We knew it wouldn’t take long for manufacturers of high-performance parts to start pumping out upgrade parts for the sixth gen. Even though this latest generation of Chevy’s pony car comes with incredible horsepower and torque right from the factory, there’s always room for improvement. It’s also no surprise that a cold air intake system is one of the first products available for the 2016 Camaro. After all, it is one of the first things that customers consider changing when looking for more power.
This system from Cold Air Inductions is a little different than what you may be accustomed to seeing. First, the air box and tube are made from aluminum, not plastic, to avoid distortion and other problems that can affect plastic in high-temperature environments over time. Second, and important for performance, in addition to increasing air flow, the Cold Air Inductions system features a thermal-coated air inlet tube and the airbox has heat insulation. Both of these features keep the air in the intake from being heated by high underhood temperatures. The net result is that the air reaching the engine is cooler than it would be with the stock air intake system. Cooler air means denser air, contributing to more power. The Cold Air Inductions system also features a fully-enclosed airbox so you’re sure that the system is always sealed properly, and the airbox has an inspection window making it easy for you to check the condition of the air filter without disassembling anything. The highly efficient, reusable air filter features an interior radiused edge to eliminate turbulence and increase air flow even further.
We photographed an installation and dyno test of the new system on a 2016 Camaro SS. The complete installation takes less than 30 minutes, making it one of the easiest power gains you can install on just about any vehicle. It does not require a performance PCM tune, and it won’t void a factory warranty. The end result? An honest 26.8 lb-ft torque and 11 horsepower gain!
1. As good as GM has become at providing high horsepower engines in the Camaro, there is still room for improvement. The Cold Air Inductions system will provide more power and a performance intake sound to match the throaty exhaust tone of the SS.
2. The first step is to disconnect the battery, which is now hidden behind an access panel on the passenger side of the trunk. Use a 10-millimeter wrench to loosen the negative battery clamp and remove the cable from the battery.
3. Use pliers to squeeze the hose clamp and remove the sound enhancer hose that attaches to the original air intake elbow (arrow). The PCV tube is held removed by pushing on the gray clip at the clamp then lifting the hose upward.
4. Use a nut driver or screwdriver to loosen the clamps holding the air intake elbow to the throttle body and to the air box. Since a 2016 Camaro shouldn’t have too many miles on it, there should not be too much debris around the throttle body to worry about, and the parts should come apart pretty easily.
5. It’s easiest to remove the air intake elbow by pushing down on it near the throttle body. The soft rubber construction should deflect and come free from the throttle body fairly easily. Then you can rotate the elbow and remove it from the airbox.
6. Next, you need to prepare the airbox for removal. The sound enhancer hose is attached to the airbox between the engine and the airbox. Simply release the clamp to free it.
7. Firmly grasp the air box as shown and rock it left-to-right to remove it from its mounts. Do not lift the airbox out of the vehicle yet, though, because the MAF sensor is still installed in it and connected to the car via a wiring harness.
8. Do not disconnect the wiring harness from the MAF sensor – doing so will cause the check engine light to come on. Instead, leave it connected and remove the Torx head screws that attach the sensor to the air box. Gently set the MAF sensor on the engine until you’re ready to install it in the new Cold Air Inductions system.
9. It’s common for the rubber grommets used in the airbox mount to come out with the airbox. Pull them off of the airbox and reinstall them on the car. There are a total of three (arrows).
10. Now it’s time to prep the Cold Air Inductions airbox. The reusable air filter comes pre-oiled, so you simply need to push the filter through the opening in the airbox.
11. The Cold Air Inductions airbox installs in the car the same way that factory box did: push it down squarely and firmly once you have lined up the mounts with the rubber grommets in the chassis.
12. On some cars, you may need to push the air conditioning hose down approximately ¼ inch to clear the new air inlet tube. Do this gently to avoid putting a kink in the metal line – you only need to move it a little bit.
13. Cold Air Inductions provides new fasteners for the MAF sensor, and they come installed in the air inlet tube. Remove the fasteners, carefully slide the MAF sensor into the tube, keeping the inner and outer layers aligned. Tighten the fasteners to hold the MAF sensor in place.
14. Slip the supplied clamp over the air cleaner base and then push the air inlet tube into the air cleaner. It will stop when fully seated in the air filter because of the integrated stop that Cold Air Inductions engineered into the filter. Don’t tighten the clamp just yet.
15. Look at the air inlet tube and MAF sensor from the engine (looking forward in the car). There is an arrow on the air inlet tube which should line up with the alignment mark on the base of the filter. These must align with the MAF sensor at approximately the 2 o’clock location for optimum performance. Now you can tighten the clamp.
16. Use a small flat screwdriver to pry open the band clamps that hold these two fitting to the factory air intake elbow. They will be transferred to the new Cold Air Inductions air intake elbow, and attached using the provided clamps.
17. Loosely fit the hose clamps over the new elbow and slide the piece into place. You’ll probably need to loosen the clamps slightly compared to how they are shipped with the new intake system in order to get the rubber elbow to slide over the throttle body and the air inlet tube.
18. Align the elbow, air inlet tube and air filter so they form a straight line, using the air inlet tube as your visual reference. Push the PVC hose back in to place – it will click when the clamp locks. Use pliers to squeeze the spring clamp and attach the sound enhancer hose to the new air intake elbow.
19. The Cold Air Inductions airbox lid is attached with three ¼-turn screws. That means that you only need to turn them a ¼ turn to lock the lid in place or to remove if you want to clean and re-oil the air filter.
20. The finished product looks great, with a high-quality power-coated finish that is durable. The Cold Air Inductions system for the Camaro6 is available in the black finish shown as well as a near-chrome coating.
Real-World Power Testing
Dyno testing has a lot more variables than many people consider. There are testing standards that vehicle manufacturers adhere to, but for power claims in the aftermarket, you’re largely relying on the honesty of the manufacturer. And you can’t compare one company’s dyno numbers to another. For example, the base (before) numbers in this test are lower than many that we see on forums for a stock 2016 Camaro SS. This makes it important to look at the gains, rather than just the “after” numbers. Cold Air Inductions only conducts rear-wheel dyno testing. They want to give you an indication of what the performance difference will be as the system is installed in your vehicle, not an engine in a dyno cell. They also conduct the test with the hood closed. Even with the closed airbox design of the Cold Air Inductions systems, a closed hood is still a more honest test because the underhood temperatures affect the power gain. Testing with the hood open provides inaccurate data since the airbox seals against the hood. With the hood open, these systems will have greater airflow than a customer will ever see while driving down the road. You can’t drive a dyno!