Top 5 Best Honda Civic FK8 Type R Intercoolers

The Honda Civic FK8 Type R has been around for quite some time now, and it still doesn’t fail to amaze enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. Its sleek and aggressive design perfectly mirrors the monster hiding under its hood. Powering the car is a turbocharged K20C1 engine, capable of producing as much as 306hp. It’s an impressive platform fit for enthusiasts who want to feel the thrill of driving a powerful Japanese sedan.

An aftermarket intercooler is one of the most critical upgrades you can get to a Honda Civic FK8 Type R. Heat soak can be a big problem for cars usually driven spiritedly while running on stock intercoolers. You’d want to avoid heat soak as much as possible if you wish to prolong your engine’s life. Too much heat soak can cause avoidable problems like detonation and some significant power loss because of high cylinder temperatures.

Luckily for you, solving such a problem is possible with the installation of an aftermarket intercooler. The intercooler replacements offered by manufacturers these days are vastly superior to stock. They’re larger, can take care of more hot compressed air, and of course, deal with heat soak much more efficiently. There are many Honda Civic FK8 intercoolers out there, and you’re spoiled for choice.

We made a list of the best aftermarket FK8 intercoolers we can find out there. This article will show you what aftermarket intercoolers are the ones most preferred by the community, and of course, what we’d recommend. Check them out below!

#1 Mishimoto Performance Intercooler Kit

Manufacturer: Mishimoto

Part Number: MINT-CTR-17K LWBK

Mishimoto understands that even if the Honda Civic Type R is one of the quickest front-wheel-drive cars today, it still suffers from a problem that most mass-produced performance vehicles have: mediocre intercoolers. The stock intercooler of the FK8 Type R can’t keep up with the standards of most enthusiasts these days, so Mishimoto decided to give them a treat and overhauled the car’s entire cooling system.

The result of Mishimoto’s efforts is an aftermarket front-mount intercooler designed to handle maximum airflow. It’s a 4.7” thick intercooler that boasts a 169% increase in terms of overall volume. Additionally, it dwarfs the stock intercooler’s fin size by about 189%, being more capable of expelling heat than the OE. Mishimoto’s optimal core design ensures that the intercooler cools the hot compressed air with utmost efficiency while experiencing minimal pressure drop.

Of course, Mishimoto didn’t stop there. Aside from bumping up the size of the intercooler itself, they updated the current tube-and-fin design of the OE intercooler to a bar-and-plate core design. They aim to improve flow characteristics and assist in expelling the heat away from the charged air. Additionally, they’ve equipped this FK8 intercooler with a 2.5” aluminum cold-side pipe to improve the stock intercooler’s previous restrictive air channel pipes.

Using the Mishimoto Performance Intercooler, you can expect performance gains of about 10 whp and 10 wtq.

Mishimoto Performance Intercooler Features: 

  • Core Dimensions: 28” x 7.6” x 4.7”
  • Core Design: Bar and Plate
  • Delivers max performance gains of 10whp and 10 wtq
  • Intercooler volume increase (over stock): 169%
  • External fin surface area increase (over stock): 189%
  • It comes as a kit
  • Includes components like 
    • Intercooler
    • Cold-side pipe (mandrel-bent aluminum)
    • Hot-side pipe (silicone)
    • Silicone couplers
    • High-torque worm gear clamps
    • Mounting hardware
  • Backed by Mishimoto Lifetime Warranty

#2  Injen Front Mount Intercooler

Manufacturer: Injen Technology

Part Number: ‎FM1582i

Vehicle Fitment: Honda Civic FK8 Type R (2017-2021)

There’s no doubt that the Honda Civic Type R is fit for some of the most demanding activities a car enthusiast would request from it. Whether it’s soaking up some miles on the streets or becoming a track menace on the weekends, the FK8 Type R is up for the job. However, the stock intercooler is not; that’s why you need to match your demanding spirited driving with something that can catch up with the daunting tasks.

Luckily for you, Injen developed a front mount intercooler explicitly designed to cater to the Honda Civic FK8 Type R. This FK8 intercooler features a highly-efficient bar and plate core that offers 25% more volume compared to stock. Additionally, it’s got CAD-designed end tanks to optimize further the airflow that’ll pass through the intercooler.

