Steeda Cold Air intake CAI Install

After about 6 months of deliberation I bit the bullet and order the Steeda Cold Air Intake and their Tuner from Steeda at the cost of $699.95 and they through in free shipping.

I ordered the Steeda CAI for the 2012 3.7l Mustang V6 and their Tuner loader which came with 2 custom tunes, and 87 octane + CAI and a 91 Octane +CAI. Ron at Steeda said they would provide new custom tunes for any other Steeda parts I bought that required a tune. 

As a side note the Tuner also has an adjustment for gearing, so if you re-gear your rear end you don’t necessarily need to buy or ask for another Tune you just change gear setting in the Tuner (Provided it is one of the set ups already in there). The Tuner also reads trouble codes, something I did not know before I bought one, so that adds to the value in my mind. (Though I already own an actron)

I loaded the 87 Octane + CAI program because I still had more then 1/2 a tank of 87 octane in my Mustang. 

When you unpack the CAI you immediately realize that the parts are all high quality. All the fasteners and hose clamps are Stainless Steel. The air box is also laser cut Stainless Steel. The only plastic part is the vent tube on the bottom of the air box that plumbs in to the factory air inlet. (and the vacuum elbow if you have an Automatic Transmission, I have a Manual Transmission so I did not need it.)

The tube between the velocitizer and the Throttle Body (inlet tube) is re-enforced silicone . One of the things that concerned me about some of the other CIA is that the inlet tube is made from molded plastic and I have seen a number of people post that they fit very tight. I saw this as a potential problem, I was wondering if the stresses on the tightly fit molded plastic might crack over time and let in unfiltered air. It seemed to me that the re-enforced silicone was a better material since it is pliable.
  The cone filter is down right massive and appears to be well made. I believe it has a micro fiber element over a stainless steel wire mesh.  
  The velocitizer or Velocity Stack is nothing short of stunning. It is very substantial piece of Billet aluminum that has been turned with a toroidal type funnel interior. (This puppy is thick!) This funnel feeds the air from the large cone filter pass the Mass Air Flow sensor and into the inlet hose which connects to the throttle body.
  Even the connector between the inlet hose and the PCV hose is solid piece of machined aluminum. (Make sure you insert the end of this piece with a lip on it into the silicone inlet tube and the smooth end into the PCV hose connector)
  There is a built in slot in the velocitizer for the MAF, just simply remove OEM MAF from the OEM intake and put in the new intake.
The manufacture claims this design will deliver colder air than some other designs and I am inclined to believe that claim. The Silicone Inlet hose seems like it will insulate the air from engine heat better then thin plastic or bare metal. The massive Velocity Stack seems like it will stay cool and the Stainless steel air box should reflect Radiant heat from the engine.
I have run CAI on my previous vehicles and this is by far the best quality I have ever owned. 

It took me about 45 minutes to assemble the CAI, that includes unpacking, reading instructions, grabbing my tools and bolting it together. 



Steeda Cold Air Intake Just insert the Velocity Stack into the Air Box and bolt it together. Then Bolt on the bracket and Dowels onto the air box. Then insert the MAF and Bolt it down. Clamp on the filter, insert the PCV adapter and loosely clamp on the Silicone inlet hose. Put the rubber trim around the air box and your pretty much ready to swap out the EOM intake.  
Steeda CAI The tuner I got from Steeda is a SCT X3 with the custom tunes pre-loaded. It takes about 10 minutes for the tuner to run through its cycles. Make sure you have a nice comfortable place to set your tuner while it does its magic, you don’t want to interrupt it while it is communicating with your vehicle.

So far I have only driven about 80 miles but it is clear that this set up offers more power. The throttle is crisper and I have no doubt the motor is delivering more torque to the rear wheels. I could feel the rear end locking up when I crossed spandrels with water in them from a stop. I cross these same wet concrete gutters everyday on the way to work and I never felt the rear lock and grip unless I was really getting up on it. This morning I was just driving in a modest fashion till I got to some open road. You can also feel it when you get pushed back into your seat when you are getting on the freeway.

On the freeway you can easily spend more time in 6th and 5th gear. Even driving up a long rural road at 40mph in 6th gear it clearly had more power even though the motor was only turning 1K. I am dying to try the 91 octane tune.

I am convinced the power band starts lower and feels straighter, there is less of a lag when RPMs are building. That threshold when you start from 0 mph at idle till the power comes on is much smoother and comes at lower RPMs.

There is more power all the way through from 1500 RPM to 5000 RPM, I really have not had much of a chance to run my Stang in the higher RPM range though, I have scarcely got it to 5000, that is still unknown territory.

I would not say that this set up makes the car much louder but it does change the tone of the motor, there is a deeper thoatier sound from the motor. You also hear some hiss from the intake (When your throttling up), it has sort of turbo whistle with the sound of the waste gate discharge, kind or a mystery at the moment.

In the end I am thinking that if I eventually upgrade my exhaust the intake work will pay off even more, I think I will be able to flow more air in and out. I did not have upgraded exhaust on my radar until a couple of new thoughts came to mind. The first being that better exhaust can flow more air out of the motor aided by the the higher volume CAI and the second was saving on weight. There is 4 weights bolted on to my OEM stock exhaust, I would imagine they all come this way. When I post a question about it someone mentioned their after market exhaust was much lighter weight then the EOM exhaust.

When you romp on it you do notice the motor sounds more throaty. The acceleration and the sound together are a fairly sublime indulgence. It is hard not to lead foot the skinny pedal, I am starting feel like one of those rats that keeps hitting the button to send a jolt to just the right part of my brain.

Only time will tell how the MPG will play out. I need to get over the thrill or steppen’ on it so I can go back to my old driving habits. For the time being my MPG read out is saying about the same as it did before the upgrade.

So far it seems well worth the money and I am glad I spent a little extra to buy the Steeda because of the quality and the fact that it is made in the USA.

Now for the down side, If you want to shed some weight over your OEM intake I am pretty sure the Steeda CAI weighs more, I did not throw anything on a scale but I don’t think any one who has picked them both up is going to argue with me.

The instructions were pretty good though I thought the assembly steps were slightly out of order. You want to bolt on the dowels and bracket on the air box before you put the air filter on. Small details, but why not be honest right?

The instruction also mention using more washers then were supplied, though I think they actually provided the correct amount of washers. You may have to apply some common sense to use
the washers in the right spots as apposed to following the instructions to the letter.

I was also surprised that there was not any lock tight for some of the screws, I may go back and lock tight some of the screws.

The rubber trim that goes on the edge of the air box could prolly use some silicone adhesive, they do mention using contact cement to keep it in place if necessary, but what guy with grease under his nails isn’t going to use some black RTV? (no adhesive was provided).

Lastly I would say that the 2 stainless bolts/screws provided for the MAF sensor have some mighty tiny allen heads on them, now as I said in other posts I am Ham Fisted Oaf, so I am bound to chew them up. I would recommend a screw with a larger allen head on it, them little pan head bolts look slick but they can be kind of fragile.

T Clark – Flipflop