Why Do I Need a Cold Air Intake For my Mustang?

The Cold-Air Conundrum

Question: “I just bought a Mustang and my friend told me I should get a cold air intake as my first mod, but I’m new to cars and I was wondering what a cold air intake is and how it helps my car.”


This is a great question, and one I hear almost daily. Cold-air intakes are great first mods because their easy installation makes them a perfect DIY project.  Before we delve into the details, let’s start with the basics.  Your stock intake consists of the airbox, the mass air-flow sensor (aka “MAF”), and the air inlet tube that connects to the throttle body.  The airbox houses the air filter and in some cases the MAF.   An AmericanMuscle Mustang air filter removes moisture and particulates like dust and pollen from your Stang – all things you don’t want in your engine.  Once the air is clean and dry, it’s the MAF’s responsibility to tell the computer how much air the engine is getting, which is why your car won’t run (well) without it.  With the cleaning, drying, and measuring out of the way it’s just a short trip up the inlet tube to the throttle body and into the engine.  Seems pretty simple, right?  Well it is, but let’s see how an aftermarket intake differs from stock, and how that affects your Pony.

Breathe Deeply…

The key to boosting your performance on a naturally aspirated motor is improving airflow, and one of our Mustang cold air intakes is the perfect starting point.  “It’s just an intake; can it really make a difference?” – YES! It definitely can.  Let’s start with the filter: Factory and OE filters are made of paper, which does a decent job of filtering but doesn’t allow as much airflow as the less-restrictive aftermarket filters.  Many CAI kits also relocate the filter, moving it to the inner fender well. This allows the intake to draw cooler air, and we all know a cooler engine is a happier engine.  The inlet tube is enlarged and simplified, using less turns to get more air to the engine faster, before it has a chance to absorb heat from the engine bay.

To Tune, or Not to Tune…

For you folks with 2005 to 2010 Stangs, that certainly is the question!  The reason is that the computers on these newer models are more sensitive than their predecessors’.  Basically, the computer is programmed to accept between x and y amount of air, so if you slap on a CAI that’s allowing in z amount of air, the computer thinks something is wrong, causing the car to run poorly or not at all.  Every car is different, so if you put on a “no-tune” intake and wind up with a check-engine light, a Mustang tuner might be all you need to get your pony back on the road.


Another common question is “Will a ram-air intake give me more HP than a fender-well CAI?”  A ram-air intake mounts the filter right at the front of the engine bay, either off to the side (similar to where the factory airbox mounted) or right over the center.  If you have a ram-air style hood, or open hood scoop, cool air flowing over the hood will come right into the intake.  Keep in mind that a ram-air intake is most beneficial when you have a hood with some type of opening. Also, cold-air intakes of all types tend to make noise due to their large inlet tube and faster-flowing design.  You’ll probably experience a whistling or “vacuum”-type noise after installation; this is completely normal, so don’t panic.

Cold air intakes are an improvement over your stock setup, and they increase performance. They’re an easy mod that won’t break the bank, but will introduce you to the world of DIY modifications. Now that you’ve got the 4-1-1 on how they work, take a look at our cold air intake install video for some extra assistance, or drop one of our trusty AM techs a line if you have any questions.

  • Alex S

    Thanks Heather. One thing I was wondering about cold air intakes (at least, as they relate to an 03 cobra) is how they are different from the stock system. One thing always touted is that many cai’s draw air from the cooler fenderwell. With a completely stock intake, the filter is in the engine compartment, but, with the silencer attached, it actually draws air from inside the fender. What advantage would a CAI have over the stock system with a higher flowing filter (K&N or something comparable)?

    • Jacob H

      the stock set up restricts air flow 1 because of the paper air and 2 because the intake can only take are from the small silencer tube. the after market and modification to the stock set up you can find on forms will usually have the filter completely in the fender or the filter more open to the air around it

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      Good question! The tubing on the aftermarket systems is larger, smoother, and thus freer-flowing – this will give it a distinct advantage over the stock system, even with an aftermarket filter.

