Intercooler Ice Tanks vs. Expansion Tanks: Which One Do You Need?
If you're looking to upgrade your intercooler system, you may be wondering whether to go for an intercooler ice box or an expansion tank setup. Both are designed to improve the efficiency and performance of your boosted engine, but they differ in a few key ways.
An intercooler expansion tank is a larger coolant reservoir that is designed to add more volume to your stock intercooler system, typically without the ability to add ice. The expansion tank is often used in addition to the stock inter-cooling system and we typically try to hide these add-on systems in fenders, bumpers, or the engine bay.
Expansion tanks typically use the stock pump to push the coolant through the system and given the amount of water and overall system size the stock pump can typically be sufficient. The coolant is fed through a heat exchanger (stock or otherwise) before being recirculated back into the intercooler, which helps to reduce the temperature of the compressed air. Fluid volumes on expansion tanks can vary from less than a gallon to a few gallons and are great when you want a "stock" look and/or are trying to do a stealth install.
An intercooler ice tank (or intercooler ice box) is a type of cooling system that uses ice and/or other cooling agents to reduce the temperature of the compressed air flowing through your intercooler. These tanks have more volume than an expansion tank setup (possibly by 4 or 5 times the fluid) and can be augmented with ice, which further cools the compressed air before it enters the intercooler.
The ice tank is typically mounted in the rear of the vehicle (trunk, hatch area, etc) and requires a higher-end pump like the Pierburg CWA400 or EMP pump to push the coolant through the system. This extra power allows for faster flow, which means more efficient cooling and increased horsepower. In addition to the ice boxes being physically larger than the expansion tank setup with the ice box mounted in the rear of the vehicle you gain a good amount (often a gallon or more) of fluid just from the interconnecting hose length.
Which One Do You Need?
The choice between an ice tank and an expansion tank largely depends on your individual needs and the specific requirements of your engine. If you're looking for maximum cooling power and increased horsepower, an ice tank is the better option. On the other hand, if you're looking for a more cost-effective way to improve your intercooler system and keep the stock look, an expansion tank may be a better fit.
In any case, it's important to choose a high-quality air to water intercooler ice box or water to air intercooler ice box that is designed to fit your specific make and model of vehicle. With the right intercooler system in place, you can enjoy improved engine performance, better fuel efficiency, and a smoother ride.
So whether you're in the market for an ice box for supercharger or a water to air ice box, be sure to do your research and choose the system that best meets your needs. Your engine (and your wallet) will thank you for it.
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