There are a few solid reasons that trucks are beating passenger cars out the showroom door. Today's pickups and SUVs are more reliable, cost effective, and powerful than ever before. Sure, the price of gas may be at an all-time high, but there's no denying that people are willing to trade that inconvenience for the utility and comfort that comes with a new truck. Add to this the fact that GM has done a great job optimizing power and economy in its new line of haulers and you can see why pickups are in high demand. But that's not to say that there isn't still room for improvement...there is!
That's where companies like K&N Engineering come in. K&N has worked hard for many years designing products that improve a vehicle's breathing capabilities and have recently stepped into the exhaust business centering around new trucks and SUVs. We wanted to test K&N's new exhaust system on their in-house DynoJet chassis dynamometer to see what kind of power benefits it offers and the cool sound it would create. But, before we bolted the new stainless exhaust system behind our cats, we installed K&N's new Fuel Injection Performance Kit (FIPK) so the engine could breath a little easier. Since K&N designed its exhaust systems to complement the FIPK kits, we felt it made the perfect power addition. Then, to make sure we were getting all that we could out of our better breathing truck, we reprogrammed its stock computer using Hypertech's Power Programmer Plus and gave it the ultimate five minute electronic tune up.
In With The Good
When GM configures a new vehicle they are limited by design parameters. The aftermarket is less restricted in its design criteria, and therefore can improve things the factory was forced to handicap. One of those areas is an engine's air inlet system. The factory usually muffles a stock vehicle's air inlet so the car will drive down the road making barely a whisper. But, to make more power we need more air, and higher volumes of oxygen rushing into the engine will make a noise similar to an airplane on a bombing run. So, to keep the mass consumers happy and make their vehicles quiet GM designs complicated air boxes to silence the wind. These present a major restriction to incoming air and removing them will almost always add power. But, unfortunately unbolting the air box usually means removing the air filter, so a new one must be adapted to fit. K&N designs new inlet systems, adding its own reusable air filters to bring out the most power without sacrificing noise. Although you'll definitely hear it after installing a K&N FIPK, you won't be disappointed with the additional power it unleashes.
Out With The Bad
Exhaust is another area the OEM's are restricted in their design flexibility. More attention is usually paid towards cost and ease of manufacture, than it is to sound quality and power. But, if you're anything like us, you'd gladly accept a slightly louder vehicle if it knocks down better mileage and makes more power. According to K&N, its new truck exhaust is completely legal because all the components bolt on after the catalytic converters. Also, your truck will benefit from the superior 304 stainless steel K&N manufactures its exhaust components from. Your truck's exhaust will never rust and the muffler and associated tubing won't change colors as it heats up like lesser quality stainless can. Each K&N system is designed for an exact fit and can be installed in your driveway using minimal hand tools. When finished you should have the system tack welded together by a competent muffler shop to insure it never falls off if a clamp loosens.