Cold Air Intakes- I say they are bunk!!! - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 03-29-2004, 11:39 PM
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I want to get people's ideas and experiences with Cold Air Intakes (CAI's). I see them all over the place from 40 dollars to 400 dollars.
I agree that they look cool, if only because they are different than what originally came with the car, but are they really putting out performance?


Personally, I think the whole cold air intake stuff is crap. I have nothing to prove my distrust except my own distorted logic.

I have a 2002 330i with the Sport and Prem Packages. If you pop the hood, you can see where the factory air intake is: just above the twin kidney grill.

When you are moving down the road, the front of your car should receive the smoothest flow of air. The BMW engineers who designed this intake with the help of wind tunnels probably are satisfied that the amount of air entering where they placed the intake is sufficient.

How would stuffing the intake down into the fender area where there isn't as much of a rush of air give you any better power/air? I understand that the air isn't being "rammed" into the front of my car per se, but at least there is a constant flow of air into the air intake. Doesn't seem like the same think is going on down in the fender.

Plus, that air is flowing so fast into the "air scoop", then through the filter and into the engine that I don't really believe that the engine compartment can sufficiently heat it up compared to the CAI.

Here is another thought. If the whole cooler air thing is really true, then shouldn't you notice an increase in horsepower on colder days? In the morning when it is 35 degrees out, I don't notice any difference in performance than when it is 85 degrees out.

I understand that cooler air is more dense and can "hold" more oxygen, but is it to such a great degree that you can tell in performance?

And even if it is, you are back to how a CAI sucking from inside the fender is cooler than the air rushing into the front of the car.

If someone can change my mind, I am all ears cause I would love to do the CAI thing for some easy HP. But right now, I just ain't buyin' it.

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#2 (permalink) Old 03-30-2004, 12:23 AM
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It has been proven that an intake with a heatshield for e36/e46 increase throttle response, accelleration, and mid range power because it keeps the air almost 90 degrees cooler.

So yes they really do increase performance.

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#3 (permalink) Old 03-30-2004, 12:24 AM
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i personally can feel and hear the difference on my car. My GruppeM intake is a 'ram air intake' which the carbon fiber heat shield is shaped into almost like a funnel, forcing air into one point. Dynos also proves the fact that the GruppeM gains power and torque (more torque than power)

Sound is just SICK. I cant explain it, the GruppeM made my car into a monster.
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#4 (permalink) Old 03-30-2004, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
It has been proven that an intake with a heatshield for e36/e46 increase throttle response, accelleration, and mid range power because it keeps the air almost 90 degrees cooler.

So yes they really do increase performance.
Mike,
So you are saying that between the point that the air enters the front of the OEM air scoop at highway speed to the time that it gets to engine, the temparature of that air can increase over 90 degrees?

I understand that you are saying a CAI with heat shield keeps the air 90 degrees cooler, but that would mean that the air on an OEM would be increased at least 90 degrees.

I am under the impression that the engine is sucking air thru the intake at a rather rapid pace (if it moved thru at a leisurely pace there wouldn't appear to be a need to increase air flow by enlarging the filter area).

Where have you seen the proof?

Quote:
i personally can feel and hear the difference on my car. My GruppeM intake is a 'ram air intake' which the carbon fiber heat shield is shaped into almost like a funnel, forcing air into one point. Dynos also proves the fact that the GruppeM gains power and torque (more torque than power)

Sound is just SICK. I cant explain it, the GruppeM made my car into a monster.
woobiee
I agree that the sound would probably be different since sound can penetrate the cone filter more easily than the stock plastic air box.

I saw the picture of the GruppeM on the Europersona website. It is a very nice looking piece.

But my understanding of Ram Air (commonly used in motorcycles, is that they only work at higher speed b/c the "Ram" action is created by the speed of the vehicle Ramming the air into the intake). In order to "Ram" air, the intake has to be exposed to the rushing air.
I can't tell by picture on Europersona, but where is the actual intake. It looks like to me that there is a carbon fiber heat shield right behind the headlights, but where is the actual intake and where does the air "Ram" into the intake?

Also, since Ram air only works with speed, how can you get that effect when the car is stationary on the dyno?

Maybe the larger filter can allow air to more easily flow into the engine, but I don't think (unless there is an external air port) that this is created by a Ram Effect.

I say all of this not to dispute any of you or Mike, I am only trying to present my questions.
Please prove me wrong, but if you can, please address my questions about your prior post.

Round Two.
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BTW- on the SpeedChannel tonight at 1930 (730 pm) at least where I live, on SportsCar Revolution, they are supposed to be putting a CAI on their project car. They usually dyno it before and after. I will be watching to see.

