Intercooler 16 year service

Doyt W. Echelberger Doyt at
Tue Jul 1 01:13:42 EDT 2003

On my 87 5ktq, the hood release stopped working, and I removed the grill
and headlight trim to fix it. Nasty little plastic sleeves had broken.
Repaired them with epoxy. And I learned how to release the hood with a long

So, with the front trim already off, I inspected the intercooler closely
and saw a variety of materials lodged in the cooling fins. Some openings
were blocked completely, and others were narrowed by debris. First I
brushed off the IC surface with a soft paintbrush, which removed some of
the loose surface material. About a fourth of the channels remained
narrowed in some way.

Having some free time, and plenty of good daylight, I decided to run a
moderately stiff cable tie through each of the partially blocked passages.
The size of the cable tie was almost exactly right to do the job.

About half of the blockages were tiny hard white granules that were lodged
just barely inside the openings. I used the cable tie to pick them out, one
at a time. They may have been tiny pebbles, slightly larger than grains of
sand. They came out intact.

Mummified chitinous insect body parts comprised much of the remainder, and
some of the material was beyond identification, having been there for up to
16 years.

The cleaning probably opened up an additional 20% of the cooling channels.
I was surprised at how many channels were partially blocked. I did a test
drive after the cleaning, and the car seemed to run was the
type of improvement you have all probably noticed on the first cool crisp
day of fall, after you have become accustomed to the performance of your
turbo during the summer months. I thought that it was worth the time. Hey,
got my headliner to stay up, and my brakes aren't binding, and now my car
runs a little better. This is lots of good stuff all at once. I'll never be
done sorting out this car, but these feel like giant steps in that direction.

Doyt Echelberger
Ohio   USA

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