JAE Innovations Product Claims

Coincident with me installing the White Dog Racing side mount intercoolers a discussion came up concerning the XS Power side mount intercoolers.

The talk returned to the subject of the XS Power intercoolers for the Audi B5 S4 and how well they perform relative to the stock B5 S4 intercoolers.  In that discussion a retailer of XS Power products, JAE Innovations, claimed that the XS Power side mounts are significantly better than the stock B5 S4 ICs, that claim from the owner of JAE is quoted below with some clarifying information added in (parenthesis).

These IC’s (XS Power) are heaps better then OEM, which his article  (IC Faceoff – XS Power SMIC ) would leave you to believe otherwise.

My concluding remarks when writing about the XS Power ICs included the following:

  • The design of the XS Power side mount intercooler does not lend to strong temperature reduction or air flow performance.
  • Temperature reduction is substantially worse than stock and the airflow is only modestly better than stock.
  • The only worthwhile benefit I can see the XS Power side mount providing over the OEM S4 intercooler is that the end tanks are metal and welded onto the core and therefore should withstand higher charge air pressure levels without concern.

So how does this XS Power vendor and  auto shop back up their claims?  Nothing in the discussion was presented that contradicted my findings and as the product link above shows, JAE provides no data on their product page to support their claim that the XS Power IC is “heaps better than OEM”.

Since “heaps better” fails to address in what respect the XS Power is supposedly much better, nor does it quantify the magnitude of the supposed benefit, I’ll rely on what I consider important performance characteristics of an intercooler to re-evaluate how the XS Power SMIC compares to the stock S4 IC and see if I am convinced that the XS Power side mount is “heaps better”.

Charge Air Cooling

As far as I am concerned the primary reason for having an intercooler, in this case a cross flow heat exchanger, is to reduce the temperature of the air exiting the turbocharger compressor thereby increasing the density of the air entering the combustion chamber.  The lower temperature also aids with preventing knock.

The first temperature data I received on the XS Power SMIC came from an owner who had contacted me about flow testing his ICs:

“Hey flyboy,

Would you be interested in flow testing my xs power eBay intercoolers. I’m replacing them with a pair of srm’s. I noticed a huge power loss at high rpms when I went from stage 2+ to stage 3. I thought it was due to a boost leak due to a faulty check valve but that wasn’t the case. I logged my vehicle and noticed a huge increase in intake air temp. I believe it’s the eBay intercoolers causing this issue. Your test will confirm my findings. I can send you my logs if you’d like. I will pay for shipping and any extra cost.


He sent me a log showing the IAT rise on his Stage 3 car (shown below):

XS Power Intercooler IAT Rise - Stage 3 B5 S4
XS Power Intercooler IAT Rise – Stage 3 B5 S4

The starting temperature is 90 degrees F and the ending temperature just shy of 6500 rpm is nearly vertical and at 165 degrees F.  That is a 75 degree temperature rise over the 3000-6500 rpm pull.

Prior to having this owner contact me a tuner had sent me the following communication and log:

I feel as though I can trust you. I can’t openly share this because It’ll cause all sorts of problems, but this is a snippet of the new and improved ssac intercoolers.
Please keep it to yourself.

Note: That message and the log below are now several years old and the fact that the XS Power IC does not cool well has been made widely known by others and should not be a surprise to anyone who bothers to research the product.

SSAC Intercooler IAT Rise
SSAC Intercooler IAT Rise

In this chart the intake temperatures start out at 86F and by 6500 rpm have risen to 142F, a 56 degree rise.  At 7000 rpm the IAT is 152F, concluding a 66 degree rise during the pull.

So how does this compare to the stock S4 intercooler?  Finding stock IC data on a Stage 3 setup is complicated by the fact that upgrading ICs when upgrading to larger turbocharges is a smart move and stock IC Stage 3 data is scarce.

I logged a few pulls with my S4 on stock intercoolers when equipped with the FrankenTurbo F4H K04 hybrids, shown below.

