Is CAI worth it? - Mustang Evolution

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Old 01-26-2013, 07:07 PM   #1
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Is CAI worth it?

Ive been seeing a lot of threads about a CAI not being worth the money to put on a 2012 V6 automatic. Not sure how accurate that is. I put one on my 2006 V6 and it the MPG gain was noticeable. I did feel added HP and TQ.

Should I just go with a tune, Gears, LSD??? What are the pros and cons?
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:08 PM   #2
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As a single mod it won't do a whole lot, but add stuff like a throttle body/plenum, tune, and exhaust and you will see a difference.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:11 PM   #3
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as a single mod it won't do a whole lot, but add stuff like a throttle body/plenum, tune, and exhaust and you will see a difference.
sorry but whats plenum?
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:33 PM   #4
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I would say get one. CAI was the first mod on my '11 V6 and throttle response was a bit better and it made the stock exhaust alittle louder. Plus the little hiss it gives when you first get on the gas in every gear is nice.

With a tune, you would see even more gains.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:42 PM   #5
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sorry but whats plenum?
Its what the throttle body is connected to. For a 99-04 GT it is the thing with the running horse on it sitting at the top of the engine.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:49 PM   #6
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Lol yes its worth money xD but without a tune its a whorthless piece of poop
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Adamp1 View Post
Ive been seeing a lot of threads about a CAI not being worth the money to put on a 2012 V6 automatic. Not sure how accurate that is. I put one on my 2006 V6 and it the MPG gain was noticeable. I did feel added HP and TQ.

Should I just go with a tune, Gears, LSD??? What are the pros and cons?
The newer 6's have and 8.8 w/ LSD I believe
Get a tune w/ that CAI and you'll be golden! Gears are always a good mod, especially with an auto.. The tuner will do wonders for that auto as well
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:43 PM   #8
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better off just getting a tune if you cant afford the CAI/Tune combo.... but your warranty go's out the window. I personally think they are super over priced for what it is. It's almost everyone's first tune so they get away with charging an arm and a leg.... You can also build your own for about $100 and get the same results. I did
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:49 PM   #9
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I already know your going to ask how.......

find the guy with the user name Sanguin

he has a good write up on it. If you can find any of his posts there is a link in his signature. you can also do this and keep the stock intake tube. You need a cone air filter, a MAF adaptor from Spector, a 4" to 3" adaptor from Spector and I used a 3" long, 3" diameter tube from them also to connect to the stock intake tube. you will need to order the MAF adaptor and 3" to 4" adaptor online.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:07 PM   #10
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I would say yes its worth it. My mods are exhaust, tune and cai. The cai and tune does work best in tandum. Sounds great and gains are obvious when driven.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Soccerluvr4 View Post
Its what the throttle body is connected to. For a 99-04 GT it is the thing with the running horse on it sitting at the top of the engine.
I thought those were the plastic engine covers like on the 5.0.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:15 PM   #12
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The 99-04 didn't have engine covers...
The red circle and arrow is the plenum
The green circle and arrow is the throttle body
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:16 PM   #13
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Then the black underneath the plenum is the intake manifold.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:47 AM   #14
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The newer 6's have and 8.8 w/ LSD I believe
Get a tune w/ that CAI and you'll be golden! Gears are always a good mod, especially with an auto.. The tuner will do wonders for that auto as well
I was told that same thing earlier about my car having a 8.8 LSD already installed. That would explain the handling. Plus that would save money for another Mod. I am definitely getting the gears and tune. Since I live in California the CAI might be an issue but I dont mind holding off on that. I am going to look into REBELTX's suggestion about creating a CAI. If I can make one and keep it legal I will.

