If you've been involved in the import performance industry since the early '90s, then you probably remember some of the gimmicks, tall tales, and outright marketing ploys intended to separate you from your cash in seamless fashion. Much of this was due to "company X" trying to cut into the sales they saw being generated by "company Z" or the classic battle of simply being first to market. This left enthusiasts with parts that often failed to fit properly, resulting in more problems than benefits, or, in many cases, they didn't perform as promised. No other market has seen as much of this as the Honda community over the years due to its overwhelming popularity among tuning enthusiasts.
Present day Honda Civic owners have a leg up in terms of product availability, with an emerging group of tuning brands that are working hard to change the entire aftermarket landscape and what you, the buyer, should experience. 27WON is one of those brands; having made their debut in August of 2017, the group has taken an intensely focused approach to the 10th generation Civic family and the parts they're rolling out have not only helped establish the brand within a very fickle community, but have generated enough positive feedback to have everyone asking, "What's next?"
REDEFINE is the word 27WON applies to just about every aspect of their brand, team, parts development, and marketing. They take pride in a far more developmental role in parts production rather than racing to be first. The result is well thought-out parts that don't require a redesign months after introduction. To reach this point, however, is expensive. More than just the cost of quality goods is the cost of time spent doing extensive R&D in search of something that delivers what's promised, and nothing less.
Another brand that knows all about the importance of extensive testing and countless research hours is AEM Electronics. You've known the name for decades - seen, heard about, and probably used their products extensively, and are well aware of exactly what you're getting from the electronics gurus. Their complete line of engine sensors can be found in some of the fastest cars on the face of the earth, often relaying vital engine info to AEM's cutting-edge Infinity management systems and displayed on their wildly popular CD-5 and CD-7 digital dashes.
With AEM's track record of reliable data acquisition and 27WON's need for reliable info to measure against, the two brands collaborated with AEM supplying a bevy of sensors to be used in 27WON's track testing of their intercooler development program.
To view the info in real time while also datalogging, AEM's CD5 digital dash and 22-channel logger were also incorporated into the program.
With a select group of brands holding onto a few decades-worth of products aimed at end users, you might be asking yourself why a late model Civic owner would even consider 27WON, a brand that's as new as Honda's 10th generation Civic itself. 27WON's president, Vincent Melon states, "While they offer us many reasons, our favorite is data. We truly design and test our parts from the ground up."
We followed along with 27WON as they headed to their local track, Ridge Motorsport Park, about two hours north of their Vancouver, Wash. headquarters. The vehicles on hand included 27WON's 2018 Civic Si and their FK8 Type R, both wearing the brand's signature livery. The goal was to put the Si to work, collecting data on their newly installed prototype intercooler intended for all L15-equipped 10th gen. Civics. Fitted with multiple AEM Electronics sensors, including a pair of temperature and pressure sensors plumbed directly into the hard-plastic factory intake tract and sensors on both the hot and cold sides of the intercooler itself, the data recording began immediately.
Vincent and head engineer, Barrett Strecker had this to say, "First we're on track gathering data on the OEM FMIC kit and comparing those figures to some different core and pipe options that we are developing for our upgraded FMIC kit. We have the car fully wired from head to toe in AEM performance sensors and data acquisition equipment so that we can map out the efficiency of the stock set-up and determine its weak points and identify areas for improvement. Currently, we have the intercooler core outfitted with both an air temp and pressure sensor pre and post inlet and outlet of the core. What we are doing here is measuring not only temperature deltas but also pressure drop through the core. We are getting this data on not just the OEM core but on our core prototype options as well. "
In order to maximize the track time and gather as much info as possible, Vincent and his crew brought three different core densities and multiple piping sizes to truly evaluate which offers the least amount of pressure drop along with the best cooling. It's a long process and one that many brands don't want any part of. Rather than shoving the largest possible core behind the bumper, shining it up and packaging it for the masses, the group goes to extremes to find the best result using real-world, recorded data.
That info is sent to AEM's 22-Channel CAN sensor module and displayed on the CD-5 digital dash. The idea is to review on the track but also bring that data back home with them for a more intense further review. Using the data gained on this day, as well as the multiple dyno runs, flow sims, and various other testing applied, the group can determine what the best balance of power and performance for Honda's L15 really is.
27WON tested a series of four intercoolers, the OEM version along with three 27WON prototype cores they created, for testing called Core A, B, and C. The main difference between the three was the core density, Version A being the most dense and C being the least.
This image shows the OEM intercooler as compared to 27WON's "Core A" prototype. The middle pane was recording pre and post intercooler pressure on both cores and the bottom pane was the delta of identical runs for the cores. The bottom pane shows the pressure drop is greater across the whole WOT section for the OEM core (white) versus 27WON's Core A (orange). You can see that the prototype core averaged about one less psi pressure drop across the run. You want to have the least amount of pressure drop across the core as possible for maximum efficiency.
Here, the same two cores as above are being used, but this image highlights more of the features that AEM data has to offer. They can add a variety of panes to relay even more information. You can see in the "massairflowA" and "notes" pane that the bigger core averaged around 12g/s more flow on the top of the run. Again, showing the group could actually move more air and have improved volumetric efficiency of the car and engine.
This really highlights the weak point of the OEM core and just how small it is. In the middle pane, the white line is the OEM core and the orange is 27WON's core. This is the temperature post intercooler. You can see by the big white spikes that the OEM core struggles to get rid of heat as quickly as the 27WON unit. While the orange line (27WON core) stays pretty flat during the course of these three pulls, the white (OEM) jumps and stays much higher. On average, the OEM core was always at about 50 degrees F hotter than the 27WON core. So, your boosted air temps into the manifold would be about 50 degrees hotter in stock form, and more heat equals less timing, which equals less power.
Here you can see just how user-friendly AEM's CD-5 dash and 22-channel logger are, given the extensive sensor library that AEM dash design 2 offers.
Another screen shot showing just one of the screens on the layout - dash design 2 allows you to fully configure each screen to your exact needs and wants. You can see the data you want, when you want it.
After confirming that all of the 27WON cores could outperform the OEM core, the crew needed to test among the three to see which version offered the best balance with the least amount of psi drop, and the greatest cooling and ability to remove heat. While all offer drastic improvements, the AEM equipment allowed them to hone in on the details. Here you can see that core A just barely edged out core B in regard to cooling by roughly five to eight degrees while providing a less than 0.85 average psi drop.
This image gives you an idea about how simple it is with AEM data to overlay different logs and add or remove the data as needed.