Cold Air Intake vs. Stock Intake: Quantitative Testing - Mustang Evolution

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Old 11-24-2015, 02:18 AM   #1
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Cold Air Intake vs. Stock Intake: Quantitative Testing

Aftermarket Cold Air Intakes vs. Stock Intake:
Quantitative Testing of Change in Airflow and Performance

By Sakib Elahi, Ph.D. (Sakib) and Travis Wingerson (Voltwings)
Copyright © 2015, Sakib Elahi

Introduction

Aftermarket cold air intakes (CAIs) are one of the most common modifications that sports car owners make to their vehicles. The 2011-2014 V6 model Ford Mustang alone has at least 9 different brands of CAIs available. Drivers seek to increase the airflow to the engine with these intakes, thereby increasing horsepower and torque. These gains are said to come from a less restrictive design than the stock intake. Additional selling points of CAIs are louder engine noise and improved aesthetics under the hood.

However, the benefits of CAIs are frequently debated in the car enthusiast community. Some say that the larger diameter and straighter inlet tube of CAIs must certainly increase airflow over the clunkier stock intake, which has acoustic resonators that reduce engine noise and bends in the path to the throttle body. Others counter that the Mustang stock intake is already a cold air intake, with the duct located at the grille pulling in fresh air. When Jay Leno questioned Ford Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Peciak about aftermarket intakes, Peciak responded that the stock intake is engineered for maximum airflow, and that “this is the best intake you can get.” On the other hand, CAI manufacturers claim gains of up to 20 horsepower and 30 ft-lb torque in their product marketing. A caveat of these claims is that they are typically reported as “when combined with a tune.”

It is difficult to trust claims by either Ford engineers or aftermarket manufacturers, because each has obvious biases. There is a lack of objective, quantitative data on the effects of aftermarket CAIs on performance from an independent, unbiased source. Such data would advise consumers on purchasing decisions for maximizing their vehicle performance. We disclose that we neither work for nor have financial interests in aftermarket CAI manufacturers or Ford Motor Company.

In this study, we used a datalogger to record key vehicle and engine performance metrics with an aftermarket CAI versus a stock intake. We also measured air pressure at the front of the filter element to test ram air effects. To eliminate other factors, tests were performed on the same vehicle, same tank of gas, and on the same day. We also tested the effect of a tune, but using the stock intake instead of the CAI, to isolate how much of the claimed gains are from the tune alone. We hypothesized that the tune alone will lead to gains over the stock tune, and that the CAI combined with the tune will lead to gains over the tune alone. Our objective is to provide 2011-2014 V6 Mustang drivers quantitative, real-world data that will inform their purchasing decisions of aftermarket CAIs and tunes.

Methods

Tests were performed on a 2012 V6 Ford Mustang with an automatic transmission and 2.73:1 final drive ratio. The vehicle had ~52,000 miles on the odometer at the time of the experiment. The only modifications to the engine/exhaust are a JLT oil separator and Borla Touring mufflers, neither of which should have a significant effect on performance. The same tank of 93 octane gas was used for all runs.

We selected the Steeda Mustang CAI (Steeda Autosports, Pompano Beach, FL) for our experiment, because it has a largest diameter housing at the mass airflow (MAF) sensor of all aftermarket CAIs. Therefore, we assumed that the Steeda CAI will have the most gains in airflow, so if we do not measure an increase in performance when using the Steeda CAI, there is likely no increase in performance for other aftermarket CAIs either.

Table 1 lists the three tune/intake combinations that were tested. Test #1 is the setup straight from the factory: stock tune and stock intake. The purpose of test #2, the Steeda 93 octane tune with the stock intake, is to measure the change in performance due solely to the tune. Test #3 applies the Steeda CAI. The Steeda 93 octane CAI tune is used so that the effect of the tune is eliminated when comparing to test #2. Because of the larger MAF housing diameter, the Steeda CAI requires a tune for proper fueling, so we could not test the effect of the CAI combined with the stock tune.

Table 1. Tune/intake experimental groups and sample sizes. Each experimental group was tested four times, with the first run used as a pilot run and not included in the data analysis.

