AIRAID no-tune CAI didn't play well with my car

mikes2017gt

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I'm posting this as an informational thread, possibly to help others in their CAI research. This is not a "bash Airaid thread." This is a description of how this intake performed in my car, with the mods that I have. YMMV.

I bought my '17 GT non-PP back in Jan. Being new to Mustangs, I did the usual research on bolt-on mods. I definitely wanted a more aggressive exhaust note, so after a lot of research I bought a Ford Performance by Borla Touring catback and installed it. Very happy with it.

Next up on the list was a CAI...that seemed to be one of the usual "bolt on and get some free HP and better intake sound" mods. I didn't want to risk warranty issues, so I went with a no-tune required CAI by Airaid, with a dry filter. Specifically, this exact one: https://www.airaid.com/search/product.aspx?prod=453-328

The CAI sat in the garage for a while as I just didn't have time to install it. I installed it two weeks ago. I can tell you that the fit and finish of this product is first-rate as is the hardware pack and instructions it comes with. Definitely a well-produced product.

I installed it per the instructions, including capping off the sound tube nipple, as I had previously done the sound tube delete on my car.

Car started right up and idled normally. No CEL or any other abnormality. First thing I noticed was that my exhaust note was hushed quite a bit and that lovely intake howl was pretty much gone. I found all that odd, but the engine idled and revved just fine, but with a muted exhaust note and pretty much no intake sound. Shrugged my shoulders and kept going.

What I discovered right off the bat was that throttle response from about 2k-4k RPMs seemed a bit better, but the engine felt choked going into the upper revs. Once the tac cleared 4K the engine felt significantly less powerful than before. I won't say "fell flat on it's face" but compared to the stock airbox, that's not too far off.

Prior to installing the Airaid, if I was doing about 55mph in third and nailed the gas, I could break the rear tires loose. Now it just accelerated and not as hard as before. I thought maybe the tank of gas I had at the time was sub-par and decided not to pass judgement then and there. I use 87 octane pump gas, BTW. So I drove it for two weeks, about 800 miles and five fillups/tanks of gas.

And came to exactly the same conclusions; this CAI chokes the engine at higher revs...anything above 4K RPM and in my case, really killed the exhaust and intake notes. My mileage also dropped by .7 mpg, which is not exactly a major concern (you don't buy a GT if you're worried about gas mileage) but is worth mentioning.

I have a hypothesis (and that's all it is...a guess) that this CAI was designed to be used with a bone-stock GT, not one with a significantly freer-flowing exhaust. Possibly with a tune, this CAI would come into it's own, but a tune isn't something I'm considering ATM.

During my two-week test period I had no CELs, no idle problems, no problems when stuck in traffic, no problems while doing "slightly more" than the speed limit on open interstate or any engine probs of any kind. Just "meh" performance overall.

I put the stock airbox back in and the performance gain was immediately noticeable.



I'm pretty disappointed. Not really sure what I was expecting, but I was expecting "some kind" of increased performance. More kick in the pants, better intake howl...something.

So that's my experience with the Airaid no-tune CAI. Feel free to ask questions. I will be posting the CAI in the for sale forum for significantly less than I paid for it.





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csmaan12

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I'm posting this as an informational thread, possibly to help others in their CAI research. This is not a "bash Airaid thread." This is a description of how this intake performed in my car, with the mods that I have. YMMV.

I bought my '17 GT non-PP back in Jan. Being new to Mustangs, I did the usual research on bolt-on mods. I definitely wanted a more aggressive exhaust note, so after a lot of research I bought a Ford Performance by Borla Touring catback and installed it. Very happy with it.

Next up on the list was a CAI...that seemed to be one of the usual "bolt on and get some free HP and better intake sound" mods. I didn't want to risk warranty issues, so I went with a no-tune required CAI by Airaid, with a dry filter. Specifically, this exact one: https://www.airaid.com/search/product.aspx?prod=453-328

The CAI sat in the garage for a while as I just didn't have time to install it. I installed it two weeks ago. I can tell you that the fit and finish of this product is first-rate as is the hardware pack and instructions it comes with. Definitely a well-produced product.

I installed it per the instructions, including capping off the sound tube nipple, as I had previously done the sound tube delete on my car.

