As hard-core diesel enthusiasts, most of us have the inherent desire to increase our trucks’ performance. While improving driveability is the simple goal for some owners, having an engine that makes four-digit horsepower could be the ambitious desire of others. There are numerous ways to reach either of these goals, and the steps necessary to achieve them largely depend on the level of improvement desired.
One upgrade that helps set the groundwork for other performance enhancements for a diesel-powered truck is installing a more efficient cold-air intake system. Stock airbox setups sometimes restrict airflow into the engine. Aftermarket cold-air systems are designed to increase the amount of cool, dense air an oil-burner draws in, creating better throttle response and lowering EGT. The improvement then sets the stage for making other performance upgrades, such as flashing ECMs with hotter calibration and installing turbochargers that take better advantage of an engine’s ability to breathe better.
S&B Filters now offers a CAI for Ford’s entire line of diesel-powered ’17 Super Duty trucks. The new system is said to provide a 55.97 percent increase in airflow over the stock unit and has an efficiency rating of 99.56 percent at 580 cfm when tested with coarse dust to meet the 5011 requirements (standardized test of inlet-air cleaning equipment for internal combustion engines) of the International Organization of Standards.
| A look under the hood of Eddie Rios’ ’17 Ford F-250 reveals an engine bay that has not been tampered with. According to Eddie, the only time the hood is opened is for routine checks.
For our evaluation of the S&B CAI, we called on Eddie Rios of Addiction Motorsports in Canoga Park, California, to install and dyno test the new system on the shop’s ’17 F-250, a rig that serves as Eddie’s daily driver and a tow rig for his toys on the weekend.
As the proprietor of an automotive performance shop, Eddie understands engine upgrades and is eager to learn what the cold-air intake setup will do for his truck. So follow the photos and captions as we put the truck on the dyno to get a baseline, install S&B Filters’ cold-air pieces, and then run it again on the dyno to find out the results.
| The first task in this effort is putting the stock Super Duty on the dyno in order to get baseline power and torque readings. For the dyno to register an accurate rpm value, an optical pickup is placed near the top of the engine with a magnetic mount. The optic eye looks down at the harmonic balancer and takes its data sample from a small piece of reflective tape attached to the balancer.
| Eddie runs the truck on the dyno for baseline. At the rear wheels, the truck makes 377 hp and 731 lb-ft of torque in stock trim.
| This is the complete S&B Filters cold-air intake system, unboxed and laid out for assembly.
| Eddie starts by first disconnecting both battery grounds. He then removes the passenger-side battery.
With the battery removed from the engine bay, Eddie disconnects sensors and takes out the stock intake tube and lid. He then disconnects any wiring and clips before extracting the airbox and battery tray. The S&B system swaps the positions of these two components, bringing the filter housing adjacent to the core support.
| The mounting bracket that helps secure the new tray and intake box in position uses its stock counterpart’s position and hardware. It is left loose so everything can be more easily aligned. A third bolt is also installed between the original fasteners to help secure the bracket.
Eddie removes the intake inlet from the bottom of the battery tray in order to remove the battery hold-down U-bolt. He then installs the U-bolt (longer side forward) in the S&B tray and secures it with cable ties.
| The new battery tray is now installed. The three bracket bolts that were left loose earlier are secured. The new battery tray’s position requires a temporary removal of the primary body-ground cable.
| The primary ground is reattached to the bolt that secures the secondary ground. Note: Not all trucks have both a primary and secondary ground on the passenger-side battery. Some only have a primary.
| The battery is installed and secured in place with the factory hold-down bracket.
| Eddie attaches the included extension for the positive battery cable. The battery’s new position requires the ground cable to be routed across the top of the battery and the cable’s end inverted.
| S And B Filters Cold Air Intake Battery Cables
| The intake box requires the installation of the inlet, grommets, tube seal, and foam filters before it’s mounted in the truck. There is an optional plug that can be installed to restrict extremely hot outside air (non-engine-compartment air) from entering the box. We opted to leave it out and allow the largest amount of air possible to enter.
| Properly fitting the intake box in position requires slightly bending the air conditioning’s hard lines for clearance.
| Before installing the intake tube, its coupler, the MAF sensor and gasket, and harness extension are installed. After the intake tube is secured, Eddie plugs the extension into the stock harness.
| S And B Filters Cold Air Intake Eddie Engine Bay Intake Tube
| Once the intake box and tube are secured, the air filter and clear lid are installed. Eddie also makes sure any loose wires and lines are clear of anything abrasive, and then they’re secured.
| S And B Filters Cold Air Intake Cover Install Intake Box
| The completed S&B Filters cold-air intake system fits nicely in the engine bay. With the intake box now forward of the battery, cooler outside air has a smoother, more direct path into the airbox and through the filter.
| After completing the installation, the truck is tested again on the dyno. The comparison of the before and after dyno runs shows us that the cold-air upgrade produces a 4hp and 31–lb-ft torque improvement for the 6.7L Power Stroke engine over the stock airbox.
| S And B Filters Cold Air Intake Dyno Chart