I am prepared to eat crow if need be.

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#5 (permalink) Old 03-30-2004, 09:38 AM
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thats pretty true; the bestimprovement was during highway speeds when one drives faster. it pulls much better when i need to get infront etc on the highway.

also, 3500rpm or below, it dont do much...its after 3500rpm when it really works.
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#6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2004, 06:17 PM
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A few years ago Compact Sports Car magazine ran a Honda (no, not a BMW) with thirteen different "cold air intakes". Two of the systems did increase power. Slightly. Three remained the same. The remainder actually caused a decrease in overall horsepower and torque. I would have to guess this world also pertain to most other vehicles. Now as a BMW salesguy I have equipped both my M3 and my wifes 330cic with Dinan equipment including the intakes. Why? It's cool. Do I feel any difference in the ECU download of the Carbon intake. Nope. But they are cool.
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#7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jaavaajoe@Mar 30 2004, 08:43 AM
Quote:
It has been proven that an intake with a heatshield for e36/e46 increase throttle response, accelleration, and mid range power because it keeps the air almost 90 degrees cooler.

So yes they really do increase performance.
Mike,
So you are saying that between the point that the air enters the front of the OEM air scoop at highway speed to the time that it gets to engine, the temparature of that air can increase over 90 degrees?

I understand that you are saying a CAI with heat shield keeps the air 90 degrees cooler, but that would mean that the air on an OEM would be increased at least 90 degrees.

I am under the impression that the engine is sucking air thru the intake at a rather rapid pace (if it moved thru at a leisurely pace there wouldn't appear to be a need to increase air flow by enlarging the filter area).

Where have you seen the proof?

Quote:
i personally can feel and hear the difference on my car. My GruppeM intake is a 'ram air intake' which the carbon fiber heat shield is shaped into almost like a funnel, forcing air into one point. Dynos also proves the fact that the GruppeM gains power and torque (more torque than power)

Sound is just SICK. I cant explain it, the GruppeM made my car into a monster.
woobiee
I agree that the sound would probably be different since sound can penetrate the cone filter more easily than the stock plastic air box.

I saw the picture of the GruppeM on the Europersona website. It is a very nice looking piece.

But my understanding of Ram Air (commonly used in motorcycles, is that they only work at higher speed b/c the "Ram" action is created by the speed of the vehicle Ramming the air into the intake). In order to "Ram" air, the intake has to be exposed to the rushing air.
I can't tell by picture on Europersona, but where is the actual intake. It looks like to me that there is a carbon fiber heat shield right behind the headlights, but where is the actual intake and where does the air "Ram" into the intake?

Also, since Ram air only works with speed, how can you get that effect when the car is stationary on the dyno?

Maybe the larger filter can allow air to more easily flow into the engine, but I don't think (unless there is an external air port) that this is created by a Ram Effect.

I say all of this not to dispute any of you or Mike, I am only trying to present my questions.
Please prove me wrong, but if you can, please address my questions about your prior post.

Round Two.
Piece (yeah that kind)
Joe

BTW- on the SpeedChannel tonight at 1930 (730 pm) at least where I live, on SportsCar Revolution, they are supposed to be putting a CAI on their project car. They usually dyno it before and after. I will be watching to see.

I am prepared to eat crow if need be.
temperature has alot of effects on a car, one reason you may not feel an increase in power when its colder is that since cold air is more dense it creates more resistance to a moving object, it also creates more rolling resistance on the tires. the benefit of a CAI to my understanding isnt to take in more cold air, but to help the vacuum suck air in easier with less effort, which is due to a cone filter. the formula to find the density of air is p=360.77819*T^-1.00336 where 't' is temp in kelvin,( to convert from centigrade to Kelvin add 273.15 to your temperature in centigrade, and to convert from farenheit to centigrade, use the equation:
C=(5/9)*(F-32)). i know that the temperature air my e30 draws in is pretty close to the ambient air temp due to where it was positioned from the factory, but even if the e36/e46's save 90 degrees F with a CAI the difference in density is only a mere .00000144 kg/m^3, which isnt by itself enough to create a very big improvement in power.
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#8 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by woobiee@Mar 30 2004, 12:04 AM
Sound is just SICK. I cant explain it, the GruppeM made my car into a monster.
a monster on a 323? never heard of that before dude...i didnt think a 323 could ever be a monster.but anyways...back to topic...yes intake do give you performance gains.

