Focus RS Intercooler Development

If you are anything like us, you are always looking to make your car a little better: make more power, handle better, etc.  Since we got our hands on our 2016 Focus RS, we’ve been looking for ways to make it better.  Case in point, we’ve been hard at work developing our new front mount intercooler kit for the 2016 Focus RS.

Intercoolers are an integral element to the whole turbocharger system.  The basic laws of thermal dynamics tell us that that when you compress air from the intake with a turbocharger, the compressed air coming out of it will be hotter.  The purpose of the intercooler then is to lower the charge temperature back down to a cooler denser charge.  Simply put, a better intercooler will cool the temperatures more effectively, and your car will make more power.

How can you measure how “great” an intercooler is?  There are two main factors that really determine how effective an intercooler is at making more power: efficiency, and pressure drop.

Efficiency basically measures how much colder the air is coming out of the intercooler vs the air coming in.  It is a direct factor to your engine’s power output.  There are diminishing returns, but generally, the larger the core is, the more efficiently it can remove heat from the charged air.  In this case, bigger is better; the more surface area an intercooler exposes for cooling the more efficiently it can cool.

Pressure drop impacts power as well, but indirectly.  All intercoolers will provide some restriction to air flow.  The harder it is for the air to get through the intercooler, the greater the pressure drop will be.   This in a real sense robs some of the hard work the turbocharger is doing to create boost and flow air in the first place.  If the intercooler has a high pressure drop, the entire system will make less power.  Why?  Your turbo will have to work harder and spin faster to hit your boost targets.   For example, if you goal is to hit 20 psi post throttle body, your turbo might have to generate 24 psi instead of 21 psi.   Pushing your turbo harder to make more boost pressure to make up for your intercooler’s pressure drop is counter productive.  As the turbo works harder. it is most likely becoming less efficient and generating more heat.  This is an important factor to consider when deciding how big to make the intercooler, and what type core you want use.

How did we SteamSpeed make a great intercooler?  First we packaged the largest possible core into the OEM location without having to hack up your car.  Our analytically estimates put our upgraded intercooler core to be  around 30-40% more efficient than the OEM unit.  To tackle pressure drop, we utilized the best possible flowing bar and plate cores, and custom-designed high-flowing cast aluminum tanks.  It is easier and cheaper to just bend plate aluminum and weld it up, but it worth it to us to spend the time an money to make the best possible end tank designs.  Next we made new silicone hoses and mandrel bent stainless steel piping which flows better than the OEM parts, and causes less pressure drop.





SteamSpeed’s 2016 Ford Focus RS Baseline Dyno Session

Before we get too crazy making parts for the Focus RS, we wanted to get a good baseline to measure the improvement.

SteamSpeed's Focus RS on the Dyno
SteamSpeed’s Focus RS on the Dyno

According to Ford, the 2016 Focus RS makes 350 HP.  If there is a 20% drivetrain loss from the crank to the wheels, that would be around 280 whp.  How did she do?

Red [stock]:  289.6 WHP, 309.48 ft*lbs, 24.4 PSI

Blue [Cobb Stage 1]: 311.12 WHP, 342.83 ft*lbs, ~25 PSI

2016 Focus RS Dyno Baseline
2016 Focus RS Dyno Baseline

Afterwards, we threw it up on the rack over at Nameless Performance to see what parts we could develop for it.  The over all consensus was that most of the OEM parts for the RS were really nice to begin with; never the less, there is always room for improvement.   Look for product updates from SteamSpeed and our partner Nameless Performance.

Steam STX 67 Turbo for FA20 DIT Unboxing

Here are some unboxing pictures of our new Steam STX 67 turbo for FA20 (eg. 2015 WRX).  This is our design validation (DV) prototype turbo.  It doesn’t have as perfect machining as the final retail version will, but I think it does give you a much clear picture of what will be included in the box.

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20).
Turbo removed from the bag..front side.
Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20)
Unopened box.
Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20).
What the inside of the box looks like.

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20)

Contents of the box removed

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20)

Turbo bottom side

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20).

Turbo top side

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20)

Turbo back side

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20).

