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Wagner Tuning 2.0TFSI Intercooler -Install, Review and Performance Comparion

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
I initially owned a Forge Twintercooler. The logs showed that it really worked in cooling down the intake air temperatures, but I went back to the stock intercooler for a while to fund some other projects.

Long story short, I ended up buying another intercooler in anticipation of getting an APR stage 2+ flash. Among the options available, I found myself looking at APR and Eurojet a lot. The problem, however, was that neither had any pressure drop data from the manufacturer to substantiate their performance. I know there are reviews for both these intercoolers, but for the $800 to $1,000 that I am paying for an intercooler, it did not seem right to just rely on word of mouth. There was really no point of reference for comparison between the different intercoolers, and no reliable data from consistent drive modes between the different intercoolers on the same car to use. And so, I decided to do my own comparison.

While comparing intercoolers, I came across a new intercooler from a company called Wagner Tuning. Their 2.0TFSI intercooler was, in fact, just released at the time. The intercooler is similar to APR’s offering, where it is mounted behind the A/C condenser. I researched a little more and discovered that Wagner specializes in intercoolers only, and is well known in BMW, Audi and Porsche circles. They are a German company and all their intercoolers are made in Germany.
So, I began gathering some data and created the following table:

MkV 2.0TFSI Intercooler Comparison



From the table, it became obvious that the Wagner intercooler has even more core volume than the APR intercooler, at 902 cubic inches, vs. 841 cubic inches for APR. This is the absolute biggest direct-fit intercooler for our cars that I know of. On Wagner’s website, they advertise the intercooler to be 27% more volume over the S3 intercooler: http://www.etektuning.com/wagner-tuning-transverse-2-0t-intercooler-audi-a3-tt-volkswagen-gti-gli/ . The price was also $200 less. I was a little doubtful at the performance of this relatively unknown intercooler, but then I saw Wagner’s Pressure Drop and Intake Ambient Temperature graphs and was instantly sold:

Wagner 2.0TFSI Intercooler - Pressure Drop Data


So far, this is the only manufacturer that I know of that published their pressure drop measurements. As much as I like APR, it just didn’t feel right when they were not able to provide pressure drop measurements for their intercooler, even with so many requests from forum members. Wagner’s graph uses the S3 intercooler as a reference, and shows that the pressure drop is even lower than the stock S3 intercooler, and most likely another step better than the stock MkV GTI intercooler too. According to the graph, this is true for all flow rates tested. If the graph is accurate, then my engine should breathe better, with increased throttle response and more power. Also worth noting is that at 350 CFM, the Wagner intercooler experiences 1.44 psi of pressure drop, compared to 2.52 psi of pressure drop for the S3 intercooler. And, at around 475 CFM, the pressure drop of the Wagner is equivalent to that of the S3 intercooler at 350 CFM. This is impressive!

Wagner 2.0TFSI Intercooler - IAT vs. RPMs


The IAT graph was also excellent in terms of performance. If you look carefully, there is a 40 degrees drop in IATs at 7000 RPM compared to the stock intercooler. I assume that this is compared to the stock S3 intercooler, since that was their reference for the graphs they provided. Of course, I do not know the operating conditions under which this plot was logged, so some validation on my part still has to be done.
 
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Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
Continued-

I found only two online stores in the US that sells this new intercooler. I decided to buy from Etek tuning in Las Vegas because they offered free shipping. I spoke to Leo at Etek Tuning to place my order, and learned that they had just received this intercooler in the US, and that I am probably the first one in North America to have one ;)

One week after I placed my order, this arrived:

Box with plenty of packaging material


Charge Hoses, clamps, and adapters


Intercooler within box


The packaging was excellent for the most part with lots of cushioning material. The intercooler was positioned deep within the box for protection. I did not see any damage on the intercooler upon opening it, except for light scratches on the top pegs of the intercooler, which had dug their way through the side of the cardboard box. My one slight complaint was the lack of instructions in the box. But, other than that, I was happy – I used APR’s instructions instead! The intercooler had the inlet and outlet ports capped off with rubber caps to prevent contamination, and the black coating on the intercooler was very smooth, and of a very high quality. When I put the intercooler on the scale, it read 20 lbs, slightly lighter than the 22 lbs that was advertised. I quite enjoy the stealthy look! :)

