How To Install Cold Air Intake (V6 & V8 Mustang)
Most 96-04 MustangsPosted June 16th, 2008 by TheProfessor
A cold air intake (CAI) is a great way to improve gas mileage, increase hp and get a throatier sound from the engine. Watch this video and you can avoid common pitfalls with this install such as trying to install in one piece.
What You'll Need
Wrenches: 8mm and 10mm.
The steps in this video apply to most V6 and V8 Mustangs.
The cold air intake is a very common modification. We are going to demonstrate every step of the installation process on this V6 Mustang.
After you open the hood you'll see the intake assembly on the left stretching from the fender up to the throttle body. Almost everything in this highlighted area will be replaced.
The first step is to locate and disconnect all wiring harnesses. A small flat head screwdriver makes this extra easy. Next, locate the two clips that seal the air filter housing and unlatch them. The second one is a little out of sight but still easy to access.
There is one bolt that keeps the air filter housing anchored to the body. Go ahead and remove it and save it for later. With the bolt off you can separate the intake which will require a little bit of pushing and pulling. Notice that the air filter housing has a snorkel that draws cooler air from the fender. This was good thinking on Ford's part but our larger diameter tubing will be even better!
When you remove that air filter housing one or both of the rubber grommets may have come off with it. We will need these for our new intake so make sure you reinstall them.
Now we can tackle the rest of the intake. At this point we want to disconnect all hoses. For this particular enginer there is only one. After that we can loosen the clamp at the throttle body and remove the assembly. Here's what the intake looks like laid out on the ground. And here are all of the pieces that come with the new kit. You can get this exact kit and many others all at a great price from AmericanMucle.com. They will even ship it to you for free!
Now attach the smaller of the two rubber couplers to the throttle body and then add the two smaller hose clamps. You can tighten them up just a little so they don't fall off. Before we install the first piece of piping we want to transfer the intake air temperature sensor. You can easily pull it out of the original intake and slide it into the rubber mount found on the new pipe. Make sure the air has a clear path across the tip of the sensor.
Now you can install the upper pipe. Twisting it into place helps it fit inside the coupler. Before we forget let's reattach the one hose to the new intake piece. You will need to remove the fitting and I found that a small screwdriver and more twising helped free the stubborn piece. Just be careful not to puncture the hose. Now it will be a little bit of a stretch but you will have just enough clearance to get the hose reconnected.
Tighten up the second hose clamp but not all the way--just enough to keep everything from falling.
There's another piece we need from the original intake and that is the mass air flow sensor. This is actually hidden inside this casing which can be opened up by unclipping 4 points. A quick twist of the screwdriver makes this a breeze.
We're almost there. Using the screwdriver push the edges of the rubber grommet inside the hole. When you get all the way around you can push the grommet and wires through the hole. Remove the two bolts and you finally have the piece you need!
Now here's where you need to be extra careful. The assembly is expensive and the tiny sensor inside it is kind of fragile. So don't drop it or try to clean or touch any of the components inside.
Take the gasket provided in the new kit and fit the second tube onto the mass airflow sensor. Using the hardware provided in the kit bolt the two together. If your mass airflow sensor has a plastic case like some of the V8 engines don't overtighten these bolts--I know from experience that this will crack the plastic.
This kit has a medium size filter which lets you install the filter from the engine bay. Some kits for the V8 have a bigger filter which you can install from the wheel well area.
Now is also a good time to add the mounting points which come with the kit.
Alright, so install the metal plate with the angle edge facing the tube. Then add a hose clamp to the filter and attach the filter to the end of the tube. Since we won't have access to the filter once it is inside the fender tighten the clamp now and check that the filter is secure.
Slide the assembly into place filter first. Steal the rubber mount from the hold intake and secure the plate to the body with the original screw. Then take the second coupler and connect the two pipes. The larger end of the coupler will go on the mass airflow sensor side and will seem a little loose at first. Use the hose clamp to get a air tight fit. With everything in place do a final tighten and check on all hose clamps. Then reconnect all wiring harness connectors. You can also install the supplied screws to help keep the metal plate in place.
Fire up the engine and make sure the car idles smooth and that no check engine lights are present. Both problems could be caused by loose clamps or disconnected sensors.
On top of some extra horsepower the car will have a more agressive sound. The following sound clips are with a stock exhaust.
Now the main differences you will encounter when installing on a V8 are: first, there's only one electrical connection which is on the mass airflow sensor. Second, you will have more than one hose connected to the intake system. And three, you will probably have to plug the hole on the intake tubing since there is no additional sensor. Call your parts seller and ask if this plug is included in your kit.
Thanks again to AmericanMuscle.com for providing the parts and project car. For more information on this episode including transcripts and links to printable instructions check out www.autohow.tv