The missing Puzzle Piece: Mountune FMIC

Sorting through some old photos the other night, I found these and realized that I’d never put up a post properly showing off the Mountune intercooler Mustard received. It’s quite a pretty piece that’s fairly well hidden from sight and Mario deserves a shout-out for his help with it, so here we go!

Swapping Mustard 28

If we rewind to the ST swap back in 2016, Mustard was first up and running with a slightly odd combination of performance modifications. Specifically, it had an aftermarket intake, exhaust, and downpipe, but as the photo above shows it ran a stock FoST intercooler. This was odd on paper because an intercooler is required for Stage 2 while a downpipe is for Stage 3, but the reason was of course simple enough: Mario’s COBB intercooler had been sucker punched by that Civic and was no longer usable.

Swapping Mustard 17

Sticking with my rule that I wouldn’t spend a cent on any new modifications until we had the car fully up and running with the new heart, we pulled Ketchup’s original intercooler from the parts pile and I ran that until the day came that I picked up a replacement for it.

Mountune Intercooler 4

That replacement came the following summer – from Mountune as mentioned – because of some lucky timing on Mario’s part. He was on vacation in California at the time and was able to attend a meet at Mountune’s facility. I had just gotten home after visiting some of the guys at Balance Auto when my phone rang…

Mountune Intercooler 3

“I’m at Mountune and they have a scratch and dent sale there’s one intercooler left for $[stupidly low amount] do you want it I need to know now!”

It was that quick; might-as-well-have-been-one-sentence quick, hence no periods in my writing. Mario was in line at that sale at the Mountune facility and had found the final Mk3 ST intercooler. With others apparently in line behind him I had to give my answer immediately, and so I did. The deal (I won’t say how much because it was insane) was unbelievable and it was a part I needed anyway; best of all though, there’d be no shipping because Mario would somehow Tetris it into Sriracha alongside the other goodies he and Derrick were bringing back, so this was a never-going-to-happen-again opportunity.

Mountune Intercooler 1

A couple of weeks later they were back and I was able to go pick up the final piece to my stock-turbo build phase, along with some other souvenirs that they grabbed for me. Thanks again guys!

Mountune Intercooler 2

Obviously I was keen to make the jump from Stage 1 to 3, so it wasn’t long before I began laying out the pieces and preparing the car for the install.

Mountune Intercooler 5

The stock Ford intercooler works well enough (at least up here, in warmer parts of the world the limits can be found much easier) but there was no way it could ever hope to compete with the monster that Mountune made for the chassis. This sucker is HUGE.

Incidentally, the Mountune logo had been pre-applied on this particular unit but I didn’t mind it. Anyone with doubts of the ST credentials of the car can look through the bumper, see the writing, and get the hint that it’s more than just a cosmetic conversion…

Mountune Intercooler 7Mountune Intercooler 9

Along with the increase in size, the Mountune intercooler also brought strength to the table. Whereas the OEM piece featured plastic end tanks, the Mountune offering was a solid hunk of metal.

Mountune Intercooler 8

You may be wondering though, where exactly were the scratches and dents on this piece? What had happened to this particular intercooler to make Mountune sell it for such a cheap price? Well, you’re looking at it. And this was on the back of the intercooler where it wouldn’t even be seen. Yeah, I got lucky with this one!

Mountune Intercooler 6

Now apparently I didn’t really bother to shoot the installation, but it was pretty straight-forward. With the bumper off and old FMIC removed, the sensor was transferred to the new unit and the mounting brackets were bolted on. This piece mounts using the same hardware as the lower rad support (the mounting brackets get sandwiched between the frame rails and the lower rad support), so a floor jack was used to hold the support up while the bolts were out. With this securely fastened the original charge pipes were then popped on and the sensor plugged back in, and then it was time for the new tune to be loaded. Just as I’d been running an OTS Stage 1 map, an OTS Stage 3 replaced it.

Mountune Intercooler 12Mountune Intercooler 10

As memory serves, after I’d installed the intercooler that evening Brian had come by for the install of the ST seats into his Titanium; I do remember clearly though that after fitting those (and tackling other odd jobs) we’d ended up working right through the night and so took Mustard for a spin – sans sleep and sans bumper – to grab breakfast the following morning.

Mountune Intercooler 11

At this point it had been a little while since I’d ridden in or driven a Stage 3 FoST, and especially after living with Mustard as a Stage 1 car for a year the jump was quite pronounced. While power came on much more smoothly, it built to a much stronger punch than it had before. Even 3 years on now I still get a kick out of how fast this car is and how the power builds. The internet’s always quick to say that big turbo is the only way to go, but even after riding in and driving cars like Selsun (Stage 2 RS, which will without a doubt run circles around Mustard) this thing is still a hoot. For a street toy, this level of power is more than enough to have fun with.

Mountune Intercooler 13

We’re all pretty sure that at some point in the future the engine will come out of the sedan again for another bump in power but it’ll be when I decide I want more, because it won’t be a need.

-Bill

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