For many years at the turn of the 90s and 00s5.4 Triton V8 enginewas one of Ford's largest power plants. Part of Ford's modular engine family, they primarily used the engine in Ford's F-series light trucks, Ford/Lincoln luxury sedans, SUVs and pickups, and2000 Mustang SVT Cobra R. Shelby America also used the engine in various versions2007-2012 Mustang GT500.
While the Shelby versions were undoubtedly powerful, the regular Ford versions left much more to be desired. That's why many people choose to do itupgrade the 5.4 Triton for more horsepower, and the cold air intake is often one of the first mods. Read on to find out about the best 5.4 Triton cold air intakes on the market.
Ford 5.4 Triton cold air intake bases
While Ford may have put the 5.4 Triton V8 engine in many different makes and models, the 5.4 Triton cold air intake principle applies to all of them. The air intake is the first part of the car's intake system. Most (non-Shelby) OEM intakes consist of a panel filter, airbox, snorkel, muffler, and airbox to throttle body connecting tube. The throttle body connects the air intake to the intake manifold (or supercharger on some Shelby's) that feeds air into the engine.
On the OEM air intake, the most restrictive part is the airbox. While not all are the same, most consist of a plastic box that houses a panel-mounted air filter. They also have a muffler to isolate the airbox and reduce sound, and a snorkel to suck air from the fender or behind the radiator. The snorkel is helpful as it allows fresher and cooler air to enter the intake. However, the muffler reduces airflow to reduce noise, which makes the engine work harder.
Overall, the stock intake is decently well designed, but compared to the aftermarket versions, it is considered restrictive. Upgrading the cold air intake to the 5.4 Triton will add some power, performance, look good and save weight. The increase in performance is around ~5-15 horsepower and ~5-15 lb-ft of torque. Combined with other mods, such as upgrading the intake manifold or exhaust, they can be even more beneficial.
Why should I improve my intake?
The main means of increasing power through efficient intakes on the 5.4 Triton is to have an intake filter that is larger than stock, combined with a less restrictive airbox and intake pipes. A larger filter allows more air to be drawn in, while a less restrictive airbox and smoother piping increase airflow and reduce air turbulence.
All of this together increases both the volume and speed of airflow through the intake system. The way to make an engine more powerful is to add fuel and air, and performance intakes are a good way to start this.
To be fair, Ford did a pretty good job on most of their 5.4 Triton intakes. Most OEM intakes are capable of well over 300 horsepower with other mods and do a more than adequate job when stock. The main reasons for upgrading are to consider adding more intake or exhaust mods and/or prefer the look/sound of an aftermarket intake. The 5.4 Triton's cold air intake alone won't add much horsepower or torque.
Cold air inlets and short frame
There are two main types of efficient 5.4 air intakes: cold air intakes or air intakes with short air intakes. Both are similar with the main difference being the length of the intake pipes and the location of the intake filter.
The cold air intakes have more pipes, position the airbox away from the center of the engine bay, and draw cold air from the fender/wheel arch area. Short piston intakes have minimal piping to ensure the shortest distance from the filter to the throttle body and usually have no air boxes. With short cylinders, the inlet is directly in the hot engine compartment, which most people don't prefer.
For most 5.4 Triton vehicles, the OEM intake is actually considered a cold air intake. They are called cold air intakes because the air from the fender is much colder than in the engine compartment. Redirecting the filter away from the engine bay allows colder, oxygen-rich air to enter for more power. Most OEM intakes do this, and the main problems come from the piping and airbox being too restrictive.
In general, on a naturally aspirated engine like the (non-Shelby) 5.4 Triton, a cold air intake will be preferable to a short piston intake. Cooler air will be an advantage and as long as the intake piping is well designed, it will not be a major limitation. In the Shelby 5.4 Tritons the difference is less significant. This is because they also have intercoolers that cool the air before it enters the engine.
