Bell Intercoolers FAQ

  1. Shipping & Returns
    1. What shipping options are available?
    2. Do you ship outside of the USA?
    3. Do you ship to Alaska and Hawaii?
    4. What could cause a shipping delay?
    5. Is there a cost on returns?
  2. FAQ
    1. What is the purpose and/or advantage of an intercooler?
    2. How does the intercooler affect the power output of the engine?
    3. Is some intercooling better than no intercooling?
    4. Are there varying styles of intercoolers?
    5. How can an air-to-air intercooler be more efficient than a water based intercooler?
    6. What are the relative merits of an air or water-cooled intercooler and which would suit my purposes best?
    7. What factors are considered in configuring an intercooler?
    8. Does one style core cool better than another?
    9. What are the variations in core construction used in intercoolers?
    10. What are the differences between short tubes and long tubes?
    11. Does the length of the tube affect efficiency?
    12. What factors affect efficiency of an Air-to-Air Intercooler?
    13. Are there any improvements that can be made to the system for improved efficiency?
    14. What ranges of efficiency can be expected from an intercooler?
    15. How does one measure the efficiency of the intercooler?
    16. What factors affect the pressure or flow loss?
    17. What ranges of pressure loss can be expected? And what is acceptable?
    18. Does one core style offer less restriction than another?
    19. What is flow loss thru an intercooler?
    20. How/why is the flow loss significant?
    21. Can an intercooler fail? If so, what are the failure modes?
    22. Is there a boost pressure limit for intercoolers?
    23. What is the importance of a leak in an intercooler?
    24. How can an intercooler be protected from corrosion?
    25. Can an intercooler be painted?
    26. Can an intercooler be repaired?
    27. Is there a maintenance regimen for an intercooler?
    28. What is a life span of an intercooler?
    29. Does an intercooler carry a warranty?
  3. Privacy Policy
    1. Communications
    2. Brochure Mailing List
    3. Communications to Serve You
    4. Fraud Protection and Compliance with Law
    5. Service Providers
    6. Special Events
    7. Business Transfers
    8. Cookies, IP Addresses, Pixel Tags and Tracking Technology
    9. Use of Aggregate Information
    10. Links
    11. Security
    12. Notification of Policy Changes
    13. Updating Personal Information
    14. Contacting Us

Shipping & Returns

Q: What shipping options are available?

Online orders will be shipped based on the customers choice at checkout. We (do not) ship to P.O. boxes. Please contact us if you are interested in an expedited shipping on your order.

Q: Do you ship outside of the USA?

We (do not) ship outside of the USA.

Q: Do you ship to Alaska and Hawaii?

We (do not) ship to Alaska and Hawaii.

Q: What could cause a shipping delay?

Shipping delay can occur when the wrong address or zip code is submitted for the shipping address. If the shipping company can not deliver the package we will contact you via phone or email.

During the holiday season shipping delivery may vary.

Q: Is there a cost on returns?

If an item needs to be returned the shipping fees are the customer's responsibility.

Amount of refund will be based on the purchase price of your product.


FAQ

Q: What is the purpose and/or advantage of an intercooler?

The purpose of the intercooler is to remove the heat in the air charge that the turbo/supercharger puts into the charge when compressing it. There are two advantages: Reducing the heat in the air charge increases the charge density (more molecules of air per cubic foot), thus increasing the potential for making more power. Reducing the heat decreases the tendency of the combustion process to knock (detonation).

Q: How does the intercooler affect the power output of the engine?

Power is dependent on the density of the air charge. By decreasing the temperature the intercooler increases air charge density, therefore, the power is increased. Typically, the magnitude of the increase will be between 10 and 20% for the average (street) boost pressures.

Q: Is some intercooling better than no intercooling?

No. It depends on the design of the intercooler, and there are two factors involved; efficiency (how much heat is removed) and the flow restriction (lost pressure) created by the presence of the intercooler. Regardless of the efficiency, if too much pressure is lost, then the intercooler is either useless or can actually decrease performance.

