Lightning - Intercooler Cleaning


I originally pulled the supercharger, to send off to be ported. But I was in for quite the surprise, when I lifted it out, and saw the intercooler underneath... It was filthy!

One thing to keep in mind is that if you are pulling the parts for any period of time, you should get some good masking tape, to cover up any open holes. You don’t want any parts, tools or other contaminants to fall into the engine, while it sits. Anyway, on to the instructions...

  1. Disconnect the battery ground cable and make sure the engine bay is fairly clean – you certainly don’t want any dirt getting in the engine...
  2. Drain the intercooler. There's a valve on the passenger side of the heat exchanger. Put a bucket under it, and open it up…
  3. Now, start by pulling off the boot between the Throttle Body and MAF.  You may get away with putting it off to the side, but I pulled the filter assembly and everything, to give me more space to work. 
  4. Remove the hardware that hold the cables to the Throttle Body (3 bolts), and remove the Throttle Body.
  5. Remove the EGR.
  6. Remove all the hoses and wires that are connected to the Throttle Body, upper intake plenum, supercharger and intercooler.  If it looks like it might be in the way, pull it.  I use masking tape and a marker to ID everything when disassembling, to make putting it back together easier…
  7. Remove the upper intake plenum. The back bolts are real tough to get at, but you’ll get it, with a swivel and extensions. Mine was disgustingly dirty with oil – when you eventually get it off, clean it!
  8. Next up is the removal of the entire supercharger assembly.  You should remove the pulley belt first, then go to town on the 8 bolts holding the S/C down.  The back two are super tough to get at, but patience and a few breaks will get you through it. 
  9. Once you’ve gotten this far, it’ll look absolutely awful in there, but you're almost done - there are only 4 bolts that hold in the intercooler in place.
  10. What a filthy mess in there!

  11. There's a vacuum line on the drivers side of the IC to pull, and the two large lines that go into the back.  Then you can remove the IC lines close to the front. Watch for fluid to spill out when removing the IC, which comes out easy if you lift up on it and angle the front higher than the back.
  12. Now you can see just how filthy the I/C is. Once you're done cleaning, it's the exact reverse to put it back together.


Here's a close up of the filthy oil hiding underneath the supercharger:

Now that's filthy!

Once I got the intercooler out, I noticed the bottom was just as bad, and light couldn't pass all the way through all the gaps. Here's what the underside looked like:

Now that's filthy!

I sprayed the hell out of it, using a couple spray cans of Carb Cleaner, and let it dry overnight. The entire garage stinks of the stuff, now, but it does a good job of cleaning the oil out. Here's a picture, with the intercooler cleaned, and back into the truck.

Clean intercooler back in the engine

As I will do this all again this winter, I will take pictures and update this page later in the year.