Tests were performed on a straight, open road. The automatic transmission was locked in second gear, and the car was driven at wide-open throttle from a rolling start at ~10 mph until the engine redline (6800 rpm for stock tune, 7000 rpm for the two Steeda tunes). Each test was repeated 4 consecutive times. However, the first run of each group was used as a pilot run, and only the latter 3 runs were used for data analysis. Ambient temperature maintained at ~76 °F throughout the duration of the experiment, and density altitude ~850 feet.

Data was recorded using an SCT X4 Power Flash Programmer (SCT Performance, Sanford, FL), plugged directly into the OBD-II port under the steering wheel. Many parameters were recorded, but those relevant to the analysis in the report were: time (seconds), intake air temperature (°F), mass airflow rate (MAF, grams/second), engine speed (RPM), and vehicle speed (mph). The datalogger records these parameters at a sampling rate of ~65 Hz.

The air pressure at the front of the filter element was also measured using a magnehelic differential pressure gauge (Dwyer Instruments, Michigan City, IN). One end of the pressure gauge was connected to a hose that was positioned and secured through the grille and into the inlet of either the stock or the Steeda intake. The hose was routed across the hood and into the cabin. The other end of the pressure gauge was open to atmospheric pressure. Because the gauge is analog, we were unable to record the data. Changes in pressure were simply observed by eye during the runs.

Results

All quantitative results below are reported as averages of the latter three trials of each tune/intake experimental group. Error bars are calculated as ±2 standard deviations of the three trials. Showing the data this way allows comparison of experimental groups with consideration of variations in the runs, i.e. experimental uncertainty. If two quantities have overlapping error bars, we can say with 95% confidence that the two quantities are equal. (The 95% confidence comes from the assumption that the data follows a Gaussian distribution. See here for a discussion on tolerance intervals in engineering if you are interested.)

Vehicle Speed vs. Time
The vehicle speed was measured for all trials. Since the runs began from a rolling start, the time axes of all runs were aligned at 20 mph for direct comparison. The vehicle speed vs. time starting at 20 mph and ending at engine redline is shown in Fig. 1.

The stock tune with the stock intake performs significantly slower than both setups that use the Steeda tune. However, the addition of the CAI with the tune makes no difference in vehicle speed over the tune alone, indicated by the overlapping blue and green lines in Fig. 1. For another quantitative comparison of this speed data, we determined the time to accelerate from 20-80 mph for each setup, shown in the bar graph inset of Fig. 1. Times were averaged for each trial, and error bars are ±2 standard deviations from the mean. The tune alone and the tune with the CAI both accelerate ~0.7 seconds faster from 20-80 mph than the stock setup, but the CAI has the same time, within error, as the stock intake with the tune.


Fig. 1. Vehicle Speed vs. Time. Steeda tune with the stock intake and the Steeda tune with the Steeda CAI both outperformed the stock tune with the stock intake, reaching significantly higher speeds by the end of the run. However, the vehicle speed is the same within experimental error between the tune with the CAI and the tune with the stock intake. Although it appears there are only two lines on the graph, the green and blue lines are almost perfectly overlapped. Inset) The time to accelerate from 20-80 mph was also equal within experimental error between the tune with stock intake (blue) and tune with the CAI (green), but both accelerated ~0.7 seconds faster than the stock setup.

Mass Air Flow vs. Engine Speed
Although the results above show that the CAI does not make any difference in vehicle speed over the tune alone, we recorded the readings of the engine’s mass air flow (MAF) sensor to assess whether or not the aftermarket CAI increases airflow to the engine. An engine’s MAF sensor measures true mass of the air per unit time (units grams/second), which accounts for variation in the density of the air. Therefore, variation in the intake air temperature does not affect this comparison--it is already accounted for in the MAF measurement.

