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Revel VLS Intercooler Temp Gauge Install

Are we cool, or not?

Dec 6, 2017

When it comes to engine tuning, you’re probably well versed in some of the tools that can help make your dyno session a successful one. And in reality, how deep you dive on your build’s final tune comes down to your overall goals, your dependence on engine longevity, and arguably the most important factor, your wallet. Regardless of your build type, you’ve most likely relied upon or at least heard about utilizing a wideband air/fuel ratio gauge, boost gauge, oil and water temp gauges, and even exhaust gas temp monitoring along with adjustable fuel pressure regulators, cam gears, and the list goes on and on. For the boosted crowd, Revel VLS has a hunch you may have neglected something when you hit the dyno last, and that’s your intercooler air temps.

A quick glance at Revel VLS’s Intercooler Dual Temperature Gauge and you might think it’s another wideband monitoring device, what with its bright LED indicators running the circumference of the 52mm gauge face. Get a little closer and you’ll notice two sets of digital numbers stacked upon one another in the center of the gauge; the top indicating the inlet temps with the outlet displayed just underneath. The numerical values are a result of a set of air temperature sensors that work constantly so the tuner and driver can keep intercooler temps in check.

Sportcar motion intercooler Photo 2/19   |   Sportcar Motion Intercooler

There are hundreds of gauges available for every conceivable form of monitoring and equally as many tricks to light them up this way or that, and the Revel VLS gauge keeps things simple and effective with an OLED display that doesn’t need any sort of backlighting in order to be read in all lighting conditions. In addition, an OLED unit is often far less harsh to the human eye when compared to something like an LCD display that typically carries with it a stout backlight.

With nothing boosted within arms reach at our office, I headed down to San Marcos, Calif., to visit Sportcar Motion, which not surprisingly had quite a few turbo and supercharged cars on hand. The vehicle of choice is Sportcar’s 2005 RSX Type-S with a fully built K20 armed with a beefy Garrett gtx3584r gen. 2 snail that helps spin the hubs to the tune of 850hp. The car is currently under development, being purpose-built for top end battles at events like Shift Sector.

Revel vls intercooler gauge box Photo 3/19   |   Revel Vls Intercooler Gauge Box
Revel intercooler temp kit Photo 4/19   |   Revel Intercooler Temp Kit

Cut open the Revel VLS box and this is what you get with the gauge: 3/8 NPT air intake temperature sensors (2), wiring harness, and universal mounting pod w/visor.

Revel temp sensor Photo 5/19   |   Revel Temp Sensor
Npt weld in fitting Photo 6/19   |   Npt Weld In Fitting

In order to attach the sensor to the intercooler piping’s hot and cold side, you’ll need a set of 3/8 NPT weld-in bungs. Not the most common size, but they can be found online for just a few bucks each. Our problem was that we didn’t realize they weren’t included, and we called around but couldn’t find any in stock. Fortunately a machine shop local to Sportcar Motion was able to turn a set and we were back in business.

Drilling intercooler piping Photo 7/19   |   Drilling Intercooler Piping
Revel gauge install piping Photo 8/19   |   Revel Gauge Install Piping

To get started, the intercooler’s inlet and outlet piping is removed and a hole drilled into the piping with the edges de-burred to prep for welding.

Npt fitting intercooler piping Photo 9/19   |   Npt Fitting Intercooler Piping
Npt fitting test fit Photo 10/19   |   Npt Fitting Test Fit
Sportcar motion welding Photo 11/19   |   Sportcar Motion Welding

A quick test fit and the fitting is ready to be welded in place. Once complete, the other bung is welded to the other intercooler piping for the second Revel VLS sensor to be installed.

Intercooler piping fitting Photo 12/19   |   Intercooler Piping Fitting
Air sensor installed Photo 13/19   |   Air Sensor Installed

You can install the sensor just about anywhere on the piping as long as theinlet temp side is after the turbo and before the intercooler (obviously), and the "intercooler out" sensor is installed after the intercooler and before the throttle body. You’ll want to also avoid excessive heat areas and any moving parts that might snag on the sensor’s wiring. In the case of Sportcar Motion’s RSX, the sensors were mounted out of sight and were in no danger of making contact with anything around them.

Revel vls gauge pod Photo 14/19   |   Revel Vls Gauge Pod
Revel vls gauge profile Photo 15/19   |   Revel Vls Gauge Profile

If you choose to use the Revel VLS cup to mount the gauge on the dash, it retains a fairly slim profile and is only slightly larger than the 52mm gauge face size.

Revel vls gauge off Photo 16/19   |   Revel Vls Gauge Off
Revel vls gauge on Photo 17/19   |   Revel Vls Gauge On

Sportcar decided to forego the dash top and instead made a new hole in their dash’s aluminum gauge panel to mount the Revel VLS unit. Powered on, the gauge relayed the current temps almost immediately, and based on the ambient temperature inside the shop’s garage, 82 degrees, it was on par and reading correctly without any need for calibration or adjustment.

Revel gauge temp monitoring Photo 18/19   |   Revel Gauge Temp Monitoring

After a few minutes of idling and revving to warm up the car with the hood open, we closed the hood and just moments later, as expected, the temperature began to rise on both sides of the intercooler.

Revel vls gauge temp increase Photo 19/19   |   Revel Vls Gauge Temp Increase

With the car fully warmed up and creating some heat you could feel while hovering over the front end, we popped the hood and let it idle and within a few moments, the inlet side temps of the intercooler started coming right back down.

The above testing was simple and controlled but gives you a good idea of how quickly and accurately the sensors deliver info and for tuning purposes, something this RSX will be doing plenty of over the next few weeks. The intercooler temperature is vital to learning the car’s limits and delivering a tune that can offer consistent performance while avoiding excessive heat issues.

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