Lots of fresh air is good for both people and cars. Getting more fresh air for yourself might involve less TV and more outdoor exercise, but getting more fresh air for your Mustang is much easier.
An engine is a giant air/fuel pump so the more air you can pump through it, the more horsepower it will produce. Factory air cleaners and air intakes are somewhat restricted for a variety of reasons including noise. Performance people don’t mind the sound of more air as long as it means more power and better fuel economy.
The amount of increased air volume can vary depending on the brand and design of the cold air kit. The higher flowing units such as the one in these photos require that the car’s computer be re-flashed. Smaller flowing kits can often be used without any computer adjustments. You should check into this before purchasing a cold air kit.
Re-flashing your computer can add substantially to the total cost of the cold air kit. A kit that requires re-flashing will give better results, but you need to buy a special reprogramming tool. The tool is matched to you car’s VIN so it can only be used on the car it’s registered to. You can do lots of valuable tuning and diagnostic procedures with the re-flashing programmer, but it is an added expense. The programmer can also do things such as adjust your speedometer if you change tire diameters.
A cold air kit will improve any Mustang. They’re most popular with the V-8 crowd, but V-6 cars can see very noticeable gains, too. Depending on the kit and manufacturer a late-model Mustang V-6 can expect a 20-25 hp gain and a V-8 can expect an additional 25-30 with a cold air kit and reprogramming.
Russell Williams at Tulsa Car FX demonstrated what it takes to install a cold air kit in a 2005 or newer V-6 Mustang. The procedure is similar for V-8 Mustangs.
Tulsa Car FX
The factory air cleaner is inside this big plastic box attached to the driver’s side front fender.
The oversized high performance air filters in cold air kits come pre-oiled. The oil traps dirt and dust. There are recharging kits for use when a filter gets too dirty.
The original air filter is removed by first disconnecting the mass air meter wiring harness. Press the red tab and pull the harness away from the meter.
Unbolt the air filter assembly from the fender and loosen the hose clamp on the factory flexible intake tube.
The factory air box mounting grommets are removed for reuse on the new aluminum shield.
The Ford mass air meter sensor must be removed from the air filter box using a 20T Torx driver. The sensor will be reused in the new system.
The aluminum heat shield that surrounds the air filter and seals to the hood has its sharp edges protected with a rubber gasket. This is to protect your hands when servicing the filter.
A gasket is placed between the aluminum heat shield and the new billet meter body.
Blue thread sealant is placed in the thread holes of the rubber air guide.
The rubber air guide goes on the inside of the aluminum heat shield. The air guide, meter and shield should be indexed so the air passages match.
The supplied fasteners are installed from the backside of the shield at the base of the billet meter body.
A little blue thread sealant is placed in the two threaded holes on the billet meter body.
It’s very important that the mass air meter sensor is installed with the arrow pointing in the direction of the incoming airflow. If it’s put in backwards the engine won’t run right.
The mass air meter sensor is installed and secured to the billet meter body.
The billet meter body is attached to the factory flexible intake tube and the aluminum heat shield is secured to the fender.
The mass air meter wiring harness is reconnected.
The high performance air filter is installed and secured to the air guide. That completes the physical part of the cold air kit installation.
An SCT Xcalibrator II re-flash programmer was used to reprogram the car’s computer.
The Xcalibrator connects to the OBD II port and you follow the on-screen commands. The ignition needs to be turned on, but don’t start the car. Turn off any accessories. The programmer stores your stock program before installing the performance one.