Intercooling Technology - Experts Agree

Experts Agree:
Air-To-Air Intercooling is Superior for Street Use

“The normal, closed loop air-to-water intercooler system [not using ice] is not as effective as a properly designed air-to-air intercooling system since the cooling medium or the liquid coming from the front heat exchanger is always warmer than the ambient air temperature.”
– “All About Intercooling”, George Spears

“When space permits an adequately sized air-to-air intercooler to be fitted and given access to decent airflow, it will always prove superior. The only excuse for a liquid-based intercooler is when severe space restrictions exist [including positive displacement superchargers, due to mounting location] or... where an iced coolant can be used.”
– “SuperCharged”, Corky Bell

Street cars will benefit much more from an air-to-air intercooler. This is because the coolest air charge [from an air-to-water intercooler] is available only with a fresh charge of ice and water. Ice melts quickly when circulated through an intercooler, so it’s useful life is measured only in minutes.”
– Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords

Air-to-water intercoolers are used in race and packaging-constrained applications. In a water-to-air intercooler, check the water level often as this is crucial for the intercooler to operate properly. In cold weather, just like a car, it will need antifreeze in order to function effectively and properly. With an air-to-air intercooler, there really is no maintenance that needs to be done other than just the routine checking of hoses and clamps to make sure everything is tight.
– Garrett®, a division of Honeywell®

“Overall, air/liquid systems are more complex, since a circulating pump and front air exchanger are necessary and they are heavier than an air-to-air unit of equal cooling capacity.”
– “All About Intercooling”, George Spears