Q: Are there varying styles of intercoolers?

Yes, two basic styles: Air-to-Water, whereby the Charge-Air is cooled by Water, and Air-to-Air, whereby the Charge-Air is cooled by (ambient) Air.

Q: How can an air-to-air intercooler be more efficient than a water based intercooler?

There is an overwhelming quantity of ambient air available to cool an air-to-air core relative to the charge air thru the inside of the intercooler (The iced down water intercooler is the only exception to this argument.). At just 60 mph, with a 300 bhp engine at full tilt, the ambient air available to cool the intercooler is about ten times the amount of charge air needed to make the 300 hp. Whereas the water intercooler largely stores the heat in the water until off throttle allows a reverse exchange. Some heat is expelled from a front water cooler, but the temperature difference between the water and ambient air is not large enough to drive out much heat. Another way to view the situation is that ultimately the heat removed from the air charge must go into the atmosphere regardless of whether it’s from an air intercooler or a water based intercooler. The problem with the water intercooler is that the heat has more barriers to cross to reach the atmosphere than the air intercooler. Like it or not, each barrier represents a resistance to the transfer of heat. The net result; more barriers, less heat transfer.

Q: What are the relative merits of an air or water-cooled intercooler and which would suit my purposes best?

This depends on the circumstances. These circumstances are; street use, drag racing, or endurance racing (more than two minutes).

Street use: The air-to-air intercooler will prove superior in efficiency when sized properly.

Drag racing: The short spurt of power allows the iced water to cool the charge air to below ambient temperature.

Endurance racing: The air-to-air intercooler is clearly superior due to the shorter route of getting the heat out of the air charge and into the atmosphere. Endurance racing would preclude the use of ice water, thus negating the singular advantage of the water intercooler. Further, the air-to-air intercooler is (virtually, see comments below) maintenance free.

Q: What factors are considered in configuring an intercooler?

Use of the vehicle: note the answers above.

Space: When insufficient space exists for an air intercooler of adequate internal flow area, then a water based unit is the better choice. A water intercooler usually reverses the flow paths through the core and puts the charge thru the big face, thus its flow area can be quite large even in a small overall package.

Type of core: There is very little distinction between core types with respect to efficiency. Charge air flow: This is the factor that determines the intercooler size.

Q: Does one style core cool better than another?

No, almost no difference. With three decades of testing intercooler’s, we have found no appreciable difference between any core style or manufacturer. Keep in mind, that the merit of a core is it’s efficiency versus its internal drag characteristics. When sized for a tolerable flow loss, virtually all cores will produce essentially the same efficiency results. Perhaps a core with slightly less flow area per linear inch, or one with longer tubes, will need perhaps 5% more tubes to equal the best of intercooler’s with regard to flow loss and efficiency. Not a very important difference.

Q: What are the variations in core construction used in intercoolers?

The variations are in the style of manufacture of the core material. A “Bar and Plate”-Style Core is made by brazing up a layered structure of flat plates separated by small rectangular spacers. A “Tube and Flange”-Style Core is created by extending a series of tubes through a header flange and brazing the assembly together. For heavy duty applications, pressure spikes up to 250 psig and rugged environments, ”Solid Extruded Tube”-Style Cores are available.

Q: What are the differences between short tubes and long tubes?

The longer the tube the greater the pressure loss accompanied by a slight increase in efficiency.

Q: Does the length of the tube affect efficiency?

Very little. The most heat comes out of the tube where the temperature difference between the inside and the outside is the greatest. That exists in the first couple inches of the tube. The last inch of the tube, wherein the charge temperature is rapidly approaching the cooling media temperature, will transfer very little heat, thus being of minor use.

Q: What factors affect efficiency of an Air-to-Air Intercooler?

Frontal area: This is a rapidly decreasing function. If the proper core size is used, then doubling it will definitely not double the efficiency. More likely, doubling the core would raise the efficiency about 5% and cost twice the necessary amount and add substantially to the weight.

