The goal when developing our new top mounted intercooler was to make it the very best aftermarket top mounted intercooler for WRX/STi... period.
We studied our competitors products and fixed all of the mistakes they have made...some of them major.
The most obvious error that EVERY one of our competors makes is not supplying their intercooler with proper ducting/shrouding to suit the increased size of the new intercooler. There is no point in installing a larger intercooler and leaving the factory under bonnet splitter/shroud in place. Here is the solution. A properly sized splitter/shroud to suit the application.
Pictured below is a pic of our top mounted intercooler installed in a 2006 Forester XT. For demonstration purposes we have removed the factory splitter/shroud and placed it on the intercooler as if the bonnet were shut. Its simple to see that 50% of the new upgraded intercooler would be seeing no ambient air flow... total waste of time and money. The picture (below right) is how it should be done. Process West intercooler and splitter/combination showing 100% of the new larger intercooler with full ambient airflow over the entire core.
The next major problem that we see competitors doing (and they all copy each other) is building an intercooler that is too thick. Their design criteria is spot on for bragging rights whilst marketing. They say that bigger is better. This is totally not the case with an intercooler that is mounted at 90 degrees to the ambient air flow.
For good heat exchange to take place you need good ambient airflow through the intercooler. In the case of the boxer engine with its intercooler mounted under a bonnet scoop the ambient airflow speed is already struggling after doing a 90 degree turn through the scoop. The last thing it now needs to do is find its way through 114mm (4.5in) of intercooler core. This will result poor heat exchange and high inlet temps.
Our intercooler is 90mm thick (3.5in) and in turn the intercooler breathes, gives lower outlets temps and in turn more power.