Catch Your Breath: Installing an AIRAID Cold-Air Kit into a C5

Here is the new Airaid intake we'll be installing on this 2000 Corvette. It's easy to assemble, made with quality parts, features a high-flow gauze filter, and includes all the required hardware to install.

Here is the new Airaid intake we’ll be installing on this 2000 Corvette. It’s easy to assemble, made with quality parts, features a high-flow gauze filter, and includes all the required hardware to install.

We experience some stellar gains on a ’00 Corvette with an Airaid Cold Air Intake.

*photos by the author

It’s not really a secret that a paper filter is not conducive to high flow. Sure, they catch small micron debris that attempt to pass through the filter, but it’s a little ridiculous. As a result, they get clogged up easily, aren’t reusable, and – most importantly – they choke the car from making power. The popular gauze design filter has been the most popular among enthusiast for many reasons. They provide an extremely effective protection from harmful particles while providing excellent flow and power potential.

This is not where the struggle for power ends, either. Many factory intake systems have an internal maze, expansion chambers, or baffles to help quiet the air down as it passes through the intake. This is all fine and dandy on your daily-driven Chevy Cruze, but if you own a Corvette, you probably want to hear that big, American V8 ingest precious oxygen. By eliminating the restrictive factory intake and filter LS owners can expect a pretty healthy gain – or at least the comfort of knowing their intake is no longer a restriction.

If you’re a regular reader of the mag, you’re more than likely┬áfamiliar with the recipient of this Airaid Cold Air kit PN#250-292.┬áOur guinea pig for this experiment was a 2000 Corvette equipped with a later example of the LS1 sourced from a ’04 GTO, including its MAF sensor. It should be noted that this particular kit was designed for the 2001-2004 C5, and if you own a ’97-00 version of the C5, you must first update it with the later-style MAF for this kit to work.

For the sake of this test, Greg Lovell of AntiVenom installed a factory Corvette intake back onto the ‘Vette that belongs to his wife, Rashelle. It previously had a differernt brand intake on it. We strapped the automatic Corvette to the dyno and performed a couple baseline runs. The only time we took to cool off was the time needed to install the new intake assembly. Folks, that only took us about 20-minutes.

Once the new intake was installed on the car, we made our first dyno run and laughter erupted from garage. We couldn’t believe our eyes and made another backup run to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Sure enough, the gains we saw were shown bellow and happened right before this author’s eyes. Now we don’t want to go as far as saying these results will be typical, but you will certainly see results. Intake systems in modern GM performance vehicles have gotten exponentially more efficient over the years, but the C5 Corvettes always seemed to struggle in that department. That’s good for you in the bang-for-your-buck department!

Any good cold-air kit on these cars will find you realistic in your expectations for around 10rwhp or more. To see a gain of over 30rwhp was absolutely stellar. While we can’t sit here and say “expect 30+rwhp from your Corvette,” what we can say is you should expect a very high quality, affordable, cold air system that will give your car great gains. It can be installed in your driveway in under half an hour by even the most┬álimited-skilled shade tree mechanics with it’s simple construction and detailed instructions. We were impressed, and so should you.

After our baseline pull, Greg kept the Vette strapped to the dyno. He started things off by unplugging the mass air meter, A.I.R. attachment, and loosened all clamps.

After our baseline pull, Greg kept the Vette strapped to the dyno. He started things off by unplugging the mass air meter, A.I.R. attachment, and loosened all clamps.

Just like the F-body, the intake can all be removed as once piece once all the hose clams are loosened and everything is all unplugged. This alone makes the installation and removal process of intake systems very easy.

Just like the F-body, the intake can all be removed as once piece once all the hose clams are loosened and everything is all unplugged. This alone makes the installation and removal process of intake systems very easy.

After unboxing the Airaid kit, Greg grabbed the silicone coupler and slid it over the intake tube. He then loosened the proper hose clamps and slid them into place.

