We talked about the advantages of installing a performance intake on our 5.0 Coyote performance modification guide. Upgraded intake systems provide a number of benefits, including increased power and improved fuel economy. We’ll go over those, as well as some of our personal favorites, in this guide.
Increasing horsepower usually necessitates increasing airflow. The restrictive stock intake system on the 5.0 Coyote can limit the power gains from other modifications. Upgraded intakes are viewed as a building block or support for further work on the vehicle.
When used in conjunction with other performance upgrades, a cold air intake can produce significant gains in horsepower. For starters, let’s talk about the advantages of upgrading your intake system and go over some fundamentals of intake design.
Cold Air Intakes
The term “cold air intake” is probably the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating an upgraded intake system. Intake systems now go by a slew of names. Cold air intakes, ram air intakes, performance intakes, and so on will all be present in some form. They all do the same thing at the end of the day.
Increased airflow from a new intake system is more important than reduced intake air temperature. Despite the fact that naturally aspirated engines like the 5.0 Coyote, which lack intercoolers, rely more on intake air tubes (IATs), which are more important, all of these intake systems are built similarly.
As a result, there isn’t much of a difference in IAT from one intake to the next. As a result, we need to pay attention to how much air is being moved. A system with the greatest increase in airflow will have the greatest performance advantages and the greatest ability to support future upgrades.
Intake Design: Open vs. Closed Intake Systems
It doesn’t matter if the intake system is called “cold air” or not; what matters is the system’s design. There are two types of intakes available for the GT 5.0: open and closed. When the air filter is exposed to the engine bay air, it is known as an open intake system. In a closed system, on the other hand, the air filter is usually located in the engine compartment, enclosed in some type of hose.
Since open systems don’t have a closed box, they can move more air. As a result of the filter being exposed to engine heat, IATs may be a little higher. However, the GT 5.0’s open systems all have heat shields that protect the air filter to some extent.
Due to the air filter’s limited ability to draw in air, closed intake systems are more restrictive. Despite the fact that they impose more restrictions than open systems, closed systems are still preferable to the stock intake. Closed systems, despite having less air flowing through them, have two advantages. To begin with, because the air filter is shielded from the engine’s heat, it works better for IATs. Second, the enclosed box compresses the air before it enters the engine.
Open or closed, on a lightly modified 5.0 Coyote, there isn’t much of a performance difference between the two. Due to the higher air flow, we prefer open intake systems. Open systems do have a higher air flow, but it isn’t necessary unless you intend to use a turbocharger or supercharger to increase performance.
5.0 Mustang Intakes “Tune-Required”
The word “tune required” will appear on certain performance intakes when you look them up. The diameter of the intake piping is typically increased by performance intakes, such as the JLT intake shown below. More airflow can be provided by increasing the diameter, but the diameter must also be increased to work with newer intake manifolds and throttle bodies.
Because of this, the 5.0 Coyote’s ECM and mass airflow sensor are set up to work with the vehicle’s stock intake system. Increasing the pipe diameter confuses the MAF and ECM, causing the engine to run too lean. Because running a lean engine for an extended period of time can seriously damage it, a tune-up is necessary.
Adding a tune to the intake also has the added benefit of improving performance. Even if you don’t tune your intake, you’ll still get some performance and other benefits, but they won’t be as significant. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to modify your engine’s computer, so it’s a win-win situation.
Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote Upgraded Intake Benefits
- 5-10 horsepower gains
- 5-10 torque gains
- 20%+ air flow increase
- Cool engine sound
- Improved throttle response
- Small MPG improvement
Many aftermarket intake system manufacturers claim to be able to produce 20hp or more. A cold air intake on a stock Mustang GT 5.0 will not produce 20 hp, but it is possible with the right modifications. The best results come from making additional alterations, as previously mentioned. As you make more modifications, the benefit of a better intake system grows.
All I’ll add is that open intake systems make an incredible amount of engine noise. You’ll hear the engine sucking in air, which makes a “whooshing” noise. If you want more engine noise and an interesting intake sound, leave the vents open.
1. GT 5.0 JLT Cold Air Intake – Tune Required
A heat shield protects the air filter from engine block heat in JLT’s cold air intake. In order to improve airflow, the air filter is a bellmouth/powerstack S&B cone filter. The JLT intake has a significantly larger filter than the stock intake, which is responsible for the noticeable increase in airflow.
Plug-and-play compatibility with upgraded throttle bodies is provided by the intake piping, which measures 5 inches at the inlet and 4.5 inches at the throttle body (for 2018+ models). Upgraded throttle bodies can be bolted on to older model 5.0s with a 4′′ throttle body connection.
A tune is required for the JLT upgraded intake.
2. 5.0 Coyote Roush Performance Intake – No Tune Required
If you want a closed air intake that won’t require any tuning, Roush is a great choice. Roush intakes don’t void your factory warranty either. The JLT intake has a greater airflow because of its open box design. It also keeps the existing diameter of the intake piping. There is no need for a custom tune with these but you will need upgraded piping if you ever upgrade the throttle body or intake manifold.
The Roush intake varies according to the version of 5.0 you’re running. Models from 2011-2017 have an open air design, while those from 2018+ have a closed box design. For those who want to run a custom tune and larger intake piping, the 2015-2017 models come with a removable MAF insert that increases the diameter from 85mm to 105mm. As a result, the system is easily adaptable to manifolds and throttle bodies from aftermarket sources.
It’s safe to say that the Roush air intake outperforms the stock 5.0 Mustang air intake in terms of airflow. Those who want a small performance boost without voiding their warranty or needing to add a tune will appreciate this option.
3. aFe 5.0 GT Cold Air Intake – No Tune Required
Because of their open and closed system options, aFe deserves a special mention. The Magnum Force open system claims a 43% increase in flow and a 14hp and 11tq power increase. Magnum Force. Because it makes use of factory piping diameters, no tuning is necessary. The heat shield housing is open when the hood is open, but when the hood is closed, it seals. To protect against heat while increasing flow through the fully enclosed system, this is a good compromise.
In comparison to the stock intake, the Momentum GT intake increases air flow by 28%. aFe claims a power and torque increase of 18hp and 15tq. The Momentum GT intake, like the open system, utilizes stock-sized piping and does not necessitate tuning.
One of the most respected brands in aftermarket intake systems, aFe has two competitive products on the market.
Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote Upgraded Intake Summary
To sum it up, there are two critical factors that influence the intake decision:
- Open vs. Closed
- Tune Required vs. No Tune Required
With more airflow from open intakes, but with IATs that are a few degrees higher. For those looking to make serious gains, an open intake is the way to go. The choice is yours if you’re only adding an intake and exhaust to your Mustang.
Adding a tune with your intake will help you make more power. If you’re going to tune your car anyway, invest in the JLT intake. It gives you the option of adding more intake components in the future if you so desire.
The Roush or aFe intakes are the best bet if you don’t want to tune your car. Using the Roush and aFe intakes with a tune is still an option, but the smaller diameter piping reduces air flow and does not allow for future upgrades.
It all boils down to what you want to achieve in terms of power and performance when choosing an intake system. All of the systems we’ve discussed are, for the most part, identical.
Making the decision to upgrade your intake is more crucial than selecting the intake type (unless you are planning on forced induction). All of the available options will improve flow and power over the stock intake system.