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DIY Charge Air Cooler under 400.00$ for all GMT400 trucks & subs

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself Articles - How To's & Product Revie' started by Twisted Steel Performance, Feb 15, 2013.

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  1. Twisted Steel Performance

    Twisted Steel Performance Formerly: sctrailrider Vendor

    1,634
    1,205
    Jan 15, 2012
    Pauline, SC
    This is a DIY for a charge air cooler install for less than 400.00$ for the GMT400 body style with a Holset turbo, other turbos will be very close to this, slight changes at the turbo may be needed and at the intake depending on what upper intake you use. This will show the install using the Peninsular Diesel intake.

    Because of the length of this post I will make it a 2-3 part posting.

    This is how I did it on my 1991 K2500, and is not the only way it could be done, just how I did it, this way uses the mounting locations that are on all GMT400 frames where the front skid plate bolts up from the factory, so that the complete setup could be removed and installed on another truck with ease. The install time is around 6 hours depending on your fabrication skill level and access to shop material’s and tools needed.

    I purchased the cooler and aluminum tube bends (I had some straight tubing in stock) and SS T-bolts from eBay, (cxracing) and the silicone hoses couplings from (Silicone Intakes). I already had the aluminum upper intake from Peninsular Diesel and will use it.

    I chose to use all 3” tubing as everything in my setup was for 3” already. 2.5” could also be used with no adverse problems if you needed some room for fitment.

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    The first thing was to remove the skid plate. Before handling the cooler, I covered the fin area with cardboard so not to damage the fins while fitting and fabing the brackets. The cooler comes with mounting bungs welded on the top & bottom, there were also 2 extra bungs in the bag of bolts, I welded the extras to the side(see pics) as it was a better place for the mounting brackets to be. Next, I fabed the brackets that will hold the cooler in place (see pics) and keep it from rubbing on anything. For this I used 2” wide 10ga aluminum and milled slots so that there would be some adjustment if needed (see pics) this worked out very nice and could be easily removed if needed to work on the front of the truck or if the truck was sold.

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    Continued in post # 2.....
     
  2. Twisted Steel Performance

    Twisted Steel Performance Formerly: sctrailrider Vendor

    1,634
    1,205
    Jan 15, 2012
    Pauline, SC
    After the CAC was fitted and all brackets were made and verified to work, I removed everything and prepped it all for coating with a ceramic Thermal Dispersant. Test have been done in a controlled environment showing that a CAC coated with this product is 20-30% more efficient at exchanging heat than bare aluminum and 15-25% better than a paint alone. This step is one that most will bypass due to cost, and or you might not think it helps. I was able to do this myself and I think every little bit helps when cooling the charge air in the 6.2/6.5 diesels, or any forced air setup when towing in the hot summer air.

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    There is some trimming that will need to be done in the drivers side fender wells when fitting the tubing but not much, a sawsall or jigsaw will work well here, no need to remove the fender wells if care is taken and you don’t get in a hurry, you don’t want to butcher things if you can help it, and remember to place some rubber type edge protector on the metal so it doesn’t rub the tubing. The passenger side did not need cutting, just a little tweaking. Aluminum tubing will need to be cut to fit as needed. After cutting the tubing I recommend welding a few short beads on the end of the tubing so that the hoses don’t slide off under boost.

    Once you have the passenger side tubing fitted the turbo compressor cover will need to be clocked to point down towards the frame area to meet the tubing, a 45* silicone coupler is used at the turbo to connect the tubing, if your manifold is not wrapped with header wrap, you should consider a heat shield type of cover to protect the silicone coupler.
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    continued in post # 3..
     
  3. Twisted Steel Performance

    Twisted Steel Performance Formerly: sctrailrider Vendor

    1,634
    1,205
    Jan 15, 2012
    Pauline, SC
    The drivers side wheel well needed some trimming but nothing else needed moving in my application, some later model trucks might need a little more finesse under the hood to make sure nothing is rubbing, adjust as required. And remember to protect the tubing so it doesn’t rub the wheel well or anything else it may be close to.
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    As you can see, if done right, there is plenty of ground clearance under the front cross member. There are no places that rub the cooler or tubing, and it can be dropped in a matter of minutes when needed. All this was purchased for less than 400.00$ and is very good quality and can be done in less than a day and you will be able to have something that GM should have done from the start. With lower intake charge temps more air is packed in the chambers for a better burn.

    Parts needed --

    Use either 3” or 2.5” what ever you want. This list shows all 3” products.

    1 - CAC - 27”x12”x3” -- cxracing part# - 1023107000034 - 123.00$
    2 - 90* aluminum tubing - cxracing part# - 1005107000352 - 14.38$ ea
    1 - 45* aluminum tubing - cxracing part# - 1005107000347 - 12.99$
    1 - 75* aluminum tubing - cxracing part# - 1005107000348 - 13.89$
    1 - straight aluminum tubing - I had in stock
    12 - 3” SS T-bolts - cxracing- 30.00$ ( purchased as a pack of 12)
    2 - 45* 3” silicone coupler - Siliconeintakes.com - 16.99 ea
    5 - 3” silicone hump couplings - Siliconeintakes.com - 12.99$ ea (depends on size)

    This parts list might need to be different for other year trucks but will be very close for all 88-98 GMT400 body trucks & subs.
     
  4. btfarm

    btfarm 330,000 Worth and counting Staff Member Moderator

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    2,331
    May 12, 2008
    Sandwich, Illinois
    Comments are in the same thread in 6.5 Performance section
     
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