Open vs closed systems
When it comes to cold air intakes, there are two main types: open or closed systems. Closed systems refer to those with airboxes while open systems are those without airboxes. The purpose of the airbox is mainly to lower the intake temperature and protect the filter from dirt and debris. Some airboxes are completely enclosed and some have openings at the bottom or top. They all have snorkels that bring cool air from the fender or wheel arch.
In general, there is not much difference between open and closed systems. Unless you drive consistently through dusty or dirty areas, the difference in intake filter clogged will be quite minimal. The snorkels allow for a better flow of cold air from the fender. The most important thing, however, is to locate the filter away from the engine compartment.
Some argue that airboxes will actually increase the constraints over an open system. In some cases this may be true, but in most cases the difference is minimal. However, 5.4 Triton intakes that have airboxes tend to be more expensive, so that's something to consider.
Advantages of the cold air intake on the Ford 5.4 Triton
Key benefits of adding a 5.4 Triton Cold Air Intake are:
- + ~5-15 horsepower and torque
- Improved throttle response
- Improved aesthetics of the engine compartment
- Improved fuel economy
- Increased air flow and volume
- Increased engine sounds
We'll get that out of the way now, but adding a 5.4 Triton's cold air intake won't be a huge power boost. At most, the intake alone will only add ~5-15 horsepower and torque. Coupled with things like an upgraded intake manifold, long tube manifolds, and forced induction, it will increase horsepower. Even so, you will notice a slight increase from the ECU intake and tune.
The engine will also feel more responsive with the addition of the intake. You will notice that the throttle feels a bit more wide open and it is a bit easier to overtake or reach highway speeds. You may also see an increase of 0.5-1.5 miles per gallon due to a less restrictive system and colder air.
Many of the benefits of upgrading the 5.4 Triton's cold air intake are aesthetic. Not only will the engine look much better, but you will definitely hear the intake compared to the OEM airbox. The OEM airbox has a muffler to reduce noise and most aftermarket ones don't. Given that most intakes are not terribly expensive, this is a very popular mod for many 5.4 Triton owners, and many F-series owners in general.
5.4 Triton F-150 Gotts Mod
For those who have an F-150 with a 5.4 Triton engine, instead of a new intake, they can always try the Gotts mod known on the forum. You can view the guideHere, but it is a $15 alternative to buy a new intake. Basically you remove the intake pipe and replace it with a piece of 3 inch PVC pipe. The standard snorkel is insulated, which reduces flow, and PVC replaces it with a hollow 3-inch piece. This allows for optimal flow and will result in a power increase of approximately 5 horsepower.
Top 4 Ford 5.4 Triton Cold Air Intakes
The top 4 Ford 5.4 Triton cold air intakes are:
- K&N 1990-2000s Lincoln/Ford
- JLT Shelby GT500
- S&B 2005+ series F/Lincoln
- Volant 2005+ Ford/Lincoln
Considering that Ford has put the 5.4 Triton in over a dozen makes and models, there are plenty of 5.4 Triton cold air intakes on the market. We've narrowed it down to the top five options. We know there are tons of different vehicles using this engine, so we've tried to provide a varied list that will apply to many different owners. Do you have a 5.4 Triton powered vehicle that you don't see an intake for? Let us know in the comments below and we'll get you covered!
1) Ford 5.4 Triton K&N modernization of the intake system
To begin with, we have the so-called5.4 Triton 1997-2002 F-150 K&N Cold Air Intake. For many years, K&N has established itself as the leading brand in efficient cold air intake systems. Their filters are widely used by intake brands in almost every make and model of vehicle. In addition, they are known to have a high flow rate and are excellent at catching debris.
Their 5.4 Triton intake fits the 1997–2002 F Series, Expedition, and 1997–1998 Lincoln Navigator. This is a fairly simple system that has a massive cone filter and no airbox. As you can see in the dyno graph below, the K&N intake showed a power increase of 13 horsepower and 15 lb-ft of torque on the DynoJet. These are pretty significant upgrades from the intake itself and show just how good the K&N system really is for the 5.4 Triton.
