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CAI Install

Old 08-28-2011, 04:42 PM
03SSLE's Avatar
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Default CAI Install

After doing some research on cold air intake systems I decided to purchase the one manufactured by Cold Air Inductions, Inc. The kit came well packaged with the air box assembly covered in a protective plastic wrap, and there was plenty of bubble wrap in the thick cardboard box to protect it during shipping.

The contents of the kit includes the air box assembly, a cone air filter, an aluminum tube that connects the air filter to the stock flexible air duct, all necessary mounting hardware and an instruction sheet.

The air box assembly is crafted from aluminum and lined with 1/4" thick insulation. The insulation acts as a barrier that keeps the under hood heat from the cooler intake air. A plexiglass window in the top allows you to view the filter to see if it is dirty. The filter can be cleaned when it becomes dirty, so you don't need to purchase a replacement. However, you will need to purchase a filter cleaning kit.

The air box assembly consists of three parts: the PCM tray, the air box and the air box cover. The PCM tray is secured to the vehicle with two allen head screws. The air box attaches to the PCM tray with three 1/4" hex head screws and the cover is held on by four 1/4 turn slotted fasteners. The 1/4 turn fasteners make installation and removal of the cover quick and simple. The cover also has a rubber edge guard on the front of it where it meets up with the radiator support.

As you may know, aluminum has a tendency to discolor and corrode over a period of time. Because of this, I gave the air box a protective coating of paint prior to installation. I decided to use high heat ceramic paint. It will not only stand up well to the under hood temperatures, but also provide an additional barrier seperating the cool intake air from the under hood heat.

Installation is simple and straight forward using common hand tools:

Slotted Screwdriver
3/8" Drive Rachet
6" 3/8" Drive Extension
8mm 3/8" Drive Socket
13mm 3/8" Drive Socket
4mm 3/8" Drive Allen Socket (or Allen Wrench)

The first thing you need to do is move the diagonal cross brace out of the way. It is held in place by three 13mm machine screws. Remove the two front machine screws and loosen the third machine screw located on the strut tower. The brace will now swing out of the way for access to the stock air box.

With the diagonal cross brace out of the way the stock air box can now be removed. Loosen the clamp on the flexible air duct, then remove it from the air box. Remove the two 8mm machine screws that hold the airbox halves together, then remove that half of the air box.

Carefully lift the PCM out of the remaining air box half and sit it off to the side. You do not need to disconnect the wiring harness. There are two plastic fasteners that hold the remaining air box half to the sheet metal. A quick upward tug on the air box will seperate them from their grommets. Now remove the air box half. The grommet closest to the wheel well needs to be removed in order to install a c-clip nut.

Install the provided c-clip nuts in the locations as shown.

Position the PCM tray so that the holes align with the c-clip nuts then secure it with the two provided 4mm allen screws.

With the wiring harness facing the front of the vehicle tilt the PCM down on the right hand side to clear the flange on the tray, then carefully place it into the tray.

Place the air box on top of the PCM tray and secure it with the three 1/4" hex head screws. Alignment of the holes in the air box with the tray can be a bit challenging. I found it easiest to start the screws in the order shown in the picture. Once all the screws are started in their holes tighten them. As you do a piece of foam on the underside of the air box will create an interference fit that holds the PCM in place.

Insert the supplied aluminum tube into the end of the air filter, then tighten the clamp. There is a shoulder on the I.D. of the filter the pipe will come to rest against.

Insert the pipe through the hole in the air box, then slide the pipe inside the flexible air duct and tighten the clamp. There is an alignment tab on the top of the flexible air duct for the stock air box. I was able to slide the pipe further into the flexible air duct and obtain a better seal by removing the alignment tab.

Holding the cover at an angle, place the front edge of it under the radiator support, then lay the lid on top of the air box making sure the fasteners align with the holes in the air box. Using a slotted screwdriver, press down on a fastener and turn it 1/4 turn to lock it. Repeat for the remaining fasteners.

Swing the diagonal cross brace back into place, reinstall the two front 13mm machine screws then tighten the three machine screws.

Here's a couple pictures of the installed CAI:
Old 08-28-2011, 04:46 PM
zjerry's Avatar
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Nice write up, looks awesome, nice job..
Old 08-28-2011, 04:49 PM
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Looks Good, i like it painted black looks good in the engine bay
Old 08-28-2011, 04:49 PM
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awesome, great write-up! You made it look easy....
Old 08-28-2011, 05:12 PM
Franks 03SS's Avatar

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that looks really really nice!! congrats man
Old 08-28-2011, 05:49 PM
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looks killer! Install looked like a walk in the park.
Old 08-28-2011, 06:10 PM
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
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How does that cai sound? I heard that brand on 6cyl stang, and sounded awesome.
Old 08-28-2011, 07:00 PM
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Very cool write up and it looks great!
Old 08-28-2011, 07:22 PM
03SSLE's Avatar
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Thanks everyone. It wasn't at all difficult to install. The biggest 'problem' is getting the screws that hold the air box to the tray lined up. The PCM is a pretty tight fit and the sides bowed a little, so I had to push the (left) side of the tray in while inserting the screws in order to get them started in the holes. The whole project only took about an hour including the time to stop and snap some pictures along the way. I just took it out for a cruise on the freeway and exercised the throttle a little bit. It definitely has a different sound to it now. I guess the best I can describe it is it sounds like opening up a secondary vacuum 4 barrel carb now...throaty? Is that a word?

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