We've extolled the virtues of various cold-air induction systems many, many times throughout the 27 years that EFI Mustangs have been hot. Evaluating cold-air systems is a routine practice for us. Currently, the aftermarket has been working overtime, producing new CAIs for Coyote 5.0-powered 'Stangs. And as these induction kits are introduced, we've been matching them with various other supporting hardware packages.
As you can imagine, with Ford's newest Ponies understandably garnering most of the aftermarket's attention these days, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that JLT Performance is still thinking about 'Stangs of the recent past and developed a fresh cold-air setup for heavy-breathing '03-'04 Cobras. Well, technically, JLT's Next Generation 12-inch High-Boost Cold Air Intake Kit (PN CAI2-12-FMC-0304; $249) is a bolt-on setup designed for Snakes that already possess above-board levels of rear-wheel horsepower (550-600) and torque, such as those upgraded with larger-displacement superchargers.
Eddie Zapata of GTR High Performance...
Eddie Zapata of GTR High Performance makes one of the final connections (tube-to-throttle body) in the installation of JLT's new Next Generation 12-inch High-Boost Cold-Air-Intake Kit for '03-'04 Cobras. The system bolts on without any major body/chassis mods or fabrication (on Snakes equipped with OEM Eaton superchargers), unless a Termi is fitted with aftermarket engine mounts or an aftermarket blower, which feature slightly different throttle-body location, and thus will skew the air-filter's position in the passenger-side front fender. Changes (if necessary) to compensate for such clearance issues are minor.
The system features a one-piece, super-sized, 4-1/4-inch (inside diameter) ABS-plastic induction tube, highlighted by a cool mounting pad for the mass air sensor and a gargantuan, 4-1/2x12-inch S&B Powerstack air filter that sits in a Cobra's passenger-side front fender. Together, these components make up a CAI that does away with the traditional mass air tube/multi-sectioned intake, and creates a single smooth channel for a much cooler intake-air charge (the type of cold air needed for producing 800-to-900 horses at the feet).
While installing JLT's high-boost system is far from difficult using basic tools (the most strenuous task is removing the passenger-side front tire to install the 12-inch Powerstack filter), GTR High Performance technicians Eddie Zapata and Ricardo Topete handled the bolt-on and dyno-test operations for us on a Sonic Blue '03 Cobra.
It's critical to note that this new system's huge air volume, tube size, 90mm mass air housing, and new mass air sensor (SCT BA-2600 or BA-3000) make it completely ineffective without tuning. So, for calibrating this new application, Ricardo turned to Chris Jones at Blow-By Racing, his cross-country ally in Margate, Florida. Chris uses SCT's Advantage III tuning software to fine-tune Mustangs that make big steam. It has become an integral part of GTR's operation creating calibrations for all types of performance-improved Ponies that Ricardo and his team work on.
These photos and captions cover the details. While our test Snake's baseline power is way below the preferred 550hp range for this intake, dyno results confirm that JLT's big-boost kit definitely is a winner, and it's a more-than-viable option for bolt-on Terminators.
JLT's latest Cobra CAI consists...
JLT's latest Cobra CAI consists of five easy pieces, plus all of the fastening hardware for installation. Mustang cold-air systems typically include separate, large-diameter tubes that serve as mass air sensor housings, and sit midstream in the intake tract. Purely for the sake of making a clean, streamlined piece, JLT incorporated a molded-in mass air housing into the high-boost system, which is located on the bottom of the tube and out of sight when the kit is installed.
Here is a close-up look at...
Here is a close-up look at the aforementioned mounting pad for SCT's BA-2600 (supports 400-700 hp) or BA-3000 (supports 800-plus horsepower) mass air sensors, which are required for using the new CAI. JLT provides a gasket for this unique pad and screws for securing the sensor. The combination of the big-diameter tube and a new sensor make for what actually becomes a 105mm mass air that's incorporated right into the tube, and perfect for modified and custom-tuned applications that would peg (max out voltage) stock mass air sensors.
To make our evaluation interesting,...
To make our evaluation interesting, we retrofitted the stock airbox and intake tube back on the Cobra, and made three dyno hits to measure its OEM horsepower and torque at the rear wheels.
There is absolutely no way...
There is absolutely no way the high-boost CAI system will work without custom tuning. Ricardo, by way of Chris Jones at Blow-By Racing, uses an SCT flash programmer to load a Blow-By custom calibration into the Snake's PCM.
Because of the new intake's...
Because of the new intake's air-filter location (in the front fender area), we opted for performing each of the baseline and post-installation dyno runs with the Cobra's hood closed. Running the engine to a real-world operating temperature of 170 degrees is another variable that we confirmed was consistent before making data passes.
This JLT Short-Ram CAI was...
This JLT Short-Ram CAI was our test Snake's only mod (along with an after-cat exhaust) prior to our experiment. Once dyno results from the stock piece were in, Eddie reinstalled the larger cold-air system, and the Cobra hit the rollers for an additional set of baseline numbers.
We had hoped to test JLT's new 12-inch Next Generation High-Boost Cold-Air-Intake Kit on an '03-'04 Cobra making substantial horsepower with a bigger supercharger. Unfortunately, said vehicle wasn't available in our time of need, so we elected to bolt the big tube onto a relatively stock Cobra and see what type of effect it has on horsepower and torque. With the air filter relocated in the front fender and the element itself being so big, we were confident the system would help produce impressive power gains, despite its high-boost requirement.
Study the dyno results closely, the impressive gains on a mostly stock '03 Cobra are good indicators as to how well this system will perform on the stronger Snake. "JLT1" represents the JLT Short-Ram CAI that was tested after the factory airbox and inlet tube. Data for the new high-boost intake is listed as "JLT2." We also made one unofficial glory dyno pull ("GLORY") at the close of our test. While all of the data for this all-out hit is accurate, it's important to understand that it was made with the Cobra--and moreso its supercharger--set up for achieving maximum power with the new setup (engine cooled for one hour, supercharger iced down).
The comparison information for this project does not include the numbers achieved during the glory run. While the glory run's 428 rwhp is outstanding for an otherwise-stock Snake, the real data point of interest is the overall boost increase that the high-boost setup promotes, which is measured between the OEM and two JLT systems (without the cooling tricks).
With most "new" performance hardware for '03-'04 Cobras being power-adder systems, the JLT 12-inch Next Generation High-Boost Cold-Air-Intake Kit is a cool and affordable new addition to the upgrade selection for Terminators. We saw it first-hand--this cold-air kit and a Blow-By Racing tune is all that was necessary for a 50hp gain!
||Stock vs. JLT2|
The graph and accompanying...
The graph and accompanying values listed in the chart show the true efficacy of JLT's new cold-air system.
This S&B Filters Powerstack...
This S&B Filters Powerstack unit measures 4-1/2x12-inches (long) and is the catalyst for sending gobs of air toward the throttle body. As you see, the filter does fit inside the cold-air pocket of the passenger-side front fender, but does require removing the wheel and a little finagling to get it on (and off for cleaning).
We told you this thing is...
We told you this thing is clean. Here's the completed installation on an '03 Cobra. The tube presents no hood-clearance issues, however, it cannot be used with strut-tower braces of any sort. JLT offers the 12-inch Next Generation High-Boost Cold-Air-Intake Kit in standard finish (OEM-looking, black, textured plastic) and also in a Snake's exact body color. CAI tubes go through in-depth pre-paint prep procedures to remove their texture, ensuring they'll have a smooth gloss finish when they're painted.