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Discussion Starter #1
(applies to all 1.9 and 2.5 T5s, -I don’t know about 2.0l)

From checking the forum it’s well known that intercoolers fail, some because of stones and roadkill, some due to failed welds on end tanks, but the largest number seem to be like mine, where the top and bottom tubes split.
On closer examination this is because one of the three “straps” per side have failed. A few people have noted the middle strap on the front was missing, like mine.
I suggest a missing strap leaves the edge tubes unsupported, so that they flex sightly due to the boost pressure, which eventually causes metal fatigue on the corners and fracture.

Back:

Front: see strap missing, it was there- theres a shadow.

Detail of split:


It seems that strap failure is the initial phase of this common fault. It will cost at least £150 +an hour to replace an intercooler, but failure could be preventable...

Suggestion: Look to see if your intercooler’s straps are in good condition!
You can see the ends of the front ones through the grille (look through the bottom of the “W” in your VW badge to see the top of middle.
If anyone’s got one on the way, have a look at your IC and let us know?


For the record, this is probably an old age failure- mine is a '55 plate with 150K- so this is probably something the longterm owners community (us!) know more about than VAG. (who probably like it as it will scare folks into buying new vans...).

ALSO Can anyone add the community knowledge on:
• If straps other than the front middle have failed?
• If failure is from corrosion? – my ’55 van spent a few years by the seaside so likely for mine!
• Once the strap drops off how long the intercooler tubes will last?


Prevention
It’s very likely that a simply DIY mod to beef up the strapping function could save a useful wad; I’d try with some extra plates linked by M5 threaded bar. But too late for me...

If feedback confirms it's only the centre front that goes, and by corrosion, arguably lathering it with oil or waxoyl, or shielding it with tape might help- other suggestions welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Forge intercoolers are beautifully engineered, but, unless you're going racing, £600 seems a bit expensive where you might be able to sort it with dab of waxoyl ...;)
 

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Mine did the same but all 3 straps came off at once and the intercooler bellowed out and around but didn't split for about a month ! New cooler from gsf and job done
 

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Is that the diesel intercooler or something to do with air con?
It's the turbo intercooler. The compressed air from the turbo is passed through the intercooler (to cool it down) prior to it going into the inlet manifold and cylinders.
Cooler air is more dense (than hot air and it's very hot when it comes out of the turbo). Dense air means more mass per unit volume gets pumped into the cylinder. More mass of air gives more oxygen to burn the fuel with so more fuel can be injected.
More air & fuel = more power
Hope that makes sense.
 

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Hey guys, I recently have had major issues with puffs of black smoke with loss of power. I have cleaned up my filthy EGR valve housing but not noticed any improvement, bit the bullet and put her in with in independent spanner as VW have ripped me off for the last time. He says he smoke tested it and its pouring out my Intercooler. Can this cause the issues I'm having?
Also during the EGR clean a very rusted metal strip fell out under the van, thanks to your great post I now realise it was an Intercooler strap! Can anyone suggest a replacement Intercooler please? Also how long should the garage quote to replace it on a 1.9 2005 AXB engine. Thanks:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
To Ripcurl:
I got mine off ebay, eg
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VW-TRANSPORTER-T5-TDI-2003-ON-GENUINE-OEM-INTERCOOLER-BRAND-NEW-2-YEAR-WARRANTY-/281092033728?pt=UK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM&hash=item4172640cc0#ht_1659wt_997

it was as said, from Behr who supplied the OE one, and arrived the next day.
Regarding fitting: I'm not an expert but would hope to do my next one in 1-1.5hrs in my drive. It is quite diy-able if you got a decent socket and torx set. A back street garage who's never worked on a T5 would take somewhat longer ;)

Your power loss symptoms fit a duff intercooler exactly; eg old Golfs: 1.9 SDI (no turbo) 64bhp, 1.9TD (old indirect-injection job, low power turbo, no intercooler) 75bhp, but loads more torque, 1.9tdi (turbo intercooler) 90bhp, and mk1V's with variable goemetry turbos 90-150bhp. Yours has gone back to 64bhp (if you're lucky) mode!
Black smoke is the ECU overfuelling the engine to spin up the turbo to get the thing going, like when you clog it. But the turbo-ed intake air is leaking away and not making the engine acceleaate, so you're stuck in the black smoke phase.
 

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Thanks Mad T5 and Itchy Spanners. Just come from Bus Types but didn't get to see anyone from the forum unfortunately. I will investigate eBay again and defiantly look at doing the work myself if all I need are bits and sockets. I think I'll still block off or remove my EGR unit, I'm sure there are threads on it but anyone had it done?
 

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Thanks Mad T5 and Itchy Spanners. Just come from Bus Types but didn't get to see anyone from the forum unfortunately. I will investigate eBay again and defiantly look at doing the work myself if all I need are bits and sockets. I think I'll still block off or remove my EGR unit, I'm sure there are threads on it but anyone had it done?
anyone got a link to the intercooler removal process? or description?
at
 

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Changing the intercooler is easy mate just two hoses off and some torx screws takes 5mins the catch is you got to take the front bumper off witch took me over an hour seems to be bolts everywere there are bolts under the wheel arch lining that can be a bit fiddly ,do a search on here there has been some really helpfull posts with diagrams put on here it helped me out no end.T:
 

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aka, cmp260
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Changing the intercooler is easy mate just two hoses off and some torx screws takes 5mins the catch is you got to take the front bumper off witch took me over an hour seems to be bolts everywere there are bolts under the wheel arch lining that can be a bit fiddly ,do a search on here there has been some really helpfull posts with diagrams put on here it helped me out no end.T:
so presumably its the first radiator bit then? i.e in front of aircon and proper rad?>Rasp:
 

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Top tip this but came a bit to late for me,have had loss of power and air escaping noise for a few weeks took the sump protection pan off underneath to check hoses for splits and found 3 of these straps collected in the cover,did'nt have a clue where they came from,eventually put it into an indy for service and find out my problem and lo and behold split intercooler!!
 

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Yes mate on acceleration it blows out lots of black smoke from the unburned fuel .T:
IVE JUST BUIILT ME A INTERCOOLER TESTERA:

2 rubber gloves, some parcel tape and a bike pump. here is a pic

So I pump it up, spray with suds and I see some bubbles along one side of the thing. Not many mind you. See the video below - the bubbles are a bit out of focus but you can see them forming. if you squeeze the glove, they come and go.

Question, this leak is so small, is it enough to cause an intermittent smoking problem?
here the video link
 
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