The MAF curve versus engine speed in RPM is shown in Fig. 2. The Steeda CAI begins outperforming the stock intake in terms of MAF at an engine speed of ~5000 RPM. The increased MAF using the CAI continues to grow over the stock intake until the engine redlines. The peak MAF of the Steeda CAI with tune, stock intake with Steeda tune, and stock intake with stock tune are 24,470 ± 90 g/s, 22,510 ± 30 g/s, and 22,400 ± 50 g/s, respectively. All of these peak increases occur at the engine redline. This equates to an increase in MAF of ~9% for the Steeda CAI over the stock intake. The MAF is equal within experimental uncertainty for the two groups that use the stock intake, both with the stock tune and the Steeda tune, for the entire power range up to 6800 RPM. The slight increase in peak MAF with the tune is due to the increased redline of the Steeda tune from 6800 RPM to 7000 RPM.


Fig. 2. Mass Air Flow (MAF) vs. Engine Speed. The Steeda CAI drew more air into the engine than both setups that use the stock intake. All increases occurred at engine speeds greater than ~5000 RPM; below 5000 RPM the two intakes perform approximately the same. The Steeda tune makes no difference in MAF over the stock tune when using the stock intake, with both curves overlapping within experimental uncertainty throughout the powerband.

Ram Air Effect
To assess any potential “ram air effect” gained by the aftermarket CAI, we measured the air pressure in front of the filter element during all runs. The Magnahelic pressure gauge that we used only had an analog readout, so we were unable to digitally record this data, the way we did the other results presented in this paper. The results reported here are approximations that were observed by eye (by the passenger) during the runs.

The pressure gauge measures the pressure differential across the front of the filter and atmosphere. A positive pressure means that the ram air effect is occurring, and pressure in front of the filter is higher than atmospheric pressure. A negative pressure means that a vacuum is forming in front of the filter, and that the engine is pulling in air faster than the intake can feed it.

During our pulls with the stock airbox we observed a steady decrease in pressure (increases in vacuum) as RPM increased, up to a maximum vacuum of ~1.75” of water at redline. On the contrary, after switching to the Steeda intake, we observed steadily increasing positive pressure in front of the intake, up to a maximum of roughly 1” to 1.5” of water at redline. While these results are of not as high precision as the other quantitative results reported in this study, it is significant that the Steeda intake reaches a positive pressure (ram air effect) while the stock intake creates a vacuum (engine starved for air). For reference, 27.7” of water is equal to 1 psi.

Idle Air Temperature
A common concern of an open element filter, like the aftermarket CAIs, is that it is exposed to engine bay heat when idling, whereas an enclosed stock airbox is not. To test the effects of heat soak at idle on both the enclosed stock airbox and the open Steeda CAI, we recorded intake air temperature while stationary for several seconds before conducting each wide open throttle pull.

The intake air temperatures at idle showed large variation over all trials. The average and 2 standard deviation errors for the three groups are shown in Fig. 3. The Steeda CAI has a higher average intake air temperature at idle of 94°F ± 7°F than the stock intake, which averages 89°F ± 4°F with the stock tune and 86°F ± 1°F with the Steeda tune. The temperatures with the stock intake are the same, within experimental uncertainty, no matter what tune is used. Although the uncertainty of ± 7°F with the CAI overlaps with the uncertainty of the stock intake measurements, the average temperature for the CAI is still greater by a large margin than the average temperatures for the stock intake. Furthermore, of the individual trials that were averaged, the minimum temperature measured on the CAI was 90°F, but the maximum temperature measured on either of the stock intake trials was also 90°F. Therefore, it can be concluded with reasonable confidence (but not 95% confidence) that the Steeda CAI pulls significantly warmer air at idle than the stock intake.


Fig. 3. Intake Air Temperature at Idle. Average intake air temperature at idle for the Steeda CAI is greater than that of the stock intake, both with the Steeda tune and the stock tune. Variation in the trials was large, especially for the CAI, so error bars overlap. However, even the minimum temperature measured for the Steeda CAI was equal to the maximum temperature for the stock intake (90°F).

Discussion

We successfully conducted all experiments that we designed to test the performance of the aftermarket Steeda CAI versus the Ford stock intake. Most importantly, we found that the Steeda CAI does not increase the vehicle speed, at all, over the stock air intake that is running a Steeda tune (Fig. 1). The increased acceleration that results in faster 20-80mph time of ~0.7 sec over the stock intake results entirely from the Steeda tune. Adding the CAI on top of the tune does not make the vehicle faster.

