Last weekend my friends Stephanie and Lance invited me over to see their new baby. This was not a conventional child in the sense we would first think of. Rather, it was Lance’s new baby: a brand spankin’ new supercharger he installed in his Chevy Silverado.
Click here to read about superchargers.
Click here to see Lance’s supercharger doing its thing.
While I only had plans to study Lance’s new supercharger, I couldn’t help but notice he also had installed a cold air intake. Stephanie’s truck had one, too. Cold air intakes are the choice as a quick-and-dirty (and cheap) solution to your hot intake air problem.
Before going any further, let’s learn what they are and how they work… Back to our hot intake air problem.
How Does a Cold Air Intake Work?
In order to allow a more dense charge of air into the engine, the simplest and cheapest way is to allow cold air to flow in – even if the engine is fully warmed up. How to do this? The solution is simple in concept: simply control where the intake air comes from. And this is exactly what a cold air intake does.
A cold air intake – sometimes called a cold air box − is usually just that: a box or similar container that allows relatively cooler outside air into the engine. It does this to avoid letting that hot engine under the hood heat up the incoming air. Hot intake air is less dense than cold air. Less dense air means less engine power.
What Kinds Cold Air Intakes Are There?
On Stephanie’s truck (see the photos), the cold air intake is one she bought from the internet. Hers has no moving parts, and required only a little modification of how things were arranged under the hood. Cold air boxes usually come in two configurations: open-walled boxes, or fully isolated boxes.
In the case of open walls, the air intake is walled off from the hot part of the engine. And the open end of the box (where there are no walls) allow cold air to rush into the engine air intake.
A fully isolated cold air box is basically the same as am open waller, except that a tube allows cold air to come into the box from a remote location.
At the center of the box is the air intake. Nine times out of ten the air intake is covered by an air filter − which serves to block out incoming dust, dirt, and other foreign objects that have no place in your engine.
The whole point to this madness is to ensure that cold outside air flows freely into the engine.
In my friend Stephanie’s truck, the stock intake would have grabbed hot air that had flowed over her engine. But by grabbing the outside air rushing under the hood adjacent to her truck’s headlight, the air going into Steph’s truck engine is much cooler than it would be if she ran with her stock air configuration.
The result? More power. And that makes Steph smile. Better get out of her way!