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Super Moderator
2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I've been getting a lot of questions about not only the performance behind the Wagner intercooler but also how it installs. This is a guide to help future modifiers if they decide to install the Wagner intercooler.

My previous thread which contains unboxing information, physical measurements and performance numbers can be found here: http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/6-optima-engine-technical-discussion/97234-bought-wagner-intercooler.html

Just a quick recap. An aftermarket intercooler will provide benefits to anyone who drives a bit more spirited and is definately a must have for anyone with a tuned vehicle. On the dyno we experienced a 10 horsepower gain across the board as well as an increase of torque between 10 and 30 and the Wagner intercooler staying cooler after 4 back to back pulls on the dyno, than 2 with the stock.

Here's one image that speaks to that. More back on my original thread.



So how to install the Wagner intercooler.....
With the Wagner unit, I didnt have to worry about extra piping, clamps, coupler and whatnot, nor pressure drop. This keeps things easy. You first need to remove the front bumper as explained in this thread, http://http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/64-diy-appearance-body-modifications/28465-front-bumper-removal.html or seen in this video, http://http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/64-diy-appearance-body-modifications/22849-front-bumper-cover-removal-video.html

The bumper removal process took me maybe 20 minutes. If you havent done it, probably half an hour.

Tools you will need here on in are a 12mm socket, 10mm socket, an ratchet extension, flat screw driver, pliers or channel lock type tool.


With the bumper off, it should resemble my photo you see here. We need to remove the plastic shroud in front of the stock intercooler. It is secured by two 10mm bolts I used with a ratchet extension to remove (red arrows). Once you remove the two bolts, the plastic shroud will be free, but you have to remove the crash guard (bumper) to remove it.

First ensure you do the following... see the red circled 10mm bolt atop the stock intercooler... remove that bolt, and that bolt only. While you are doing that, also using you pliers or plier type tool, remove the stock clamp securing the flexhose to the top intercooler pipe and pull off the flex pipe from the stock intercooler. You might have to wrestle with it a bit, but dont worry, you're not going to break anything.



Next up is to physically remove the crash guard (bumper). And this is really easy. It has some weight behind it so I strongly recommend you have someone hold it when you take it off the car. I don't have a picture, but on either side of the crash guard there are (2) 10mm buts and (3) 12mm bolts to remove. They are on pretty good but I was able to break them loose with my ratchet and arm strength. So remove the nuts and bolts on each side and place the crash guard elsewhere until we are ready to remount it.


Now the plastic shroud falls away and should look similar to this.



By now I am assuming you have the crash guard off, the plastic shroud off, the top 10MM bolt out, and the top flexhose off the stock intercooler. If you haven't already, the piece of metal the top 10MM bolt secures will rotate out of the way, freeing up the top of stock intercooler.



That leaves one more connection to undo and it was the most difficult for us; the bottom hose connector. The difficulty was in accessing it as you need a sufficiently long enough pair of pliers, but also once the stock hose clamp was removed, my hose stuck like glue to the intercooler pipe. This is where I had to use some muscle and the flat side of a screw driver to pry away the hose from the intercooler pipe. You access this area from the drivers side of the stock intercooler. There is a small window where you can get a hand or two in to remove the stock IC clamp and remove the flexhose from the IC. Once you separate the hose from the stock IC, the stock IC just lifts and pulls out from the front.



Here are the two IC's laying next to each other. You can see the more massive size of the Wagner. Here you will want to grab the (3) rubber grommets off the stock IC and place them on the same spots on the Wagner IC. If you seem to be "missing" a grommet or two like I was, my two lower grommets were still in the holes in the car frame. I just grabbed them from there and placed them onto the Wagner.



Here is a shot of my lower pipe connection on my stock IC (cold side). Several people worry about oil accumulation and this picture shows no "pool" of oil after 60,000 miles, however, you can indeed see there is a oil coating on the piping. Just for information and to dispel oil pool rumors.



Now you just start reversing all your steps. Make sure the 3 rubber grommets are on the Wagner intercooler mount points. Insert the bottom of the Wagner intercooler first and slide in the top. I had to shimmy mine in as its a pretty tight fit as you can imagine. I did have to make one adjustment at the bottom as seen in this picture. The wire for the stock horn is in some wire loom that is zip tied to some mounting clips. Because of the tight tolerances, this half inch obstruction created an obstacle. All I did was snip the zip tie and move the wiring loom beneath the plastic mount point as seen in the picture. Takes but a moment and really makes it easy to slide the Wagner into place.