However, we also found the interesting result that the air flow to the engine significantly increases with the Steeda CAI over the stock intake--even when running the Steeda tune with the stock intake (Fig. 2). This result is further evidenced by the observation that the CAI forms a ram air effect of higher pressure in front of the intake at high speed, whereas the stock intake forms a vacuum, indicating that the engine is starved for air. This is a surprising result, given the previous finding that the vehicle speed increases with the Steeda tune on a stock intake, but does not further increase when adding the CAI.

With this evidence we can conclude that the engine and the tune are unable to utilize the increased air flow that is provided by the Steeda CAI. Since an in-depth analysis of the tune was beyond the scope of this study, we do not have the evidence we need to answer the question why the engine is unable to utilize the extra air. However, it is a reasonable conjecture that combining the CAI with other engine modifications that improve air flow (e.g. larger throttle body, ported intake manifold, more free-flowing exhaust) could allow the engine and tune to take advantage of the increased intake MAF. Further testing would be valuable to test the hypothesis that a Steeda CAI offers advantages over the stock intake when combined with other engine modifications.

The air flow from the Steeda CAI did not surpass that of the stock intake until ~5000 RPM. Below 5000 RPM, the MAF of both the CAI and the stock intake were nearly identical; in fact, the CAI briefly has a slightly lower MAF than the stock intake at ~3000 RPM, which is likely due to the higher air temperature at low speeds. This result is important to “daily drivers” that are on the market for a CAI. Increased MAF at engine speeds >5000 RPM will likely only be achieved under hard acceleration. The MAF at normal driving speeds will be the same as for a stock intake.

We found that the air temperature at idle is modestly higher for the CAI than the stock intake--an ironic result considering the name “cold air intake” (Fig. 3). Although the temperature is higher, we also found that the MAF is nearly identical for both intakes at moderate engine speeds and greater for the CAI at high engine speeds (Fig. 2). Since MAF is a measure of air mass, the effects of intake temperature are accounted for in that measurement. Warmer air is less dense and therefore has less mass than cooler air, but an increased volume of warmer air can have the same or greater mass than a smaller volume of cooler air. The MAF sensor measures mass, which is the relevant parameter for engine performance. Our results show that although the intake air temperature of the CAI is greater than the stock intake, the MAF of the CAI is still the same or higher than for stock. This means that the larger intake volume is compensating for the warmer air, and that the intake temperature is decreasing to ambient at high engine speeds. That said, the MAF for the CAI may be lower than for the stock intake when cruising in the city at low speeds, when underhood temperatures cannot decrease as fast as they did during our wide-open-throttle runs.

Conclusions

Our results prove that for a 2011-2014 V6 Mustang, adding a Steeda CAI with a Steeda tune does not increase vehicle acceleration any more than the Steeda tune does by itself with a stock intake. Both the CAI and the tune with the stock intake offer acceleration gains of ~0.7 seconds from 20-80mph over the stock tune with the stock intake. Our results also prove that the Steeda CAI does indeed increase air flow to the engine, and even creates a ram air effect in front of the filter element. However, the stock engine/exhaust is unable to utilize this extra air flow to create more power. We found that the intake air temperature at idle is moderately higher when using the open element Steeda CAI than the sealed stock intake, but that this increased temperature is offset by the increased air volume that the CAI allows versus the stock intake, especially at high engine speeds. These results suggest that V6 Mustang owners who want to improve the performance of their vehicles should initially purchase only a tune, and keep using the stock air intake. The CAI may lead to increases in performance, but not when keeping the rest of the engine/exhaust stock. Further testing is needed to prove that the CAI offers gains when combined with other engine modifications.
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:15 AM   #2
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Good write-up backed by good data.

The common hypothesis (although maybe not at ME) is that intake temps are higher as well as intake volume (as your results show) with the cold air intake, and the end performance result being close to zero.