The K&N costs $299.99 - $349.99 (depending on sales), making it very affordable and value for money. Some of the reduced cost is due to the lack of an airbox, but as the dyno graph shows, this is not a problem with this system. This intake is CARB certified and legal in 50 states.
2) JLT Shelby GT500 intake upgrade
For those of you who have a Shelby modified Triton 5.4, we have2007-2009 Shelby GT500 JLT Cold Air Intake. This is one of the best intakes for the 5.4 GT500 and comes with an S&B brand filter. While S&B may not be as well known as K&N, they are still top makers, with dozens of companies using their air filters in their intake systems. JLT is the creator of the shot and is a subsidiary of S&B.
Part of what makes this Shelby GT500 intake unique is that it has a 123mm MAF housing molded into the intake pipe. It can be used with factory MAFs up to 750 horsepower as well as aftermarket sensors. It comes with a heat shield/airbox and has weather strips to ensure a good seal with the mask.
According to JLT, this intake alone adds 60-90 horsepower, which is quite a significant claim. We wouldn't expect ingestion to add that much, even after tuning, but it sure adds something. Importantly, this product is not CARB exempt and requires tuning to be used safely.
3) S&B Ford 5.4 F-150 intake upgrade
Next up is another S&B intake, this time5.4 Triton 2005+ Ford F-150 cold air intake. The intake looks very similar to the GT500 intake above, but has a different filter style and a larger airbox. The airbox has two fresh air intakes and the top is transparent for easy viewing of the filter. This intake is for the 2005-2008 F-150, but reviews indicate it also fits the same year 5.4 L Lincolns. Please make sure you check all the accessories carefully before purchasing.
Compared to the OEM intake, the S&B unit flows 35% better and has a 99% efficiency rate. As you can see from themTest results, the S&B 5.4 Triton intake flows exceptionally well and is a big improvement over stock. It is priced the same as K&N's non-sales intake and probably has fairly similar dyno results.
This is a solid intake you can get with a dry or oiled filter and we recommend dry to limit potential MAF fouling issues.
4) Volant 5.4 Triton intake system upgrade
Our last proposal is the so-called5.4 Triton Volant 2005+ Ford/Lincoln cold air intake. This intake looks very similar to the S&B intake but has a slightly more innovative airbox. In addition, the Volant intake uses a PowerCore air filter, which also flows exceptionally like an S&B. The PowerCore filter is a dry filter that can last up to 100,000 miles without maintenance. The intake also has a venturi filter adapter to ensure the smoothest possible airflow.
You can get an optional oiled filter that works well, but we strongly recommend the PowerCore. The airbox looks very well designed and made, but it doesn't have a clear top like the S&B. Still, it's pretty easy to take the top off if you want in just a few minutes, so it's not a big deal. Volant is slightly more expensive than the other options and probably works the same. Volant 5.4 Triton intake fits 2004-2008 F-150 and 2006-2008 Lincoln Mark LT.
Ford 5.4 Triton Cold Air Intake - Frequently Asked Questions
How much horsepower does the 5.4 Triton Cold Air Intake add?
Installing a 5.4 Triton cold air intake will add a whopping 15 horsepower and 15 lb-ft of torque as tested on a dyno.
What is the benefit of the cold air intake on the Ford F-150 5.4?
The cold air intake will increase power, torque, mpg, throttle response and increase engine noise in the 5.4 Ford F-150.
Is the 5.4 Triton's cold air intake a good idea?
The 5.4 Triton's cold air intake can increase horsepower and torque and also looks great in the engine bay.
What is the best Shelby Mustang GT500 cold air intake for a 5.4 liter engine?
The best 5.4 Triton cold air intake for the Shelby Mustang GT500 is the JLT cold air intake. It has an integrated MAF and flows exceptionally well.
