Cold Air Intake Systems
Air Intake Systems
The performance (and inevitable excitement) of European vehicles largely comes from the amount of power that their engines produce. One of the most important systems that helps determine how your engine runs is the air intake system. This system is much more than just an air filter and is often overlooked when diagnosing problems or considering performance upgrades to a vehicle.
The Anatomy of the Air Intake System
Modern air intake systems have mostly been made up of the same components since the late 1980s. Keep in mind that if your European vehicle is a classic, it may not have all – or any – of the following components:
- Air Box / Air Filter: The air filter is the first part of the intake system. Its job is to prevent particles and debris from entering into the system. It is important to keep you filter clean to ensure the right amount of air enters the system, and that no debris gets in. Failure to keep your filter clean may cause engine damage, poor performance, and undesirable fuel economy.
- Mass Air-Flow Sensor: The engine control module (ECM) needs to know how much air is entering the vehicle to ensure a proper fuel to air ratio in the engine. The mass flow sensor is responsible for relaying this information to the ECM.
- Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor: Some turbocharged vehicles use a manifold absolute pressure instead of a mass air-flow sensor. Sometimes, especially on forced induction vehicles, both sensors may be present.
- Air Intake Tube: Once the air is measured, it moves toward the engine through the air intake tube. On some vehicles, there may be empty “chambers” that are used to reduce air-speed and vibration as it approaches the throttle body.
- Turbocharger / Supercharger & Intercooler: If a vehicle comes with a forced induction system stock, as many vehicles now do, it is considered part of the air intake system. These components are designed to increase the air pressure and either make the vehicle more fuel-efficient by using less gasoline, or perform better by forcing greater combustion in the engine—a result of additional fuel to compensate for more air.
- Throttle Body: The throttle body is connected either mechanically or electronically to the acceleration pedal and cruise control system, if the vehicle has one. When the gas pedal is depressed, the throttle body opens a butterfly valve that allows more air in, which in turn impacts acceleration.
- Intake Manifold and Valves: Once the air passes through the throttle body, it is delivered to each cylinder via the intake manifold and valves. These components work in harmony with the pistons in the engine and regulate the amount of air entering into each cylinder.
Air Intake System Resource
More Complex Than Expected
Many drivers believe that the air intake system is simply a tube with an air filter on the end, but it is much more complicated than that. Since much of the system is electronically controlled, an issue with a single sensor may cause serious drivability issues. If you are experiencing rough idle, lack of power, or inconsistent RPMs you may have an issue with your air intake system. Melbourne Motorsports has the proper technology to help identify and solve your issue.
A cold-air-intake-system is also one of the least expensive bolt-on performance upgrades for your European vehicle. It’s not uncommon to experience an increase of 15-20+ horsepower and improved fuel economy. This is accomplished by removing the heavy, cluttered stock airbox and piping, intentionally designed to inhibit airflow and replacing it with a light-weight, custom-designed intake system, and high-flow air filter, that streamlines the flow of cold air from the outside, directly into your car’s engine.