Tech: Installing A Chiseled Water Tank And Intercooler Into Blown Z
Most major projects worth completing take an immense amount of time and patience. Looking back throughout history, there are examples of this everywhere. It took Leonardo da Vinci almost fifteen years to paint the Mona Lisa. It took sixteen years for the French to build the Statue of Liberty, and to this day, China continues to meddle with the Great Wall, an effort that stretches back to 7th century BC.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have that much time or patience. As a result, we planned on getting our Project BlownZ 2002 Camaro finished up in time before the 2012 racing season ended, and we are happy to report that we achieved that goal. We’ve already covered the engine build, suspension setup, among other critical attributes that make up our x275 drag car. To get the full back story of this car, click here.
Cooling Down the Boost
As we’re winding down on the completion of BlownZ, we’re still in the process of fine-tuning, tweaking and getting our Camaro track ready. That includes buttoning up the intercooler assembly, hooking up the water tank, connecting the fuel lines, cooling lines, and all of the piping. With the massive ProCharger forcing oxygen into our 388ci. LSX stroker, we’re going to need an intercooler than can keep up with all of that horsepower.
Being as how our BlownZ Camaro project has undergone such an extensive level of modifications, our supercharger upgrades wouldn’t make do with a simple over the counter, bolt-on intercooler. Luckily, we have good friends over at Chiseled Performance, Fragola, and Vibrant Performance. These guys are the leading experts in designing everything needed for this type of install.
With the intercooler (Part# 1C3000) and water tank (Part# WT7) that Chiseled sent us, it becomes immediately apparent that we would be breaking out the welder and our fabrication skills. The Chiseled Performance intercooler comes shipped to your door ready to assemble with an internal Rule in-tank pump included. However, the mounting brackets will need to be fabricated onto the intercooler for installation by either the owner or a trusted welding shop, and the in-tank pump mounting location will be left up to the owner as well. This reason for this is every installation of this type is unique to the car’s setup.
“Our end tanks are made from one single piece of aluminum sheet, minimizing the weld seams and making it a bullet proof design.” -Robert Rojas
For those of you who never heard of Chiseled, they are one of the latest, and most favored manufacturers of intercooling systems currently on the market today. Founded by company owner Robert Rojas back in 2005, and based out of Miami, Florida, Chiseled Performance specializes in high-capacity intercoolers, transmission coolers, and water & fuel tanks.
Rojas’ designs have ended up in some of the fastest drag cars, land speed record holders, and even diesel sled pullers from all over the world. Amazingly enough, all of this started when Rojas simply picked up a tig-welder for the first time, and took on the challenge of piecing together his own intercooler. He then showed off the finished product on a popular message forum, and the rest, as they say, is history.
When we asked Rojas what makes his designs so different from everyone else’s, he was happy to report, “Intercoolers, have air tanks that are made from two or more pieces welded together. Our end tanks are made from one single piece of aluminum sheet, this minimizes the weld seams making it a bullet proof design,” explained Rojas.
Sounds like just what we need for our Camaro. But can it withstand the amount of force that ProCharger will provide? “I am happy to say that our intercoolers have not had a single weld failure since 2008.” says Rojas. That’s good enough for us.
The intercooler is an interesting piece of design. It’s completely tig-welded together, and utilizes Garrett cores and 4-inch V-band assemblies to help optimize intake charge cooling to increase horsepower. Garrett themselves are a name long-trusted by boost enthusiasts from all over the world, and their turbocharger and intercooler designs were even used by Buick in the Grand National during the 1980’s. Included in the intercooler kit is also Chiseled’s exclusive one-piece air tank, along with their 1-1/4-inch water fittings.
The Water Tank
The Chiseled water tank is made with the same lightweight, high-quality construction as their intercooler assemblies. It’s made from a .100-grade aluminum that features a half-inch drain, the aforementioned internal Rule 3700 in-tank water pump, 1-1/4-inch fittings, and a 6-inch diameter lid with a handle for easier opening and closing.
Installation was pretty straightforward, especially for our two experienced shop dawgs, Sean and Dean. Although the fabrication work was fairly easy for our two guys, the installation was quite a long procedure. It took Dean roughly the entire course of a work day (about 8-9 hours) to get everything installed into our Camaro. Considering this isn’t exactly a bolt-on affair, 8-9 hours for a intercooler and in-car mounted water tank is not that bad at all. However, this didn’t include attaching mounting bars to the Camaro’s welded in rollcage, and connecting all of the Vibrant clamps and tubing.
Vibrant Intercooler Tubing and VanJen Clamps
Since we’re installing such a unusual intercooler system in our Camaro that’s unlike most applications, we’ll be requiring some unique ductwork. As such, we’ll be calling upon Vibrant Performance to fill that void in our BlownZ build.