It's good to see solid data for the Steeda intake with a stock exhaust system, next step would be with a free flowing exhaust and/or ported intake manifolds to see if there is ever a benefit to using this intake.
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:27 AM   #3
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She blinded me with science! Nice job guys on the posting.
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:54 AM   #4
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Cold Air Intake vs. Stock Intake: Quantitative Testing

Exactly what I suspected with the idle air temps w/ open filter setup. Thank you! So for the every day driver, a "cold air intake" offers 0 benefit. As the Steeda didn't even offer anything until after 5k RPM is what I am reading? And that is with an aftermarket exhaust setup as well as other mods.

Do you guys have any plans to test a bbk throttle body or say shorty headers for the 3.7? Those are also mods with opinionated effects.
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Old 11-24-2015, 06:24 AM   #5
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Cold Air Intake vs. Stock Intake: Quantitative Testing

So that's that.

Really appreciate the work you two put into this.

Obviously this needs to be a sticky since this is the say all end all to the CAI argument. Also so that anyone asking which CAI is best can be referred right to here.

I love when what I've been saying all along is validated by science.

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Old 11-24-2015, 06:50 AM   #6
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Thx guys.

I just skimmed through 1st time but look fwd to reading in detail.

Mud likes science ( + methodology)
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:12 AM   #7
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Wow... thanks for all the time and effort guys. Obviously the CAI lobbyists didn't get to you in time! Anyone want to buy my Steeda CAI ??
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:52 AM   #8
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I felt like I was in school and skipped to pictures and conclusion lol. BUT that said very good information and write up.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:23 AM   #9
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What you should do, is make a GoFundMe account for these tests. So we can help you with getting needed items to perform these tests and get results. In the end, to me, the test results is worth investing say $20 or so a person so you know if you should spend $400-$500 on a part.

Just an idea!
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:47 AM   #10
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Was the same 93 tune used for the stock intake and the Steeda? From my understanding with the larger inlet it would have to be a different tune or else the car would not run properly. Just curious as that slight modification in the tune could play a factor in performance as I am sure steeda have more then one 93 tune.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarzTA17 View Post
Was the same 93 tune used for the stock intake and the Steeda? From my understanding with the larger inlet it would have to be a different tune or else the car would not run properly. Just curious as that slight modification in the tune could play a factor in performance as I am sure steeda have more then one 93 tune.
I ran the appropriate tune for the Steeda CAI, from Steeda themselves. The other tune for the stock intake was also from Steeda, but for the stock intake. Not the same tune, but the same company's tune, to keep the comparison fair.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:55 AM   #12
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So the next question would be: if the Steeda has zero gain and it has the larger diameter, could something like the Airaid, with the smaller diameter, potentially have a negative impact on performance?


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Old 11-24-2015, 09:10 AM   #13
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If you guys do testing again, I would be willing to lend one of my 3.7s as a test subject. Meaning, we could meet up wherever you guys are doing the testing.

My 2011 (Manual) has stock 3.31s from Ford, Airaid Modular Tube, aFe drop-in filter, and a 93 MPT tune. All maintenance is up to date. 19" Wheels w/ Sumitomos. Ford Racing Rear Lower Control Arms. Non performance wise it has a JLT Oil Catch Can, Barton short throw shifter w/ bracket, and Steeda transmission bushing.

My 2014 (Auto) has 3.73 Gears, Shorty Headers, Airaid Modular Tube, aFe drop-in filter, 93 Bama Tune, and 1 piece aluminum driveshaft. All maintenance is up to date. 19" Wheels w/ Goodyear F1s. BMR Rear Lower Control Arms. This car also has a JLT Oil Catch Can.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:32 AM   #14
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It does prove one thing, The engine gets all of the air it needs at any RPM with any of the air intakes.
It is a good tune that will increase the efficiency and add more "ZIP"

It also proves that adding a CAI (ANY) will look great and have a better sound when your on the throttle.
Not really needed for performance without a tune or even with one unless you are into doing some other costly Modification to the engine and exhaust.

I gotta say this, Nice write up and testing. Understandable reading and Thanks.