Thanks for the advice these forums are awesome. If you have more please let me know.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:17 AM   #15
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Get a tuner first
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:23 AM   #16
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yes...Sanguin made his own CAI.
Tunes are great too....if you car is out of warranty..I recommended...
Im waiting til mine is done cause the ones at the dealership are expensive.....
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:54 AM   #17
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According to Ford Motor Company on Mustang club of America ad

On this I quote:
Quote:
The 2011 Mustang V6 comes standard with the all-new 3.7L 4V Ti-VCT V6 engine which achieves an industry-exclusive 305 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque while delivering EPA-estimated 31 hwy MPG. A Ford Racing Technology-designed cold air induction delivers a cold, dense intake charge to the cylinders, which helps achieve increased horsepower. The engine is mated to a new 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. Also, new for 2011, the Mustang V6 features a dual exhaust system.

If you look close you will see that the air comes in from the front grill area on the 2011 up V6 3.7 engine. You won't get the noise that the CAI from Airaid or some other CAI"s will give you but as far as performance just put in a K&N drop in air filter and you will have way more air then your engine can use anyway. It just won't have that CAI extremely great sound.

If your not going to get a tuner and a larger throttle body to complement the CAI a K&N drop in will perform just as good. It just don't look or sound as good.

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Old 01-27-2013, 08:09 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by ronnie948
On this I quote:

If you look close you will see that the air comes in from the front grill area on the 2011 up V6 3.7 engine. You won't get the noise that the CAI from Airaid or some other CAI"s will give you but as far as performance just put in a K&N drop in air filter and you will have way more air then your engine can use anyway. It just won't have that CAI extremely great sound.

If your not going to get a tuner and a larger throttle body to complement the CAI a K&N drop in will perform just as good. It just don't look or sound as good.

Ronnie
I saw on AFM some guy got his car dynoed before and after with a K&N drop in filter and lost 2 HP, with it installed, for the new 11+ V6.

Back on topic. I got a CAI before a tune and there was little gains but made a sweet noise. I got a tuner a few weeks later and then I could really feel the true gains. If you want a CAI and no tune you won't see any gains but it will make your car have a deeper/louder tone at WOT.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:17 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soccerluvr4 View Post
The 99-04 didn't have engine covers...
The red circle and arrow is the plenum
The green circle and arrow is the throttle body
Yes I know what you're talking about now. My v6 didn't have one the GT does I believe. I was wondering what that was lol

---------- Post added at 08:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:13 AM ----------

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I saw on AFM some guy got his car dynoed before and after with a K&N drop in filter and lost 2 HP, with it installed, for the new 11+ V6.

Back on topic. I got a CAI before a tune and there was little gains but made a sweet noise. I got a tuner a few weeks later and then I could really feel the true gains. If you want a CAI and no tune you won't see any gains but it will make your car have a deeper/louder tone at WOT.
I brought this to Ronnie's attention long ago. He didn't believe me. Glad you see (Ronnie) that I wasn't talking witchcraft. I'm getting a intake for the sound and to brighten the engine bay besides all black.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:01 AM   #20
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Come on White, I always believe you

I'm sure you know a lot more about our 3.7's then I do. I'm still learning.

I don't really think that you are going to gain any horsepower from any air cleaner element at the lower RPM's but of course when the engine starts sucking more air to burn the fuel a free flowing air cleaner will be much, much better and will produce more power.

So for the guy losing power:
Quote:
K&N air filter

For several years I ran a K&N air filter in the stock airbox. Performance-wise, the K&N filter did not really show any significant increase in power, and a marginal increase in noise levels with the resonator still in place. It felt like there may have been a bit more power in the mid to high rpm ranges, and possibly a bit of a loss at the low end, but only a dyno run back to back vs. stock would really be able to tell. The difference was small, either way.

However, I am of the opinion that there is really no truly accurate way of measuring an engine's output, or more importantly, a gain in output from a modification, unless the tests are done in a controlled laboratory-type environment. There are far too many variables (engine temps, ambient temps, humidity, altitude, state of tune and/or wear and tear of an engine, dyno calibration) for your typical dyno to give truly accurate results.