Once you have completed that step and the intercooler is in place, your front end should look like this picture.


Next step is to secure the top of the intercooler (this will aid in connecting the bottom flex hose). Rotate the piece of metal with the upper grommet socket that was unhinged earlier and refasten with the 10mm bolt. Reconnect the upper flex pipe to the intercooler and secure with the factory clamp or (if you bought) an upgraded worm drive or T-bolt clamp. Don't forget to clamp!



Lastly, tackle the bottom flex hose connection to the intercooler. Again enter the gap from the driver side of the intercooler. you should be able to wiggle the flex hose onto the intercooler pipe connector and then secure it with the factory clamp, or an upgraded worm or T-bolt clamp if you went that route. Its a LOT easier going on then it was coming off. Make sure your clamp is tight!



Now put the crash bar (bumper) back on. Again its easier with two people at this point due to the height and length of the crash bar. It goes back on with (2) 10mm nuts and (3) 12mm bolts. Tighten by hand really good.



Here is just a top down look at the Wagner IC installed compared to the surrounding metal and crash guard.



You are all complete at this point. Reattach the front bumper cover. Make sure all tools and bolts and plastic clips are accounted for. The only things you should have left over is the stock intercooler, the plastic shroud and (2) 10mm bolts. If that's what you have, you are good. Enjoy the extra performance! :)
 

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Your K5 Optima Vendor
2020 Audi R8 V10+ & Tesla Model X P100D
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Jason, wow! This is a fantastic write up and review. I think this will work out great for any members interested in doing the FMIC swap. Thank you for taking the time to put this together for the community.

We have a group buy running currently on the forum here for any members interested in saving some money on the Wagner Intercooler. Details of the group buy can be found below:

http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/1...ce-intercooler-group-buy-k5-optima-store.html
 

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Super Moderator
2012 Kia Optima
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3,501 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Jason, wow! This is a fantastic write up and review. I think this will work out great for any members interested in doing the FMIC swap. Thank you for taking the time to put this together for the community.
Thats an awesome upgrade and write up brotha :thumbsup:
Thanks guys. Hope this helps folks regardless of which IC they end up with.
 

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Registered
2013 Kia Optima
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119 Posts
Great write up JasonS! I was wondering how the **** one replaces the intercooler . You covered everything.
 

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Super Moderator
2012 Kia Optima
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3,501 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Great write up JasonS! I was wondering how the **** one replaces the intercooler . You covered everything.
Know everyone knows! Lol. Thanks. Its not as hard or lengthy as people think.
 

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Super Moderator
2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #9

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Super Moderator
2012 Kia Optima
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3,501 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

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Super Moderator
2012 Kia Optima
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3,501 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Where would I buy this locally? Or on amazon
I know local auto stores have 3" and 4" so they may have smaller. I got mine off the internet. Lots of sellers available online.
 

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2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #15

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2015 KIA OPTIMA
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193 Posts
Just finished installing it. The bottom clamp was a pia. Also couldn't maneuver the intercooler in. Had to remove the top part holding radiator. I think the 2014-2015 has a slightly different layout. But it was a direct fit
 

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Super Moderator
2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #17
Just finished installing it. The bottom clamp was a pia. Also couldn't maneuver the intercooler in. Had to remove the top part holding radiator. I think the 2014-2015 has a slightly different layout. But it was a direct fit
Glad to hear you got it installed. That lower clamp is a PITA and the hose is on there pretty strong too. Does the top part holding the radiator swing out like mine did in this DIY? now go drive in auto stick, get it up to 3000 rpm and just feel the engine pull. Its awesome!
 

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The top part of radiator swings out. There's two yellow sensors that are also attached to it that are a pia. I don't remember seeing that part in the diy. I probably didn't read the whole thread lol. There was no way the new IC would fit without removing the top radiator mount. Car feels like it pulls strong!
 

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2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #19
The top part of radiator swings out. There's two yellow sensors that are also attached to it that are a pia. I don't remember seeing that part in the diy. I probably didn't read the whole thread lol. There was no way the new IC would fit without removing the top radiator mount. Car feels like it pulls strong!
Hey Nick, you are correct, there are two plastic wire anchors on the back of the stock IC. Forgot about that part of the DIY. however, if you grab them with a needle nose pliers and twist, they should pop right out. Just give them some force.
 

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2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #20
Ok for those of you who don't think you can still center your horns, here are mine nice and centered with the Wagner IC and still have plenty of space. What do you think!



 
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