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Cold Air Intake Vs. Short Ram What's The Difference?

Author : Brett Well

Submitted : 2011-11-19 14:56:07    Word Count : 697    Popularity:   18

Tags:   Cold air intakes, Short ram intakes

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If you walked into a store 100 years ago, and it was summertime, you'd pray for a breeze to hit the transom windows. Otherwise, you'd melt. When the electric fan came along in the 1920's, our indoor experience started to change. People could now tolerate a longer shopping experience, even though it was still hot (remember, that fan was only circulating the hot air). When air conditioning blasted its chilly air onto the scene, the whole world changed. Downtown shopping districts, became shopping malls, and multi-story department stores. John & Jane Q. Public were eagerly invited to come inside and cool off, while they perused the shelves, stocked with all the latest modern conveniences. Retailers were probably the first to harness the power of air conditioning, followed shortly by the rest of corporate America. It stood to reason that if you made someone comfortable, you could get more out of them.

Oddly enough, your car's air intake system is just like the above history lesson. Sounds strange, I know, but bare with me. A stock air intake has to make due with a small hole inside the airbox, which feeds whiffs of air into the engine, through the restrictive intake tube. The motor needs this air to mix with the fuel, so the fuel can combust inside the cylinder, forcing the piston to turn the crankshaft, which feeds power through the transmission, to the drive wheels. Without air, you're not going anywhere. So, a stock air intake is like a breeze blowing through the transom window at Woolworth's. It's enough for the engine to breathe, but just barely. Next in line is the short ram intake, or as I like to call it, an oscillating fan. A short ram air intake usually mounts in place of the stock airbox. But sometimes, it mounts very close to the intake, reducing the length of the intake tube. The performance air filter at the end of the unit gathers air from inside the engine compartment, and feeds it down the short intake tube, to the engine. Since the air inside the engine bay is always hot, a short ram intake feeds hot air to the engine. And as you might remember from science class, hot air contains less oxygen, thus it's less combustible than cool air. However, you will see a performance increase, due to the sheer mass of air being fed into the engine.

For our historical analogy, the short ram air intake is like a ceiling fan at an old-timey drug store. You won't die of a heat stroke while you're shopping, but a cold bottle of Pop would sure sound nice. And last but not least, we come to the cold air intake. The performance staple of the neon-lit tuner crowd. Cold air intakes differ from a short ram intake by the location of the performance air filter. A short ram system has a short intake tube, thus putting the collection end inside the engine bay. A cold air intake (like K&N cold air intakes) on th other hand, puts its collection device far away from the heat of the engine bay, usually behind the front bumper, or behind a heat shield. By drawing cool air from outside the engine compartment, a cold air intake system is able to feed oxygen-rich air to the engine, allowing it to produce significantly more horsepower from the same amount of fuel (it produces more power because mixing oxygen-rich cold air with the fuel, helps the engine to combust more of the fuel inside of the cylinder, instead of blowing the unburned excess into the emissions system). Naturally, a cold air intake is like an air conditioned shopping mall. Your engine is able to run more efficiently, because it's cool & comfortable. And like a shopping mall, the longer you stay, the more you spend (i.e. speeding tickets).

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But if you want to save some money, check out Car Part Paradise. Theyve got cold air intakes & short ram intakes at realistic prices. Plus, they can help you figure out which performance air intake system is right for your car.

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