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  #1  
Old 07-03-2010, 01:27 AM
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Default CAI question

Hey all,
I'm just curious why none of the home-built CAIs use the stock input vent on the driver's side of the engine compartment. I'm thinking of designing my own using the stock hat and a K&N filter. I assume the collapsable tubing is bad for air flow but wouldn't the air from the stock cold air opening be cooler than the air next to the radiator?
Thoughts?
-Mac
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:08 PM
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Good Q. Not sure. I was looking at that myself and it would be fairly simple to even enlarge the stock opening in the fender. I relocated my IAT sensor about 1" away from that opening you speak of on my stock air box setup in the crappy accordion tube so its always measuring as close to ambient air temp as possible.

I was thinking of getting a heavy-duty style inline drum type air cleaner for the truck as my dad works for a John Deere dealer. The filter housing would still be in the engine bay, but you would have a 4" round inlet to stuff through the factory hole in the fender. One could wrap the filter housing in foil back insulation as well to repel heat. Them heavy duty inline drum style filters can suck a whole lotta air, they go on massive turbo diesel motors all the time that need plenty of air.

You could even take it one step further, and get one of the drum style heavy duty filters that mount on the fender like big rigs have hehe. You wont get any cooler air than having the filter outside of the engine bay. Thing is too with the kinda international style big rig look these trucks have it might actually look ok. Im gonna be tossing some ideas around after I finnish my belly pan gasket / port/polish affair I have going on this weekend.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:36 PM
erm
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Because it's cheaper not to do that. But that eliminates a good source of cold air from outside the engine compartment. Some CAI makers utilize this feature (Volant, AFE) and use a closed box design with a larger box and smoother tube than the stock arrangement, making the cold air intake more efficient than stock.
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Old 07-03-2010, 08:47 PM
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I know I've read a lot about the durango hats having better air flow, more direct maybe? But I like the straight shot to the fender-well the stock setup has. It just looks cleaner to me.
I've got my belly pan scheduled for next weekend mAs, lol. Can't wait to get it done so I can start looking at catback systems. I need more air!
And I know it's only July but I have to start dealing with my rust issue. It's just a little at the bottom of the kick plate but some is pretty deep. I don't want winter to get here before that's taken care of.

Last edited by Mac; 07-03-2010 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 07-04-2010, 12:12 PM
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My homemade CAI uses a hat off a Dakota/Durango. It also has a one piece pipe so its smooth flowing. The stock air hat on the trucks I believe it a little restrictive, since the air comes in the slows down at the filter. With mine it starts at the filter and flows. Just search "black mamba" and you will see mine.

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Old 07-04-2010, 12:43 PM
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Yours was the first one I saw wermbang, lol. Very cool. I question whether the placement of the filter within the system has an affect on air flow. The real difference, I suppose, is that your system has one 90 degree turn (where it enters the TB) and the stock has two, before entering the filter AND before entering the throttle body. Ahh what the heck, maybe I'll just put on a blower, lol.
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Old 07-04-2010, 01:27 PM
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I do not know how much this applies to vehicles but in the sheet metal world I work in doing HVAC Duct work all day, every 90 degree elbow we put in a section of duct work is equivalent to 10 feet of straight duct work. Every 45 degree therefore is equivalent to 5 feet of straight duct work. We have slide rules for HVAC design called "ductulators" which will give you the eqiuvelent of round to square area, liters per second of flow, static pressures at xxx column of water ect. Something to keep in mind perhaps.

The stock truck air box design is bad because of how the filter is situated really screws w/ the air stream. The hats off the Durangos would be way better for the trucks esp if you put a drum style inline filter between the hat and the hole in the fender. That IMHO would be the most efficient setup, only 1 90 degree corner on the air hat then straight to the fender hole. As far as distance between direction changes/elbows/bends, in the sheet metal world you want 3x the diameter so the air can straighten itself out again. So if the intake tube is 3" for example, the next bend would be 9 inches away from the last bend to reduce turbulence. SO if you put an inline drum filter right at the opening of the fender hole, you would have a good 20" or so to straighten and speed up the air before it hits the air hat 90 to the intake. I hope this kinda makes sense, I still havent finnished my 1st cup of coffee yet.... so tired. :>
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:39 AM
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This all seems reseasonable to me and I would bet an HVAC guy would know a thing or two about airflow. So the stock setup of having the filter right at the direction change is a kind of double whammy.
I had purchased an edlebrock air hat and foam filter just for kicks and I saw a notable increase in power over the stock. I was worried about pulling warm engine compartment air into the TB so I put the stock back on for now. Definately not as much air moving but I'm not sure I trust the foam filter.
Hey HVAC guy, what's the ribbed tubing doing to the airflow in the stock system?
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:11 PM
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The accordion style ribbed tube will still give you nearly the same VOLUME of air as a smooth pipe would, but it will not be good for laminar flow, the air will be quite turbulent inside around the edges of the accordion tube the air will somewhat flow in a circular tumbling motion. Think of the air stream behind a passenger car or worse yet, a truck (race cars exempt), its rather choppy and uneven. Same effect you get in the accordion tube. Now compound that with the double whammy air hat/filter setup the trucks have. Can we say super turbulent?

GM _knows_ accordion tubes suck, but they use them anyways but what they do to combat the turbulence is install a honeycomb mesh screen in the throttle body JUST before the Mass Air Flow Sensor (yea I know we use MAPs not MAFs just an example) to straighten the air out and give much better laminar flow.

I removed said honeycomb screen off my 98 Pontiac Bonenville SSEi to see the effects first hand and wow did the idle suffer. The air is so turbulent then the MAF can not get a proper reading and the car just runs asstacular. Random idle speed, chugging/sputtering, ect. So i then tried it on my non supercharged 91 Buick Lesabre Limited removing the same screen, same result. Both S/C and N/A Buick 3800 series I and II motors were nearly brought to their knees by removing the honeycomb screen.

THEN I tried the same experiment with my aftermarket CAI's I built from regular old K&N's and some electrician conduit mandrel bent on their fancy hydraulic bender they let me abuse and the idle did not suffer one bit with the screens removed on either car, WITH perfectly smooth inside pipe.

I also said nearly the same volume of air, this is because the ribs create drag on the air so the motor has to suck a bit harder to get the volume of air it requires at XXX RPM. The situation is reversed in my HVAC job, we have this stuff called "Flex pipe" its all accordion style, we try to minimize its use to hook up diffusers in the T-Bar or drywall ceilings as it like I said has more drag so the Unit on the roof or mechanical room or wherever it is has to PUSH HARDER to give you hot or cold air. Typical spec is less than 18" of Flex. We prefer to keep it under 12" just in case.

Long and short of it:

accordion tube = very bad for laminar flow
accordion tube + stock ram air hat = laminar flow is non existent into the throttle body
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:34 PM
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Oh sure, now I have to work on my houses HVAC system instead of my truck Ahh screw it, if the house gets too cold this winter I'll just go out to the truck, lol.
Great explanation mAs, I'm sure it will be very helpful to the group.
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