I quickly installed it the next weekend and learned that it was an easy process, but quite time consuming. Compared to the Forge Twintercooler, this took me 8 hours to install by myself, vs. 1.5 to 2 hours for the Twintercooler. The procedure went smoothly, except for fitting this massive core between the A/C condenser and the radiator, and trying to fit the intercooler back into the rubber grommets at the bottom of the radiator support. It really took some wiggling around and one of the 5 mounting bolts would not go back on because the core was so massive! I am referring to the bolt on the lower passenger side that secures the A/C condenser to the intercooler – it is just one of the five bolts, so the intercooler was still extremely well secured. Again, it helps to have two people for this job, but I managed it alone. Note the BMW wheel on the ground - I used it to support my intercooler / front bumper ;)

Intercooler installed:


When I fired the car back up again, I instantly noticed soother idle and better throttle response. I went out for a drive and further confirmed that the car pulls harder and the engine sounds slightly quieter. Over the next week, I began to notice a slight improvement in my fuel economy also. I am really enjoying it for sure, but I had to wait for roughly the same ambient temperature (6.5 degrees C) to run some VCDS logs to compare with the Twintercooler logs I ran a month ago.
Finally, last Sunday the temperature dropped to almost exactly 6.5 degrees. I drove back to the same stretch of road and did the exact same drive mode as before.

Test conditions:
> 6.5 degrees Celcius
> Identical stretch of road
> A/C off
> 6 consecutive pulls from 40 to 100 km/h in 3rd gear and 2000 RPM
> Coasting after reaching 100 km/h with zero throttle input, and full braking from 80 km/h to 40 km/h (where I begin the next pull right away)
> No interruption in between pulls

The reason behind the coasting from 100 km/h to 80 km/h was to understand how the IATs change once the engine load drops suddenly. I also performed 6 pulls consecutively to understand how consistent the intercooler’s performance was.
 
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Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
VCDS Graphs

This is how to read the graphs:
-The IAT plot references the Intake Ambient Temperature on the left hand side Y-axis, and the RPMs on the X-axis.
-The RPM plot references the RPMs on the right hand side Y-axis, and the data frame on the x-axis. Note: 1 data frame = 1 RPM reading on the x-axis, so they're absolutely equivalent.

With the RPM plot together with the IAT plot, you can easily see how engine RPM changes affected IAT fluctuations.

Engine and power mods on car for all plots:
-Wagner 2.0TFSI Intercooler
-Forge Twintake
-Rev D. Diverter Valve
-42DD Ultimate Catch Can
-APR Stage 1 Flash
-Wavetrac LSD



Wagner


Twintercooler



During the drive, I notice that I was able to fit one more pull within the same stretch of road. The car seemed to accelerate more consistently and hold its power better.

Both the Twintercooler and the Wagner Intercooler showed very similar IAT drops. The peaks for the engine speed (RPM) line in both graphs shows the point at which I reached 100 km/h and backed off the throttle completely. From 100 km/h to 80 km/h, the rise in IATs is due to much less air flowing from the inlet to the outlet of the intercooler, which is my attempt to show the performance of the intercooler during light engine loads and high speeds (i.e. cruising). The graphs also show that the IATs jump up quickly as soon as I hit the brakes to bring the car down from 80 km/h to 40 km/h.

In the case of the Wagner, my best run showed a temperature drop of only 3 degrees above ambient. However, most of the time, it was 4 degrees above ambient during pulls. The Twintercooler was very similar, and achieved 4 degrees above ambient on average.

What is interesting between the two graphs is the IATs rise up more quickly with the Forge Twintercooler (+ 4 degrees C) vs. the Wagner (+ 3 degrees C) on a consistent basis. Likewise, this trend continues during the heavy braking from 80 km/h to 40 km/h, where the IATs rise up by +4 degrees C for the Twintercooler, and +3 degrees C for the Wagner. This means that the IATs rise up by +8 degrees by the end of each pull for the Twintercooler, and only +6 degrees after the end of each pull for the Wagner. I expect this difference to be more pronounced under other variations of engine load and vehicle speeds.

*Please note that there was light rain during the night I did the Twintercooler logs, which may give the Twintercooler slightly better performance than what it would achieve in the dry. Also, it would be best to disregard the last pull in the Twintercooler graph, since I did not let the engine go up to the same RPM as the other 5 pulls before it. Either way, the Wagner intercooler shows extremely good repeatability of performance in the 7 consecutive pulls, which was very obvious in the graph.