That said, the only remotely accurate way for regular folk like you and I to measure gains in output is on a dyno (a precision acelerometer, such as a G-Tech, is even less accurate, but also useable). So we must live with the inaccuracies that come with the typical dyno or G-Tech and base our opinions on that.

So what am I trying to say? Only that small gains (say 4 or 6 horsepower) can come from an air filter, or simply from a cool, crisp day, and will be difficult to notice. Larger gains (10 to 20 horsepower or more) will definitly be noticeable, and will only come from smart mods and tuning.

Case in point, I know of at least one Si/SiR owner who dynoed their car before and after installing a K&N drop-in like yours and mine, and saw horsepower losses. Does this mean the K&N makes your engine lose power? I don't really think so. I think the difference in power is so little that a simple variable (such as the difference in engine temperature from one dyno run to the next) could mask any gains the K&N had, and even make it look like a loss in power.

What you do get when you purchase a K&N drop-in is a high quality, re-useable, freer-flowing air-filter element that retains the debris and water protection of the stock filter and airbox, with a slightly meaner induction growl and possibly small gains in horsepower. All for a relatively low price.

For those who want a little more power, the AEM cold air intake (CAI) has been known to make power on Si/SiR motors. This link shows a '98 GS-R that saw an 18 horsepower gain from just an AEM CAI. Now, his case seems to be pretty exceptional, but 10 to 15 horsepower should not be out of the question on a B series engine. I am currently running an AEM V2 CAI on the SiR, and in conjunction with an enlarged header collector, Carsound cat and stainless exhaust system, saw in increase of 16 horsepower, as recorded by my G-Tech.

This is my second K&N drop in fiter. The first was for my old '94 Si coupe. Unfortunately, the airbox for the '99 SiR is different than the '94 Si, even though the '99 SiR shares the same airbox as the '99 Si (U.S. EX). If you are in the Toronto area and have a '92-'95 Civic Si, I can sell you a slighly used K&N drop-in for cheap...
I'm just saying the K&N drop in is still better then the stock filter at the upper RPM leval and it does trap more dirt and smallers particals then a stock paper filter.

As I said before, "I'm gonna get an AIRAID CAI as soon as I can get the extra $$$.
Not for better performance but because they look really good when you pop the hood and they do sound really great when you floor it to pass somebody.

Here is a test Car Craft did between no air cleaner and a K&N
How to Big the Perfect Air Cleaner for Your Car - Car Craft Magazine

It kind of explains why the guy thought he lost two horsepower. Sitting still on the dyno is not like having air forced in to the aircleaner through the grill opening while driving down the highway.

Ford racing did a good job of designing our 3.7 air boxes but remember that they had to keep the noise as quiet as possable and still have excellent airflow. They also suggest the K&N drop in filer for the 3.7 engines.

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Old 01-28-2013, 06:52 AM   #21
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Finally, some believers that the stock air box flows as good, if not better, then most of the CAI sold for a 3.7 V6!!!

Unless you want some noise when you stomp the "drive by wire" pedal (used to be known as a gas pedal years ago), or to make the engine compartment look pretty, then save your money until you can buy an exhaust, and CAI/Throttle body/tuner package. Most of the CAI's that are sold don't require a tuner, which means they flow the same as stock. If you plan to buy a tuner, then don't buy one of these CAI's!
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:26 AM   #22
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I'm gonna get one anyway -JUST FOR THIS REASON

They just look sooooo coooool when you pop the hood.
*******************]B]EYE CANDY[/B[***************** ************************YES*************

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Old 01-28-2013, 09:34 AM   #23
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I have a Airaid CAI along with running a 91 hybrid tune. I love the CAI. I think its totally worth it as its just another ingredient as needed to bake a cake. The CAI alone will not do much when it comes to HP and torque but combined with other mods, you will feel the difference. The CAI when combined with a performance tuner is when the CAI begins to shine over the stock airbox. Follow up then with Headers and off road x pipe or high flowing catted x pipe is where your CAI will even further shine. You can suck all the air into the engine but the stock manifolds and piping will only slow down the air coming out thus causing your CAI to work partly. Increase the air flow coming out the engine and you will free up some serious HP and torgue.

