Sucking Air – The CAI Project

Working Through a Custom Built Design

Now before we start, there is something everyone here should understand. That is this, cold air intakes are not for boosting power numbers. There is a time and place for them, however in most cases they are completely useless and even lose power compared to the stock air box on our cars. (The box will not be a restrictive point until about 350- 400 hp) So for most of us out here, CAIs are all talk, unless you are making massive numbers that is. So why did we do it? We are rocking a 2.8 30v that is nowhere close to the stock box’s limits. Well for sound, that’s why. A CAI will deepen the exhaust note of most applications and produce a more pleasing sound as a result. It will also get more cold air into the engine, and may help their as well. (Not super likely however) But simply put, we chose to build our own intake to clean up the exhaust note. Is that worth buying a 200 to 300 dollar set up from an aftermarket place? Uhh….no. (Some even run as high as 550, wtf) However you can make a competitive set up for around 50 bucks, and that is much more reasonable. So we started with the filter, this is where most of the money went, as it is the most important aspect of the project. We chose AEM because we liked the dryflow series and they are a name we trust. (Dryflow = No oil) After that it was just a matter of getting the right adapter and bolting the combo together. Next came the heat shield, if you aren’t planning to do this, then don’t bother with the intake either. Why? Simple, the shield keeps the hot air and cold air separate, so no heat shield means you are sucking up hot engine air. Lame. (This is where most people actually lose power over the air box) Hot air is not as dense, so less of it goes in and less gets burned and less less less. Get the picture? Anyhow we used sheet metal and bended it to fit our general requirements. However just metal won’t cut it, you will need a high heat reflective surface as well. This will proved the actual insulation, whereas the metal is just structure. So high temp heat tape will work great here, reflecting most of the heat back and keeping the intake nice and cool. Last but not least, after cutting (More like hacking) up the sheet metal to conform to the shape you need, it will have sharp edges. The fast way to deal with these edges is a classic seam fold, but we are going to take it a step further and use rubber edge as well to really protect all the surrounding components. So there it is, the quick and sorta cheap way to improve your car’s sound. Don’t try this unless you know what you are doing. Seriously. Oh and happy wrenching.

-CA Staff


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