Is a Cold Air Intake (CAI kit) worth it?

Discussion in 'Performance & Fuel' started by jworm, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. 2011laserblue

    2011laserblue Rockstar 3 Years ROTM Winner 100 Posts

    I have the 63 series CAI from K&N and I've been pretty happy with it. Don't expect to see considerable performance gains, but I did feel a slight increase in power during "high speed" accelerations. The whole idea behind a CAI is to bring in more, cooler air to increase engine efficiency. It would probably be best if you paired one with a full exhaust system, that way you are bringing the air in and blowing it out in a more efficient manner.

    The CAI most noticeably made my exhaust sound a little better…but as far as noticeable performance, it just depends on what you consider to be noticeable.

    With that being said, if I were to buy a new truck I'd throw one on…I don't really have a justifiable reason for you, I'm just saying I'd do it again.

    I wouldn't bother with a throttle body spacer…all it will do is make a "woosh" sound. To quote JennaBear from BlackBear performance tuning: "The TBS are a waste on the newer engines as the fuel is sprayed after the throttle body. The air is already "spun up" as it goes through the throttle body, so the TBS basically duplicates the effort. The TBS won't hurt your engine however, that being said, some folks wind up having problems with the spacer as it is one more thing to wiggle lose and cause leaks." That pretty much sums it up.

    I also bring up BlackBear because for myself I intend do use these guys this summer rather than a "chip", "programmer", or "tuner". BlackBear logs data and makes changes specifically for your truck and driving application, whereas a tuner can only take you as far as the tuner will let you.

    As far as the 2014 models go, I definitely would not be willing to put a tuner on one. Because of the new technological advances I would be hesitant to do any engine work besides an intake and exhaust until about a year or so. The bugs have to be worked out and these trucks keep getting smarter and smarter -- a guy that works at my dad's dealership has a 08' Duramax that he installed an H&S tuner on (which is a pretty popular and "respectable" tuner), and it no longer works because the trucks computer system "figured it out" and shuts it down while in the "wild" setting. All of the work was done by our award winning service dept, so when even they suggest that I (being the owners son, not just a customer), stay away from tuners, I believe them.

    Bottom line if it was for me, start out small with these new models and eventually work your way up! No Tuner, no TBS.

    Hope this helped!

    PS if you do decide to go with a CAI, I got mine from -- that is what I would recommend. They are always running 20% off promotions that are applicable to the K&N intake that I got…so it isn't such a "waste of money".
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  2. JimmyA

    JimmyA Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    What performance gain do you get? What mpg gain are you experiencing? Do you have proof of such?
  3. 2011laserblue

    2011laserblue Rockstar 3 Years ROTM Winner 100 Posts

    Like I said, as far as performance gains go I have felt minimal gains during WOT, otherwise nothing. I do not have any numbers for "proof", it is just what I felt. MPG gain, I'm not sure…my current lift, tire, and gear set up robs me of a lot of MPG's that a CAI alone will not be enough to counter any of that. K&N advertises a 1-2 MPG increase..I don't think I've experienced this.

    As I said, the thing I've noticed the most is the sound, a slight increase in power when accelerating at wide open.
  4. b-radical

    b-radical Rockstar 100 Posts

    in my opinion, no it is not worth it.
  5. summitwhite11

    summitwhite11 Active Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    All GM has to say is your tune caused the failure, its really up to you to prove it didnt,
  6. JimmyA

    JimmyA Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    If you have felt a gain @ WOT you have Lost MPG! JMHO, a CAI is a waste of $$$$$$! I am a dyno inspector of the power plants that power the vehicles that have and are Kicking the Talibans ARSE! I'm not going to argue with anyone, or anytime over the air induction enhancement but if you add more to a ECM, you will consume more gas! Nuff said....
  7. dobey

    dobey Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    If you're running at WOT all the time, you're just pissing gas, no matter what intake setup you have. Fuel consumption is not linear. At 5000 RPM you are not using ten times as much fuel as you are at 500 RPM idle. You're using up closer to 1000 times as much fuel. But only "feeling" a gain at that RPM doesn't tell you anything about what MPG changes you would see under normal driving either.

    A CAI isn't entirely a waste of money. It's a supporting mod. You're not going to see any real difference with it alone. Or with just exhaust and CAI either. You'll need at least some head work and maybe a cam at least, to see any real benefit. Or a turbo or supercharger to see more benefit.
  8. 2011laserblue

    2011laserblue Rockstar 3 Years ROTM Winner 100 Posts

    First of all I never stated that I noticed an increase in MPG. The question presented was "will I notice anything" and I answered his question. Yes, I've noticed something. It is minimal, and during high speed accelerations, but it is there. Is it worth it? That is up for him to decide. It doesn't matter if you have a CAI or not, if you are running WOT you are losing MPG anyway. You aren't going to add a CAI and gain 2-3 MPG, and I've stated that. Dual exhaust is supposed to increase your MPG, but mine has gone down. Why? Because I have a lead foot and like to hear the exhaust. MPG has a lot more to do with air going into the ECM.

    You think they're worthless, great. Mine hasn't given me any reason to believe that I wasted all 255 (discounted price) of my dollars on it. No one is asking you to argue. This site is designed to help people. The guy had a question, people responded, he will assess those responses and make a decision based on what he think is best. Lets not turn this great forum into GMFS with the back and forth nonsense.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Well said.

    Here's a pretty good video of what appears to be only a CAI. Not saying I agree, or disagree, but this is how it worked for this particular person:

    This person claims he saw a 5% decrease in 0-60 time, a 4% decrease in 0-70 time, and a 4% decrease in 0-80 time after adding the CAI.

    So, if this is true, then @jworm can decide whether or not 5% at best is worth the money or not.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  9. dobey

    dobey Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    But that is not normal driving, either. He's going WOT all the way to 80 MPH. The AVG MPG readout on the dash is also somewhat unreliably as well. The couple of tenths in 0-60 time picked up seems plausible. The MPG gain on the other hand, doesn't. I've had the Airiad MIT and filter in my truck for about 18 months now, and I've seen no significant MPG change.
  10. Cowpie

    Cowpie Rockstar 3 Years 500 Posts

    I come at this with a slightly different view. I did an Airaid MIT on my 2013. The filter box I had no problem with, but I did replace the stock filter with an Amsoil air filter. Sure, I wanted better flow, but the main reason I did the mod was to get that stock intake tube out of there! That thing looks like it is trying to get the lead role in the next Elephant Man movie. Talk about some strange looking piece of crap that looks like it is growing cancerous tumors. By putting on the Airaid, it really "cleaned up" the engine compartment and just plain looks better. Now, if it helps with performance and efficiency in the future, that is icing on the cake.

Share This Page

Newest Gallery Photos