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General Automotive General automotive discussion. This is intended to be a discussion about other not VW and Diesel cars you may have or interested in.

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Old August 21st, 2013, 08:57   #1
PDJetta
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Default Is it an "Intercooler", "Charge Air Cooler", or "Aftercooler"?

I've heard all these terms used for the device that cools the intake air after it is compressed by the turbocharger (or supercharger) on an automobile. For the TDI and most other turbocharged automobiles, "after cooler" is the correct terminology, per this article in Wikipedia, but is archaic, so "intercooler" is now used, which used to denote cooling between multiple turbocharger/supercharger stages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftercooler

--Nate
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Old August 21st, 2013, 09:04   #2
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In the TDI world they seem to call them intercoolers. In the marine world, they seem to prefer aftercooler. One exception is the Detroit two strokes, where a cooler can be between turbo and blower, those are called intercoolers.

Really the same things. I prefer "charge air cooler" as it seems more technically accurate, making no reference to being inter- or after- anything.
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Old August 21st, 2013, 09:19   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Really the same things. I prefer "charge air cooler" as it seems more technically accurate, making no reference to being inter- or after- anything.
I prefer "charge air cooler" too. My 08 Ford F350 6.4PSD truck documentation refers to it by CAC, for Charge Air Cooler. Ford mechanics also refer to it by CAC, pronouncing it like "kack".
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Old August 21st, 2013, 09:31   #4
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I've seen different manufacturers of aftermarket coolers call them different things too, but typically it is either "intercooler" or "charge air cooler". In simplest terms they are a heat exchanger and I have seen them called heat exchangers a lot too, especially with the centrifugal superchargers and their kits...

For the record my VW seems to have a replacement Intercooler per the insurance company that paid to replace it. And my Duramax truck has a Banks Power Techni-Cooler installed on it.
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Old August 21st, 2013, 10:01   #5
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Typically, the air to air units are intercoolers or charge air coolers.

An aftercooler is usually the radiator used to cool the lquid in Liquid to air intercoolers.
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Old August 21st, 2013, 12:04   #6
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Hey, why don't we drag in the transaxle vs transmission nomenclature argument, too!
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Old August 21st, 2013, 16:34   #7
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...because transaxle is more than just a transmission.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 04:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lug_Nut View Post
...because transaxle is more than just a transmission.

Yep , that one is easy.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 05:15   #9
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Volkswagen calls them "charge air cooler" but if you type "intercooler" into ETKA it will pull up charge air cooler, so I guess they know it is a common enough term.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 04:59   #10
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I like the term "charge air cooler" too, because that is what it does.

--Natew
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Old August 27th, 2013, 10:10   #11
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Inter = Latin prefix for "between" or "among."

"Intercooler" works well in a single turbo system given that it lies "between the turbo and intake." At this point, "charge air cooler" also works, and it's more descriptive (something German likes to do with words).

In a multi-turbo setup, "inter" and "post/after" would have to be specified, but they are both effectively charge-air coolers. Using merely "charge air cooler" would be somewhat ambiguous.

Given the low incidence of multi-turbo setups, I think the term "intercooler" functions well enough as it (afaik) only refers to the charge air system in a turbo application.
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Old August 30th, 2013, 11:11   #12
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An intercooler goes between two stages of a compound setup.
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Old July 21st, 2017, 23:11   #13
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"Intercooler" is the most common term, by far. At least in the U.S. But of course it really doesn't matter.

-mickey

p.s. Your turbocharger is a supercharger. Turbochargers are a subset of superchargers. In general use, though, a "supercharger" refers to a compressor that is mechanically driven, rather than turbine-driven.

"Supercharging" means raising the intake pressure above atmospheric pressure.
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