  • Chris

    Also, the flow rates of a 4″ smooth transitioning cold air intake system such as the Stack Racing, JLT, etc. will actually allow a higher volume of air through the aftermarket inlet tubing. Most of the times, the factory inlet tube is not only substantially smaller, but restrictive in the fact that there are bellows and silencers throughout. An aftermarket inlet is smooth bending and transitions are made with smooth silicone couplers. CFM ratings, which monitor flow, can increase sometimes 2 or 3 fold! The stock MAF meter will usually work for quite a bit more power than stock, but there becomes a time when the volume of air being pulled in is too large for the MAF electronics. This is called “pegging” the MAF meter. It will flatline, and the car will no longer be able to predict how much fueling is neccessary. Once you upgrade your MAF sensor, it will allow a larger voltage range to monitor the higher volumes of air passing through it.

  • nathan

    u dont need a cold air intake u only gain like 5 hp maybe 10 if your lucky u can get alot more bang for your buck id get 410 gears their cheaper and they make a big difference

    • duh

      4.10 gears make a big difference in your gas mileage too. They’re not much good after the first 1/4 mile.

    • nick

      For a first mod 410 gears are the worst thing you can do…. You dont start getting into that stuff, till you start understanding what your accualy doing, obvsiously you dont…

      Comment edited to remove profanity. Please keep comments clean and respectful.

      • duh

        Comment deleted because of childish insults.

      • nathan

        Comment deleted due to further childish name calling. Please refrain from these antics, folks.

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      Gears are a great performance mod if you’re a track-rat, but many of our readers just want to beef up their daily drivers, and since 4.10 gears can make daily driving a bit of a hassle they may not be an ideal mod for these readers. Changing your rear-end gears will help you in the quarter mile, but they don’t increase power.

  • Mystang59

    I have installed a FlowMaster (Injen) CAI on my 05GT that did not affect my tuning and I have gained roughly18hp from this simple to install mod.It also sounds great too !!!

  • Harry

    Why not install a supercharger? This portion of comment deleted due to inappropriate content.

    • Ross

      Well if you want to spend 4k dollars on a supercharger, the by all means go ahead. There’s a BIG price gap between a supercharger kit that costs thousands of dollars, and a CAI that costs between two and three hundred dollars. Not everybody can afford to drop that much of their hard-earned cash on something like that. For the price, a CAI is an effective performance mod, and its perfect as an introduction to DIY modifications. That was what this article was about.

      • Harry

        Well, excuuuuuuuuse ME!!!

      • Dyno Don

        Little mods don’t really do much, just jump in head first and go all out with a supercharger. Yeah, it costs a lot, but the performance gains are outrageous.

      • Mustang Matt

        Yo Ross-

        How is it an “effective performance mod” when it’s very possible that someone might also have to buy a tuner after installing a cold air intake? And as Chris said above, you might also have to replace your MAP sensor!

        All of a sudden you’re spending $1000 for an extra 10 HP! That’s not very effective in my book, dude! Sounds like it’s “perfect as an introduction” to lightening your wallet!

        This is the problem with computerized engines, there just aren’t “simple” engine mods.

        • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

          Matt – a CAI is an effective performance mod for most of our readers, but it’s important to do your homework before making any modifications. A tuner is only required for certain intakes on the 2005 and newer vehicles, so for the majority of mustang owners a tuner is not necessary. In regards to the MAF sensor (not MAP) – you should only need to upgrade this if you are running a highly modified motor (forced induction, ported intake, ported heads, stroker motors, etc.); again – most of our readers are not running these kinds of setups so that scenario does not apply. In general, CAI are great mods for those drivers looking for simple, bolt-on performance.

          • Jesse James

            Comment removed. Please keep comments clean and relevant.

        • Ross

          Hey Matt-

          You bring up a couple valid points, though slightly flawed in their logic.

          As Heather stated, yes you will need to buy a tuner on 05+ Mustangs. However, all models made before that do not require a tuner at all. And if you DO have an S197, then you can get a great deal on a tuner/intake combo right here at American Muscle. It won’t cost you $1000 dollars, and with the combos available you’ll see more than just 10hp.