Cold Air Intakes are said to improve your vehicle's performance by 5-20 horsepower. This number will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. While this isn't enough power to put you back in your seat, it will give your car or truck a little pep in its step.Which cold air intake adds the most HP? ›
What cold air intake adds the most power? According to the research conducted by our review team, the cold air intake that adds the most power is the Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit. This is due to the fact that this cold air intake offers up to 50 percent more airflow than factory box air filters and intake tubes.How much HP does a cold air intake add V8? ›
Installing a cold air intake on an 8-cylinder engine like the LS or Coyote, you can expect to gain a minimum of 15-20 horsepower. However, even the most efficient high-flow cold air intakes will max out at around a 50 horsepower improvement.How much HP does a K&N cold air intake add? ›
Do K&N Intakes Increase Power? K&N intakes typically add an average of 15-25 additional horsepower over a stock system. Because vehicle makes, models, and engine sizes vary widely, along with vehicle condition, power gains also vary across applications and individual vehicles.How much HP does a Stage 2 cold air intake add? ›
Stage 2 intakes: Because it is replacing the entire stock intake tract will give a significantly higher boost of 20-40 horsepower and 35-60 foot-pounds of torque.Should I get exhaust or intake first? ›
If you've got a tight budget and care more about providing cooler air to your engine so it can breathe easier, go with an aftermarket cold air intake first. If your budget is less restrictive and you're more concerned with gaining extra power, aggressive sound and killer looks, install an exhaust system first.Do you need a tune after a cold air intake? ›
Can A Cold Air Intake Damage Your Engine? A no-tune-required cold air intake, if properly installed and maintained, will not damage your engine. However, you have to be more careful with tune-required cold air intakes. Tune-required intakes use a larger tube diameter for increased airflow to the engine.Does more airflow increase horsepower? ›
Increased airflow triggers the engine's computer to add more fuel to the fuel/air mix. More fuel/air equals more horsepower.Can a cold air intake mess up your engine? ›
1. Reduction in engine performance. One of the most common symptoms associated with a bad or failing cold air intake is a reduction in engine performance. The cold air intake also uses an engine air filter, which when clogged or dirty can cause a reduction in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency.What are the disadvantages of a cold air intake? ›
The cold air intake does typically get denser air than the stock intake. However, since it is longer and more requires more complex routing, it is often more expensive. This increased complexity also leads to a more difficult and time-consuming installation.
Gains from a throttle body can be dependent on modifications. Generally speaking, anytime a throttle body is added, there will be some added horsepower. The amounts can range from 5-25 HP depending on what other modifications are done to the engine.Do cold air intakes increase mpg? ›
Cold air intake - Cold air intakes will improve fuel efficiency, only to the extent that they are actually delivering colder air versus your stock intake. Air cleaners and filters - Air cleaners and filters generally don't produce much in the way of fuel economy.Does K and N air filter make a difference? ›
K&N filters offer exceptional airflow to your engine - and more airflow often translates to more efficient fuel burn. Disposable filters aren't typically designed with the performance enthusiast in mind; they are designed to be simple, cheap, and functional.How much HP does a K&N cold air intake add to a V8? ›
K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: Increase Acceleration & Towing Power, Guaranteed to Increase Horsepower up to 16HP: Compatible with 5.7L, V8, 2009-2021 Dodge/RAM (1500, 2500, 3500, 1500 Classic), 63-1561.How much HP does a performance intake manifold add? ›
It makes such a big difference, in fact, that the simple process of redirecting the filter to draw cooler air is good for a horsepower gain of about 5 to 20 ponies in most cars. It might even improve your fuel efficiency, and it'll probably make your engine sound better, too.Can a cold air intake be too big? ›
Yes a filter can be Too small. If too small (espicaly if you going CAI) It wont suck up enough air. If it is Too big it should hurt.What is the difference between Stage 1 and Stage 2 intake? ›
A stage 1 cold air intake will replace the filter and can also replace the box its mounted in. A stage 2 system such as # AR300-237 replaces all of that and has additional equipment, usually a larger diameter hose or collar. The higher the stage number the better the air flow.How much horsepower is stage 2? ›
Stage 2: this is typically referred to an engine with a performance cam upgrade as well as the other components within a Stage 1 combination. A typical Stage 2 has generally +20-25% more HP than stock.What to pair with cold air intake? ›
Pair an Electronic Throttle Control or Performance Chip
Pairing a cold air intake with a performance chip or electronic throttle control can further improve the performance of your engine. A performance chip is a device that allows you to modify the way your engine runs.
