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DIY intake heat wrap

Posted 08-17-2002 at 12:00 AM by StyleTEG

BUILD YOUR OWN INTAKE HEAT SHEILD

Whether you have a cold air intake, short ram intake, or even a stock intake, the temperature of the air that enters your engine effects your performance. Cold air is beneficial to engine performance because it is denser. This causes more oxygen to enter the cylinders, more fuel will be added and more power as a result. This is why you would want to build a heat shield for your intake. Even cold air intakes can transfer heat from the engine bay to the air being sucked into the engine. Try driving around for 15-20 minutes, then stop and open your hood and feel your intake tubing. You will notice that it is pretty hot, especially if you have replaced your exhaust manifold and no longer have a heatshield. Now imagine how hot your intake tubing gets while you idle and wait your turn to drag, or AutoX. In these situations where every hundredth of a second counts, its worth a little money and elbow grease to protect your intake from engine bay heat.

Theoretically, for every 11-degree drop in air intake temperature, an engine can increase performance 1%. If you think of that in reverse, for every 11-degree increase in air intake temperature, the engine can lose performance by 1%. That means that just by idling before your run down the track, you could be setting yourself up for losing 2-3whp from heat. The difference is enough, where teams like King Motorsports wrapped their iceman intake to prevent engine bay heat from soaking into the intake temperatures.

TOOLS
1 - Adhesive reflective Pipe Insulation (found at most hardware/home improvement stores). I used a roll of Ace Hardware, Self Adhesive Insulating pipe cover. 3in X 1/8in x 15ft, which covered the intake tubing with out any problems.
2 - Two Pipe Clamps (found at most hardware/home improvement stores)
3 - Header Wrap (optional, found at auto parts stores.) Start off by wrapping cleaning the intake tubing. If it is dirty, it will cause adhesion problems. Once the tubing is clean, wrap the intake tube in header wrap, if you have it. I chose to skip header wrap due to the high cost, and the pipe insulation and picked out has its own insulation beyond the reflective properties. Most insulation wraps like this are fabricated from aluminum foils with a variety of backings such as kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard.

The section of tube you want to make sure to get wrapped is from the coolant overflow tank, all the way to the throttle body. The section that goes into the lower fender is not exposed too much heat, so is not necessary to wrap.



Once you are ready to wrap the reflective insulation, start right at the bend in the piping next to the coolant catch can. You want cut small strips of the reflective insulation, and wrap one small section of the intake tubing at a time. Each successive each ring of wrapping should be half covering the previous ring, and half on exposed intake pipe. This has two reasons, the first reason is to keep the wrapping on secure, and the second is to provide a second layer of heat protection.
This is what it should look like as you start





Once you get all the way to the throttle body, its time to get the clamps out. The two clamps are to be used on both ends of the heat blanket. It will prevent the final wrap rings from coming loose. It should end up looking something like this.
FINAL THOUGHTS



Obviously its not as pretty as the original intake piping, but for $10 in supplies and the protection from heat it is well worth the aesthetic difference. Does it make a difference? After driving around for an hour, including heavy acceleration the pipe felt cool to the touch. The only area that had some heat was the spot that runs really close to the distributor. Previous to the heat sheild, the whole pipe would feel hot to the touch even after mild driving.
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