Modding your car, whether it be a brand new S550 Mustang or something else, can be a very fun and exciting experience – mapping out your upgrade plans, calculating the hp/tq gains, etc. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of mis-information when it comes to competitors’ products, power gains and overall build quality. In this article we hone in on key differences between Steeda’s S550 cold air intake (CAI) and a competitor’s product. Two main things we’re reviewing in detail are airflow and intake tube design.
Building clean, turbulent-free airflow into the intake tube is paramount. Steeda accomplishes this through our industry-leading and technically-advanced velocity stack. The bellmouth in our velocity stack helps air smoothly transition from the filter to the intake tube – this creates the beginning of a healthy laminar boundary layer which transitions to a clean laminar airflow across our mass air sensor.
Steeda’s precision CNC mass air housing provides the cleanest mass air signal on the market
Competitor’s roto-molded mass air housing, note the texture inconsistencies and protrusions which cause turbulence
Most brands do not use a velocity stack and the lip created in their system will ‘trip’ up the airflow, creating turbulent flow from the beginning. Competitors try to remedy this through the use of a ‘MAF straightener,’ which is why there is a screen affixed to the filter in our example below (see image below). However, most MAF straighteners are a honeycomb type of material which allows the air to create a small boundary layer and then re-direct itself. The system in our example looks like it may actually trip up the air more and create more turbulence. Why is this important? The MAF sensor is a temperature frequency-driven sensor – in order to get clean, predictable readings for downstream fuel calculations you need to have your airflow be as smooth as possible. Turbulent air conditions cause erroneous MAF frequency, therefore creating the likelihood of drivability issues.
Competitor’s CAI filter utilizing a screen to straighten airflow
Steeda CAI filter
CAI filter comparison
Steeda’s CAI utilizes a 101mm mass air opening while one of our competitors utilizes a 110mm mass air opening, although what customers may not realize is that their use of a screen negates their 110mm mass air opening because it causes a restriction. Utilizing a screen is required when the competition’s CAI is not utilizing a velocity stack or bellmouth entry.
The intake tube itself is extremely important, it must deliver the largest, cleanest amount of high velocity air as possible to the throttle body. Steeda again wins out in total volumetric flow as our intake tube has a much larger and cleaner radius than the others on the market today, which can be seen in our example below. Again, a larger diameter also means more laminar flow is possible at higher velocities than the other brands.
Competitor’s inlet tube bend radius vs. Steeda’s
Competitor’s inlet tube bend radius vs. Steeda’s (overlaid)
Other brands may have turbulent flow carried in from the inlet side of their intake tube since they don’t include a velocity stack. Head loss is the amount of pressure loss or velocity loss you get from the beginning of the tube to the end. Bends introduce this type of loss into the system, the more bends you have, the more loss you have and the tighter the radius of those bends the more loss you have. Steeda wins out in this category as we have a larger bend radius on our intake tube and we also have less bends overall when comparing to the other brands.
Also, Steeda’s S550 CAI seals perfectly against the hood, which provides the lowest amount of heat soak possible especially when comparing to other CAI’s on the market.
Steeda’s been designing and manufacturing cold air intakes since the early 1990’s, and we’ll be doing so for many years to come – there’s a reason why Steeda’s kit is the CAI of choice among many S550 owners. We’ll be posting another write-up delving into our CAI comparison and documented hp/tq gains in a controlled environment.
Purchase your S550 CAI’s here:
Steeda ProFlow Mustang Cold Air Intake – No Tune (15-16 GT)
Steeda ProFlow Mustang Cold Air Intake – Tune Required (15-16 GT)
Steeda ProFlow EcoBoost Mustang Cold Air Intake (15-16 EcoBoost)
Steeda ProFlow Mustang V6 Cold Air Intake – No Tune Required (15-16 V6)
Steeda – Speed Matters