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How to Make a True Cold Air Intake

How to Make a True Cold Air Intake
By Dr. Heatshield 2 years ago 1 comment

File this one under budget mods. You don't have to spend big bucks to make power and improve performance. Factory and aftermarket intakes made of black composites (plastic) soak up heat. That heat reduces the density of the air and limits the power your engine can make. The aftermarket intakes are better at reducing turbulence, but the plastics can still soak up heat. Polished aluminum intakes actually soak up more heat than stock composites because aluminum is a better conductor of heat. Using Heat Shield for air intake, you can turn your aftermarket, stock or home-made air intake into a true cold air intake. By creating a heat shield, we keep the radiant heat away, which will lower air intake temperatures, improve performance and hopefully even improve fuel economy.

To see just how much difference using heat shield to reduce air inlet temperatures and create a truly cold air intake, we did a before and after temperature test with our friend, Arthur I., and his home-made air intake on his 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. In order to reduce turbulence and improve airflow, he created a simple $20 cold air intake heat shield kit. By eliminating the sound tube between the throttle body and factory air-cleaner box, he increased flow by reducing the air turbulence headed into his engine.

In addition to the home-made cold air intake heat shield, the Grand Cherokee also has a K&N air filter and a SuperChips performance tune installed in the ECM.

We collected temperature data using an Actron tool that plugs into the OBD II data port on the vehicle. The ambient temperature was 71° Fahrenheit and, after a 15 minute drive to work, the unshielded system resulted in these temperature readings:

205-207° Fahrenheit coolant temp and an inlet air temperature (IAT) of 139-145° Fahrenheit.

For the next day, Arthur wrapped the entire air tube with Heatshield Products Thermaflect Sleeve (part No. 274304), and used Cool Foil Tape (part No. 340100) to secure the ends of the sleeve. For the airbox, we used Heatshield Products Thermaflect Cloth (part No. 711002), which is capable of reflecting up to 90 percent of radiant heat.

During our follow up drive, the ambient air temperature was slightly higher at 72° Fahrenheit, and we saw these results after the same 15 minute drive:

205-207° Fahrenheit coolant temp and an IAT of 122-126° Fahrenheit.

That’s a drop in air inlet temperature that will make a difference! Arthur reports that the Jeep feels quicker, and as a bonus, he says that the fuel economy has improved from 13 to 14.5: that’s more than a 10 percent improvement!

If you found this information useful or interesting, we encourage you to share with your friends and online communities.

Tell us what you will use Heatshield Products on!

Posted in: Tech
Karl T 2 years ago at 7:27 PM
And something to keep in mind is that it is not uncommon for the factory box to provide better HP numbers across the full RPM range compared to an aftermarket intake. When I owned an Acura, the book 'How to Make Honda Horsepower' showed exactly that. Taking that factory box and 'cooling' it can absolutely be the best way to go for overall performance and much lower cost.
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