesh in front of the intercooler. I checked it out yesterday, and even after driving up and down my gravel road every day, the countless trips to work and back (17miles each way), bugs and a bunch of other fun stuff...I do not have a single bent fin yet. The mesh looks a little tired though. ;)

More pics:



 
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