          Also, a CAI IS an effective performance modification. It lessens the restriction of air entering the engine, allowing the engine to breath better, thus making more power (however great or small of gains, they’re still gains–you’ll never have a loss of power unless you did something wrong), and also giving you a little better fuel economy, even if its only, say, half an MPG. That’s still better than it was before it was installed. Having to be coupled with a tuner may seem like more of a hassle, but then you’ll see even better gains than you would with just a CAI anyway, even with the larger pricetag. Its still worth the money no matter how you look at it; and, i’ll venture to say that the majority of people doing performance modifications are going to stop at just bolt-on parts like I/E/H’s and a tune. They won’t have to worry about replacing the MAF sensor, because they won’t be sucking in enough air to peg the sensor. Like Heather said, only the guys going forced induction or heavy N/A will run into that problem.

          I agree with you on the computerized engine comment, though. Things were much easier when everything was carbureted and mechanical, not electronic.

          As for what Dyno Don said–unless you are a prefessional mechanic with a good grasp of what you’re doing, a supercharger kit, and even moreso a turbocharger kit, is the LAST thing you want to do as a first mod. There’s a reason why you don’t just ‘jump in head first’: if you don’t know how to swim, you’ll drown. I’ll bet you over 75% of engine failures with forced induction are due to people who had no clue what they were doing, finding the biggest, baddest kit they could get their hands on and throwing it on. Bolt-on modifications won’t do much by themselves, but put them together and they just might surprise you on how effective they can be. They’re also great learning experiences for the DIY-modder. They help you learn your way around the engine, (hopefully) teach you the patience needed when doing mechanical work on a vehicle, and build you up so you’re ready for those big parts installs. The experience and education you get by installing those bolt-ons is almost worth the cost of the parts themselves; the performance boost is just icing on the cake.

          Hopefully I explained myself well enough, and also hopefully nobody took it the wrong way by me debating what was said. We’re all a community here, just trying to help.

          • Harry

            “you can get a great deal on a tuner/intake combo right here at American Muscle.”

            Yo, Ross the Boss, how much of a commission do you get?

          • Ross

            You know Harry, I find it amusing that the only thing you can comment on is how I gave a referral to the products sold on this website. You couldn’t comment intellectually on any of the other points I made …nope, the only thing you could do was accuse me of getting commission for plugging.

            I don’t think I have anything left to say on that matter. Your actions spoke enough for themselves.

            Oh, btw, I get 30%.

    • Jenna J.

      Comment deleted due to inappropriate content.

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ AMStanger

      Guys, let’s keep comments polite, okay? Anything inappropriate (including profanity and/or vulgarity) will be deleted. Let’s behave like adults and talk tech.

      Like any other modification, there are different viewpoints concerning CAI’s. Some folks prefer to dive right into some serious modifications, but most people–especially those who are new to the DIY world–like to start with something a little more basic. Installing a CAI is easy, and is a good way to introduce yourself into working on your own car. It’s also a good choice if you have a limited budget, but still want to see performance gains.

      If that’s not the way you look at it, that’s fine. Just make sure you disagree respectfully and have something valid to contribute to the discussion. :)

  • Steven

    I’ll answer this question. If you have a 2005+ Mustang, get a cold air intake. If you have 04 and below, don’t bother. 150-300 dollars for 5-6 hp? Get a K&N drop in filter. Call it a day.

  • mach1

    i have an 03 mach 1 should i go for cai or rai?? will my shaker still function with an added cai or rai?

    • mach 1

      i have a mach 1 and for $400 plus cai for 5-10 hp is funny to me.. all i have a a drop in filter.. if u think u can notice 5-10 hp .. i will laugh at you.its like talking to Honda people. Hooking up a car is not cheap. if u have money go ahead and get it. but dont tell me yo i have a cai and i can beat u know.. theres more options then just a cai.. every one has one and i dont see the difference. u think ppl with big hp say yo i got a cai???

  • Hal in SoCal

    Would any body know if there’s a performance benefit for installing a shaker hood on an ’05 GT Mustang? Other then looking awesome…is it worth it for the money?

