DIY: 04-07 STi (includes 02-07 Wrx/04-08Fxt using a STI TMIC) top mount intercooler removal. Take it off baby!
Now that you have your little turbocharged wonder… What will you do with it? Drive it gingerly? Leave it in the garage waiting for it to go up in value? Take every part off of it to see what lies beneath? Yeah… let’s do that third one! It seems like every time I work on either of my cars I am taking my intercooler off for one reason or another.
Why would you remove it? Let’s explore a few reason you would…
Replacing your factory dog bone with an upgraded mount.
Checking your intercooler for oil in it to make sure of your turbo and engines health.
Replacing your turbo to intercooler hose, intercooler to throttle body hose, replacing your y-pipe gaskets, and many other items that reside below it.
Maybe you purchased a new intercooler and it is time for the old one to retire.
Lastly removing the engine or unbolting the trans is made that much easier by removing the intercooler.
And many more!
Now with those listed off let’s get down to business. Tools we will need for this project. A 3/8th ratchet with a 8 mm, 12 mm and 14mm sockets. A set of pliers can be helpful for stubborn breather hoses. An 3/8ths extension can also make this much easier. A 3/8th electric impact or ratchet can make this a much quicker job.
We will start by popping the hood and locating the top mount intercooler or tmic for short. Now we will start with the breather hoses. One trick to removing these easier is to take a long drive prior to removal and yet another is to use a small torch or lighter to warm them up to let them release that much easier!
Looking around at the front of the intercooler you will see the bypass valve(bpv) that is secured by two 14mm bolts. If you are still rocking the stock bolts this is a great upgrade the Company 23 tmic stud kit! Now you will snag the bpv gasket before it gets lost on the top of engine.
We can now head over to the throttle body and 90 degree hose. This is where your 8mm and extension/screwdriver will come in handy. I loosen all three hose clamps to help everything move freely when you start wiggling and fighting to free the tmic from its engine bay prison.
The last two bolts we have to remove are the mounting bolts that hold the tmic in place. Both of these will be 14 mm bolts and are located on far left and right of the intercooler. With those remove you can now begin the actually removal part.
Pushing/pulling the intercooler towards the windshield will release the tmic to throttle body hose. Moving to the driver’s side of the car you will gain a bit of leverage on the intercooler. Pulling it towards yourself and slightly upwards seems to be the best way to release the tmic from the engine bay. Setting it off to the side you can now pat yourself on the back and enjoy a beverage of your choice!
You can now check the inside of the intercooler for oil. A slightly film of oil is a-ok but if you have oil dripping out of the intercooler you will need to check your turbo inlet tube and turbo for starters. Finding the source of the oil will help you figure out your issue. Otherwise, you can continue on to your further repairs or installations.
With this all complete you can now gaze upon your large open area covered with wires, hose and brackets. You can now replace the parts you have, add an aos or anything else that tickles your fancy. For those curious of how to easily reinstall your intercooler lets go ahead and get to it.
This is never an easy task. I honestly upgraded my Forester xt’s turbo and intercooler because the factory intercooler is so awful to put back on. Instead of a silicone hose you have a plastic fitting which after many years of heat cycles, with that the plastic shrinks down and is so hard to reinstall when cold. A protip for that are using a heat source to help the plastic relax prior to reinstalling it.
I always start on the driver’s side when installing my intercooler. Making sure to move you a/c lines and brake booster hose out of the way. It loves to move over the driver side mount causing you trouble when installing it. Now you will try to do your best to get the 90 degree hose to start it’s way on the coldside of the turbo.
Having the 90 degree hose starting on the turbo inlet, give the intercooler a push towards help slide it on. You may need to wiggle it back and forth but it should start to go on. If the 90 degree hose doesn’t fully engage the turbo outlet, use a 1/4 extension to push down any bunched up areas.
Now you will take the BPV gasket and replace it on the intercooler and add the bolts/nuts to bolt it on.
Now the only bolts that connect the tmic to the engine are ready to go on. Make sure to start these by hand, with the deep bushings and force exerted by the intercooler couplers it’s very easy to strip the threads out on one of these brackets. Once they have started run them down snugly.
Your final steps will be situating your clamps on the 90 degree hose and throttle body. Take care when locating the clamp making sure they are raised sections, also referred to as a bead, of either throttle body or turbo outlet. These will keep the hose on by not allowing the tightened clamp to slide off.
Congratulations, you have successfully removed and reinstalled your intercooler. Listening for air leaks and watching your idle for odd fluctuations. Time to celebrate with a short drive to check that everything is connected properly. These are key to identify that all your connections are tight and good to go.
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