CAR INTAKE KITS
COLD AIR INTAKES
Misunderstood or misrepresented?
So what's with air intakes getting a bad rap?
Basically there are 2 big mistakes people can make when it comes to intakes. 1. Changing the position of the intake will almost undoubtedly change a cars behaviour since the throttle body, exhaust , turbo, fuel pump and MAF sensor all work in unison, the distance and therefore gas pressure between them is known, mess with that too much and trouble can be ahead. Many manufacturers use manifold air pressure sensor only on the boost in pipe and the inlet manifold, such ECU's have no need to measure the density of air(gas) coming in from the airbox. Sounds weird? Well that's because the parameters of what gas will be present in the intake has been preset in the ECU. It would not matter where the intake is in that scenario as it is the ECU's belief everything is where and how it was from factory. Its why some put on an intake or heavily modify the intake unaware the ECU has no way of knowing about the changes other than using its fuelling trims to get enough fuel into the cylinders with the gas available. If the car has not able to achieve satisfactory fuel/air ratios then it will indeed throw its toys out of its pram in the form of error codes/engine warning lights. The ECU knows outside air temperature, engine rpm & exhaust gas temperature whilst the volume and temperature (density) of air is being measured by either MAP or MAF & MAP sensors so to fuel the car correctly. It cannot be constantly variable as everything in life has parameters.
2. Changing the diameter or location of a MAF housing typically requires ECU mapping which would involve rescaling.
How do to get a lot of sound from my car?
Well intakes tend best to improve exhaust sound since fire walls and location of intake do little for getting the sound inside the cab where you are driving. There's also many sound proofing materials and designs in a car so that it is family friendly. Now this isn't to say you cant do anything with an intake you just have to do it well enough whilst adhering to some rules. Air filters can also be very self defeatist when it comes to allowing sound out since the soundwaves are broken up by pleated air filters. Alternatives are aftermarket panel filters which on closer inspection have far less pleats in them or none at all in the case of foam filters.
Some cars come from factory with a cone paper filter whilst many others prefer flat panel filters. Treating the intake area as a place where the ECU knows what's going on is a good place to start. Aftermarket airboxes and intakes often look better than factory OE parts but falling into the trap of how loud it is or where it is can be located can be a difficult journey, What you have to do is ensure there are no additional gases coming into the inlet hose which the car wouldn't know about, same goes for gases escaping.
Why is it so easy to get a car intakes wrong?
Its a vital component whilst some designs on the market appear to have little technical knowledge , instead designed for looks and sound playing little homage to what a car requires to function.
What are we saying?
Be smart, you wouldn't go fabricating an exhaust manifold yourself without knowing just how much that can change a cars performance. Going to extremes on intake changes may well put you straight into custom mapping territory whilst that in its self cannot allow for every eventuality. There has to be some variable information the car gets about cylinders temperatures, exhaust temperatures etc. but this cannot be endless variance which with major changes to the intake could create too many.
Its why we think so many intakes get bad press, be it fault of the manufactures going for looks over function or owners being too ambiguous over what a program on an ECU can deal with whilst it could be blind to the changes you've made so whilst you have a great deal of extra sound you lost performance. Poor fuelling can rob as much as 50hp from a 2.0L engine. Do it right and you could gain some sound & looks whilst not losing performance but never forget anything is possible with enough money.