3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype

Cool Air for the EcoBoost. F-150 Intercooler R&D, Part 3: Continued Intercooler Design

When we last had our test vehicle in the shop, the team fully evaluated the stock intercooler and piping system. In addition, we started to determine our projected core size and mocked up a foam prototype. In this segment, we will be expanding upon that by creating a mock-up prototype to test fitment.

3D-Printing Prototype

Using our mock-up foam core dimensions and data from the factory intercooler, our team began to construct the end tanks using 3D-modeling software. To confirm fitment, each section was 3D printed to create a prototype that could be placed in the vehicle.

This process required some trial and error to ensure that the 3D model was as accurate as possible. The inlet/outlet portions were the most challenging, so these were printed and tested first.

3D-printed F-150 EcoBoost intercooler
3D-printed F-150 EcoBoost intercooler

Once the primary portions of the tanks were confirmed, we printed all the pieces and mocked them into place on the prototype cooler.

3D-printed F-150 EcoBoost intercooler
3D-printed F-150 EcoBoost intercooler

We’ve incorporated the factory connection points to provide a bolt-on fit.

3D-printed F-150 EcoBoost intercooler
3D-printed F-150 EcoBoost intercooler

The angled core is something new for our team; all our previously designed intercoolers have used a rectangular core. This F-150 core must be angled, however, so we can fit our larger intercooler within the constraints of the front bumper. This will be a fun challenge as well as a learning experience.

3D-printed F-150 intercooler prototype
3D-printed F-150 intercooler prototype

We are planning to utilize the factory lower mounting points, which are pegs accompanied by a rubber bushing.

3D-printed F-150 intercooler prototype
3D-printed F-150 intercooler prototype

Once finished, we installed this prototype and inspected the fit.

3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype
3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype
3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype
3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype

Not bad for a first try! We will need a few modifications to improve fitment, and we also need to add upper mounting points to our cooler design.

Time for 3D printing, round two!

3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype
3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype
3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype
3D-printed Ford F-150 EcoBoost intercooler prototype

This time we’ve modeled the BPV connection as well.

3D-printed F-150 EcoBoost intercooler
3D-printed F-150 EcoBoost intercooler

A second fitment check was completed with even better results.

3D-printed F-150 intercooler
3D-printed F-150 intercooler

Coming Up – Functional Prototype and Piping

We still have a lot of work left on this intercooler project. For now, we are finalizing our 3D models, and we will be creating functional prototypes for on-car testing. While this happens, we will look at the intercooler piping on the F-150 to see if a more durable set is needed.

Stay tuned for more details!

Thanks for reading!

-John

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