If I had to do it all over again, I would still buy the Airaid because of the under hood Eye Candy and great sound when I goose it.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarzTA17 View Post
Was the same 93 tune used for the stock intake and the Steeda? From my understanding with the larger inlet it would have to be a different tune or else the car would not run properly. Just curious as that slight modification in the tune could play a factor in performance as I am sure steeda have more then one 93 tune.
We logged spark advance and cam advance / re-tard (just spelling it out gets it censored) as well, and compared those things when looking at the logs. The differences between both steeda tunes and stock are obviously noticeable, the differences in the two steeda tunes appear to be only accounting for the larger MAF housing.

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So the next question would be: if the Steeda has zero gain and it has the larger diameter, could something like the Airaid, with the smaller diameter, potentially have a negative impact on performance?


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The steeda is larger than stock and the airraid is the same diameter as stock, i wouldnt expect it to be negative, i would just also expect it to be a wash.

Its possible that with a more free flowing set up you will start to see a hierarchy of gains: Stock / air raid and such / steeda, but until someone does a test on a more modified set up we're really just back at square one with theories. That's where it starts getting tricky though: "Can you do this test with an H-pipe?" "Can you do this test with high flow cats?" "Can you do this test with headers, but stock cats" ... It eventually just becomes impossible to test every single possible scenario.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:36 AM   #16
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We logged spark advance and cam advance / re-tard (just spelling it out gets it censored) as well, and compared those things when looking at the logs. The differences between both steeda tunes and stock are obviously noticeable, the differences in the two steeda tunes appear to be only accounting for the larger MAF housing.



The steeda is larger than stock and the airraid is the same diameter as stock, i wouldnt expect it to be negative, i would just also expect it to be a wash.

Its possible that with a more free flowing set up you will start to see a hierarchy of gains: Stock / air raid and such / steeda, but until someone does a test on a more modified set up we're really just back at square one with theories. That's where it starts getting tricky though: "Can you do this test with an H-pipe?" "Can you do this test with high flow cats?" "Can you do this test with headers, but stock cats" ... It eventually just becomes impossible to test every single possible scenario.
That last part is very true and I thought about that after making my post. I think if the community would pitch in on funding this, it would make more sense to try more items. Assuming one who can log AND read the logs is willing to do the testing.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Voltwings View Post

The steeda is larger than stock and the airraid is the same diameter as stock, i wouldnt expect it to be negative, i would just also expect it to be a wash.

Its possible that with a more free flowing set up you will start to see a hierarchy of gains: Stock / air raid and such / steeda, but until someone does a test on a more modified set up we're really just back at square one with theories. That's where it starts getting tricky though: "Can you do this test with an H-pipe?" "Can you do this test with high flow cats?" "Can you do this test with headers, but stock cats" ... It eventually just becomes impossible to test every single possible scenario.

Right, the diameters are the same but the stock unit has the Helmholtz resonators that the Airaid/any other after market unit doesn't have.

I don't want to get into testing every possible scenario. You guys did a pretty comprehensive test that we can all agree upon. I'm just thinking here lol.







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Old 11-24-2015, 09:45 AM   #18
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Cold Air Intake vs. Stock Intake: Quantitative Testing

BREAKING NEWS: New report released on Cold Air Intakes. People demodding everywhere!!!
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:46 AM   #19
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Oh oh I have a question! I did not see this or I missed it, but after loading each tune - was the car driven for a bit to let everything "settle" as far as the learning? Or is that not a concern?
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:48 AM   #20
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BREAKING NEWS: New report released on Cold Air Intakes. People demodding everywhere!!!
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I am starting to see that myself.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:49 AM   #21
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Oh oh I have a question! I did not see this or I missed it, but after loading each tune - was the car driven for a bit to let everything "settle" as far as the learning? Or is that not a concern?
Yes, one pilot run after each time something was changed. That pilot run was not included in the analysis. We did mention this - it is in Table 1, where it shows that there were 4 runs for each test, only the the latter 3 runs were analyzed.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:52 AM   #22
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Yes, one pilot run after each time something was changed. That pilot run was not included in the analysis. We did mention this - it is in Table 1, where it shows that there were 4 runs for each test, only the the latter 3 runs were analyzed.
ahh ok. Appreciate the quick response!
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:26 AM   #23
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wow.......This was really cool....thx for the effort guys