FrankenTurbo F4H IAT rise on B5 S4 stock ICs
FrankenTurbo F4H IAT rise on B5 S4 stock ICs

Note that the boost level reached during these pulls is not as great as the charts with the XS Power smics.  This goes back to my comment about the benefit of the XS Power smic being that the end tanks are metal and welded and therefore better suited to higher boost applications than what the stock S4 ICs are built for.

With the F4H boosting around 21 psi the stock intercooler shows a temperature rise from about 87 to 113 degrees F on one pull, a 26 degree rise, and on the second temperatures go from 93 to 120 degrees, a 27 degree rise.

These intake air temperature rises would certainly have been higher had I recorded at 22 psi versus the 21 psi that my tune was targeted at.  For a ballpark idea of how the two ICs matchup comparing 22 vs 21 psi is not too much of a stretch.

The XS Power showed a temperature rise of 56 degrees and the stock IC a rise of 27 degrees, only 48% of the rise that the XS Power experienced.

In terms of cooling performance over a single pull the stock IC handily outperforms the XS Power intercooler.  This cannot be where the JAE claim of the XS Power being “heaps better than OEM” is coming from.

Pressure Drop

An intercooler is going to cause a pressure drop between the air entering the inlet end tank and exiting the outlet end tank.  The question is how much and how much relative to the cooling that it provides.

I utilized a flowbench to assess pressure drop across intercoolers on account of the ease of measurement, consistent repeatability, and accuracy of the measurements.  Just as a dynamometer should be used to assess deltas rather than absolute values, so should the flowbench.

Hooking up some of the lines to the PTS Digital Manometer.

There is not much to discuss about obtaining the readings of pressure drop, the intercooler is attached to the flow bench and the amount of air that flows through the IC at a pressure drop (depression) of 28″ of H2O is read from a digital manometer.

  • The XS Power ICs averaged 164 CFM.
  • The stock B5 S4 ICs averaged: 130 CFM.

So is an increase from 130 to 164 CFM “heaps better”?

For some perspective of what “heaps better” could be describing I will add the Silly Rabbit Motorsport IC to the mix.

XS-Power vs Stock B5 S4 vs Silly Rabbit Motorsport Intercooler Flow Rates
XS-Power vs Stock B5 S4 vs Silly Rabbit Motorsport Intercooler Flow Rates

Going back to my comment about the XS Power intercooler, “…the airflow is only modestly better than stock.” I feel the statement is accurate, the XS Power does flow more than the stock S4 IC, but the difference is not dramatic.  The XS Power IC improvement over stock is a mere 17% of the improvement that the SRM IC provides over stock.

How about the guy who provided the logs and ICs for testing when swapping from XS Power to SRM, his thoughts:

Hey Jeff,

Can’t wait for the results. I gained 4+ psi after switching to the srm’s. Thanks for helping out the b5 s4 community.


Now what?

At this point I have hit what I believe are the two most significant aspects of intercooler performance and I do not believe there is any data that justifies calling the XS Power IC “heaps better than OEM”.

In terms of cost the stock IC is free, the car already has them, so even though the XS Power IC is cheap, it is more expensive than a stock intercooler.

I already mentioned the construction but will reiterate that this is a design feature that makes the XS Power IC favorable for higher pressure setups.


After re-evaluating data that I have on the XS Power intercoolers I don’t see any errors in the initial findings that I reported on.

The claim that the XS Power IC is “heaps better than OEM” is vague and absent any data supporting such claim leaves unanswered what the product vendor was referring to.

Have thoughts about this evaluation?  Post them below.

Note: Comments that are unprofessional or personal attacks will be removed.

White Dog Racing SMIC Install

A few weeks ago I had flow tested the White Dog Racing side mount intercoolers and found them to perform very well.

Today I worked on installing the intercoolers on my B5 S4 so that I could take some temperature measurements.

I figured the installation should be relatively quick seeing as how they are very similar in size to the Silly Rabbit Motorsport intercoolers, but I was wrong.