    • Steve

      I have one on my 2005 GT. You’re right about the look .. a real head turner & looks like the 1969 Shaker. Even vibrates a bit when you rev it. Prior to installation, I was told it would have a minor impact on performance, but have not had it dyno’d either before or after to see what the true impact has been. Others who have driven my car say it has more kick than a normal GT, but I’m not sure how much!

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      The benefit of the shaker hood is purely aesthetic, it doesn’t have any affect on your performance, but it does look awesome!

  • stanelsdon

    Just installing a CAI in my 07 GT. Found the explanation of how & why great! Thanks.
    As a business type I suggest someone there filter out some of the childish chatter that appears is the Q & A that follow. Not necessary or productive.

    • Jay

      I also have an 07 GT but got a little freaked about buying a CAI after hearing I might also need a tuner, how did yours fair?

      • Craig

        I have an ’07 GT and installed a Granatelli Motorsports CAI 2 years ago. If you are leary of adding a tune, I would suggest purchasing a CAI that does not require one. Granatelli is just one of them. Granatelli uses a calibrated MAF with a wiring harness that fools the computer into thinking the OEM airbox is installed. The advantage is more airflow. Other units that don’t require a tune have a restriction in the inlet and use the OEM MAF sensor. The result is less hp gain. Other CAI’s that don’t require tunes are K&N, Injen, BBK, AirRaid, etc. If in the future, you want to get a little more out of it, you can still use a tuner with these CAI’s. The Granatelli unit provides perceptable improvement in performance. I have not dyno’d the car but have read ther are 20 hp improvements at the rear wheels (if you believe the sales literature). I am to the point now that I want more so I purchased a SCT tuner w/ BAMA 93 octane tunes. They are going on as soon as I can clear the 87 octane from my tank.

  • Steve

    I have a 2005 GT with a Shaker cold air scoop installed. What advantage, if any, will the CAI have on my performance?

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      The shaker scoop by itself will not improve your performance, but with a CAI like the C&L Racer or JLT accompanied by one of our SCT SF3’s and a Bama Custom Tune, you can see gains as high as 30 hp.

      • Saleen

        Heather, are you still replying to our inquiries????

        • Harry

          Comment deleted. Please keep comments clean and respectful.

      • Steve

        Thanx. Will check that out!

  • tahoe

    I have an 06 GT to which I switched to flowmasters, K&N filter and a SCT tuner preloaded with a custom tune right after buying it used…noticed a difference right away…waffled back and forth re a CAI and after talking with several “experts” decided to get one…went with the BBK and was able to use the SCT tune with it…don’t know how much extra HP I now have over the stock 300hp, but the throttle response and boost I have is definitely noticeable…guess it’s just a personal preference…briefly thought about a supercharger, but after that expense plus whatever other mods you’d have to do for the engine to accept the extra boost, might as well get a Shelby…

    my goals were to just get a little more boost and oomph when I need it and feel I have all I need now…don’t use it for racing, so for the daily use on street and highway, it’s fine now…

  • http://yahoo Dylan 03GT

    the CAI from American Muscle is probably the best value, and performance that equals K&N or BBK, i plan on putting a K&N filter to replace the one that it came with but with the intake and a 75mm throttle body and plenum the car has a dynoed 28hp difference

  • Mike

    All this talk about 4-8 horsepower…cai in my opinion is not worth the money. Sure they sound cool, and look pretty cool, but the stock air intake is tuned to your specific engine. Think of you car as a musical instrument. Any tuning change in any pipe effects the entire car. Sure the filter can get more flow but at what cost? the cost of letting particles into your engine that the stock filter could have prevented. Also the hole in the throttle body is no bigger, therefore the volume of air being taken in is not any higher, it just comes in slightly faster due to the smooth chambers of the intake. All n all i dont feel that these are worth the 300$ but hey everyones entitled to their own opinion :)

    • Jason

      mike i don’t think you have the right idea on the filters themselves. they filter better than stock paper filters at least in every test i have seen they do. so they don’t let in particles like you claim you may not agree with them but don’t scare other people

    • Preston

      which intake did you buy ROFLMFAO and it comes in faster due to it being spun in the conical filter system and it doesnt have to go through a maze of plastic tubes i love people like you you are probably ase certified and think flowmasters are the best exhaust ever made

    • vwman

      Ya Mike, I was wondering about the hp increase. 2010 V6. Two companies who sell these told me I do need to buy the TUNE computer, and one company told me I didn’t have to buy it.