so my ? is (and I know you'll have lots of them) is about the positive/negative pressure readings do you have any idea about filtration capabilities of stock/Steeda filters? Gut feeling is that may be a significant factor.
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:49 AM   #24
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At last.....empical data that just saved me a bunch of $$'s!
THANK YOU for all of your hard work and for posting here in such a cogent and intellligent manner.
Mods......this needs to be a sticky!!!
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:24 PM   #25
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I got a phone call from Steeda (Mike from customer service) this morning. He was very polite. We had a professional, respectful conversation. He called to say that the engineers at Steeda looked at our study and "tore it apart". They say that the experiment has many flaws, and that they do their testing in a more controlled way. Secondly, they are upset that this study, which they say is inaccurate and flawed, is causing them to lose sales, as they say they already have seen posts and inquiries from potential customers that say they will not buy the intake.

However, before doing something like forcing Mustang Evolution to take the thread down, they wanted to talk to me first. They even proposed a teleconference meeting with the engineers so they can explain to me what is flawed. I, being a scientist, am very open to such a conversation. In science we do not take our experiments personally. We openly challenge each other about our results, and above all else we value accuracy. I do not have any special interests. My only goal for the customer to be well-informed, not matter what the conclusion is. I have no reason to prove Steeda wrong or to prove Ford wrong. I think that Steeda wants the same thing. They just disagree with my experiment, and I would love to hear why and to cooperate with them.

I also told them that their engineers are totally free to make their own post right here in the thread on why they think this experiment is flawed, and how they do their experiments, and to show their data. Of course they could do this already, but they had the courtesy to call me first. That's great. But this is a public forum, and I would not be offended at all if they "tore apart" our study without even consulting with me. The data is what it is. Science is what it is. Let's all be totally candid about what our findings are, how we conducted the experiments, and challenge each other scientifically, using evidence to make our claims. By having both my study and Steeda's study side-by-side, the intelligent consumer can read both and believe whichever one they think presents the stronger scientific evidence.

I will probably have a conference call with Steeda engineers at some point tomorrow.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:27 PM   #26
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The plot thickens
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:29 PM   #27
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Now, this could get interesting. I really hope that the forum is considerate enough to leave your information posted, and then we can all consider any and all who wish to post addititional or contradictory data.
Yes, Steeda, et all --- we are listening and waiting.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:36 PM   #28
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The appearance of my CAI, and the throaty sound it produces, is enough for me to be happy I bought it. It's not like an additional 4-5 HP was going to make any real-world difference any way.

Steeda's response should be commended. They produce quality products and they stand behind their sales.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:41 PM   #29
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I got a phone call from Steeda (Mike from customer service) this morning. He was very polite. We had a professional, respectful conversation. He called to say that the engineers at Steeda looked at our study and "tore it apart". They say that the experiment has many flaws, and that they do their testing in a more controlled way. Secondly, they are upset that this study, which they say is inaccurate and flawed, is causing them to lose sales, as they say they already have seen posts and inquiries from potential customers that say they will not buy the intake.

However, before doing something like forcing Mustang Evolution to take the thread down, they wanted to talk to me first. They even proposed a teleconference meeting with the engineers so they can explain to me what is flawed. I, being a scientist, am very open to such a conversation. In science we do not take our experiments personally. We openly challenge each other about our results, and above all else we value accuracy. I do not have any special interests. My only goal for the customer to be well-informed, not matter what the conclusion is. I have no reason to prove Steeda wrong or to prove Ford wrong. I think that Steeda wants the same thing. They just disagree with my experiment, and I would love to hear why and to cooperate with them.

I also told them that their engineers are totally free to make their own post right here in the thread on why they think this experiment is flawed, and how they do their experiments, and to show their data. Of course they could do this already, but they had the courtesy to call me first. That's great. But this is a public forum, and I would not be offended at all if they "tore apart" our study without even consulting with me. The data is what it is. Science is what it is. Let's all be totally candid about what our findings are, how we conducted the experiments, and challenge each other scientifically, using evidence to make our claims. By having both my study and Steeda's study side-by-side, the intelligent consumer can read both and believe whichever one they think presents the stronger scientific evidence.

