Introduction

Today we’re going to show you how to install an aftermarket intercooler on a MK7 Golf R. This tutorial is almost identical to the MK7 Golf GTI, and very similar for the Audi 8V S3 as it shares the same MQB platform, and EA888 engine.

Whilst this is one of our longest tutorials ever, the process actually not too difficult. There is simply a large number of steps to follow.

Parts and Tools Required

  • Torx Set (T25, T30)
  • Socket Set (16mm)
  • Flathead Screwdrivers

Step 1

To begin, raise your vehicle and remove the front wheels, this will give you extra room to move.

Now is also a good time to disconnect your battery.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 2

First we’ll be removing the front grille. Remove the two screws as highlighted.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 3

Pull the grille firmly forward in a hinging motion, which will release the grille from under the air intake trim. You can then lift the grille vertically upwards and remove it from the vehicle.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 4

We’ll now release the hood latch cable.

  1. Pull the cable outwards as pictured
  2. Swing the cover open
MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 5

The hood cable will now come loose.

Do not close the hood until this is reconnected at the end! 

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 6

Unscrew both upper support brackets, they’re held in place by three screws each. Once loose, unclip the hood release cable from behind and remove both brackets from the vehicle.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 7

Scribe the position of the following five bolts, and note the height and position of the hood release catch as it is adjustable.

Remove each screw from the vehicle.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 8

Looking under the car, remove the splash shield and and three screws located along the front as highlighted.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 9

Remove the two underside screws on both wheel arch liners.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 10

Undo both hose clamps and remove the intercooler inlet pipe.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 11

Undo both hose clamps and remove the intercooler outlet pipe.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 12

Remove the four screws from the lower wheel arch liner, and remove the liner from the vehicle.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 13

Remove the upper wheel arch liner screws. There is no need to completely remove this section from the vehicle.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 14

Get the bucket ready!

We’ll now disconnect the headlight washer line.

Squeeze the blue tab on both sides, and release the hose. Let the water drain into the bucket, and remove the hose from the lower retaining clips.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 15

We recommend masking your guard with painters tape, protecting it from damage as you remove the front bumper bar.

With the assistance of a friend, pull firmly outwards on the front bar to disconnect the clips. Do this on both sides of the vehicle.

If you find the bar is too tight to remove, you can loosen the retaining clips. Locate and loosen the two black bolts under the wheel liner and try again.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 16

The front bar can now be pulled away from the vehicle. Make sure you disconnect the wiring loom before completely removing the bumper.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 17

Remove the inner-rear headlight screws.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 18

Remove the upper-rear headlight screws.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 19

Remove the side headlight screws. You can now gently pull the headlight away from the vehicle, and disconnect the wiring loom. Do this on both sides.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 20

Disconnect the coolant sensor, and any airbag sensors running along the top of the radiator (Look for the yellow connector). Their position tends to vary depending on your year and model.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 21

Disconnect the air temperature sensor, and pull the loom out from the radiator area.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 22

Disconnect both the left and right horns

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS
MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 23

Place a solid box or similar under the entire radiator and intercooler assembly to support the unit

Scribe the location of the following six bolts, on both the left and right side of the vehicle.

First remove the inner bolts securing the core assembly on both sides. The radiator and intercooler will now be supported by the box.

Now remove the four large bolts securing the crash support beam. Do this on both sides and remove the beam.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 24

Remove the inner air guides sitting loosely on the AC Condenser.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 25

Remove the large air guides. These are held in by three clips on either side. Depress each clip with a screwdriver to release them.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 26

We will now release the core surround. Depress the top and bottom of the large yellow clips whilst pulling the core surround forward.

These clips are very difficult to remove, and are prone to breaking, be gentle. If you break a clip we’ll show you how to fix it later on.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 27

Depress the clip that is retaining the AC condenser, and slide the condenser up, releasing it from the intercooler.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 28

You can now pull the condenser away from the intercooler.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 29

Rest the condenser forward of the intercooler, being careful not to stress the flexible hoses which are keeping the condenser connected.

Pull the top of the core surround forward as shown by the green arrows. Once you’ve done this, lower the core surround/lift the radiator to seperate them as there’s two alignment legs keeping it together.

You can now remove the outer core from the vehicle.

Step 30

We can now remove the OEM Intercooler. Push down firmly but gently on the upper clips, releasing the intercooler.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 31

Here’s the end result with the OEM Intercooler removed.

Now we can install our new CTS Turbo intercooler!

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Comparison

Here’s the CTS Turbo Intercooler compared to the OEM Golf R Intercooler. As you can see, the difference in width is substantial, with the CTS unit also being much heavier and denser than the OEM unit.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS
MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Reinstallation

Step 1

Slide your new intercooler into position, being vary careful not to dent the fins on the radiator.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 2

With the assistance of a friend, lift up both sides of the intercooler, ensuring the feet of the radiator slide into the intercooler.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS
MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 3

Gently clip the top of the intercooler into the radiator. It will now be secured in place.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 4

Transfer the two yellow clips from the OEM Intercooler, onto your new unit.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 5

Sit the intercooler back into the core surround, ensuring both feet of the intercooler are secured correctly.

Do not clip the core surround into the intercooler, this will be done later on.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 6

Test fit the AC condenser into position. You may need to cut back one or two of the tabs as they may clash with the core surround.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS
MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 7

You can now clip the core surround into the Yellow clips.

If you have accidentally broken one of the clips (Like we did!), simply drive a screw into the middle of the clip. There is already a hole there, which is coincidently perfect for this.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 8

Due to the extra width of the intercooler, we’ll need to trim back the air guides.

Carry out a test fit, making note of any areas of that need to be trimmed. Use a Dremel or cutters to trim these back.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 9

Refit both air guides into position.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 10

Refit both headlights into position, ensuring you reconnect the wiring looms. You can also re-fit the support bars, and re-attach the bonnet release cable.

Test the latch mechanism before closing your hood!

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS
MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 11

Refit the crash bar into position, and secure all twelve bolts, taking note of the markings we previously scribed.

Ensure the air guides are not jammed behind the crash beam.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 12

Reconnect the radiator sensor, airbag sensor, both horns and the air temperature sensor.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 13

You can now refit the front bumper bar, remembering to reconnect the wiring loom.

Also ensure the air guides are correctly positioned as you gently fit the front bumper into position.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 14

Re-attach the washer jet hose, and clip into position.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 15

Install your new intercooler piping, and reattach all plastic shields, including the wheel arch liners and underbody.

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

Step 17

Install your grill back into position, and tighten the remaining screws.

Reconnect your battery, put your wheels back on and you’re done! You can now head out and enjoy your new performance boost!

MK7 Golf Intercooler Install CTS

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