Diesel engines are known for their durability, torque, and fuel efficiency. However, even the best diesel engines can benefit from aftermarket upgrades that improve performance. One area where diesel engines often fall short is the intercooler system. The factory intercoolers are usually undersized and can lead to heat soak issues under heavy load or repeated hard acceleration. Upgrading to an aftermarket intercooler like the Banks intercooler can provide noticeable power gains and help prevent heat soak.
How Intercoolers Improve Diesel Performance
Turbochargers and superchargers compress intake air to increase its density for more power. This compression process also heats the intake air. Hotter air is less dense, so intercoolers are used to cool the charged air before it enters the engine. Cooler, denser air allows more oxygen into the combustion chamber for better combustion and power.
The small size and tube-and-fin design of stock intercoolers limit their cooling capacity. Aftermarket options like the Banks intercooler use larger cores with bar-and-plate construction to provide more cooling surface area. This keeps intake temperatures lower, especially during demanding driving conditions.
Preventing Heat Soak with Better Intercoolers
Heat soak occurs when an intercooler can’t shed heat fast enough and intake air temperatures start to climb. Small stock intercoolers are especially prone to heat soak issues. Driving hard for extended periods, towing heavy loads, and frequent stop-and-go driving can all contribute to heat soak.
Upgraded intercoolers are designed to combat heat soak. Their larger size and more efficient cores allow them to cool intake air more effectively. Maintaining lower temperatures improves performance consistency and prevents power loss.
Additional Benefits of Larger Intercoolers
Along with preventing heat soak, larger aftermarket intercoolers provide other benefits:
- Increased power and torque output
- Improved throttle response and turbo spool up
- Ability to support more boost pressure
- Reduced stress on engine components
The colder air from an upgraded intercooler is denser and allows the engine to burn more fuel efficiently. This directly translates to better performance. Larger intercooler cores also have less pressure drop thanks to increased flow capacity. Lower restriction allows the turbo to spool up faster.
Top Intercooler Upgrade for Diesel Trucks
When it comes to diesel truck intercooler upgrades, the Banks intercooler stands out as one of the best options. Banks is a respected name for diesel performance parts. Their Techni-Cooler intercoolers feature bar-and-plate cores that offer several advantages:
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Increased cooling capacity
- Lower air intake temperatures
- High-flow cast end tanks
- Direct OE fitment
Banks Techni-Cooler intercoolers are available for popular diesel trucks from Ford, Dodge, GM, and more. They utilize larger cores that lower intake temps by up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This keeps air density high for noticeably improved power delivery.
Additional Supporting Mods for Intercooler Upgrades
While a larger intercooler alone will provide performance gains, combining it with other upgrades can further enhance diesel engine output. Here are some supporting mods to consider:
- Exhaust – Improves turbo spool and reduces backpressure. Cat-back or turbo-back kits available.
- Intake – Open-air intakes improve airflow. Some options include pre-filters for off-roading.
- Tuner – Custom tunes optimize fueling, boost, and timing for mods. Significant power gains possible.
- Boost increase – Larger intercoolers support more boost. Combine with a tuner to raise boost levels safely.
- Water-methanol injection – Cools intake temps and prevents detonation on modified engines.
Properly installing a new intercooler along with compatible mods creates a complete high-performance system. The results are maximized power, quicker response, and improved drivability.
Intercooler Upgrade Considerations
Upgrading the intercooler may seem like a straightforward bolt-on mod, but there are some important considerations:
- Vehicle fitment – Not all intercoolers fit every model. Carefully check fitment before ordering.
- Tuning required? – Some intercoolers may require custom tuning to prevent check engine lights.
- Install difficulty – Intercooler installs vary by vehicle. Some require cutting or trimming.
- Supporting mods – Adding only an intercooler leaves potential power gains untapped. Plan a complete build.
- Repositioning – Larger cores may require relocating other components for clearance.
Researching your particular application is advised to avoid compatibility issues. Proper installation is also key to maximize performance and prevent leaks or failures.
Keep Your Diesel Running Cool with Intercooler Upgrades
Factory intercoolers are often the weak link in diesel engine performance. Upgrading to a larger aftermarket intercooler provides big benefits like preventing heat soak, reducing intake air temperatures, allowing more boost pressure, and unlocking more power.
The Banks Techni-Cooler is one of the most trusted options for diesel truck intercooler upgrades thanks to its durable bar-and-plate core design. Combine it with supporting mods like exhaust, intake, and tuning to build a complete high-performance diesel system. Your truck will haul and tow better than ever while running cooler and more efficiently.