Air, it’s everywhere around us. Yet stuffing it into our engines, without ingesting unwanted debris, has a fair bit of science involved. When Chevrolet designs a new car they aren’t necessarily trying to design an air intake system that delivers the most power. They balance a host of factors, including inlet air temps, emissions, cost, and even the whooshing noise of the air. They also only need to move enough air to support their power goals under their specific engine tune.
Enter the aftermarket. They know a certain segment of car owners (that would be you) are looking to get more power out of their Chevy. There are two basic ways in which an air intake system could increase power. The first is that it allows more air to smoothly enter the engine. More air means the ECU can add more fuel and more of those two things means more power. The other is for the system to add cooler, denser air, which can allow for more timing. If a system can do both, so much the better.
Fifth-gen Camaros, like any newer Chevy, have a pretty typical air intake system. There’s a sealed airbox containing the filter. Air enters the airbox through a cold-air scoop, where cooler air from outside the hot engine bay can enter. The air intake tube has large “silencers” to help lower the noise of rushing air and the system uses an inexpensive, somewhat restrictive and completely disposable, paper filter element. These parts work but they are more restrictive than they need to be, which costs power. Here’s what’s involved with installing one of these kits, this one from Airaid, on a fifth-gen 2014 Camaro SS.
1. After removing the Camaro’s LS3 engine cover we were ready to pull out the factory airbox assembly.
2. First up was removing the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor by removing the two bolts (9/32 wrench or #20 Torx bit). We carefully moved it out of the way to the top of the engine.
3. Using a 10mm deep socket, we removed and saved the two bolts that secured the box to the fenderwell. We then loosened the hose clamp to the air tube. With that done we removed the lid from the airbox.
4. After disconnecting the breather hose and loosening the hose clamp on the throttle body, we removed the factory air intake tube. You can get a good look at the large “silencer” baffles that GM built into the tube.
5. The lower airbox assembly wasn’t bolted down, just held in place by pegs on the bottom of the bow that went into rubber grommets. A hard yank freed it from the car, but we made sure not to lose the grommets since they would be reused.
6. We squeezed the sides of the fresh air intake scoop and removed it from the factory airbox.
7. And here’s the MPX Air Intake System from Airaid (PN 251-305) for our 2014 Camaro SS. They don’t make a kit yet that’s legal in California, but it was good to go on our Arizona Camaro. The filters come in red, blue, and black as well as oiled and unoiled. The oiled filter is called the SynthaFlow and the non-oiled is the SynthaMax. We were told the oiled version flows a bit more since the orifices in the material are slightly larger since it uses the oil to help trap particulates. But the non-oiled filter still flows within 5-percent of the oiled version and is easier to service.
8. We flipped the new cold-air box (CAB) upside down and installed the bracket and rubber bumper as shown using the supplied locknut and washer. This was also when we snapped the stock fresh air intake scoop into the new CAB.
9. Next up was removing the ground lug from the driver-side inner fender using a 10mm wrench. It was set aside for use later.
10. The ground lug was replaced by a small bracket using the 6mm bolt and lock washer provided in the kit.
11. The filter adapter was installed in the new CAB using three 1/4 button head bolts, and the silicone coupler was put in place with the new hose clamps.
12. We reinstalled the two grommets that we pulled from the factory airbox into the new cold-air box (CAB). The box was then sat in place and aligned so that the factory studs lined up with the grommets. The CAB was then secured with the factory nuts. With the box in place we reinstalled the ground lug though the box and bolted it to the new bracket we installed using a 6mm flange nut.
13. We could then install the new Airaid intake tube, tighten up all the hose clamps, and reinstall the factor MAF sensor.
14. After installing the 3/8x1/4 NPT fitting into the new air intake tube we attached the breather hose from there to the steel crankcase breather tube on the valve cover.
15. And here you can see the complete system installed with the large 1,400-cfm Airaid non-oiled SynthaMax filter. As Airaid told us regarding the filter, “The SynthaMax uses our proprietary synthetic material, which means you never have to oil it. When it’s ready to be cleaned, you just take it off the car and hose it down with Simple Green, Formula 409, or any other non-petroleum based cleaner. Let it sit for a while, thoroughly rinse it from the inside out, and let it dry naturally without using any kind of compressed air. When it’s dry, just stick it back on the car and go.” You can also spot the weatherstrip we installed around the edge of the CAB. This helps isolate the CAB from the hot air of the engine bay. We couldn’t get access to the dyno, but we’ve seen consistent gains of anywhere from 10 to 20 horsepower and torque with these kits on new Camaros (bigger gains on modified cars), which makes this a no-brainer if you want some easy bolt-on power.