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Cold air induction – Performance modification

12 June 2010 10 Comments

Today we are having a look at cold air inductions, we all love the growl from a cone filter or the roar of sidies. But they can damage your cars performance if not installed correctly.

Air filters are probably the most important protection part for your cars engine, air filters protect your engine from sucking up dirt and dust!
This is where we need to start chatting about cold air induction kits.

A couple of weeks back we looked at a few different types of filter available. The best filters use oiled cotton gauze as their filtration material. These types of cone filters are sometimes very difficult to find for some car applications. A lot of guys buy cone filters and then spray on oil sprays, this isn’t the best option at all! These oil sprays have been known to cause problems with the mass air flow meter. We cant express how important it is to put a lite coating of oil on the filter, make sure to only put a lite coating on the inside of the cone filter. It is a good idea to clean the mass air flow sensor as well!

Always remember the bigger the surface area of you air filter the better the air flow will be. Most cars today can be fitted with a cold air induction kit which completely replaces your cars air intake box.
A cold air induction kits is a cheaper way of making the most of induction roar.

What purpose does a cold air induction provide:
The plus side is much better air flow, particularly at higher revs. Smaller engined cars can actually loose a lot of  power when an induction kit is added instead of an aftermarket air filter. Cone filters will generally make your car rise in temperature and can easily rob you of up to 2% of your power!
Under bonnet temperatures can quickly rise to double this also causing permanent damage to you mass air flow meter.
Sucking warm air in from the engine is a great way to lose power and of course we don’t want that to happen, it is really important to box off your cold air induction kit.
Make sure you have a cold air feed pipe to get cool air from outside of the engine bay to your filter – cold air carries more oxygen!

You will  find the best air induction kits come with a cold air feed pipe and are fitted in an air box which shields the intake air from the heat of the engine. The longer your intake pipe is the quieter your induction roar will be.

If your induction kits air filter is enclosed in an air box with a cold air feed, then more power can be obtained avoiding the heat generated by your cars engine. Carbon fibre boxes are very good for their heat shielding and durability. It also good to wrap up your exhaust manifold with a heat resistant material to keep the under bonnet temperatures down.

We hope this better explains the use of cold air inductions.


  • Jomacher said:

    You are quite right Blair. The longer the air intake pipe the less roar your motor will produce, however, in some cases it is essential to fit the air filter as far as possible from the motor as it sucks in more cold air that way. Hence, it’s better to go with the direct cold air induction fitted through the bumper and feeds the motor with cold (not freezing though) air via a flat pad filter. This optimises performance but not everyone wants to drill a hole through their bumper, especialy when the vehicle still belongs to the bank.

    There are some things they don’t tell you when fitting the cone filter to your motor. In everything you do there is pro’s and cons, positives and negatives. Let me explain. Fitting the cone filter will give your motor a much better sound than the flatpad filter, standardly fitted to new vehicles. However, fitting a flatpad filter gives you better performance yet sacrifices the nice roar of the motor. By having branches and decent exhaust system fitted can fill the need for a cone filter. In other words the cone filter gives you a nice sound and looks great when flipping the hood. The flatpad gives better performance yet adds no eye candy to your vehicles anatomy.

    To come to a conclution, a cone filter is not bad at all. It’s just not as good as a flatpad.

    Nice article Blair and your “Sucking warm air in from the engine is a great way to lose power.” should win an award for writing style. It made me read it twice and another to make sure I was reading right.

    Great work buddy. Keep it up.


    Blair Reply:

    Thanks Joe, I always appreciate a good comment like this one!
    It all depends what you want from your cone filter application, noise or added throttle response..
    Yes how see it, if cone filters are really that beneficial to a standard car, don’t you think the manufactures would put cone filters on from the start!
    Ok i know some of you are reading this and thinking.. well what about branches and what about suspension kits… Yes these all improve your cars abilities but make your car sound noisier and your cars ride is a lot more stiffer!


  • Danni said:

    this post is very usefull thx!


  • Henni said:

    Iv got a simoto cone filter on my Toyota and it makes a roar, but the temperature gauge climbs tomuch wen the car sits in traffic. will the cold induction stop that?

  • Frank Jullis said:

    Helo we don’t have places like you do have in Namibia. we have to get most off our parts from jhb or durban, and then sometimes it cost a lot for us to get things here
    i drive a skyline 32 but the vehicle is std


  • jomacher said:

    @ Henni – Unfortunately the cold air induction works best when you have the most available air entering the filter which means that the higher your speed the better the inflow of air, similar to your cone filter. When the vehicle is stationary no air is cooling down the motor except your standard fan. The simota cone youve got there is, however, not the reason the temperature is climbing. I would suggest finding the shortest possible route away from the motor for the filter or fitting the cold air induction kit but know that it will not decrease your temperature on low or no speed. It is normal for a vehicle to climb in temperature when stationary but should it increase above normal I would suggest you get the fan tested for faults or even the oxygen sensor should your Toyota have one. I will ask Blair to shine some light on this issue on why your temperature is climbing.


  • jomacher said:

    @ Frank – Very nice ride and I can tell you that there are alot of modification parts for your motor, however, very limited in Namibia. I only have a few tips or advise in this regard. You can order items from Autostyle in Johannesburg and hope that they don’t charge as much as our normal couriers. Also, you can meet up with other automotive clubs in Namibia and order in bulk which decreases the costs on postal per person. Furthermore, you can open your own shop in Namibia and provide these parts to the public and I’m sure the demand for aftermarket parts are high. I hope that helps and please shout if you have some more questions.


  • moe said:

    dude.. the reason your temperature is incrreasing in that way myt b because yoo have branches.. try covering your branches with heat wrap and c the difference.. its cheap. ;)


  • theo said:

    Hi I’ve got a corsa utility 1.30i 1998 model want to put on a set of powerflow branches with the complete freeflOw system S/S but by doing that I’ve read that u need to do ur filter eg.cold air induction kit and my ECU must be remapped could I just go the flatpad route any advice please


  • Ryan said:

    Hey, nice article. But what does the the plain cone filter without a cold air induction kit do to the fuel economy of a vehicle?


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