5250 High Performance Dyno Shop Blog

Cold Air Intakes for Subarus | power plus reliability / performance

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 30, 2015 7:30:00 AM / by Mike Wiener

Ask a group of enthusiasts what they think the first engine modification should be, and the most likely answer will be a Cold Air Intake.

Cobb_cold_air_boxFor many years, this has been the go-to Subaru modification. Manufacturers often make claims of 10-20 horsepower gains from their "free flowing" design. 

You might ask yourself,  why did the car manufacturer make such a restrictive intake system?

  • Cold Air Intake question & answer | The answer is actually quite simple. They didn't. 

Well, if the intake manifold on a modern car isn't restrictive, how can these aftermarket intake companies claim power increases?

That answer is not as simple and involves some tricky marketing and some pre-determined bad tuning. Not all manufacturers of cold air boxes are equal, some are much better than others.

One of the easiest ways to get a little more power out of an engine (to prove the latest cold air box is an improvement) is to lean out the air to fuel mixture.  Use a product that doesn’t have the experience, testing, and reliability behind it, and you might be doing more damage than good.

How do I Make more Power w/ a budget

On a modern car with a Mass Air Flow sensor, this can easily be achieved by changing the size of the pipe the sensor sits in. Easy to get the extra power, not so easy on the motor. Am I against the modification of an improved air box / cold air intake?  No, but there is more to the equation here.

Running a motor too lean for an extended period of time will cause damage from knocking and high exhaust gas temperatures. Do you know what specific changes happen with your new cold air box you installed?

  • We work with manufacturers and suppliers for the best products that fit each and every customers engine/ driveline specifically. That means that when we move to upgrade your engine, we look at everything from the first time the air is drawn in, to the time it leaves as burned fuel/air (along with all things in-between).
    Today’s complex fuel injection systems are wonderful at the hands of those who see / understand the bigger picture while focusing on the correct parts that make it all happen, performance, reliability, drivability.  

Cobb_Subaru_tuning_productsThe only way to prevent a scenario like this, is to only install parts known to work with your engine. In the example of a Subaru, I only know COBB and SPT intakes to read properly. Do we work on models other than Subarus, yes, too many to list here, if your goal is performance upgrades, from engines, drivetrains, and suspension, we build attitude @ altitude.

If you already have an aftermarket intake and aren't sure if it's allowing your motor to work properly, you should talk to a professional tuner about the current health of your motor from the upgrade. The proper tuning tweaks from someone who has experience can correct a lean condition from a Cold Air Intake.


photos by www.cobbtuning.com

Topics: Cold Air Intakes

Mike Wiener

Written by Mike Wiener