      • Josh Shows

        I’d say go on and buy the tune, if you have the money. Like was said before, your computer needs to know what it has on it to utilize it fully. Get a tune with your cold air, they sell them in kits everywhere, pop those bad boys on, and have a blast. Just the cold air is nice. Cold air with a tune is an unbelievably cheap, and impressive upgrade.

  • Doug

    What difference does a throttle body and spacer that is attached to a k&n CAI have? Anyone?

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      You really only need a throttle body OR spacer, using both is redundant and doesn’t have any significant benefit over installing just an aftermarket throttle body. How much power you get from the throttle body will depend on the year/model of your car, you may be able to find dyno results on the manufacturer’s website, or on one of the Mustang forums.

  • Alex

    Hi everybody!
    I have a ’06 V6 that when was copletely stock, sucked around 22-24 mpg (87 octane) at 70mph. Now I took it back home in Italy, made Ford tune it for 95 octane (that’s the least we have here) and later on I added a CAI from B&S. It’s quite amazing that now I get the same mileage at 90mph!!!
    So, math sais that if in the past 2 years I drove my Stang for approximately 40.000 miles, I could have saved myself 100 hours on an highway or 400 gallons… I decided to spend those hours at home and I’m sure that my time is worth a lot more than those 250 bucks!
    See ya!

  • John Wray

    I have a 99 Cobra CVT with Flowmasters and only 42K miles, which my wife, a grandmother of two, loves to drive daily. Her silver hair gets lots of doubletakes from cops and drivers alike. Will CAI improve her Cobra’s performance? Seems to go pretty darned good whenever I’m given permission to take it out!

  • Saleen

    I have a 2000 S/C (Supercharged) Saleen. I was thinking of replacing the stock intake system with a CAI. Can you tell me what model of CAI I would purchase? Meaning, when I look up the different models available, they ask if I have a Mustang GT or supercharged Cobra? Since the throttle body locations are different, am I more likely to find the correct part by trying to match up with a supercharged Cobra engine than a stock GT? Any suggestions on which brand makes a CAI that would match right up to my Saleen’s throttle body without any modifications? Thanks

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      Sorry for the delay! You should be able to use a GT cold-air intake, but I would recommend checking with Saleen just to be sure.

  • Joe

    I have the same question as posted before… I have a 2003 Mach 1 with a shaker hood. Will installing a K&N CAI make the shaker become unfunctional? I believe it would because you do not use the factory airbox after installing the kit?

  • http://americanmuscle.com Cesar A.

    I have had a 06 Gt I just got done with school and have a little extra cash. And the only thing i have done to my Gt is Exhaust and k&n filter. What should i do for an easy not to expensive mod any body?……

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      I would definitely recommend a tuner – it’s going to give you some extra HP and will make the most of any future mods.

  • Cliff N

    Ok, I bought an 06 V6 last month. Everything is stock except the stereo, I had to change the Shaker500 right away. Anyways, I bought a JLT CAI from someone who upgraded to a supercharger. I KNOW it requires a tune, I’ve read numerous sites that says so. My problem is, the fuel around here is only 86-88-and 90 octane. How the heck do I go about getting 93 octane? I say 93 cause that’s what all the buzz is about.

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      If 93 octane is not available in your area, you’ll have to tune for a lower octane. You can always run a higher octane than you’re tuned for but NEVER a lower octane – so if you tune for 87 or 89, you can run 90 in the car, but if you’re tuned for 93 you can ONLY run 93 or higher in the car.

  • Cherrybomb

    I am just starting with modifications to my 06 V6. So far I have decided to change my gears to 4.10s and will want to get an x-pipe for the exhaust. Way down the line I am going to want to add a supercharger, but am not ready for that yet. I’m thinking maybe a cold air intake is the way to go first. However, how will that affect future plans for a supercharger, if at all?