In most cases, one exhaust fan is sufficient, especially if you pair it with two or more intake fans. Besides, having fewer exhaust fans than intake fans helps build positive air pressure inside the case. As a result, the number of dead spots goes down while the dust buildup is at its lowest.
In addition, there should be a sign indicating the presence of a fresh air intake. The space between the fresh intake and the exhaust is about 5 feet when it should be 15 – 30 feet.Should I reset my ECU after installing cold air intake? ›
ECU reset is not manadatory when replacing the air filter. The only thing is that it clears the previous values got from the MAF sensor. Even if you don't rest it, it will learn those new values. However it's just good practice to reset it so that it starts with teh new values once you change the filter.Can you just install a cold air intake? ›
Cold air intakes are an inexpensive modification (typically a few hundred dollars) and easier to install than most other engine modifications. No, they won't add quite as much power as those other engine mods, but they will help your engine in some other ways.Do you need a MAF sensor with a cold air intake? ›
Yes, you do need a MAF sensor on any engine regardless of whether it has a cold air intake system. Those aftermarket cold air intake systems are generally a waste of money. Most engines are already designed to draw intake air from ahead of the engine compartment so they're already cold air intake systems.Can you force too much air into an engine? ›
There is no harm to the engine by having more air enter the system. It may make the engine run easier. Just make sure that the air is filtered.How much hp does a straight pipe add? ›
You'll likely gain about ten hp with a straight pipe as compared with five hp or less by just taking off your muffler. Keep in mind that putting on a straight pipe also involves adjusting your fuel injection and otherwise tuning up the car.What happens when there is too much air in an engine? ›
A lean fuel mixture occurs when there is too much air or not enough fuel in your engine. This can result in your car's engine not operating optimally. Since there isn't enough fuel being burnt, your car may stall, operate roughly or struggle to accelerate.How do I know if my cold air intake is working? ›
Illuminated Check Engine Light
Your cold air intake comes with sensors that connect to the check engine light in your vehicle. If anything goes wrong or some parts fail, these sensors will alert you of the problem through the check engine light.
The Impact of a Cold Air Intake System Varies
On a stock car with no modifications, the increases to your horsepower and acceleration will be fairly minor. You'll gain just a few extra horsepower and might not even physically notice a change in acceleration (although it is present).
Cold air intakes help surge a vehicle's responsiveness, as it can reach its intended speed more rapidly when a larger volume of denser air is carried to the engine. If you're looking for an acceleration increase, whether on busy highways or empty backroads, aftermarket cold air intake kits can help.
Beyond the horsepower increase, cold air intakes can also provide better throttle response and improved fuel economy. When your engine has the ability to get more air, it has the ability to create more power.Is cold air intake better than filter? ›
Cold air intakes can offer even greater performance benefits, but they typically cost more than a drop-in filter. When it comes to choosing between a drop-in filter and a cold air intake, it really depends on your budget and your goals for performance.Does cold air intake waste gas? ›
The only thing an aftermarket cold air intake will do for your truck is increase intake noise, a sound many people like, which will likely make you step on the gas pedal harder than before to hear the noise, which will decrease gas mileage.Will throttle body spacer add HP? ›
The Benefits of Throttle Body Spacers
The engine can perform more efficiently since it gains more air to create combustion reactions. You'll see an increase in horsepower and torque when you add a spacer. Throttle Body Spacers can also benefit: throttle response.
Another important factor when it comes to the power gains offered by the throttle body is engine combination. From the most basic standpoint, the higher the power output of the test motor, the larger the throttle body required.Is it better to have a bigger or smaller throttle body? ›
A larger throttle body will give you a better throttle response as you will get more air each time you push your gas pedal.What mods increase MPG? ›
- Fuel Economy Monitor. If you don't know what your fuel consumption and MPG is, how on earth can you make any changes? ...