The Injen Front Mount Intercooler can provide you with dyno-proven gains of up to 27hp and 23lb-ft of torque. Within an hour or so of easy installation, you’d get the chance to experience benefits like increased power, reduced temperature with minimal pressure drop, and more. Not only that, but you can also use this FK8 intercooler without an aftermarket tuning.

This intercooler is no doubt a cheap solution you can take advantage of if you want to save up money and crank those power ratings up simultaneously.

Injen Front Mount Intercooler Features:

  • Core Dimensions: 21” x 5.8” x 5.3”
  • Core Design: Bar and Plate
  • Can provide dyno-proven gains of up to 27hp and 23lb-ft of torque
  • It comes with CAD-designed end tanks to ensure optimal airflow
  • Will work with stock calibration
  • INTERCOOLER ONLY: does not include charge pipes 
  • Backed by Injen Technology Limited Lifetime Warranty

#3 PRL Front Mount Intercooler

Manufacturer: PRL Motorsports

Part Number: ‎PRL-HCR-IC

Vehicle Fitment: Honda Civic FK8 Type R (2017-2021)

PRL Motorsports have had some solid roots embedded on various Honda platforms, even back in the 90s. Their reputation for upgrading JDM cars made them a go-to brand of enthusiasts who wanted to get their hands on some tried-and-tested performance modifications. Among those modifications is their front mount intercooler, specifically made for the Honda Civic FK8 Type R.

The PRL Front Intercooler can help you solve the excessive heat soak that turbocharged Civics are known for. Using their intercooler, you can expect decreased charged air temperatures while experiencing increased potential airflow, all thanks to the dense 26.5” x 3.5” x 7.3” bar-and-plate core. This core outperforms the stock with its 85% increased surface area, and 83% improved internal airflow.

At the end of this intercooler are billet-machined aluminum end tanks, which substantially improve the intercooler’s efficiency. Not only that, this FK8 PRL intercooler utilizes the OE mounting spots. This aftermarket intercooler won’t require you to cut or trim anything on your car; it’s a classic and convenient bolt-on solution for your cooling needs. 

By installing this FK8 PRL intercooler on your car, you can receive as much as 3hp and 11lb-ft of torque; without any aftermarket tune whatsoever.

PRL Front Mount Intercooler Features:

  • Core Dimensions: 26.5” x 3.5” x 7.3”
  • Core Design: Bar and Plate
  • Can provide dyno-proven gains of up to 3hp and 11lb-ft of torque
  • Intercooler torque spec: 18lb/ft
  • Provides notable mid-range power gains
  • 50+F degree drop in post-charge air temp (peak)
  • Package includes:
    • Intercooler assembly
    • Cardboard stencils
    • Buna O-Rings
  • Backed by PRL Motorsports Limited Lifetime Warranty

#4 HKS R Type Intercooler

Manufacturer: HKS 

Part Number: ‎13001-AH005

Vehicle Fitment: Honda Civic FK8 Type R (2017-2021)

Many JDM fans would consider HKS as the ultimate source of aftermarket upgrades for Japanese cars like the Honda Civic FK8 Type R. HKS’ notoriety for no-BS top-tier performance modifications for Japanese vehicles is what makes them one of the most trusted companies when it comes to aftermarket modifications. And yes, they’ve got something for your FK8 Type R, an HKS intercooler kit jam-packed with heavy R&D, enough to transform your car into a track, street, or even drifting monster. 

The HKS R Type Intercooler features a bar and plate core with the dimensions of 27.4” x 7” x 3.9”. It’s much larger compared to the stock (26.7” x 5.6’” x 2.5”). It’s more capable of providing your engine the smooth airflow it needs to perform demanding driving activities. Moreover, this intercooler has new cooling fins that can expel heat much faster than stock. It even has integrated side tanks that maintain smooth airflow and reduce air intake loss.