Car started right up and idled normally. No CEL or any other abnormality. First thing I noticed was that my exhaust note was hushed quite a bit and that lovely intake howl was pretty much gone. I found all that odd, but the engine idled and revved just fine, but with a muted exhaust note and pretty much no intake sound. Shrugged my shoulders and kept going.

What I discovered right off the bat was that throttle response from about 2k-4k RPMs seemed a bit better, but the engine felt choked going into the upper revs. Once the tac cleared 4K the engine felt significantly less powerful than before. I won't say "fell flat on it's face" but compared to the stock airbox, that's not too far off.

Prior to installing the Airaid, if I was doing about 55mph in third and nailed the gas, I could break the rear tires loose. Now it just accelerated and not as hard as before. I thought maybe the tank of gas I had at the time was sub-par and decided not to pass judgement then and there. I use 86 octane pump gas, BTW. So I drove it for two weeks, about 800 miles and five fillups/tanks of gas.

And came to exactly the same conclusions; this CAI chokes the engine at higher revs...anything above 4K RPM and in my case, really killed the exhaust and intake notes. My mileage also dropped by .7 mpg, which is not exactly a major concern (you don't buy a GT if you're worried about gas mileage) but is worth mentioning.

I have a hypothesis (and that's all it is...a guess) that this CAI was designed to be used with a bone-stock GT, not one with a significantly freer-flowing exhaust. Possibly with a tune, this CAI would come into it's own, but a tune isn't something I'm considering ATM.

During my two-week test period I had no CELs, no idle problems, no problems when stuck in traffic, no problems while doing "slightly more" than the speed limit on open interstate or any engine probs of any kind. Just "meh" performance overall.

I put the stock airbox back in and the performance gain was immediately noticeable.



I'm pretty disappointed. Not really sure what I was expecting, but I was expecting "some kind" of increased performance. More kick in the pants, better intake howl...something.

So that's my experience with the Airaid no-tune CAI. Feel free to ask questions. I will be posting the CAI in the for sale forum for significantly less than I paid for it.
Hmm good read before I installed the one I got. Might sell mine and get a PMAS in that case. Can't help but wonder if something is amiss though. Have seen a lot of good reviews on it as well. Including some members saying they saw some pretty damn good gains from it.
 
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mikes2017gt

mikes2017gt

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Yup, I did my research and found those same reviews/gains...that's why I bought it. I double checked my install and everything was fine. The intake tube was aligned to the intake vent on the grill, all EGR hoses were on tightly, worm clamps cinched down, etc.

One of the reasons I went with the Airaid was b/c it's a closed box. I didn't want one of those open-element CAI's with the filter right underneath the hood vent where rain will pour in and stall the engine.
 

2015 Silver GT

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Why are you running 86 octane when the minimum is 87?
 

csmaan12

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Why are you running 86 octane when the minimum is 87?
Shoot I didn't even notice that he said that. Try a few fill ups of 93 man, that might be the difference right there.
 
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mikes2017gt

mikes2017gt

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Why are you running 86 octane when the minimum is 87?
Thanks for pointing that out. Typo on my part. I do use 87 octane. That is "regular unleaded" in my part of the country. I have edited my OP.
If I'm going to "have to" use 93 octane, I'll get a tune...which may be the next thing on my list. A Ford Performance pack. While it's still considered "aftermarket", having it done at the dealer will buy me that much more credibility if any issues arise.

A year or so down the road I'm planning on going FI and at that point my whole warranty will be in the toilet. But for now, I want to stay safe.
 

fewt

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Thanks for pointing that out. Typo on my part. I do use 87 octane. That is "regular unleaded" in my part of the country. I have edited my OP.
If I'm going to "have to" use 93 octane, I'll get a tune...which may be the next thing on my list. A Ford Performance pack. While it's still considered "aftermarket", having it done at the dealer will buy me that much more credibility if any issues arise.

A year or so down the road I'm planning on going FI and at that point my whole warranty will be in the toilet. But for now, I want to stay safe.
You get more of a bump from switching to premium than you do a no tune CAI as running 87 robs you of around 10HP alone. If you switch to premium with your CAI you'll probably see an improvement.
 