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#9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by e36_m3_Turbo+Mar 31 2004, 04:28 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (e36_m3_Turbo @ Mar 31 2004, 04:28 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-woobiee@Mar 30 2004, 12:04 AM
Sound is just SICK. I cant explain it, the GruppeM made my car into a monster.
a monster on a 323? never heard of that before dude...i didnt think a 323 could ever be a monster.but anyways...back to topic...yes intake do give you performance gains. [/b][/quote]
i swear dude. its like night and day. at around 6000rpm and higher, the engine has the renowned E46 M3 raspy revs on my 323!
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#10 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by woobiee+Mar 31 2004, 03:23 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (woobiee @ Mar 31 2004, 03:23 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Quote:
Originally posted by e36_m3_Turbo@Mar 31 2004, 04:28 PM
<!--QuoteBegin-woobiee
Quote:
@Mar 30 2004, 12:04 AM
Sound is just SICK. I cant explain it, the GruppeM made my car into a monster.

a monster on a 323? never heard of that before dude...i didnt think a 323 could ever be a monster.but anyways...back to topic...yes intake do give you performance gains.
i swear dude. its like night and day. at around 6000rpm and higher, the engine has the renowned E46 M3 raspy revs on my 323! [/b][/quote]
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#11 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 05:49 PM
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I think its a waste for all that money to be spent on a plastic composite tube that makes almost no HP/$ The best thing is a cone filter. More than that is a waste on bmws just because of the name brand your paying so much. Make it yourself.

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#12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 05:58 PM
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its been proven on dynos that these systems can increase HP , but how much is really reliant on what its made of and how the design of the product is.

my cold air intake is made of steal not thin aluminum and goes down to the brake duct (which you remove so the air is direct in)
i do notice better throttle response, i cant feel an increase in HP but these systems rarely ever make more than 5-8 HP which isnt noticeable.

all in all i can say that was it worth it? for me yes. lucky i got mine second hand and paid a fraction of the cost i got better performance (which i know is there even though i cannot actually feel it) and the sound is amazing.

for those wanting to spend over 400 for a CAI system you really have to consider that this mod ,dollar-to-HP Gain, is not worth it.

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#13 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Furious@Mar 31 2004, 06:38 PM
its been proven on dynos that these systems can increase HP , but how much is really reliant on what its made of and how the design of the product is.

all in all i can say that was it worth it? for me yes. lucky i got mine second hand and paid a fraction of the cost i got better performance (which i know is there even though i cannot actually feel it) and the sound is amazing.

Yes, most CAI's (True CAI's) will give variable hp and torque gains, plain truth, there are thousands of dyno runs to prove it.

A CAI is not just any piece of pipe and cone filter you can strap on, mind you. It's many factors (As Furious stated), it's composite materials, where the air input and filter actually rests, (Does it just suck hot engine air or does it get cold air..).

I like ECIS CAI's, as they utilize the air intake manifold in front, but routes it to a shielded area where the cone filter sits. Not the prettiest, but the least expensive (New for $249, ecisbmw.com).

GruppeM's are the 'hottest' ones right now, they are the loudest, and look pretty tight. They're made of CF, looks like a huge blowhorn under the hood. But then again that's a Ram really.. But it gives some of the biggest dyno'd gains of most AI's.

There are numerous ones, all dyno'd and proven to give you gains. I'd not trust those $50 ebay ones, but even those people have reported actual dyno'd gains.

How much gain? That depends on the conditions outside that day, but anywhere from 3-12hp can be expected). Is that noticable? Not to most drivers. You'll hear the difference though.

What really brings out the best in a CAI is when you upgrade your software (ECU) so that it can better utilize the airflow it's getting. Most software packages fool with alot of things (timing, air/gas inition mix, etc etc), and among other things usually add a few hundred to your Redline RPM limit, and remove the speed limiter. Lots of software routes to go: Dinan, Conforti, Shark, etc..

The software will give you comparable gains to the CAI itself. Together they will give you a noticable (I didn't say slam you in your seat) gain.

My .02 tossed into the hat.

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#14 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 09:06 PM
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Just because you yourself cannot feel the extra powr gain, does not mean it is not there. CIAs work generally on the top end of the spectrum. They are also louder than stock. It is also proven by dyno charts that a CIA + a good exhaust will be greater than just the net addition of the CIA and the xhaust alone added. So addign an exhuast after the CIA is a good thing, or visa versa.


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#15 (permalink) Old 04-01-2004, 11:13 AM
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its called TUNING!!!

you cant do a math problem with one number. you have to have other factors before you dyno it to get the real hp from your aftermarket mod. if you just slap a $300.oo CAI on any car, 60% of the time you will gain LITTLE hp and the other 40% you will LOSE hp. You would have to have a complete setup before you get 'noticeable' differences in your mods.
ie. look into your back pressure(exhaust), throttle response(intake manifold), timing...

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