Detail of the compressor wheel

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20).

Custom 3D gaskets

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20)

Water and oil lines.

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20).
Lines attached…top.

Steam STX 67 Turbo for Subaru 2015 WRX (FA20).

Lines attached…bottom.

Introducing the Steam STX 67 & 71 Turbo for 2015+ WRX

After 12 months of development, the wait is almost over.  Introducing the Steam STX 67 and 71 for 2015+ WRX FA20F DIT.

Stock location, so you can keep all of your existing mods.  Capable of 350-400 whp (STX 67) or 400-450 whp (STX 71).  Contact us today for preorders at

Pricing will be inline with our STI turbos.

This is a design validation (DV) prototype, so it does represent a final retail product.  For example the housings aren’t fully machined in these pictures, and they are just showing OEM accessories to illustrate that this turbo is a direct replacement for the OEM turbo.  The retail version will have custom fittings.  The final turbo will just reuse the stock turbo oil pan.

Stock turbo top, Steam STX 67 bottom.

Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX

Stock turbo right, Steam STX 67 left.

Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX

Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX

Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX
Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX
Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX
Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX
Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX
Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX
Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX
Steam STX 67 & 71 for 2015 WRX

Steam Turbo Install Instructions

SteamSpeed Logo

Download the PDF – Steam STX Turbo Installation Instructions

Steam STX Turbo Installation Instructions

Steam STX Turbochargers are manufactured with the highest quality components, equipment, and procedures as possible.  When installed, maintained, and operated correctly, these turbos can provide many years of reliable service.  Incorrect turbo installation can lead to premature turbo failure and voids the warranty.  Professional installation is recommended.

Pre-installation Checklist

  • Make sure the engine, oil, and cooling systems are healthy, clean, and in good working order.
  • If you’ve had an engine or turbo failure, make sure the root cause has been identified and addressed.
  • Change the engine oil with clean new oil and a new filter.
  • Make sure the pre-turbo intake and pre-turbo exhaust systems are free of foreign objects.
  • We recommend replacing the OEM oil feed line, but if you are reusing the stock line, make sure it is clean and unobstructed. We sell upgraded stainless steel oil feed lines at affordable prices to help our customers avoid oil starvation problems caused by clogged oil feed lines.
  • Ensure the crank case ventilation system is operating correctly.

Turbo Installation
1. Remove the old turbo. If you are unsure how to do this, refer to the service manual for the car.  Generally this involves these steps:
– Remove the down pipe.
– Remove the connected intercooler and/or intercooler piping connected to the turbo.
– Disconnect and temporarily clamp the turbo’s water lines.
– Disconnect the oil feed line. Note: take care to not crack or over bend the stock oil feed line if you intend to reuse it.
– Disconnect the vacuum line from the compressor housing (if applicable).
– Unbolt and remove the turbo from the up pipe. The oil return hose and clamps will be reused.
2. Install the new Steam STX turbo. Perform the turbo removal steps in reverse.  Note:
– Make sure all of the hoses and fittings are tightly clamped post install.
– Always replace old gaskets with new SteamSpeed gaskets or OEM gaskets.
– Make sure all flange surfaces are flat and clean before replacing the gaskets.
– Pre-turbo exhaust leaks and post-turbo boost leaks are the main cause for slow turbo spool up.
– Replace corroded or otherwise damaged hardware as needed.
– Use OEM torque specs.
3. Prime the turbo by cranking the engine without firing for at least 30-60 seconds. You can disable the ignition by removing the ignition fuse, or disconnecting the sparkplugs.  Skipping this step will lead to premature turbo failure and will void your warranty.
4. Start the engine and let it idle for at least 3-4 minutes. While the engine is idling, check for leaks, and if any are detected, stop the engine at once and fix the leak.
5. Stop the engine and recheck the engine oil level.
6. Enjoy boosting with your new Steam STX turbocharger!

Steam STX 71 + 2015 Subaru STI PREracing Dyno Session

I spent the day a few weeks back at PRE.  I was getting our shop I had originally booked our 2001 RS with the EJ207 swap to get tuned, but we ended up having a double feature.

