Have you used a low cost ($20-$50) Cold Air Intake on your car?
July 12, 2005 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Have you used a low cost ($20-$50) Cold Air Intake on your car?

I am looking at the numerous cold air intakes for my vehicle for anywhere from $20-$50 on eBay, and I am wondering if they are any good. I am most concerned about the quality of the air filter, as to not allow any contaminants into the engine. I am skeptical of them as name brand intakes from AEM, K&N, and Neuspeed fetch $200 or more. Any opinions or experiences?
posted by skyguy14 to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
Best answer: The expensive ones are usually a piece of stainless pipe with silicone hoses to attach it, and the cheap ones are plastic or cheap chromed pipe, and tend to have basic black rubber hoses. Does it matter? Not hugely, as long as the hose clamps are good quality and will stay put. (Air leakage is BAD.) The filter is always replaceable, and if you get a cheap one, you could replace the filter with a better insert later. (or sooner.) Personally, I'd spent a little more, say $120-$150, and get a better filter to start off with. It'll be either finer-filtering or freer-flowing than the cheap ones, and will usually have a washable oiled-foam insert that you can reuse. If it has the potential to save some money by preventing engine wear, it's probably worth it.
posted by wzcx at 9:41 AM on July 12, 2005

I keep an eye on the tuner crowd for my car (Mazda 6), though I haven't modified anything myself.

One of the differences between the various intakes available for the 6 are how they deal with the engine computer, given that you may be bypassing (or at least changing the routing) of air that's monitored by the emissions/ignition bits of the computer. The more expensive ones include stuff (sorry, not very technical here, I'm sure there's a better name for it) that keeps your "check engine" light from going on all the time, for instance.

I'd find the web community that caters to your vehicle - there may be no difference from cheap to expensive, or you may find the expensive ones are better (or needed) for a reason.
posted by jalexei at 10:09 AM on July 12, 2005

I got a $40 ebay intake and it was fine. Seriously, it's just an aluminum tube. The filter might be kinda cheap, so if you're concerned about that, pick up a K&N filter to hook up to it. But paying $200 for a name brand tube is kinda nuts.
posted by knave at 11:19 AM on July 12, 2005

Watch the K&N and similiar filters. Dodge for example specifically calls them out as voiding the warranty on the Cummins in pickups. They apparantly pass more dirt with the more air.
posted by Mitheral at 2:56 PM on July 12, 2005

Weird. The independent tests I've seen indicate that K&N filtes catch more dirt, not less.
posted by kindall at 3:32 PM on July 12, 2005

The warranty problem appears to stem from the user serviceability of the filter. Too much oil will leak into the intake track screwing up sensors; too little and the filter isn't trapping the particles resulting in a dirty intake. Don't lube the seal as required and the filter doesn't seal properly. Forget to clean it and static pressure rises to the point that the filter is damaged. Even though they can't require a specific filter if the dealer finds evidence of any of the above they can void your warranty for everything down stream.
posted by Mitheral at 6:35 PM on July 12, 2005

Some 1965-69 Pontiacs had hood scoops that were functional or could be made functional to let cold air in under no extra pressure. When tested on a chassis dyno (i.e. no 'ram air') effect, the result of opening the scoops to let cool outside air in was about 5 hp on a 350 bhp engine.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:58 PM on July 12, 2005

« Older Two weeks floating in Eastern Europe   |   Cool Hunting Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.