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com/ Heather

      Installing a CAI now won’t affect your future plans to add a supercharger. It sounds like you’re off to a great start, I would recommend starting with the CAI, exhaust, a tuner, and maybe a throttle body before changing the gears.

    • Josh Shows

      Homestly, if you are putting any real power in it, and definately if you are putting a supercharger in it, I suggest auxiliary/safety features first. Upgrade your calipers, pads, and rotors, along with the suspension all around it makes a huge difference. I did a whole fuck load of work to my 08 gt, and it got to the point I didn’t really want to drive it until brakes and suspension. Just my personal opinion, though.

  • Pieter

    I have a 09 GT auto and looking at a Edelbrock supercharger. Anyone out there with opinion on this move?

    • Dyno Don

      Do it. Now.

  • Joe

    I have the same question as posted before… I have a 2003 Mach 1 with a shaker hood. Will installing a K&N CAI make the shaker become unfunctional?

  • Doug

    Thanks Heather.
    My ride is a 2007 V6 Mustang. I added a CAI and a 70mm throttle body, and as much as I could without going super charged. I’m just curious as to how much the throttle body helps with the rear end HP.



  • Steve @ Drag Radial Perf.

    There’s more to a cold air kit than meets the eye, with regards to tuning. First of all, cold air kits change the way the air flows thru the meter on any year Mustang. Right off the bat, that technically requires retuning the MAF xfer function. Often, the consumer is unaware of this need, because at low speeds this small percent (2 – 10% perhaps) of tune error is compensated for over time by the adaptive learning function of the ECU (O2 sensor corrections). But at wide open throttle, the ECU ignores the O2 sensor and runs off the base tune in “open loop” mode. This means if your cold air kit is several % off of perfect, at WOT it really is several % off of perfect. This could cost power, but on supercharged cars, it could easily cause a lean condition of a like amount. You may not feel it, but it’s there. And when you add that enleanment to the existing problem we all have of running E10 gasoline (90% gas/10% ethanol) instead of good old fashioned 100% gasoline, you have a recipe for running a good bit leaner than the factory intended. Naturally aspirated cars might accept that ok, but on supercharged cars, that’s dangerous.

    On the 05-up Mustangs, you have an even bigger problem. The MAF is a slot-style meter, meaning that it sticks into the existing air tube and no longer has it’s own pre-sized air tube like the pre-05 cars had. This means as the air tube is enlarged (as it is with a cold air pipe), the MAF xfer function in the ECU would definitely have to be reprogrammed. Now we’re out of the realm of “it’s a good idea for sure”, and straight into “it’s a must”. That would be the equivelant of changing the airflow meter to a different sized one. The ONLY way you can get a cold air kit that doesn’t need reprogramming is if the new cold air kit flows exactly like the factory one did, and if it does then what’s the point in buying it!

    Some cold air kits come with an SCT programmer already tuned for that brand of cold air pipe, and that’s a good start. But I have found that even these tunes may not be spot on. The only real way to know is to put it on a load bearing dyno with a quality wideband O2 sensor, and check it. The tuner would then command a certain air/fuel ratio in all conditions, and he should expect to achieve that air/fuel ratio at all times. If not, the tune needs to be adjusted. Not only do the MAF readings change the air/fuel ratio of the tune, but they also change the calculated load % data. Since spark advance is based on load %, it becomes immediately clear that you don’t want to be too far off here… especially in a forced induction application. The last thing you want is a lean condition at the same time as you have an over-advanced spark condition. Add a little extra boost to that equation (due to a less restrictive air inlet), and you’re really walking a fine line. With the newer cars, and especially a powerhouse like the GT500, you really can’t get away with airflow mods without carefully considering the tune ramifications. These newer cars are really sensative to accuracy.

    If you really want to see it for yourself, disconnect the battery for 10 minutes, unplug the O2 sensors, reconnect the battery, start the car and watch how it runs. This is the real condition of the tune.

  • Kent

    I installed a cia, steeda 90mm with the diablo tuner set for 91 octane. First and second gears are radicul, it is a manual. My stang is a 06 Gt. Impressive factory power, but much more exciting with the set up. Still using the factory inlet tube to the throttle body. Highly recommend, cost me $500. Well worth it !!!! I am a beginner and am enjoying learning how to improve my Stangs performance. Now I need new tires, go figure !!!!