Vibrant’s components are just as high-quality as Chiseled’s intercooler and water tank, plus they specialize in producing parts for enthusiasts ranging from exhaust systems, to intercoolers, to air filters and everything in between. They’re well versed in pretty much everything automotive, so it only made sense to enlist them for our intercooler tubing.
After we placed our order, they promptly sent over exactly everything we needed; that included fifteen feet of their aluminum intercooler tubing and their patented VanJen clamping system.
Starting with the intercooler tubing, we chose a 3.5-inch diameter piping (Part # 12892) in a high-polish finish and with a wall thickness of .o60-inch.
To continue the theme of self-fabrication, our shop crew installed the 90-degree mandrel bent sections of pipe necessary to complete the build, and had it ready to go in the car in no time.
The Vibrant VanJen clamps (Part # 12507) are among our favorite pieces of the entire build. “The VanJen Clamps are constructed entirely from T6061 aluminum,” says Albert Reda from Vibrant. “They include a lightweight, quick release clamping mechanism of our own design that provides a leak-free, modular connection ideal for boosted applications with superchargers and turbos.”
These clamps are capable of withstanding up to 110 psi, and operating temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, making them ideal for containing hot boost.
The unique design of the VanJen clamp includes the latest in flexible, banded clamp connector solutions from Vibrant Performance.
Once we had our intercooler and water tank assembled, we began the fitment of the system into our 2002 Camaro Z28. This included measuring out all of the piping from Vibrant, along plenty of cutting and welding. We weren’t complaining however, since the job at hand was relatively easy, and we knew the final results would be well worth all of the effort.
However, we still had one major hurtle; until we source all of the previously mentioned fittings, we wouldn’t be installing anything into our Camaro. That’s where Fragola stepped in, and helped us get all of the braided lines, billet aluminum fittings, and everything else we needed to complete our project intercooler.
Fragola Lines and Fittings
After we received our new components from Fragola, we laid them out on our shop table for closer inspection. Once we ripped them out of their plastic, we got busy putting everything together. Luckily, we had everything we needed to get the job done the first time without having to order parts a second time or send anything back.
Their 6000 Series stainless steel braided high-pressure hose lines are designed with longevity and durability in mind. They’re specifically designed not to scratch any surface, and can withstand any kid of high-pressure situations that of turbochargers or superchargers will create. Plus, they are produced using P.T.F.E properties, ensuring that they won’t corrode when used in applications such as brake or fuel lines.
We’ll be connecting our Fragola braided lines to their Fragola’s fittings, so that we won’t have any incompatibility of parts and to ensure proper fitment and equal quality. On some high vacuum applications, Fragola offers a stainless inner support spring as extra insurance to prevent the hose from collapsing. Obviously, these are the lines we’ll be using for BlownZ since we’ll be incorporating quite a bit of boost from our ProCharger.
As you can see from the photos, installing this cooling system required several fittings and photos of a variety of sizes and specifications. We chose the sizes based on what would work best with the amount of boost we would be running, the temperatures the Camaro would be operating at, and simply put, the correct specifications that would work in conjunction of our Meizure electric water pump.
Putting the Pieces Together
Assembling the lines to the fittings was very simple. All we really needed was a wrench and a vise, and they went together to form our water lines in a matter of minutes. From there, we could fit them onto our Chiseled water tank and intercooler, connecting the two.
Once we had the braided lines connected, we continued to install all of our Vibrant piping through the interior of our Camaro and back to to our water tank.
We’ll be mounting our water tank in the trunk, making it a whole lot easier to refill with ice. In the end, the finished product turned out quite nicely, and we’re proud to have the Chiseled, Vibrant, and Fragola components in our Camaro.
At this point you’re probably wondering how much of a difference this intercooler setup has made to our car. We never ran the Camaro on the motor alone or with just the blower, so we’ll never really know. However, we’ve recorded all of our passes with our data logger, and we shared one of the passes with you below.
Looking at the table, you can see how we monitored the cooling temperatures throughout the RPM range. Using our tuning tables, we’ve recorded max blower air temperature of 385 degrees at 6,250 rpm, while the intake temperature reached 85 degrees at 3,500 rpm.
The water temperature reached a peak of 168 degrees, which is much lower than what a car typically runs at. These are great numbers considering it was around 90 degrees outside during our venture at Las Vegas Speedway – where the car ran a best of time of 8.24 at 168.1 mph.
Air to water intercoolers are the preferred method of intercooling for virtually all high horsepower centrifugally supercharged or turbocharged race cars. They can offer air intake temperatures below ambient, and only encounter slight temperature variances during a run. With the flat air intake temperatures, not only will we make more horsepower, it makes BlownZ much easier to tune. We are impressed with the quality, performance, and overall design of the Chiseled and Vibrant components. It’s helped reach our goals with Project BlownZ, and it will be a mainstay with our ongoing progression of this car.