SteamSpeed's 2001 RS w/ JDM EJ207 + STX Power
SteamSpeed’s 2001 RS w/ JDM EJ207 + STX Power

Anyway, way back at the BNW meet, we told Jason that the STX 71 is a 400+ WHP turbo.  Frankly he did not believe it simply because no turbo on his dyno has been able to make 400+ WHP with a stock sized inlet.  We now our turbo is not any other turbo and can make more power than competing turbos from Tomei, Blouch, Tomioka Racing, etc.  So, we gave him a STX 71 to verify our claims for himself on his own dyno.

He found a willing customer with a 2015 Subaru WRX STI with a stock block and a number of COBB parts like their exhaust system for example.  COBB makes fine parts, but they, for the most part, are not designed to make over 400 WHP.  For example both their so called 3″ down pipe and cat back have a 2.5″ taper.  I guess that is great for mating to the stock exhaust system, but not great if you want to make more than 350 WHP.

Luckily their customer was on board on swapping out the power limiting parts with exhaust and intercooler components from ETS and GrimmSpeed.  I worried that they kept the COBB intake since it isn’t a “big MAF” style intake and all of our turbos will max a stock sized intake, but Erich , their tuner, said it is larger than stock and should be ok.

2015 STI with a Steam STX 71 turbo
2015 STI with a Steam STX 71 turbo

With all of the supporting mods, Erich when after it, and laid down a great tune.  With consideration for the stock motor, this is where he left it.  Note: they don’t do any correction on their dyno numbers.

PRE's 71 Test tune on a 2015 STI
PRE’s 71 Test tune on a 2015 STI


Anyway, Erich calculated that corrected atmospheric conditions the peak power that was measured was actually 395 whp.  He expected that it would probably have made another 40 whp and likely maxed out the MAF on the larger diameter COBB intake.  More importantly, no other turbo had made similar power on a stock sized inlet with pump gas.

Nice work guys at PRE!


Introducing the SteamSpeed IWG+ (Internal Waste Gate Plus)

Introducing the SteamSpeed IWG+.  It is our new pro version of our billet aluminum internal wastegate actuator.  Mechanically it is a lot strong than our previous actuator design.  Also, the ring around the edge screws close which simplifies changing out springs should you need to.

Here is the front view:

SteamSpeed IWG+

SteamSpeed IWG+

Note: this is just a prototype.  The final version will be anodized black and will have our logo laser etched in.

Here is the IWG+ installed on a twin scroll STX 71.

SteamSpeed IWG+
SteamSpeed IWG+

Here is our V1 billet aluminum actuator.  Note: our newer actuators are anodized black with our logo laser etched in.

STX Billet Waste Gate V1
STX Billet Waste Gate V1
STX Billet Waste Gate V1
STX Billet Waste Gate V1

Introducing: The Steam STX N55 BMW Twin Turbocharger Upgrade

Steam STX N55 BMW Turbocharger Upgrade
Steam STX N55 BMW Turbocharger Upgrade

We’ve been manufacturing Subaru-only turbochargers for some time now.  That is mostly because we started doing this because we are Subaru enthusiasts.  That being said, our capabilities stretch to other brands.   Now we are offering a twin turbo upgrade kit for both prospective stage 1 or stage 2 applications.

This is a legitimate turbo upgrade; meaning, it is designed for the factory location.  We supply a new balanced CHRA, complete with new turbine wheel and billet compressor wheel in 62mm or 67mm, depending on what your goals are, and you install that CHRA in your existing turbine housing, attach the compressor housing and all other factory accessories, such as the blow off valve and the wastegate actuator.

Steam STX N55 Compressor Housing and CHRA
Steam STX N55 Compressor Housing and CHRA

With supporting mods, this kit is 600whp capable (stage 2).   Because we are using our 9-blade technology, the spool is still quick and peak flow is there for high rpm performance.

As one might expect, these are manufactured with the same strict attention to detail that we have exhibited in the past with all of our Subaru turbochargers.  They have superior internals and excellent balance characteristics; everything one needs for high octane, high RPM enjoyment.

Want more information? Give us a call at +1 (206) 607-9149 or visit our site.