One of the quickest and cheapest ways to gain some performance for your racecar is by ensuring the engine gets as much cold, clean air as possible. A quick search on eBay or Amazon will net you hundreds of products for almost every car that claim horsepower gains from simple intake tubing. Admittedly, some of those stated horsepower gains from these products are a bit optimistic. However, from considerable chassis dyno sessions, our team has found success with different air intake pieces. Did we find 20 horsepower? No, but we did go in the correct direction toward finding power.
We have tried the high-end expensive products and the cheap Chinese made eBay pieces. What we discovered was that every piece had advantages and disadvantages. Namely, most over-the-counter pieces are designed for cars that still have most of the stock components under the hood. These are “bolt-in” parts for the import-tuning crowd. We realized that most of these pieces were designed with bends and tubing sizes trying to fit within all of the stock components under the hood. Since we were working on a true racecar, not hindered by emission laws, or attempts at reduced air-induction noise, we wanted something different. We wanted the intake tubing to go a different direction and have fewer bends in it. So instead of trying to make something somebody else built work for us, we chose to build our own system.
We were able to design our own bolt-in intake piece using simple hand tools and some inexpensive components from Summit Racing. Summit sells all sorts of different aluminum tubes and silicone sleeves to connect those tubes. For around $100 in parts, we were able to build whatever our imagination could create. We clicked “buy” and waited for the UPS man to show up at the shop.
The aluminum tubes we ordered came in straight pieces and different angled bends. We mocked up what we thought would work and started cutting, twisting, and clamping until what we dreamed up started to come together. We designed a piece that was as free flowing as possible as it went from the intake manifold down into the fender well for some cold air. We used the largest K&N cone-style filter that would fit under the fender. We ensured the tubing we ordered had the correct outer diameter to go inside the inner diameter of the K&N filter.
We used a hacksaw to cut the different aluminum pieces to the correct length and then used a belt sander to clean up each cut. We mated the different pieces of tubing together using the silicone sleeves and clamped them together. The one piece we really had to ensure we ordered correctly from Summit was the final silicone sleeve that would connect our custom-built intake tube to our stock intake manifold. That required a reducing sleeve that matched the outer diameter of the intake tube and the intake manifold. Summit had tons of different options when ordering these pieces. As long as our measurements were right, everything would fit together perfectly.
Once we had the entire piece put together, we wrapped it in thermal tape to keep temperatures down for the air going to the engine. A quick trip to Performance In-Frame Tuning and some time on the dyno proved our theory was correct: Cold, unhindered air, equals more power. We made power for $100 with nothing more than a hacksaw to cut the tubes and a screwdriver to tighten the clamps. Not too shabby.
To read more from Rob Krider, or to contact him, go to www.robkrider.com.