We have all heard the claims, “Gain 20-30 horsepower just by bolting on our doo-dad” or “Increase your fuel economy with the latest in nano-technology, it plugs into your cigarette lighter…” but how often have you seen real-world proof of these claims from an independent source? Well, here you go – we recently had a 2000 Ford F-250 in the shop getting a tune-up and had a brand-new AIRAID intake system too, which lead to us thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice to put this on the dyno and see if this really works?”, so we put it to the test.
The key to this system is removing restrictions. In order for an engine to operate, it needs three things – fuel, air and a spark. Inhibiting or restricting any one of these parameters always ends up costing power and fuel economy. Increasing one or more of these parameters is how you gain horsepower.
The factories engineer the stock intake system for maximum sound reduction and by doing so reduces airflow.
The factory air box and tube are less than optimum, the air filter is certainly capable of cleaning the incoming air, but the corrugated air tube creates unwanted turbulence in the airstream that reduces the incoming air velocity. The airbox itself is also part of the problem, limiting the potential volume for the engine right from the start. ”The factories engineer the stock intake system for maximum sound reduction and by doing so reduces airflow,” said Chris Thomson of AIRAID. Opening up the airbox and converting to a more free-flowing air cleaner can do wonders for helping an engine breathe.
AIRAID Improves on the Stock Intake Design
The AIRAID systems use computer modeling to test the air flow characteristics to maximize performance. When asked about the how they design a system, Thomson told us, “On mass air-controlled vehicles we put a lot of effort in finding the ‘Sweet Spot’ to locate the sensors at. This is critical for maximum, trouble free performance. On average it takes four to six weeks from the initial design to a system in the box.” Once designed, the R&D team builds and installs a system which is then dyno tested and tuned for efficiency. This yields a fit and finish that looks factory installed, but with all the performance benefits of the aftermarket. The kits also come with a lifetime warranty, which means they stand behind their products.
Straddling a better-flowing airbox and tube with a cheap filter is not a good idea. AIRAID includes a premium filter with each system to ensure your system performs as stated. These filters are quite nice, with a pliable urethane body and a special filter material combined with cotton gauze layers. The best part is that you only have to buy one, as the filters are washable, you just need a simple cleaning kit. Cleaning the filter is super easy, it only take a few minutes to renew its performance. “We offer both oiled (SynthaFlow) and non-oiled (SynthaMax) filter media that is backed up with a lifetime warranty,” said Thomson.
The AIRAID website features customer testimonials that share stories of increased power and better fuel economy, some sound crazy. One customer that claims his fuel economy went from 17.5 to 25 MPGs, all from just installing a new air filter and inlet tube. AIRAID tests each system on their in-house Mustang Dynamometer to validate the actual performance of each system.
Installation and Dyno
While that is a pretty good gain from a simple swap, what makes it more interesting is that the gains are not just at the top, they are across the entire RPM range, and the top end shifted up about 500 RPM. Both measurements not only increased, but also flattened out a little, so they continue to make power longer before dropping off. In fact, at the tail end of the power curve, there is almost a 50 horsepower difference between the before and after, and you will certainly notice that kind of change. Regardless if you needed the extra power to pull your race trailer or just to hot rod around town, AIRAID gives you an easy to install and affordable solution to the horsepower bug!