White Dog Racing B5 S4 Side Mount Intercoolers
White Dog Racing B5 S4 Side Mount Intercoolers

What should have been about a 90 minute project stretched out to almost four hours.

White Dog Racing driver side B5 S4 intercooler
White Dog Racing driver side B5 S4 intercooler
White Dog Racing passenger side B5 S4 intercooler
White Dog Racing passenger side B5 S4 intercooler

The problems I ran into are attributed to the height of the end tanks, just a bit more than the SRM ICs.  Also the tabs that are welded onto the end tanks to help hold them in place are not long enough.  The result is that the highest point of the end tank causes interference when reinstalling the headlights.

As a reminder, you’re probably reinstalling the headlights as the LAST step of putting everything back together.

WDR SMIC Driver Side Headlight Interference
WDR SMIC Driver Side Headlight Interference
WDR SMIC Passenger Side Headlight Interference
WDR SMIC Passenger Side Headlight Interference

My first mitigation effort centered on filing down the corner slightly where the interference was occurring.  When that failed to completely resolve the issue I pulled the bumper back off and removed the bolts that were holding the IC end tank tabs and then pushed the IC down as much as I could and then reattached the bolt without passing through the end tank tab.

The frame rail is right below the upper end tank outlet pipe and doesn’t allow for much downward movement, but at this point every millimeter I could get was worth trying for.

Parts were reinstalled and I was able to get the headlights in, but it was a tight fit.

As I went to reinstall the belly pan I found another issue.

WDR Driver Side SMIC
WDR Driver Side SMIC
WDR Passenger Side SMIC
WDR Passenger Side SMIC
WDR SMIC Belly Pan fit
WDR SMIC Belly Pan fit

The bottoms also extend down further than what I had with the SRM IC’s, to the point that re-installing the belly pan was not possible.

I set the belly pan aside and finished replacing the lower bumper grills then drove the car off the ramps.

In the coming days I plan to begin recording intake temperatures produced by the White Dog Racing side mount intercoolers.

Fuel Filter & Pump Swaps

The silver S4 got a new fuel filter and fuel pump.

Audi B5 S4 Fuel Filter Swap
Audi B5 S4 Fuel Filter Swap

Neither of these is a task I enjoy doing, and when the fuel filter started leaking gas after being tightened to the advertised torque I was not happy.  Finding that I could not fit a wrench between the banjo fitting and fuel filter had me even more steamed.  Unable to find a suitable wrench I had about resigned myself to shopping for a new wrench with a thin body when I thought I might be able to get a good grip on the fuel filter with an oil filter wrench.

That hunch turned out to be a successful idea and the extra little bit of tightening the banjo bolt stopped the gasoline leak.

This car is also receiving a fuel pump upgrade with a ProjectB5 setup.  The fuel pump turned into a bit more effort than the “drop-in” name would suggest.  For the life of me I could not get the pump holder to engage with the basket.  This is the fourth time I have swapped pumps in one of these S4s and the first time I have had a hard time getting the pump in place, other than the first when I had not yet purchased the Schwaben fuel pump removal tool.

After 45 minutes of trying, and cursing, I decided to pull the pump out and try to figure out why the darn thing would not lock in.  Comparing it to the recently removed stock unit I noticed that the sock on the bottom of the PB5 pump seemed to to extend a little further than the stock part.  I pulled out the calipers to measure and sure enough the PB5 setup extended down 17 mm further than the stock part.  While the location makes it hard to be conclusive about the cause, it seems likely that the added length is preventing the fuel pump holder from descending far enough into the basket for the notches to engage properly and hold the pump firmly in place.

The next hurdle was a do-over on my part as I forgot that Audi wires the fuel pump backwards, the RED wire goes to the negative post and the BLACK wire to the positive post.  I wired up the normal way and got nothing when I tried to start the car.  Out came the pump so I could swap the wires, but happily upon re-installation the car started right up.

The car is on the base tune but is looking pretty good thus far.

CP Initial Boost Profile
Initial Boost Profile