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mikes2017gt

mikes2017gt

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You get more of a bump from switching to premium than you do a no tune CAI. Running 87 robs you of around 10HP alone.
Really? I did not know that. Hmm. May have to give a couple tanks of 93 a try...never used anything but 87 in the car since I bought it.

If were I run 93 all the time I'd be set for one of the FP packs. Thank you.
 

Spartanator

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I was really looking at this intake, still am actually! Hard to believe you put 87 in that nice car... I get it if you drive 20K miles a year or but I can't even put that in my pressure washer/dirt bikes or lawn mowers. I'll be watching to see if you bump that intake back in for a few tanks of 93, I'd wager to think you'll enjoy 93 a bit better. I won't even stop at gas stations that are more than 5 years old or within 5 miles of water.
 
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mikes2017gt

mikes2017gt

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I was really looking at this intake, still am actually! Hard to believe you put 87 in that nice car... I get it if you drive 20K miles a year or but I can't even put that in my pressure washer/dirt bikes or lawn mowers. I'll be watching to see if you bump that intake back in for a few tanks of 93, I'd wager to think you'll enjoy 93 a bit better. I won't even stop at gas stations that are more than 5 years old or within 5 miles of water.
LOL! I can understand your logic. To elaborate on how I gas up: I don't just buy the cheapest crap gas I can find at "Bob's corner store." I ONLY fill up at brand-new or newish places with a name that I know and trust. My go-to are Valero stations that are always crazy busy or a Shell place by me that is small, but always busy.

Honestly, the intake was so easy to swap that if I did it again I could probably do the whole job in 20 mins or so.

I may try a few tanks of 93 and if the difference is definitely noticeable I may consider swapping the Airaid back in there. But then again, the fact that it killed my exhaust note is a major turnoff for me. The car sounded "choked" if that makes sense, compared to how it sounded with the stock airbox.

During my CAI research I had read quite a few times that b/c the stock airbox is a CAI already and designed decently that it actually flows quite well. Right now I'm leaning towards agreeing with that.
 

fewt

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Really? I did not know that. Hmm. May have to give a couple tanks of 93 a try...never used anything but 87 in the car since I bought it.

If were I run 93 all the time I'd be set for one of the FP packs. Thank you.
Took me a few minutes to find it, but check out this dyno and thread.

https://themustangsource.com/forums/f726/87-vs-93-octane-dyno-graph-484635/

I noticed a difference via butt dyno when I switched my (now traded) 2012 from 87 to 91 years ago. It may be more significant now that our cars make more power, all of Ford's marketing specs and materials are benchmarked using premium fuel. I'm thinking you'll see an improvement.
 
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mikes2017gt

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Get a real CAI that actually intakes far away from the engine. The Airaid is more of a short ram intake
What would you say is "a real CAI?" I did my research and thought I chose pretty well. The Airaid is a nicely-made piece of gear...even if it didn't work well for me.

Even the stock airbox is a CAI that takes in air from the front grill, not under the hood like many other CAI's do.
 

VinnAY

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That's a Dog Sh*t answer, tell someone that $350 intake needs 87>93 octane to get something out of it. Complete baloney answer that only covers up the fact that a CAI in and of itself on these cars is a total waste of money.
I hate this BBK I have, total waste and they're all the same basic short-ram intake design, not a single one innovates anything over the next. And don't look at the gauges and notice that at 80mph you're still reading at least 6 over ambient. I mean no one thinks this is cold air but knowing what it read with the stock air box...no difference.
 

Synyster06Gates

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That's a Dog Sh*t answer, tell someone that $350 intake needs 87>93 octane to get something out of it. Complete baloney answer that only covers up the fact that a CAI in and of itself on these cars is a total waste of money.
I hate this BBK I have, total waste and they're all the same basic short-ram intake design, not a single one innovates anything over the next. And don't look at the gauges and notice that at 80mph you're still reading at least 6 over ambient. I mean no one thinks this is cold air but knowing what it read with the stock air box...no difference.
Sure, tell that to the dynos that show a significant gain between the PMAS intake and stock back to back.

OP - your exhaust has absolutely nothing to do with the intake. At all. If you were running 87 before and 87 after, that shouldn't be the difference. Check your install thoroughly and make sure there's no leaks or anything.
 

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