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Homemade air intake

Hi everyone, I’m new here, and I was wondering…

I have found many videos and instructions on the internet on how to make a cold air ram intake for your car. I was wondering if it is safe to make your own intake for your car with materials such as radiator hoses etc. I read some comments on videos, and a large argument about whether rubber particles from tubing would get sucked into your engine and essentially destroy it. So what does everybody think? Is it safe to make your own cold air intake?

From what i understand the advantages of having one are improved fuel economy, and a more responsive engine, and more horsepower. Here is a video of somebody’s homemade air intake :


Thanks everyone!

I don’t think I would try a home made job. A well made modification can be helpful to some extent on some cars (sorry I don’t know which might or might not resond well. On many cars it just does not make enough differenct to bother.

Good Luck

Its not the rubber parts I would be concerned with, it the metal screws and other metal parts I would worry about.

This work is of questionable practical value,but good for hobby type work. Perhaps it will give you a chance to improve your fabrication skills.

Thanks! I looked up some parts online, they seemed rather pricy, but we’ll see how much I’m willing to put into my car. My dad thinks its a total waste of money what I’m doing, but he’s not like me. haha

Good thinking,
I’m only 16, but I love to build and tinker with stuff, and I think if I can do this right, it’ll be great practice. I had a lot of fun taking apart my car to wire up a sub woofer enclosure! Its great to have an older car, because everything is so simple to take apart and put back together, i think its a great learning experience!

Not likely to do harm if you know what you’re doing, but it will do nothing to improve mpgs, and will have a small impact (maybe) on power, but only when you have it floored. It will/might sound more powerful, but the noise can be a pain for long highway drives. Up to you, just don’t kid yourself that it’ll be some great improvement.

Thanks! If the price isn’t too bad, the car already has great pickup, so if it’ll sound better, I might go for it. But if it’s that impractical, I may not. I have more research to do.

What kind of car are we talking about here?

My bad I didn’t see the questiont tags. At any rate I doubt you’ll see much improvement on Saturn wagon. You might get some more noise out of it though.

You should keep the original parts. Cold air is never supposed to go into an engine. You will end up reducing performance, economy and power. Rubber particles are never going to be a problem.

Well I haven’t done anything yet, I figured I should do a LOT of research first, because this car has lasted about 16 years no problems, so I don’t want to mess it up stupidly… And I’m very cautious haha

Its fine, If I do it I’ll definitely post how it worked out, but I’m all for a more aggressive sounding engine!

For a Saturn Station Wagon ?
I wouldn’t do it.
Its not going to do anything noticeable besides make more noise on this vehicle.

One point I’d like to add…a ram air intake properly done may help performance, but it will not improve fuel economy.

What it does (if properly done) is allow (on the highway when the car is moving) some pressure increase in the intake of the engine, allowing some additional fuel mix to be drawn in during the intake stroke. It works like a very, very, very weak turbocharger. It does the same think as scoops on carburators used to do forr us old guys, increase the intake pressure when the car is moving.

You seem like an intelligent fella that does your homework and asks the right questions. I sat “go for it” and let us know how you make out. It’ll be fun, and you’ll learn something. But I suggest getting flexable intake ductwork at the parts store rather than trying to jury-rig cooling hoses. You’ll have a much cleaner and better result aesthetically.

I agree. just make sure everything is held down good.

Just for the heck of it I installed a homemade CAI on my 1993 Chevrolet Caprice 5.0 V8). The most expensive part was the cone filter (~$30). The Caddy Air Intake assembly was $5 from a junkyard. The PVC pipe and the 45 degree were leftovers from a bathroom remodeling project. The biggest mod was drilling a hole in the assembly to mount the Intake Air Temp (IAT) sensor. The assembly bolted right onto the TBI.

I got the idea from this setup.

Extra power, probably not. But it sounds good and makes access to the motor a lot easier. I check the fittings occasionally, but it’s been on the car for about 3 years with no problems. The best way to get more horsepower from a 5.0 L03 motor would be to unplug the cigarette lighter and back up an Impala SS onto it.

Ed B.


Sooner or later someone is going to challenge me and say that it reduces pumping losses and therefore improves mileage. Perhaps. But I’d need numbers to be convined.

And I think those people are wrong. The throttle and parts downstream of it govern pumping losses, and unless it’s floored, there is no reduction in pumpling losses from a CAI for any needed power output.

Cold is never supposed go into an engine? Huh? I guess all those turbo cars with intercoolers that cool the air before it makes to the combustion chamber are bad ideas? I guess those giant scoops that you see on races are there to keep the engine from making too much power:).

I would really like to hear your reasoning for that statement.

I would imagine there would be a minuscule improvement in pumping losses, though anyone would be hard-pressed to measure it.

I base that on the assumption that for any given throttle opening, the ram intake will very slightly increase the air pressure on the inlet side of the throttle plate.

Again, I’m speaking what should happen in theory. In practical terms the OP’s application would be way to small to measure or notice any improvement.