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Water injection to substitute for intercooler

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Hello everyone,

i need advice on this and will appreciate any input.

I am putting a turbo kit for a customer car. It is Russian 4X4 Lada Niva with 1.7 engine. There is no space to put an intercooler without serious modifications.

I am considering water injection to cool the inlet air, as a substite for the intercooler. Will this work? Where is best to inject, pre-turbo or in the intake manifold


i haven't ran water injection, but i know pre turbo you risk compressor wheel damage if the atomisation isn't fine enough. how ever the advantage is it can lower the boost thresh hold as it increases the compressor efficiency due to a cooler denser air inlet.

post turbo is the most widely used and recommended application, works well not sure if it could replace an inter-cooler.

i wonder if you could mount a large injector running methanol only before the throttle body instead of an inter-cooler, the latent heat of methanol means it doesn't require an inter-cooler but I'm not sure this arrangement would yield enough cooling.


JOSHUA, Thanks for the input. Methanol is not readily available in our country and it is expensive. Climate is very hot and dry in the summer, reaches sometimes 50 deg. C.

i highly doubt water alone will do the job, methanol would be your only hope.

Given the CR and fuel you'd be using I'd say you be det limited on what you can do with it.

If there is no space for a intercooler, use a charge cooler (air/water exchanger) and then find a place to run the rad under the car with a ducted scoop?

I ran water injection on my SHO in place of an intercooler for years (still using it, so going on 12 years). It worked out very well, but required more maintenance as I had a couple pumps fail and clogged a nozzle. Additionally, you'll need a large diameter charge pipe to make it effective. We've done it on a smaller diameter charge pipe setup and all the mist just accumulated on the pipe walls where it does not atomize well and allow evaporative cooling.

I ran a 2-stage injection setup on this... One triggered at 3 PSI, the other at 10 PSI, at which point both were going. Most of the time I ran distilled water, but I would sometimes run cheap, winter windshield washer fluid. On the stock engine, it was 9.8:1 compression. The built motor is 9.5:1. Once I went to E85 several years later, I was not longer using it for knock protection, but the cooler charge air definitely made more power.

First stage nozzle towards the right of the picture on the charge pipe, second is further down and on the bottom. The two solenoids can bee seen on the far right.

Hot and dry climate as you state is PERFECT for water injection.

You'd also want a dual map ECU which could recognise a water flow problem, and move the map away to an area where it doesn't need the injection


Is the water injection nozzel located upstream of throttle body? as i see in the picture? What pressure you run for the injection?

Yes, the nozzles were about a foot or so before the throttle body. It had a 3" ID straight pipe to help atomize the mix at its hottest point within placing it before the MAF.

I ran a 150 PSI pump, IIRC.

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