Additionally, it’s 25% lighter than the standard aftermarket intercooler offered today. This fact alone makes this FK8 HKS intercooler an ideal component for spirited street driving, track racing, and drifting. Explicitly designed for circuit use, this FK8 HKS intercooler derives better turbine performance regardless of the RPM. This makes this intercooler perfect for driving on a straight line on the tracks and even acceleration right after cornering.

This intercooler can support up to 500hp. HKS made this intercooler for enthusiasts looking for an upgrade that can match their aggressive driving styles.

HKS R Type Intercooler Features:

  • Core Dimensions: 27.4” x 7” x 3.9”
  • Core Design: Bar and Plate 
  • Can handle up to 500hp
  • It comes with integrated inlet side tanks
  • 25% lighter than the conventional front mount intercooler
  • Specifically designed for the street, track, and drift
  • Requires modification for installation
  • Backed by HKS 1-Year Warranty

#5 GReddy Type-28E Intercooler Kit

Manufacturer: GReddy

Part Number: 12058101

Vehicle Fitment: Honda Civic FK8 Type R (2017-2020)

If you’re familiar with the aftermarket scene, then you’ve probably heard of GReddy. Many enthusiasts trust them because they’ve provided proven-and-tested parts for numerous tuners and competitive racers all around the globe. Now, they’ve got an intercooler kit for your Honda Civic FK8 Type R, an aftermarket upgrade capable of staying cool even when subjected to high levels of use.

Unlike most intercoolers on this list with bar and plate core, this GReddy intercooler made for the FK8 Type R uses a tube and fin design. Intercoolers with these kinds of core designs are significantly lighter and have far better external aerodynamic properties. And although it can’t handle as much horsepower as the bar and plate cores, it recovers from heat soak much quickly. This factor is what makes this GReddy intercooler for the FK8 Type R such a steal: it’s ideal for reducing charge air temperature with minimal pressure drop.

This intercooler works well with the OE-style blow-off valve. It replaces the stock rubber tubes with a sturdier aluminum piping that provides a smoother pathway for the air to go through. Attached to both ends of the intercooler are tanks that smoothen the airflow as it goes in and out of the intercooler. More importantly, this intercooler is sturdy enough to withstand deformity under vacuum or boost.

The GReddy intercooler made for the FK8 is a cheap yet very effective alternative you should consider if you’re not sold into the idea of using intercoolers with bar-and-plate cores.

GReddy Type-28E Intercooler Kit Features: 

  • Core Dimensions: 23.6” x 9.8” x 2.6”
  • Core Design: Tube and Fin
  • Works well with OE-style blow-off valve
  • Will not deform when subjected to vacuum or boost
  • It can stay cool even when used extensively
  • Package includes:
    • Intercooler
    • Aluminum pipes
    • Hoses
    • Brackets
  • Backed by GReddy 1-Year Warranty

Benefits of an Intercooler Upgrade

By now, you’ve probably realized that your car’s stock intercooler is no good compared to the aftermarket intercoolers offered today. But how can an enthusiast like you benefit from an intercooler upgrade? 

Is it just another fancy modification that would set you up to some level of compromise? Unlike coilovers that will improve your cornering grip at the expense of ride quality and a performance tune that will give you a bunch of extra horsepowers but will most likely void your warranty, an intercooler upgrade will just straight-up improve your turbocharged Honda Civic FK8 Type R.

Below are the benefits you’d gain from replacing your mediocre stock intercooler with a performance aftermarket intercooler.

Performance gains. An excellent way to help your engine create more power is to feed it cold and dense air. But there’s a paradox here. The turbocharger can provide a steady supply of compressed air to the engine, but the problem here is that air gets hot whenever it’s compressed. To achieve a steady supply of cold compressed air, you can put an intercooler between the turbocharger and the engine. Lower IATs mean colder and denser air can reach your engine, thus producing more power.

Engine Safety. The job of intercoolers isn’t just to help the engine create more power; it’s also responsible for prolonging the engine’s lifespan. When the engine uses hotter and hotter air to burn the fuel, pre-ignition (aka knocking, detonation, pinging) is more likely to happen. This phenomenon significantly stresses and wears out the engine components, ultimately leading to premature engine failure. Intercoolers help the engine by keeping the charge air at a tolerable temperature to burn the fuel efficiently.

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