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Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

Old 10-12-2006, 06:06 PM
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Default Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

OK guys. I'm hoping to tap some technical knowledge here. I'm cosidering purchasing a Cold Air Intake for my daily driver (Nissan Xterra), but I have some concerns that there may be some downside to these.

I understand the basic concept behind these (improved airflow, colder, therefore denser air. Denser air - more fuel - more power) but my concern is drivability. Specifically, I live in Syracuse NY, and there are more than a few months of the year that it's rather chilly (OK downright cold!) up here. If I install one of these, am I going to have any issues, like rough idling, sputtering, etc. when its 10 below, or would you expect the engine management computer to account for this and adjust accordingly?

I've tried looking for an answer to this elsewhere, but all I seem to find are younger kids worrying about drowning their engines while street racing & driving thru puddles with their Civics & such.

Any thoughts, theories, input etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 10-16-2006, 10:44 AM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

a few things...

first, while i run a cold air intake on my car, i do not drive my car in snow...but i DO drive it in the winter until the first snow...i just avoid the salt. my cvar does stumble very slightly once in a great while right at start up, but when it is cold out, i have never had any real problems. your vehicle should be equipped with an intake air temp sensor of some sort, which will accomodate for the cold clean air.

second, while i have often heard of the dreaded "hydrolock", which comes from picking up water in a cold air intake, i have NEVER EVER met anyone who has experienced it, and i have worked for several shops, and a dealership. my filter on my stratus is about 4 inches from the ground, in front of my drivers side front tire, and even in very very hard rain, or riding behind a semi in a hard rain, which produces alot of addition spray, ive never noticed any missing or anything due to the moisture. for hydrolock to happen, you would have to basically submerge the car in water...so while its not impossible, it is hard to do, and the stories that i have heard, from "someone who heard from someone who heard" is usually something like "this guy was driving in a bad storm, and the water only looked a few inches deep, but it turned out to be a couple feet deep"...and lets be honest, with a compact car, if you get into a couple feet of water, youll have troubles with even the stock intake system. i woudl think that on your SUV, the filter will still be pretty far off the ground, right?

the only real downside of a CAI that i know of is the sound, which some people dont like...it creates some more engine noise...and some people dont like that. on the stratus, it sounds like i have a big vacuum leak in the fascia...
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Old 10-16-2006, 06:09 PM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

Thanks for the reply.

You're correct. My airbox is quite a ways up from the road (behind the drivers headlight) so it certainly is quite a bit higher than yours is.

In looking at the image of the CAI, it looks as though there is some sort of 'splash shield' to protect the filter element from any sort of splashing from the front and below. I don't do much serious off-roading, and even so, it's easier to suck air than water, so like you said, the filter would almost have to be completely submerged before there would be an issue. And if I were in water up to the headlights, I'd probably have a few other things to worry about as well![] I'm going to get a K&N (gotta support the sponsors!), and they've been at it for a while, so I'm sure they've taken into account such things.

Did you notice any improvement in either performance and/or mileage when you installed yours, or was the biggest difference in noise? My plan is to drown out the sound with a magnaflow cat-back exhaust.

Thanks again for the reply. I was hoping to get some input from someone with more experience / technical knowledge than me, and you certainly seem to qualify on both counts!
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:49 PM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

i honestly do not know what gains i got from the CAI...they are fairly minimal, in respect to other mods...the stock air box was very restrictive on my car, so it opened things up a bit. i bought a no new and put on a K&N filter...and on highway trips, ive gotten 29mpg, which is much higher than the advertised numbers...also, my car has run a balmy 16 flat with the few mods (intake, cat back, solid mounts, tires) and the best that C&D got out of a similar car was something like a 16.70...so something helped...
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Old 10-22-2006, 03:17 PM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

i had put a CAI on my 98 blazer and i would drive it to vermont and never had a problem
i would be in vermont over christmas and the truck always started and never sounded strange, even at 7am and it gets pretty cold up there

it also added a mpg to my truck..yay - up to 13
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:52 AM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

I grew up in VT (little town north of Burlington) and we pretty much had cold air intake for 9 months of the year!
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Old 10-23-2006, 12:11 PM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

it does get pretty cold up there

i only go to killington,which i believe, is more southern vermont? i am not sure
but the CAI did add one mpg and since i made mine myself it paid itself off real fast
plus, the sound of the air going in the CAI when the hood is open is really cool
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:20 PM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

I was planning on installing a cold air intake when I get my 2009 SRT, but now I am having second thoughts.

I have read that the metal intake tubes on some after-market systems conduct heat and they do not produce the same level of sound as an "open" cone-type filter. (Note- "Cones" are not advisable because of high under-hood temperatures). Also, a cold air return is a waste of $300 if you do not use a Diablo or Predator tuner and, possibly, a cat-back system.

Since the cold air intake on the SRT is a good one, I am now thinking about just adding a panel-type high-flow air filter, similar to what was installed on the 2006 Challenger concept.

Has anyone tested this set-up?
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:35 PM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons

I threw on CAI and see huge difference. I know THE CAR keeps getting louder and I have done nothing but
keep the RPM high just cause I can. When I get my tuner and 180 stat I should be fine.
But of course there will be something else like after market half shafts.
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:41 PM
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Default RE: Cold Air Intakes - Pros & Cons


ORIGINAL: Cuda340

I was planning on installing a cold air intake when I get my 2009 SRT, but now I am having second thoughts.

I have read that the metal intake tubes on some after-market systems conduct heat and they do not produce the same level of sound as an "open" cone-type filter. (Note- "Cones" are not advisable because of high under-hood temperatures). Also, a cold air return is a waste of $300 if you do not use a Diablo or Predator tuner and, possibly, a cat-back system.

Since the cold air intake on the SRT is a good one, I am now thinking about just adding a panel-type high-flow air filter, similar to what was installed on the 2006 Challenger concept.

Has anyone tested this set-up?
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Hemi's are sensitive to larger amounts of air and breaking the software code for tuners has been a headache for the last few years. If I were in your shoes I would get the CAI/tuner kit combos so you Hemi takes full advantage of the extra air.
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