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Keeping Your Airbox Cooler Using Heatshield Products

Keeping Your Airbox Cooler Using Heatshield Products
By Patrick Hill 24 days ago No comments

When it comes to performance, cool air is one of the biggest factors. Cooler air is more dense, so during induction more oxygen is sucked into the cylinders. The more air in the cylinders, the more power an engine can make. With fuel injected engines, cool air also effects how the computer controls the ignition system.

All modern fuel injected engines have air intake temperature sensors. The name is self-explanatory. The temperature of the air entering the engine is measured, and the ECM then makes the necessary adjustment to ignition timing, air/fuel ratio, and more to keep the engine operating within its set parameters. How much does warmer air affect this?

Mainly it’s ignition timing that comes into play when air intake temperatures start to rise. When air intake temps get too warm and there’s a risk of detonation, the ECM will reduce ignition timing to guard against detonation occurring. Just one degree of reduced timing can cost you 10-12 horsepower, which can make a big difference in a lot of scenarios. But wait, that’s what all these cold air intake kits that are sold by the aftermarket are for, right?

Yes, they are. But not everyone has a cold air intake installed on their vehicle. And even with one of these systems installed, when it’s summertime and the air is already hot, underhood heat being radiated from the engine can heat the cold air intake system, and that heat will be transferred to the air passing through the system on its way to the engine. So, it’s time to look at shielding the air intake system (be it O.E. or aftermarket) from underhood heat as best as possible. And to do that, we’ll break out some of our multi-purpose, versatile HP Sticky Shield™ thermal barrier material.

ABOVE: After driving our test subject around (2013 Camaro SS with LS3) we parked and immediately grabbed the temp gun to see how hot our airbox was getting. On the outside facing the engine, the surface measured 145.5 degrees F.

ABOVE: On the filter side of the box, we recorded a temp of 152 degrees F. That’s a pretty hot and the air going past the surface before entering the air filter is going to pick up and absorb some of that heat, which then raises the air intake temperature accordingly. Keep in mind also these temp readings were taken in Florida in January, so not even the dog days of summer yet.

ABOVE: To make installing our HP Sticky Shield™ easy, we removed the Airaid airbox assembly, and cleaned it with some Simple Green degreaser. Besides the box itself, we also plan to install Sticky Shield on the air tube feeding the airbox.

ABOVE: HP Sticky Shield™ is a great thermal barrier, and extremely versatile thanks to its high-temp adhesive backing, and how it can be trimmed to fit just about any shape with nothing more than a pair of scissors. We used some tracing paper to figure out the shapes we’d need, cut them out of our roll of HP Sticky Shield™, then adhered them to the airbox after we cleaned it with some Simple Green degreaser.

ABOVE: Once everything was back together, we took the Camaro out and drove it for the same amount of time we did for the baseline, watching the temp gauge reach its normal point. Then we parked, and immediately broke out the temp gun to take some readings. Demonstrating how efficient the Sticky Shield is at deflecting heat, we measured the temp on the Sticky Shield’s surface of 196.5 degrees F. Our baseline was 145.5 degrees F on the side of the air box.

ABOVE: Once we had everything reinstalled, we took the car out for a drive and took some new temperature measurements. On the filter side of the box, we measured 87.5 degrees F. That’s a drop of 64.5 degrees F. That’s 64.5 degrees less heat that can be transferred to the air running through the filter box before it enters the engine.

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