While no large noticeable difference showed up in the plots between the two intercoolers, I am under the impression that more aggressive driving with higher engine loads for longer periods will reveal more. Unfortunately, I have nowhere to go for such data just yet. If anyone can think of more tests to run, I will try my best to accommodate. Still, I can say with no doubt that the Wagner made the engine rev up more instantly, breathe better, and made the engine slightly quieter as well. I also want to reiterate that my fuel consumption went down somewhat too, and looks to be 20 – 40 km more per tank. I did not see any of these improvements with the Forge Twintercooler I had previously.

Also, if anyone has an APR intercooler with similar engine mods to me, it would make a very worthwhile comparison! :wink:

EDIT - I forgot to add one more graph last night:



I started plotting as I entered the highway from the onramp, and then simply cruised at 110 km/h, with the throttle as steady as possible. You can see that the IATs averaged 14 to 15 degrees Celcius, which is roughly +8 to +9 degrees Celcius above ambient during cruising in 6th gear, roughly 3000 RPM. What is interesting is that the IATs dropped down to as low as 6 degrees Celcius (ambient temp.!) during three light pulls in 6th gear to change lanes. I also added vertical reference lines to the plot (green) to see when exactly the IATs drop to their lowest levels during each pull. The plot shows that this coincides with the point right after where completely lifted off the throttle. I assume this is when the last volume of charge air at 3000 RPM was running through the intercooler core and exiting the intercooler outlet, therefore receiving maximum cooling, so it is therefore not a sustained IAT. However, what's really nice is that the harder I drive the car, the more the IATs drop. This makes me curious to see how much more the IATs can drop if I sustain WOT for longer.
 
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djunited

Ready to race!
Location
lebanon
Good review. Isn't that ic though 850 euros as per their website?
 

vegasGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Vegas
I like the flow chart data very interesting. Wonder what how restrictive the stock gti cooler is. Have always said its a big bottleneck in airflow
 

djunited

Ready to race!
Location
lebanon
I like the flow chart data very interesting. Wonder what how restrictive the stock gti cooler is. Have always said its a big bottleneck in airflow
Extremely restrictive. Switching from stock ic and piping to uni ic and aftermarket piping made a world of difference. Gained 3 car lengths on the same tune directly after the install. Giving the ecu some time to adapt and gonna try again.
 

vegasGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Vegas
You see similar results when going s3 ic with awe hose kit.
 

VancouverGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Vancouver
Great write-up. Only thing that would've made it more definitive would have been dyno runs on each, but that'd be expensive, and not possible in this circumstance.

Still... nice job!

And the S3/AWE hose combo really woke my car up. I suspect that I must've had a leaking o-ring on the stock IC setup, because there was a noticeable increase in power when I upgraded. It makes a huge difference in the summer, too.
 

Mrjames55

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Baltimore
Question. Do you still have the Forge? If so is it for Sale? Bc I'm in need of the twintercooler piping. I already have my forge fmic
 

djunited

Ready to race!
Location
lebanon
You see similar results when going s3 ic with awe hose kit.
You probably do on a k04. I would expect to dissipate heat faster than an s3 though. Gonna race again tonight and log. Thenntomorrow im gonna change fuel and oil filters, new oil and spark plugs. Apparently my bosch fr5dtc should not work so well with this engine (multielectrode and are 2 heat ranges colder) although checked them recently and they were light grey. Oh and pcv might be bad as well. Will find out tomorrow when doing a leak test.

Sorry for offtopic.
 

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
Question. Do you still have the Forge? If so is it for Sale? Bc I'm in need of the twintercooler piping. I already have my forge fmic
I sold the twintercooler a month ago. I don't miss it, but the red piping gives it a pretty unique look with the open fog grills!
 

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
Good review. Isn't that ic though 850 euros as per their website?
Sorry, my bad. Yes, it's 850 Euros in Europe, but at 034 motorsports and Etek Tuning, it's ~ $850 USD.

I changed the link in my original post, it should link to the right website. The place where I bought mine offered free shipping too.
 

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
Added a third graph in my original posts for IATs during a highway cruise with 3 light pulls. Very interesting data!
 

vegasGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Vegas
You probably do on a k04. I would expect to dissipate heat faster than an s3 though. Gonna race again tonight and log. Thenntomorrow im gonna change fuel and oil filters, new oil and spark plugs. Apparently my bosch fr5dtc should not work so well with this engine (multielectrode and are 2 heat ranges colder) although checked them recently and they were light grey. Oh and pcv might be bad as well. Will find out tomorrow when doing a leak test.

Sorry for offtopic.
I went s3 ic when I was ko3 and felt the airflow increase.
 
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