I will probably have a conference call with Steeda engineers at some point tomorrow.
I figured that would happen. As soon as I saw the name of the intake that was used, was included, I knew. I knew they would feel this is more directed at them vs. just cold air intakes in general because their name is in this thread. I am sure Airaid or anyone else would feel the same. That is why most places refer to the product as "brand x" or whatever. The honesty though is much appreciated.

I am curious by what is referred to as "Controlled Environment". If this means altering the load on the dyno, temp, etc. Then this will not show real world/everyday gains.

I will wait to see what is further said.

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The appearance of my CAI, and the throaty sound it produces, is enough for me to be happy I bought it. It's not like an additional 4-5 HP was going to make any real-world difference any way.

Steeda's response should be commended. They produce quality products and they stand behind their sales.
Definitely true and no grudges against any vendor. I just knew though by name dropping any brand, would open a can of worms.

I personally feel the results were EXACTLY what normal buyers look for when they need to prep for a drag strip. People don't buy because of what the part did at 72 degrees, on a dyno, etc, etc.

Nothing against Steeda. Alongside AM, I always appreciated Tj lending us his input.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:51 PM   #30
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I'd love for them to show their studies and pick apart your study.




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Old 11-24-2015, 02:28 PM   #31
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If I'm understanding this, the CAI has to have a different ECU calibration for fueling so the stock tune can't be used. It will be interesting if Steeda has dyno data like a torque curve for just the CAI with A/F matched to stock but no other changes. My guess is the improvement of the CAI alone isn't enough to show up in the acceleration runs even if it is better than stock.

BTW, I really like the posted experiment and think its authors did an excellent job with their resources. Definitely should be a sticky as an example for others
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:41 PM   #32
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Steeda already has a lot of published test data results. And words are cheap.
What is required, is for Voltwings and Sakib to be invited to witness Steeda's testing. With an outline of the proposed testing equipment and procedures to be followed, made available ahead of time.
I'm sure this would come with a cost to Steeda but on the other hand they would have some substantial claims to include in their future advertising. For example, as witnessed by independent Mustang owners, etc.
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:41 PM   #33
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I do want to put out there that I have absolutely nothing against Steeda. I have lifelong unlimited Steeda tunes that I am very happy with, I lowered my car using Steeda Ultralite lowering springs and Steeda HD strut mounts, I bought other miscellaneous parts through them too, like my rear Hawk brake pads. TJ is awesome. Their customer service is awesome. In fact, I still have my Steeda CAI in my car! I like the throaty sound. I don't have a grudge to hold against anyone, and I'm a big fan of Steeda as a company.
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:44 PM   #34
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Steeda already has a lot of published test data results. And words are cheap.
What is required, is for Voltwings and Sakib to be invited to witness Steeda's testing. With an outline of the proposed testing equipment and procedures to be followed, made available ahead of time.
I'm sure this would come with a cost to Steeda but on the other hand they would have some substantial claims to include in their future advertising. For example, as witnessed by independent Mustang owners, etc.
I would love that. But let's see how the teleconference goes, first. I'm excited to talk science with them!
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:50 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Koryak View Post
If I'm understanding this, the CAI has to have a different ECU calibration for fueling so the stock tune can't be used. It will be interesting if Steeda has dyno data like a torque curve for just the CAI with A/F matched to stock but no other changes. My guess is the improvement of the CAI alone isn't enough to show up in the acceleration runs even if it is better than stock.

BTW, I really like the posted experiment and think its authors did an excellent job with their resources. Definitely should be a sticky as an example for others
I believe they do have this info available, without a tune, for the GT but not the V6.
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Here's one w/o any tune.
EDIT: But unless you can see exactly what they're doing and how they're doing it, it's all marketing. I don't recall seeing any reference to certifications of witnessing by independent testing agencies, or whatever.
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