  • Keith ODonnell

    I am installing a BBK CAI in my 1999 GT and I am hoping I get what I want out of it, along with this I am adding a Magnaflow exhaust. I think that the CAI is a great start, but the exhaust is a great starting point too. Now I am wondering what should the next step be? I want a cruiser to go out on the town, but a tiger when I need it to be.

  • Chris Bellor

    I have a 1999 Cobra with a 2003/2004 supercharger on it. When i buy a CAI, do i need to buy one for a 99 cobra or a 03/04 cobra because of the supercharger?

  • James

    i just bought an 03 mustang and looking for a cheap and easy mod for a little more hp. is it worth $200 to buy a cold air intake? what are the benefits of one?

    • http://www.americanmuscle.com AMChrisRose

      James, you’ll get added throttle response, as well as some pickup in gas mileage. Overall, the engine will be able to breathe better, and anything that you do from that point forward will be better utilized because of the cold air kit!

      • Jeromy Wilson

        I don’t know what your credentials are but your information is based on ignorance. Almost all vehicles air intakes are monitored by the computer. Unless you change the computer setup, the computer is going to adjust the fuel to air ratio to stock conditions. Save your $200+ and buy some stick on hood louvers, they both add the same hp. None!

  • Eric

    I have a question about the warranty issues involved with installing a CAI with tunning. My 2011 5.0 will be here soon and I want to put on a CAI but have been told that it will mess with the warranty if I have to mess with the computer to tune it because the service men at the dealer can tell when the computer has been flashed or reprogrammed. So I guess what I’m asking is, what the heck is the truth behind all of this?


  • Jay

    I chose to go with a drop- in K&N filter and have run 12.51@113 with my no tune ’11 gt auto.

  • Spencer

     I have a 2007 Mustang GT. If I put a programmer, cold air intake, and modified gears onto it what’s the estimated horsepower that it will be at?

  • Rob

    When purchasing a CAI do you get what you pay for? And do brands matter?

  • Rob

    When purchasing a CAI do you get what you pay for? And do brands matter?

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    concerning advanced flow engineering which I think will be useful too..

  • john

    Has AM run a dyno test with just a tuner upgrade and not a CAI? that is my big question and frankly should be everyone else’s! The quickest way to see what bang for your buck you are getting is to run the dyno test before a tune then run another dyno test after the tune and then after adding a CAI and a tune. Has this been done and what are the results?

    • Andrew Cilio

      I don’t have any specific sources on-hand though there are plenty to be found, but typically a CAI will net you anywhere from 5-25RWHP on its own, depending of course on the year and engine in your Mustang. They also tend to be good for a 1-2MPG increase.

      The reason for retuning when replacing the intake is that a custom tune allows you to get the most out of the new CAI. The new intake flows more air that is also denser when it enters your intake manifold. While the stock tune will account for some of this, thus the out-of-box gains, a tune complements the increases by more accurately accounting for this change in airflow than the computer’s stock tune is capable of. Basically, the two mods together equal more power and efficiency than they would when viewed separately.

  • Richard

    I think Ford finally hear about the cold air intake, I just got a 2015 Mustang 3.7L V6 Premium package with a very large air housing box the air pick opening is placed at the grill opening the flex hose is about 3.5″ and runs 6″ from the housing cover to the thottle body, the new gauge cluster having an air intake temp gauge which reads 80 degrees F in Florida day on the highway to 120 degrees F in city driving.

  • Richard

    performance on a naturally aspirated motor is improving airflow, the first thing I did was to replace the stock air filter with an K&N filter, the installed 2 Turbine Intake fans 1 in the outlet end of the filter housing cover, the 2nd at the end of the flex hose connects to the solid intake hose with the large speacer that comes in the kit, I know some people call bluff on the turbine intake fans, I installed 2 in my 3.7L V6 crossfire which has 2 scrolls air pick at the grill and 2 K&N filters on each side of the large engine cover once the computer adjusted the air/fuel ratio the crossfire was very quick and could hang with the big boys