TAKE 5 with Mishimoto: Intercoolers Pack BIG Performance

Mishimoto—it’s a name shrouded in praise. With 352,000 Facebook and 227,000 Instagram followers, the company is far more than an industry leader of cooling system upgrades—they’re influencers on the world stage.

A relatively young brand, Mishimoto cruised on the scene in 2003 with a clear vision: go to market with the finest-quality products crafted for automotive enthusiasts, by automotive enthusiasts. “All Mishimoto aluminum performance radiators, intercoolers, air intakes, fan shrouds, direct-fit oil cooler kits, silicone hose kits, couplers, and racing thermostats are carefully designed for a clean, direct-OEM fit for easy installation,” says the company. 

Fitment, quality, appearance, and customer peace-of-mind aren’t goals for Mishimoto—they’re values. To them, every engine should look as good as it performs, from daily drivers, classic cars, and bikes to track performance and 4×4 use.

Street Cred

Unsurprisingly, the company has earned major street cred with tuners. And as such, it’s received the respect of influential magazines like DSPORT, Super Street, Import Tuner, Japanese Performance, Banzai, and Fast Car. We sat down with Ricky Nietubicz, Senior Public Relations Coordinator, to discuss the success of one specific product—Mishimoto intercoolers.

Q: While most are familiar with the basic functionality of an intercooler, are you able to expand upon the details?

A: An intercooler is a key component in forced induction systems, reducing intake air temperatures between the turbocharger or supercharger and the engine’s intake manifold. As air is compressed, it is also heated, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the efficiency of the compressor in question. In the case of a turbocharged application, the compressor is attached to the exhaust turbine that is driving it, further heating the intake charge. Reducing the air temperature will increase its density—crucial to maximizing power. Cooler intake charges will also be more resistant to pre-ignition than hotter charges.

Intercoolers are only applicable to forced induction applications. While there are a few turbocharged vehicles in recent memory, such as the pre-1999 Ford Power Stroke and mid-80s early Dodge Daytonas, that left the factory without intercoolers, recent generations of forced induction vehicles have almost entirely utilized some form of intercooler, whether air-to-air or water-to-air. In some supercharged applications an intercooler may be impractical for reasons of packaging, or to minimize intake tract length and volume.

Q: What differentiates an OE intercooler from an aftermarket one?

A: Typically, factory air-to-air intercoolers are a tube-and-fin design featuring plastic end tanks. These are lightweight, but not particularly durable. Mishimoto intercoolers feature cast end tanks to maximize flow and durability, and are fully TIG-welded aluminum. We most often use bar-and-plate cores (although at times tube-and-fin may be better suited for a specific application) designed for ultimate durability. For a good summary of intercooler selection, click here.

Q: How is Mishimoto differentiated from other aftermarket brands?

A: We have invested in developing a rigorous research, development, and testing process with a state-of-the-art facility at our headquarters in New Castle, Delaware. We have two all-wheel-drive dynamometers, five lifts, full fabrication capabilities including a water jet and mandrel bender, 3D scanning and printing capabilities, and an in-house staff of automotive enthusiasts committed to bringing excellent products to our customers.

Q: Mishimoto intercoolers are available for automotive, truck, Jeep, and race. In what ways has your company produced a superior product to serve the varying needs of these very different customers?

A: Each of our direct-fit intercoolers is optimized for its particular application, built for extreme durability with a great aesthetic upgrade in the front of a vehicle. Additionally, Mishimoto intercoolers will provide excellent flow and intake air temperature (IAT) reductions. This entails a great deal of engineering to maximize durability and power gains, while keeping pricing reasonable. We do extensive research and study into each application to understand the needs of our customers.

With a sport compact application, weight may be a significant concern. However, that may not be important to a customer with a full-size truck. We may need to design an intercooler a specific way to avoid blocking airflow to other coolers in the front of a particular vehicle. Or, we may need to take into consideration other popular modifications that are made that may impact our design envelope or mounting options. We also offer a wide array of universal-fit intercooler options for those customers with highly-customized builds.

We strive to have the best warranty in the industry, and back all of our products with a full Lifetime Warranty. Full details can be found here.

Q: Describe the enhanced driving experience someone can expect once making this upgrade.

A: Customers will notice improved power, not to mention an aesthetic upgrade. With appropriate instrumentation, customers will be able to see improvements in their reduced intake air temperatures. Since an intercooler is integrated into the intake and forced induction system, the owner will also be able to benefit from more aggressive tunes, turbo- or supercharger upgrades, and similar improvements.

Q: What comes with the purchase of a Mishimoto intercooler kit?

A: Exact contents will vary with each kit, but each direct-fit intercooler will include any and all required hardware, fittings, brackets, air guides, and mounts needed for the intended application. If a kit is purchased that includes replacement hot- and/or cold-side piping, it will include all necessary couplers, clamps, and hardware. At Mishimoto, our goal is to make sure that each installation is as simple as possible for every customer. Our team creates installation videos with step-by-step instructions as a guide through the installation process, complete with ranking of installation difficulty (1/5 to 5/5), and tool and hardware lists.

Building something awesome? Whether you’re building for grassroots or professional racing, drifting, truck pulling, car shows, or for daily enjoyment on the street, Mishimoto wants to help out! “We are proud to work with builders and drivers at all levels, including the most attention-grabbing SEMA builds, professional racers and those just getting their feet wet at the local autocross, track days and Cars and Coffee. Once you’re on the team, enjoy exclusive benefits like discounted product for your build, special sales, free swag, and much more!” 

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