How Does a Diesel Cold Air Intake Work?

Updated February 21, 2017

A diesel cold air intake allows colder air to be circulated into the engine. This increases performance power and gives the engine a serious performance boost. The intake has a filter that is usually cone shaped and housed in a plastic chamber. The intake tube that runs to the engine is made of nylon. This modification allows cool air to be sucked into the engine. This is needed because of heat conductivity. A metal air intake tube will absorb more heat from the engine and gets very hot under normal operating conditions. Thus, the air that runs through the tube is heated and rises in temperature. With a plastic intake tube, the air is not heated as it enters the engine.

Installation and Additional Components

The cold air intake attaches to the diesel engine air intake. The regular air intake assembly is removed and the new tube installed in its place. A cotton filter is used in place of a paper filter in the cold air intake. This also reduces the amount of heat that is transferred to the air as it enters the engine. Cotton conducts less heat, and will cool off faster. The other components in the cold air intake are also made of low, heat conductive parts like plastic. There are few metal components in these units to reduce the amount of vicarious heating.

How it Works

The cold air intake has a cone filter that is designed in some cases to last forever because they are washable. The other parts of the cold air intake also help to keep the air flow cooler. The intake tube is designed to increase the rate of airflow so air enters the engine faster, and thus absorbs less heat in the process. When this colder air enters the engine it mixes with the fuel and is compressed. Colder air compresses faster and has a higher combustion rate so the engine gets more power. In some cases the cold air intake can increase gas mileage and add an additional 25 horsepower to your engine.

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About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.