KJ Jones Senior Technical Editor
September 20, 2010

Despite the fact that 2010 is almost over and 2011 (which marks another "new era") is practically upon us, the bolt-ons keep coming.

We find it simply amazing that cold-air-intake systems continue to lead the hit parade of basic performance improvers for Mustang GTs. Our latest CAI tester comes from Airaid Intake Systems of Phoenix, Arizona, one of the companies your tech editor learned about at the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council's 2010 Media Trade Conference.

Formally known as the Cold Air Dam Intake System for 4.6-liter '10 Mustang GTs (PN 450-238; $359.99), Airaid's CAI spiked our check-it-out meter when we learned that it doesn't require the PCM recalibration. Most of the cold-air systems we've evaluated thus far have this requirement. Installing this all-new, cold-air kit on a stocker is the best way to test it, and we found a qualified test Pony in AJ Javadi's untouched '10 GT.

As you'll see as you go through the accompanying photos, there really isn't anything extraordinary about the install, which takes less than an hour to complete. Muscle Motors' technician, Eddie Rios, did the honors for our project, and then gave AJ's Mustang its all-important workout on the Dynojet chassis dyno to determine a tune-free cold air's effect on the Pony's stock 4.6.

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On The Dyno
Yes, with the modular venturi tube in place, the Airaid CAI can be used right away, without any urgent need for tuning. However, during post-installation dyno tests, we noticed that the MVT's presence led our test 'Stang's processor to command more fuel, which resulted in a super-rich air/fuel ratio (11.5) and actually dropped rear-wheel horsepower below that of our initial baseline (although torque did increase).

After removing the tube for the next dyno run, Muscle Motors' Eddie Rios dialed-in a custom SCT calibration that trimmed fuel by 30 percent. The tuning not only brought air/fuel values into a more-acceptable zone for our naturally aspirated application (13.0-13.2 at WOT), the leaner air/fuel mixture yielded a 12hp gain over the MVT value, with nearly 6 lb-ft of additional torque.