I would definitely recommend a CAI only if your planing to do other mods down the road. Plus the CAI sounds awesome when you stomp on the go pedal.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:23 PM   #24
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I definatley want a CAI and headers but I live in california and the hippies need to approve everything first. So I will get the gear and tuner combo from AM. I appreciate all the advice info. I am a daily driver guy, I go to work on the freeway (10 min drive), city not so much so I am not too worried about MPG. I want to wrap my car with a matte black vinyl wrap.

If anything I will get the CAI for the noise and little HP / TQ.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:20 AM   #25
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I have a Airaid CAI along with running a 91 hybrid tune. I love the CAI. I think its totally worth it as its just another ingredient as needed to bake a cake. The CAI alone will not do much when it comes to HP and torque but combined with other mods, you will feel the difference. The CAI when combined with a performance tuner is when the CAI begins to shine over the stock airbox. Follow up then with Headers and off road x pipe or high flowing catted x pipe is where your CAI will even further shine. You can suck all the air into the engine but the stock manifolds and piping will only slow down the air coming out thus causing your CAI to work partly. Increase the air flow coming out the engine and you will free up some serious HP and torgue.

I would definitely recommend a CAI only if your planing to do other mods down the road. Plus the CAI sounds awesome when you stomp on the go pedal.
You are 100% correct that CAI's can increase HP and TQ IF the right one is bought. In other words, plan! If you buy a CAI that does not require a tune, then all your getting is a dressup type CAI. Adding a tuner to it later will gain HP and TQ readings, but only because of the tuner; you'd still have a CAI that flows no better than the stock setup (whih flows great as it is). If you buy a CAI that requires a tuner, then your planning correctly, if HP and TQ gains are your goal.

In short, buy the CAI and tuner as a paired set; a CAI that requires a tuner.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:09 AM   #26
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What about running a tuner with the stock intake? Is that worth it?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:32 AM   #27
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I personally think getting a tuner first (if thats all you can afford) is better than getting a CAI. From what the folks on this forum are saying, Stock is just as good as a brand name. But Bucko has a good point. Get one that requires a tune if you are going to get a CAI and want to see a noticeable HP and TQ gain.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:00 PM   #28
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Testing on dozens of stock 2011-13 Ford Mustang 3.7L V6 models has shown consistent gains of horsepower with no other modifications with the stock computer program & tune. This high level of performance with the stock program is achieved by utilizing a custom integral mass air housing which is CNC machined from billet aluminum and fitted into the cold air kit tubing and features the calibration of the factory mass air meter. BBK engineers have also seen some additional gains with a power programmer or tuner when used with a variety of other modifications, but they have not been able to achieve much more than what this cold air intake kit delivers with just the stock factory tune

8 hp 14tq on stock tune on the bbk. Real world use you won't feel it but it sounds and looks cool. Combined with a tune provides a good catalyst to it.

The Cais that require a tune provide a little more gain due to the larger piping from what I've read.

The tune and exhaust have been my favorite mods. I don't think the cai is worth the money companies charge for them but I don't regret it either. As I said it looks and sounds cool.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:23 AM   #29
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Testing on dozens of stock 2011-13 Ford Mustang 3.7L V6 models has shown consistent gains of horsepower with no other modifications with the stock computer program & tune. This high level of performance with the stock program is achieved by utilizing a custom integral mass air housing which is CNC machined from billet aluminum and fitted into the cold air kit tubing and features the calibration of the factory mass air meter. BBK engineers have also seen some additional gains with a power programmer or tuner when used with a variety of other modifications, but they have not been able to achieve much more than what this cold air intake kit delivers with just the stock factory tune

8 hp 14tq on stock tune on the bbk. Real world use you won't feel it but it sounds and looks cool. Combined with a tune provides a good catalyst to it.

