Your vehicle can easily become a major source of air pollution as it spews out poisonous gases from the exhaust. To keep loads of nitrogen oxides from exiting the tailpipe and recklessly polluting the atmosphere, the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler is used—it lowers the temperature of the exhaust gases that will be cycled back to the engine. When this device becomes overheated and reaches the point of deterioration (with white smoke exiting the tailpipe and the degas bottle or cooling system losing ample supply of coolant), EGR delete is never the answer. What you need is a new cooler that can effectively minimize emissions without interfering with other vehicle systems. Here are the things you have to consider in order to find the right one:
In some vehicles, the EGR cooler is admittedly one of the weakest links because it has to be replaced twice or thrice in the first 100,000 miles. For cases like this, an upgrade to any high-performance cooler is recommended to avoid costly repairs. Otherwise, a standard stock replacement may be a good enough option. The most reliable EGR coolers are designed to resist clogging and maintain low emissions in diesel engines. If you want a device that can last through various driving conditions, look for coolers made from top-standard materials such as high-grade aluminum or stainless steel. Find coolers that are TIG-welded and pressure-tested. Also make sure that the one you’ll get meets system requirements. It shouldn’t set the check engine light on and shouldn’t interfere with the EGR system.
While many replacement EGR coolers are exact replicas of the original device, other coolers come with new designs for improved performance. Some have bigger tubes to minimize clogs and failure while others are designed with double-thick tube walls on the heat exchanger—features that prevent the cooler from wearing out easily. Some designs even help prevent engine damage caused by hydro-locking. EGR coolers may come in a straight tube designed to reduce soot buildup and increase durability, as well as to be fully compatible with radiator-style coolers. Higher-performance coolers may also be built with a flat tube and inner fin for better flow and easier installation. Some of these are built to reduce thermal stress by allowing expansion (when it gets hot) and contraction (when it cools down) in the same direction and at the same rate. If you’re upgrading to a higher-performance cooler, check if it is compatible with the existing EGR system; use your VIN or vehicle manual as a guide.
Whether it’s a simple replacement or upgrade, the cooler should be able to fit into the EGR system easily. Search for a direct replacement that won’t require tedious modifications. Also take note that the style of the cooler may vary for different vehicle models and engine types. The main differences can be in the outer shape and length, as in the case of round cooler (with a tube-type heat exchanger) and square cooler (with radiator-type channels and fins). These styles aren’t interchangeable; they may not fit into the same type of intake manifold. Also remember to double check fine prints and waivers. Some devices restrict the application to off-road use and may not fully comply with federal standards. Buy only a cooler that’s guaranteed to be street legal. For the best options, look for one with a lifetime warranty, even just for the parts.