Plate area: Plate Area (the sum of the Core-Plate Area which is exposed to the Atmosphere) is directly proportional to the frontal area and the thickness. Thickness, however, is a double-edged sword. With the greater thickness, the plate area increases but less ambient air can penetrate the thicker core to offer cooling.

Ambient air quantity: It is very important to insure that air coming in the snout of the car will actually go through the intercooler.

Q: Are there any improvements that can be made to the system for improved efficiency?

Yes, several small factors influence the efficiency. A proper duct is probably the single most beneficial thing that can be done to an existing intercooler. Positioning in the main stream of ambient air is crucial. By comparison, a taped up intercooler with no ambient air flow will offer only about 20% efficiency.

Q: What ranges of efficiency can be expected from an intercooler?

A typical air-to-air intercooler for a street application achieves between 60% and 70% efficiency, an excellent/optimum design for road racing can approach close to 90% efficiency, but requires an adequate “budget!”

Typically, a liquid-to-air intercooler achieves higher efficiencies than an air-to-air intercooler, starting at 75% efficiency and reaching peaks of 95% efficiency. Another advantage is the optional use of ice as a coolant, which is the only way to reduce the charge-air temperature below the ambient air temperature.

Q: How does one measure the efficiency of the intercooler?

The efficiency is defined as the ratio of the temperature removed from the air charge by the intercooler relative to how much temperature is put into the charge by the turbo/supercharger.

For example: If the turbo/supercharger puts 150 degrees F into the charge when compressing the air, and the intercooler removes 110 of those degrees, then the efficiency is: Eff = 110 / 150 = .733, or 73.3%

Q: What factors affect the pressure or flow loss?

The internal flow area is the major controlling factor. Tube length is the second biggest consideration, as a tube twice as long as another will have nearly twice the drag at the same air velocity. Tube entry and turbulator density play small roles and can be considered insignificant. When configuring the orientation of the core in a given space, always position the core to offer the shortest length tube and the most number of tubes. Clearly, this optimizes the internal flow area.

Q: What ranges of pressure loss can be expected? And what is acceptable?

For good solid performance, the pressure loss across the intercooler ought to be kept to less than 1.0 to 1.5 psi. If any pressure in excess of 4 psi is measured, then the intercooler is not suited for the job and certainly harming the performance.

Q: Does one core style offer less restriction than another?

There are a few fine points that mean little. Essentially, they are all the same if the flow area is the major design consideration.

Q: What is flow loss thru an intercooler?

Flow loss is what is measured in the pressure loss and is the restriction presented to the smooth, easy air flow through the system. Essentially, the drag. It is measured by a pressure difference between the air charge entering the intercooler to that exiting the intercooler. This flow loss is due to the aerodynamic drag offered by the shape, the net area of the tubes, the length of the tubes, and the density and style of the turbulators.

Q: How/why is the flow loss significant?

The net result is the production of power. It is hugely important because the power required to drive the air thru the system must come from somewhere. Depending on whether the system is turbocharged or supercharged, will determine how much power is lost from the restriction.

Are there other factors of flow loss, in the intercooler assembly, rather than just the core? Yes, entry into the intercooler inlet tank and the smoothness of the exit tank. The adjoining tube assemblies, their length, size and bend configurations are all part of the flow loss total.

If the boost is raised is it necessary to increase an otherwise proper intercooler? Very seldom. While the loss through the intercooler is proportional to the flow (CFM) squared, unlikely the change will be of a magnitude that requires a bigger intercooler. If dramatic changes in flow are created, say 50%, then the flow loss would increase by 1.5 squared, or 2.25, and that would prove excessive thus strongly suggesting a larger intercooler.

Q: Can an intercooler fail? If so, what are the failure modes?