The Cais that require a tune provide a little more gain due to the larger piping from what I've read.

The tune and exhaust have been my favorite mods. I don't think the cai is worth the money companies charge for them but I don't regret it either. As I said it looks and sounds cool.
Would a person who is after performance gains be smart to buy one of these CAI's, based on their claim of:
"BBK engineers have also seen some additional gains with a power programmer or tuner when used with a variety of other modifications, but they have not been able to achieve much more than what this cold air intake kit delivers with just the stock factory tune"be a wise choice?

Seems they shot off their own foot for those who go with a tuner as well.

Unless the purchaser just wants a CAI for, lets say their advertised 8HP gain, it would seem a waste of money. Insignificant IMO for what you pay for this CAI.

I think we all agree that A tuner will produce the best performance for your buck, but apparently will not work well with this CAI, using their words above.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:27 AM   #30
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Where are these test results? And how much is this CAI? Would a person who is after additional performance gains smart to buy one if, as it's claimed in their statement of "but they have not been able to achieve much more than what this cold air intake kit delivers with just the stock factory tune"be a wise choice? Seems they shot off their own foot.

As it's been stated here many times before, buy a CAI and tuner package, if continuing performance gains are what your after.
Just look for the CAIs that require a tune
Of the top f my head I can name steeda and AFE
I got a steeda
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:39 AM   #31
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I'm with you on the package deal for sure.

I'll not debate the fact that they claim an 8 HP increase, but their claim that they did not see much more with a tuner over stock has me putting on the brakes to buy theirs. And anyone who's serious about getting more out of their ride than 8 HP, is only going to pass this by, since their clam that it does not do much more with a tuner. Why buy it then?

There are serious tuner companies out there that sell tuner and CAI packages that will produce much more. These are the ones that IMO, should be considered if you want to go the way of more improvement in performance.

It's all up to what you want to do...8 HP and 14 TQ increase, or are you after more serious gains?
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:27 PM   #32
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After much thought...

I am going to buy a STEEDA CAI that requires a tune, SCT SF3/X3 tuner, and 3.73 gears. I was also looking at the BBK 73mm TB, but I am not sure if that will will fit the STEEDA CAI. Would anybody happen to know? I have Magna Flows I still want headers on my car but will wait till those are carb exempt (being those would be more difficult to un install if need be).
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:28 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucko View Post
I'm with you on the package deal for sure.

I'll not debate the fact that they claim an 8 HP increase, but their claim that they did not see much more with a tuner over stock has me putting on the brakes to buy theirs. And anyone who's serious about getting more out of their ride than 8 HP, is only going to pass this by, since their clam that it does not do much more with a tuner. Why buy it then?

There are serious tuner companies out there that sell tuner and CAI packages that will produce much more. These are the ones that IMO, should be considered if you want to go the way of more improvement in performance.

It's all up to what you want to do...8 HP and 14 TQ increase, or are you after more serious gains?
I agree. I bought the bbk bc I liked the look and they make decent products for the mustang. And I was going to wait on the tuner till after the warranty. Obviously I didn't wait but you live and you learn.

I'm not sure what they meant by they statement either but am does sell the tuner combos with those too. Maybe the used a canned tune? Who knows? If I had a do-over I would probably go steeda and went ahead and got the tuner early on. Still wont knock the bbk though.


Airraid gets you 13 hp and 15tq according to their dyno. So with a tune one would assume that bbk and airraid net similar gains. But that statement is a little off putting that bbk makes.

Not sure on the steeda.

Good discussion though. Live and you learn and I've learns a lot thanks to people on this site.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:55 PM   #34
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And that's what makes sites like this great; we all learn.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:49 AM   #35
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From bbk cs manager and lead tech.


Where did you see that?? It might have been from a while ago. Tuners
have come a long way in the past 4-5 years and can make some serious
power. The best combination is to run a cold air intake and a tune...
Either way both will add more performance to your engine.

- Dave

Seems they were shocked that was on their web page.
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