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Charge Air Cooler

Aftermarket Spectra Premium black charge air cooler

The charge air cooler effectively cools the air after it has passed through the turbocharger on its way to the engine. The air with lower temperature is compressed to provide optimum power in the combustion chambers. This part has the same function as an intercooler, but for larger heavy duty applications.

The heavy gauge side bars and aluminum plates form a solid structure that assures the CAC design’s strength and longevity

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Spectra Part Number Most Popular Applications
4401-3511 11 International 8600 TranStar
09-07 International 9200i SBA
11 International 9200i SBA
07 International 9400i SBA
13-08 International ProStar
4401-3809 07-95 Peterbilt 357
00-95 Peterbilt 377
07-95 Peterbilt 378
07-92 Peterbilt 379
07-96 Peterbilt 385
4401-1709 07-04 Freightliner Classic
07-04 Freightliner Classic XL
11-01 Freightliner Columbia
07-04 Freightliner Coronado
11-09 Freightliner Coronado
4401-1715 07 Freightliner Business Class M2
07-03 Freightliner Century Class
07-03 Freightliner Columbia
06-05 Freightliner FLD120
4401-4608 13-11 Mack CXU
13-11 Mack TD700
13 Volvo VAH
13-11 Volvo VNL
13-11 Volvo VNM
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Components: tube & fin vs. bar & plate design

Tube and fin CACs are quite similar to radiators. They use seamless or extruded tubes with internal fins to maximize heat transfer and increase tube strength. External fins are then placed between the tubes and the resulting stack is fitted in the tank header just like a radiator. This type of CAC is the standard construction for most OEM productions and is designed to fit the manufacturers cooling requirements.

However, some applications are more demanding on the CAC unit and as such; premature failures have sometimes been observed on this design when used in conjunction with the heavier applications. Such failures can include cracking of the tubes at the header joints as a result of thermal fatigue from constant expansion and retraction of tubes. Therefore, for these more heavily demanding applications, the bar & plate design is usually a better option.

The bar & plate design consists of fins that are pressed together between aluminum sheets and fitted with header and face bars. This stacking of bars, plates, and fins, is then brazed together, creating a single, solid piece allowing tanks to be welded directly on the core. This type of construction results in much stronger solution for the more demanding applications since it can withstand higher pressures and temperatures.

Save on truck fleet maintenance with longer-lasting charge air coolers

Grommet-Style Technology

Spectra Premium commercial charge air cooler
  • Grommet construction style with high-quality silicon seal for a more durable heavy duty part
  • Thicker headers and internal rods to maximize strength and provide improved pressure resistance
  • Reinforced end tubes for longer durability
  • Integrated baffles to redistribute the air flow thus relieving stress over tubes
  • Manufactured in North America using the highest grade aluminum alloys
Related Heavy Duty cooling products: Heavy Duty Radiator, Exhaust Gas Recirculation Cooler

Common Charge Air Cooler Failure Symptoms

  • Loss of engine power
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Exhaust manifold failure
  • Premature piston, ring and valve failure
  • Elevated coolant temperatures
  • Turbocharger failure
  • Increased particle levels in emissions

Common Causes of Failure

The charge air cooler is vulnerable to stress and overheating which translates into the separation of the top plate from the header plate, tube distortion or failure of the tube wall. Like other cooling system products, the aluminum core can become corroded, and the part can crack after a collision. Furthermore, turbocharger failure can result in a subsequent charge air cooler failure in a chain reaction.

In case of Charge Air Cooler failure, the engine won’t receive enough cool, dense air resulting in loss for complete combustion and exhaustion of unburned fuel.

Not replacing a failed charge air cooler can directly affect horsepower, fuel mileage and emissions.

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