Reduce your inlet temperature for greater efficiency, less engine stress and slightly more power. Here's how to upgrade a T5 intercooler.

If you use your Van to tow regularly, or do a lot of driving up and down hills, then perhaps you should think about uprating your factory intercooler.  Forge Motorsport make a beautifully engineered upgrade for such requirements, and it’s easier to fit than you might think.  Here’s how to upgrade a T5 intercooler.

Fitting an uprated intercooler to your T5 is a great idea for lots of reasons.  Firstly, it will protect your engine by keeping a lid on charge (and therefore inlet) temperatures.  This will help the engine to a long and happy life.  Secondly, it also helps to recover any horsepower lost by heat.  On a vehicle like the T5, with its sophisticated engine management system, the ECU reacts almost instantly the second it sees under-bonnet temperatures start to rise.  In order to protect itself, it can reduce boost levels and alter its own fuelling maps in order to keep things where it wants them.  Great news for the powerplant, long term, but not so great if you’re trying to pull a fully loaded Van full of family and a trailer up a steep hill on a hot day!

Fitting a more efficient intercooler will give your Van greater ability when it’s being operated in extreme conditions, but fitted in conjunction with a re-map, the overall effect on the Van’s performance can be noticeable, to say the least.  They also have the added bonus of looking rather nice, too!

The unit made by VW tuning specialists, Forge Motorsport, has a significantly larger core than the OEM part, offering huge reductions in temperature and pressure loss, yet has been cleverly designed to fit a T5 with minimal modifications.  A few basic hand tools and a trusted friend are all you need for this one, and an hour or so of your day.

What you need to upgrade a T5 intercooler

  • TOOLS USED: Flat-head screwdriver, Philips screwdrivers, small and large, T25 Torx driver, T30 Torx driver, 10mm deep socket and matching ratchet, Dremel or hacksaw
  • SKILL LEVEL: 2/5
  • TIME TAKEN: 2 hours
  • COST DIY: £598.50 inc vat
  • COST PRO: From £750+

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 1

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Firstly, on the top of the grille you will see there are black ‘popper’ clips.  Using a flat-headed screwdriver pull up the three poppers to release them, then undo the plastic screw using a Philips screwdriver.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 2

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Using a T25 Torx driver, undo and remove the two Torx bolts holding the wheel arch to the bumper.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 3

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Now peel back the wheelarch liner and undo the T25 Torx bolt holding the bumper to the wing.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 4

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Underneath the car you will see the lower arch liner is held up by three T25 Torx bolts.  All three of these need to be removed.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 5

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Then undo the three T30 Torx bolts holding the bottom of the bumper to the car.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 6

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Pull back the arch liner and you will see two 10mm bolts holding the bumper to the car.  These require a 10mm deep socket and ratchet to undo.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 7

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Very carefully remove the plastic panel on the front of the bumper.  This should just pull out towards you.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 8

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

With the panel removed, undo the T25 Torx bolt on each side.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 9

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Next, remove the grille by gently pulling on its lower half.  Go carefully and you won’t break anything.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 10

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Now remove the two T30 Torx bolts from behind the grille you just removed.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 11

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Now undo the T25 Torx bolt situated in the middle of the grille on each side of the car.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 12

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Finally, the bumper can be partly pulled away from the Van. Once it is slightly off, you will need to remove the two plugs down on the nearside wheelarch.  This is done by simply pulling back on the tabs until you here a click noise and then pulling apart.  Place the bumper on appropriate stands as the wiring for the lights may still be attached.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 13

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Remove the small plastic brackets that held the bumper in position using a T25 Torx.  Undo the Jubilee clips and the two T30 Torx screws and you can remove the stock intercooler.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 14

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Using a hacksaw blade, or a Dremel, trim off the slotted brackets as shown below, then trim off the raised sections of the screw-in brackets.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 15

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Insert the rubber grommets and alloy inserts into the top two brackets of the Forge intercooler, then insert the rubber grommets only into the lower two grommets and temporarily install the intercooler.  Mark where the holes need to be drilled on lower brackets, then remove the intercooler and drill holes with a 4mm bit.

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 16

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

Push the alloy inserts into the lower brackets and screw in the intercooler using the screws and washers supplied in the kit. Re-fit the pipework and tighten the Jubilee clips and…

 

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler: Step 17

How to upgrade a T5 intercooler

…you’re done!  Stand back, admire your handiwork over a cup of tea, then reverse each of the steps to put the front end back together again.  Simple, huh?