Wes Duenkel
July 12, 2018
Photos By: Glenn Cope

Engines like to breathe, but Ford Motor Company had multiple considerations in mind when designing the air intake system on 1996-2004 Mustangs. Besides their performance targets, Ford engineers had to consider component cost, ease of maintenance, and intake noise.

But we’re enthusiasts, right? We like noise and horsepower—and we don’t mind spending a little time and money to get it.

Luckily, the folks at JLT Performance are like us, and they’ve designed their JLT Next Generation Ram Air Intake to give us what we want. It replaces everything ahead of the throttle-body (but re-uses the OEM mass air flow sensor). The kit includes the intake tube, couplers, clamps, high-flow S&B air filter, and a heat shield. The 4-inch tube and heat shield are made from textured plastic that’s a far better insulator from engine heat than metal tubing. Kits are available with cotton oiled or dry filters. JLT claims it’ll add 8-12 horsepower to the wheels, and it’s street legal in all 50 states. Sounds great to us!

While there are a few intake tube color and finish options, we just kept it simple and ordered their standard kit with an oiled filter for our 1997 Mustang GT. The detailed installations didn’t leave any stone unturned, including installing our Intake Air Temperature sensor (see the photos).

The JLT Next Generation Ram Air Intake fit like a glove, and looks at home in our 1997 Mustang GT’s engine bay. We hit the installation details in the following photos and captions.

1. This 1997 Mustang’s intake system was stock, right down to the infamous air silencer. There is power to be found here.

2. The JLT Next Generation Ram Air Intake includes everything required for a complete installation, including the filter, tubing, clamps, couplers, heat shield, and MAF adapter.

3. First, we removed the stock air intake system from the throttle-body to the air box.

4. Here we can see the stock components including the restrictive paper air filter.

5. When compared to the stock paper filter (left), the S&B filter included with the JLT kit will let our 4.6L Two-Valve breathe easier.

6. The JLT intake tube (right) is lighter and smoother than the stock part (left).

7. We began the installation process by placing the supplied rubber gasket on the stock MAF sensor.

8. Then, we matched the MAF adapter to the hole pattern in the gasket.

9. We used the included bolts to secure the MAF adapter to the sensor.

10. Because our car had an intake air temp (IAT) sensor mounted in the air tube, we followed the instructions with the JLT kit and transferred the position of the IAT to the JLT intake tube.

11. We used a step drill bit to make a ¾-inch hole in the bottom of the JLT intake tube.

12. Next, we installed the grommet into the hole.

13. The sensor fit snugly in the grommet.

14. Next, we slipped the included silicone couplers over the ends of the intake tube.

15. Then, we inserted the MAF sensor into the inlet side of the tube assembly.

16. We used the supplied hose for the PCV connection.

17. Next, we installed the tube assembly, but left the clamps loose.

18. Then, we installed the air filter.

19. Finally, we installed the heat shield and secured it with the OEM air box isolator screw. We tightened all the clamps securely and went for a test drive.