Water-to-Air intercooler Systems have many obvious failure modes; Pumps, leaks, hoses, reservoirs, corrosion and even a lack of maintenance, all can contribute to a failure. The Air-to-Air intercooler Systems are hard pressed to fail if properly built for the job; running into solid objects, like other vehicles, is probably the only significant cause of failure.

Q: Is there a boost pressure limit for intercoolers?

Intercooler’s can fail from pressure if not specifically designed to operate at that objective pressure. The failure mode is definitely not like a bomb going off, rather a failure is manifest in cracked seams, and is induced by repeatedly flexing the material of the end tanks. A panel of the cap, if large, subjected to high pressures, and in-adequately stiff, will flex in-and-out, or “oil can,” until the edges of the panel fatigue and the seams begin to crack. (Pressures up to 15 psig are usually safe for all designs)

Q: What is the importance of a leak in an intercooler?

With the water intercooler, a leak in the main cooler core could induce a significant problem into the engine. External leaks are just annoying, but not likely to be harmful. The air unit must have a very large leak before it can cause any problem whatsoever. If pressurized and placed under water, an air intercooler will need to “billow” bubbles before it causes any noticeable problem. A dozen small trickles of bubbles would be entirely meaningless to performance.

Q: How can an intercooler be protected from corrosion?

The water unit will need water passage protection offered by standard anti-freeze. The air intercooler only needs the outside protected from corrosion. Powder coating is perhaps the most durable/cost-effective solution to corrosion. The charge paths of either style intercooler will be protected by the oily vapors from the engine breather that are pumped through the system.

Q: Can an intercooler be painted?

Certainly. One might find a small loss of efficiency if the core is painted, but likely this would be less of a difference than the repeatability of measurement. By all means, paint the end tanks, but preference suggests the core remain exposed.

Q: Can an intercooler be repaired?

Repair depends on where the problem is and how badly it is damaged. Its much the same as “can a fender be repaired?” In most cases, an able fabricator, a band saw and a heliarc welder can do wonders.

Q: Is there a maintenance regimen for an intercooler?

The water based intercooler will need periodic attention to the water level. Further, it needs anti-freeze for cold weather use, corrosion and pump lubrication. An occasional leak inspection would be advised.The air intercooler needs de-(smashed)bugging when washing the vehicle. Tube hoses and clamps need periodic checks. If the air intercooler develops minor leaks, this is usually of no consequence.

Perhaps every 10 to 15K miles, the internals of the intercooler element ought to be washed out with a solvent to remove the accumulated oil residue and grime.

Q: What is a life span of an intercooler?

With minor maintenance, essentially unlimited. Except for the water intercooler’s pump, of course.

Q: Does an intercooler carry a warranty?

Yes. All Bell Intercoolers Cores and Assemblies are guaranteed for one year against workmanship failures.

Privacy Policy

Q: Communications

If you select during the order process or at other times when you submit personally identifiable information, the information you provide may be used by Bell Intercoolers to create and deliver to you our newsletters, surveys or other communications containing product information. If you prefer not to receive such Communications, please do not select the ‘Please inform me option’. If you do select this option and later decide that you would no longer like to receive these communications, please use the features made available to you.

Q: Brochure Mailing List

If you have requested a Bell Intercoolers brochure, all information is kept completely confidential and is not shared with any third parties. We may, on occasion, send you an updated catalog or brochure. If you do not wish to receive any mail from Bell Intercoolers, please contact us via email at . Include your name and mailing address and email address. You will be removed from any future mailings.

Q: Communications to Serve You

If you have elected to provide us with your contact information, e.g., by registering at the Site, emailing our Customer Service department or placing an order, we may provide you with service related announcements concerning the Site or contact you regarding your customer service requests or your order. For example, all registered users will receive an email to confirm their order. These types of communications are necessary to serve you, respond to your concerns and to provide the high level of customer service that Bell Intercoolers offers its customers.

Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information

We will never provide your personally identifiable information to third parties for their use in marketing their products or services to you without your consent. Bell Intercoolers takes great pride in having you as a customer and we will ensure your privacy as a customer. Bell Intercoolers does not sell or exchange names or any other information about our customers with third parties.

Q: Fraud Protection and Compliance with Law

We may disclose any information, including personally identifiable information, we deem necessary, in our sole discretion, to comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request. We may also exchange information, including personally identifiable information, with other companies and organizations for credit fraud protection and risk reduction.

Q: Service Providers

We may retain other companies and individuals to perform functions consistent with our Privacy Policy on our behalf. Examples include customer support specialists, web hosting companies, fulfillment companies (e.g., companies that fill product orders or coordinate mailings), data analysis firms and email service providers. Such third parties may be provided with access to personally identifiable information needed to perform their functions, but may not use such information for any other purpose.

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Q: Business Transfers

As we continue to develop our business, we might sell certain of our assets. In such transactions, user information, including personally identifiable information, generally is one of the transferred business assets, and by submitting your personal information on the Site you agree that your data may be transferred to such parties in these circumstances.

Q: Cookies, IP Addresses, Pixel Tags and Tracking Technology

We may place a "cookie" on your computer's hard drive so we can recognize you as a return user and personalize your experience. A cookie is a piece of data that enables us to track and target your preferences. The cookie will be stored on your computer's hard drive until you remove it. We may also use temporary or "session" cookies to help you shop. These cookies will expire when you place an order. You can have your browser notify you of, or automatically reject, cookies. If you reject our cookies, you may still use the Site, but you may be limited in the use of some of the features. In addition, we may use IP addresses to analyze trends, administer the Site, track traffic patterns, and gather demographic information for aggregate use, as well as in combination with your personally identifiable information for credit fraud protection and risk reduction.

Similarly, when you visit this Site or view one of our emails, we may use pixel tags (also called "clear" gifs), tracking links and/or similar technology to note some of the pages you visit on our Site and personalize your experience. We may also use pixel tags to determine what types of email your browser supports. We may use the information collected through pixel tags, tracking links and similar technology in combination with your personally identifiable information.

bellintercoolers.com does recognize your ISP (internet service provider), however, we cannot identify you as an individual. If you make an on-line purchase we do collect information (such as sales statistics and traffic patterns) to help improve your shopping experience. We keep all information confidential.

Q: Use of Aggregate Information

We may use the information you provide in aggregate (non-personally identifiable) form for internal business purposes, such as generating statistics and developing marketing plans. We may collect, store or accumulate certain non-personally identifiable information concerning your use of the Site, such as information regarding which of our pages are most popular. We may share or transfer non-personally identifiable information with or to our affiliates, licensees and partners.

Q: Links

This Privacy Policy applies only to the information collected on this Site. Our Site may contain links to or from other websites and you should be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy policies of other websites linked to the Site.

Q: Security

Bell Intercoolers seeks to protect the security of your personal information both online and offline. All credit card transactions are secure. Every on-line order is encrypted and sent through a secure server, using SSL technology to prevent information from being intercepted.

Confidential information such as your credit card number will be used only to fulfill your order. To protect your privacy, we will ask you to enter your credit card number and expiration date each time you place an order with us. This way, even if someone else accesses the account information stored on your computer, they won't be able to use your credit card.

E-mail is not encrypted and is not a secure means to transmit credit card numbers. We will only display the last 4 digits of your credit card number on your account.

Q: Notification of Policy Changes

Bell Intercoolers reserves the right to revise this Privacy Policy in the future by posting changes at this location and we may make changes at any time without notification.

Q: Updating Personal Information

If you are a registered member at Bell Intercoolers, you can change your personal information at any time by updating your information at check-out.

Q: Contacting Us

We welcome your comments and questions about privacy. Please send email to info@bellintercoolers.com.

We are confident that your visit to Bell Intercoolers is secure and safe. However, you may choose to call us directly to place your order over the telephone. Please call Customer Service toll free at 1.830.438.6150.