eBay Seller 1st-racinguk IC Fail

I picked up this intercooler from eBay seller1st-racinguk as part of one of the routine sales that take place on eBay.  At $270 shipped it seemed like a can’t lose proposition.

Volume Determination - Wagner Knockoff eBay IC
Volume Determination – Wagner Knockoff eBay IC

I did not have plans to install the intercooler immediately, and it wasn’t until four months after purchase that I set about installing the intercooler on my GTI.  I had figured that some modification would probably be needed to this part and it was.

First up was one of the pegs on the side that holds the plastic piece that secures the intercooler to the support frame.

1st-racinguk intercooler fail - peg grinding
1st-racinguk intercooler fail – peg grinding

Next it became apparent that in order to fit the air conditioner condenser back into place the brackets on the front of the intercooler would need to be opened up a bit.  Some required bending open with the help of a screw driver and for all of them I took a file to them to smooth the inside.

On the top left and right are slots for the radiator to fit into and lock into place.  Both sides needed the help of a flathead screw driver to open the top bracket.

1st-racinguk intercooler fail - bent bracket
1st-racinguk intercooler fail – bent bracket
1st-racinguk intercooler fail - bracket two
1st-racinguk intercooler fail – bracket two

I would later find that on one side this was still not enough to allow the radiator component to fully snap into place.

Problems were not limited only to the top, at the bottom I found that the pegs on one side required a good bit of grinding down so that the radiator would fit correctly in place.

1st-racinguk intercooler fail - post size
1st-racinguk intercooler fail – post size

Upon trying to fit this intercooler into the support frame I encountered another problem, the lower edge of the end tank was contacting the support frame and the intercooler would not seat where it was supposed to.

1st-racinguk intercooler fitting - final fail
1st-racinguk intercooler fitting – final fail

I started to grind the plastic of the support frame and then stopped deciding that I was not going to modify the car to try and fit this poorly built intercooler.

This was as far as I got with installing the 1st-racinguk intercooler.

Partial test fit of 1st-racinguk intercooler
Partial test fit of 1st-racinguk intercooler

I abandoned the installation at this point and tried contacting 1st-racinguk via message on the eBay site.  I sent two messages a couple of days apart detailing the problems I was having with the intercooler – I never received a reply from 1st-racinguk.  Being outside of the dispute window I’m stuck with this intercooler.

At some point in the future I will likely take a grinder to the front of the end tank and see if I can remove enough material, hopefully without breaching the end tank, to get the thing to fit so I can at least give this intercooler a try.

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