Question: I recently bought a 2010 Toyota Tundra 4.6-liter Double Cab. First, do ram- or cold-air intakes really increase power for this particular engine, seeing that the stock airbox already draws air from the fenderwell? Second, are cat-back exhaust systems really worth it for the moderate gain they provide, if any? Third, seeing that the 4.6-liter engine is used in other Toyota/Lexus models boasting greater horsepower specs, is there any way to reflash my engine's computer for similar power gains?

Answer: Every little bit helps, but you're not always going to achieve the advertised horsepower increase from each hi-po part you install. The only way to be sure of what you're getting is a before and after trip to a dynamometer. The cold-air intakes available will generally help airflow as compared with the factory setups, not only because of the point of air entry, but also routing, internal contours, and modified filter designs. It's the same thing with a nice cat-back exhaust: There's no guarantee on the power increase, but you will get something. The sporty rumble and stainless pipes are also nice perks. Dealing with both the intake and exhaust systems, I'd go with TRD (Toyota Racing Development) accessories. Nobody knows your Toyota better than Toyota engineers, and TRD accessories won't affect your powertrain warranty. TRD only supplies ECU/PCM reprogramming for more significant modifications, like its supercharger kit. So you have to go to the aftermarket to mess with timing and fuel calibration. There are a whole bunch of companies producing reflash boxes with various programming options. I suggest logging on to a good Tundra forum to see what kinds of experiences other Tundra owners have had with different products applied to your particular truck. It's always good to learn from other people's mistakes.


How To Reach Alex
If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him in care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail us at trucktrend@sourceinterlink.com. Please include the VIN with your question. Due to the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone's question will be personally answered or will appear in the magazine.

Can't wait for help with a problem you're having with your Truck or SUV? Ask the expert we trust here at Truck Trend Garage -- visit Alex Steele at www.RealWorldAutomotive.com.