Performance Air Intake

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Air Intake Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are performance air intakes difficult to install?

It depends.  Many performance intake designs use existing holes and mounting points and only requires basic tools to install.  However, some designs including some cold air intakes require advanced skills and tools.  Most air intake manufacture web sites have instruction sheets that you can view.  Take a look at the tools required and the installation steps to determine the difficulty.  Many manufacture web sites also have installation videos so you can see for yourself how easy or difficult it is to complete the install.  If you don't want to do the install yourself check out the manufacture website to see if it lists local dealers that install their air intakes.


2. What are the benefits of a performance air intake?


An air intake can give your old car new life and make if fun to drive again. In short they add power, allow the engine to respond faster when you hit the gas and they can increased acceleration. Performance air intakes make it easier for air to enter the engine by reducing restriction in the intake path.  With a performance air intake your engine doesn't have to work as hard to bring in air.  Less restriction can also result in faster response when you hit the gas and it allows more oxygen into your engine resulting in more power.  Some self proclaimed "experts" on the Internet will claim that air intakes do not add power.  That may be true for poorly designed intakes but some intake manufacturers actually guarantee their intakes gain power and provide estimated power gains their testing has shown.  It has been said that a quality air intake is the best value for the dollar to increase horsepower.  It's definitely one of the easiest ways. 


3. What type of air intake is best cold air or short ram?


Much of that depends on your preference, typical driving weather and how important aesthetics under the hood are to you. 

Cold air intakes usually have a long metal tubes that position the air filter outside the engine compartment, usually near a front fender.  The goal is to feed the coolest air possible into the engine for the highest horsepower gains.  If it rains a lot where you are this can be a problem.  You want to make sure the air filter does not get submerged and pull water into you engine.  Other issues are the longer the tube the greater the restriction which is bad and metal tubes are great heat conductors so they can heat up the incoming air more than a plastic type intake tube.


Typical short ram air intakes are shorter in length and can have metal or plastic tubes.  Many people like the look of the metal tube while others are focused on maximum power gain.  Typically the plastic tube intakes gain a little more power.  Short ram air intakes usually have a heat shield that isolates the air filter away from the engine's heat and toward outside cooler air.  They are usually easier to install as some cold air intakes require jacking up the car and removing a tire.


4. What are the downsides of an air intake?


Air intakes can make your engine roar louder.  The sound of most air intakes at idle and low speeds is about the same as the OEM system, however, when you punch the gas you will hear the power of the engine roar.  Of course the sound varies depending on vehicle and air intake design.  Many like the louder roar but some don't.  Some of the restriction the OEM system causes is done to reduce engine noise.  Noise is just about the only downside to installing an air intake and to many people that's a good reason to install one.


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