After unboxing the Airaid kit, Greg grabbed the silicone coupler and slid it over the intake tube. He then loosened the proper hose clamps and slid them into place.

Here, with the hose clamps in place, Greg makes sure they all face the same direction that makes them easier to manipulate once it's on the car. This also makes installation and future removal easiest, but it's ultimately up to your preference.

Here, with the hose clamps in place, Greg makes sure they all face the same direction that makes them easier to manipulate once it’s on the car. This also makes installation and future removal easiest, but it’s ultimately up to your preference.

Next, the Mass Air Meter is attached to the pre-oiled filter element and secured firm enough for installation. Of note, Airaid also sells a non-oiled filter it calls the SynthaMax dry filter for additional cost. It's fully washable and reusable without the need for oil and comes with the same lifetime warranty as the oiled SynthaFlow filter that came with our intake.

Next, the Mass Air Meter is attached to the pre-oiled filter element and secured firm enough for installation. Of note, Airaid also sells a non-oiled filter it calls the SynthaMax dry filter for additional cost. It’s fully washable and reusable without the need for oil and comes with the same lifetime warranty as the oiled SynthaFlow filter that came with our intake.

On the underside of the intake, you'll find four bronze threaded inserts to attach the mounting brakcets. These are secured with allen heads.

On the underside of the intake, you’ll find four bronze threaded inserts to attach the mounting brakcets. These are secured with allen heads.

This is a 2000 Corvette that still retains its factory EGR. Airaid doesn't have this particular PN#250-292 for the 2000 model, but this is a very simple fix drilling out the provision to reuse the factory grommet.

This is a 2000 Corvette that still retains its factory EGR. Airaid doesn’t have this particular PN#250-292 for the 2000 model, but this is a very simple fix drilling out the provision to reuse the factory grommet.

The large intake tube section feeds into the throttle body with this hump hose. Once again, the hose clamps are positioned on and secured just tight enough to remain connected.

The large intake tube section feeds into the throttle body with this hump hose. Once again, the hose clamps are positioned on and secured just tight enough to remain connected.

With the intake completely together, it's simply lowered into place. Greg twists and tweakes the intake into perfect placement. Remember when we said to keep the hose clamps just tight enough to keep the pieces together? Well that's going to come in handy when you're manipulating the intake under the hood. Once it's positioned properly, Greg begins to tighten the clamps all down.

With the intake completely together, it’s simply lowered into place. Greg twists and tweakes the intake into perfect placement. Remember when we said to keep the hose clamps just tight enough to keep the pieces together? Well that’s going to come in handy when you’re manipulating the intake under the hood. Once it’s positioned properly, Greg begins to tighten the clamps all down.

Here she is! Installed and ready to make some dyno pulls.

Here she is! Installed and ready to make some dyno pulls.

GMEFI-12

The the everything buttoned up, Greg made another pull with the AIRAID-equipped C5.

The results are in! We experienced a gain of 35.6 rwhp and 21.86 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels in a legitimate back-to-back test. This surprised everyone to say the least. We would like to point out that the original LS1 is long gone, and so is its LS1 intake manifold. In its place is a 25,000-mile engine out of an '04 GTO. Like all '01 and later LS1 engines, this engine has an LS6 intake and that can make a difference. Additionally, it has TPIS headers with factory cats and a muffler delete Magnaflow catback. Very mild tuning was performed before the baseline pull and it was not optimized after installing the intake.

The results are in! We experienced a gain of 35.6 rwhp and 21.86 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels in a legitimate back-to-back test. This surprised everyone to say the least. We would like to point out that the original LS1 is long gone, and so is its LS1 intake manifold. In its place is a 25,000-mile engine out of an ’04 GTO. Like all ’01 and later LS1 engines, this engine has an LS6 intake and that can make a difference. Additionally, it has TPIS headers with factory cats and a muffler delete Magnaflow catback. Very mild tuning was performed before the baseline pull and it was not optimized after installing the intake.

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