5.0 Mustang & Super FordsHow To Engine
How to Install the Airaid MXP Intake System
Tech Inspection - 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 CAI Install
We’ve been on a bit of a run with ’12-’13 Boss 302 upgrades, like the report on major naturally aspirated improvements in this issue (“Haul Natural,” p. 48), and the Boss-specific lowering springs we featured last month. This latest report is yet another modification for the baddest V-8-powered, late-model ’Stangs running on raw muscle.
Airaid Intake Systems of Phoenix, Arizona, has developed a slick carbon-fiber version of its impressive MXP Intake System for ’11-present Mustangs, this one specific to ’12-’13 Boss 302s (PN 453-174; $609.99). The Boss system is somewhat unique in that it improves Roadrunner’s power/torque performance without requiring any of the custom tuning that’s typically necessary when large CAI tubes are installed (see On the Dyno).
As the following photos and captions attest, this all-inclusive system (which is inspired by Ford racing legend Parnelli Jones) does not require any special tools or facilities to install. The ease of installation and the system’s highlights were presented to us by Jeremy Aliaga, who installed the system on his ’13 Boss DIY-style, with immediate evaluations on the Dynojet at GTR High Performance in Rancho Cucamonga, California, before and after the install.
1. In bone-stock form and without the optional TracKey upgrade, this Roadrunner engine is rated at 444 crankshaft horsepower. Of course, steam at the rear wheels is the data point we focus on. We gave Jeremy Aliaga’s Pony a baseline run on the Dynojet chassis dyno at GTR High Performance, and recorded a high of 370.17 horses—a solid, real-world figure for the hottest naturally aspirated ‘Stang to gallop from Ford’s stable.
2. This is the Airaid MXP Intake System for ’12-’13 Boss 302 Mustangs (PN 453-174; $609.99). The true carbon-fiber intake tube sitting front and center in the photo is the highlight of this setup, measuring a whopping 4.25 inches in diameter. The roto-molded airbox is a one-piece unit designed to also draw intake air through the OEM airscoop (behind the grille). Urethane hose, clamps, and a blue, non-oiled SynthaMax filter round out the contents of the kit.
3. After baseline testing Jeremy’s ’13 Boss 302 in bone-stock trim, Jeremy borrowed the simple tools that are required for CAI installation from our friends at GTR and had the kit fully installed inside of one hour.
4. Airaid’s Modular Venturi Tube is basically a smaller-diameter insert that is installed inside the CAI’s primary tube. The inner tube is unique, as it allows the Boss 302 cold-air system to increase performance without affecting the mass airflow sensor and skewing its readings. With the sleeve installed, there’s no need for custom PCM tuning. However, if higher performance is desired, the MVT is easily removed, and more-extensive air/fuel optimizing can be done with SCT tuning software and a chassis dyno. Notice the billet plate on the carbon fiber intake tube? The plate is designed to accept the factory mass-air sensor, which is secured with the two screws that are included with the system.
5. Carbon fiber is just damn sexy. That’s Parnelli Jones’s autograph in the yellow badge. The kit was named after the racing legend, who drove circles around Trans-Am competitors in 1970, behind the wheel of an original Boss 302 ‘Stang. For enthusiasts wanting the effect of this setup without the look, Airaid also offers the system with a high-density Polyethylene tube. And, for the ’11-’14 Mustang GT owners (with Boss 302 intake manifolds and on their ’Stangs’ Coyotes) who want to step up to carbon, the CF pipe (PN 450-974) is available as an individual upgrade for the plastic-tube system (PN 453-321)
On the Dyno
One thing is certain. Whenever we have an opportunity to work with a rare ’12-’13 Boss 302 Mustang, you can bet we’ll take full advangate of our time with it. Theoretically, cold-air-induction tests are straightforward, regardless of which model ‘Stang we’re testing. However, with Jeremy Aliaga’s ’13 Boss 302s being one that has the optional TracKey performance upgrade, there was no way we were going to perform this particular test with the stock key (and PCM logic) only.
We basically dyno tested the Boss in all of the stock and upgraded scenarios that were possible, to see exactly where and how Airaid’s Boss 302 CAI improved the Roadrunner 5.0’s rear-wheel power and torque. What we learned is presented in the results (charts and graph).
While gains with the stock calibration were on par with data we’ve recorded in other CAI tests, enhancing the Boss’s intake airflow with TracKey programming in effect makes a huge difference. From a presentation and performance standpoint, the Airaid Carbon Fiber cold-air setup for Boss Mustangs is impressive. Jeremy definitely seems to be happy with it, and says it probably will be the only engine mod that he makes on his Boss 302.