- Eco-Friendly Tyres. ...
- Synthetic Oils. ...
- Aerodynamic Body Mods. ...
- Weight Saving Parts. ...
- Go Automatic. ...
- ECU Tune/Remap.
A cat-back exhaust system replaces your OEM system from the catalytic converters and back. The pipes are larger. The mufflers are also designed to facilitate a more efficient draining of the exhaust. Cat-back exhaust systems improve gas mileage and enhance engine sound as well.How can I increase my gas mileage by 70 percent? ›
- Never drive above 45 mph. Yes, this includes highways. ...
- Remove passenger side mirror. ...
- Avoid braking and rapid acceleration. ...
- Turn off engine at red lights. ...
- Windows up/AC off. ...
- Try to stay relaxed. ...
- Legally draft when possible. ...
- Overinflate tires by 10 percent.
One of the main reasons' engine air filters tend to reduce engine power is dirt. Simply replacing your engine air filter can increase horsepower and, in some cases, even improve mileage.
In short, yes, performance air filters offer an increase in horsepower. On average, this increase is around 3-5 HP. Despite being a minor increase, the added horsepower can go a long way in terms of improving the overall performance of your vehicle, along with enhancing the overall driving experience.Is a performance air filter worth it? ›
Performance filters are more suited to drivers who want to achieve performance benefits – invest in one of these if you're looking to increase horsepower. Although performance filters offer benefits in terms of power, they don't usually filter contaminants more effectively than high-quality standard air filters.How much HP does an exhaust add? ›
Depending on your car, an aftermarket performance exhaust system could give you as much as 50 extra horsepower or as little as 2-3 HP. To learn more about the benefits of upgrading your exhaust system or get an estimate of the horsepower benefits one might give you, try asking an expert.How much HP does a banks cold air intake add? ›
Engine Cold Air Intake Performance Kit
Gain up to +39 hp/+69 lb-ft.
With a throttle body spacer, it is possible to increase the torque by 25 ft lbs and add up to 18 more horsepower. Not all throttle body kits can be used for all engines. Ensure that you get a kit that will work for the make and model of your engine.Does cold air intake add sound? ›
An Aftermarket Cold Air Intake Can Give Your Sound a Boost
While a cold air intake can give you a slight boost in performance, it really shines in the category of sound. When you install a cold air intake, you'll hear the sound of cold air rushing into your combustion chamber every time you accelerate.
Anywhere from minus 20% to plus 5–10%.Is it worth putting a cold air intake? ›
A cold air intake system is an excellent car mod that will improve the cooling capabilities of your engine. It increases the flow of oxygen to your combustion chamber by providing cool, dense air.Why are cold air intakes illegal? ›
The act of installing an aftermarket cold air intake on your vehicle is considered tampering with a smog-controlled engine and is against the law.Do cold air intakes really make a difference? ›
When you introduce a high volume of cold air to the combustion process, the engine is able to burn the fuel more completely, and that results in additional horsepower. So yes, a cold air intake system does work.
So if you can get cooler air into your engine, your car will be able to mix more fuel with that air, making more power. Combine that with the more air through the larger and less restrictive filter and intake tube and you can see up to a 10-15 horsepower increase.Is there a downside to a cold air intake? ›
The cold air intake does typically get denser air than the stock intake. However, since it is longer and more requires more complex routing, it is often more expensive. This increased complexity also leads to a more difficult and time-consuming installation.Can a cold air intake cause problems? ›
Ans. It is possible that a cold air intake filter system may cause damage to your engine if it is not installed properly, and the necessary maintenance is not carried out. You can decrease the likelihood of damage if you can recognise signs of an issue before it causes a problem.What states is a cold air intake illegal? ›
Modifying your car is legal, though there are elements of car modifications that are illegal depending on which state you live in. Cold air intakes, for example, are illegal in Arizona, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and several other states if they don't carry a CARB Executive Order (EO) number.Can you put a cold air intake on a stock car? ›
Yes, it can and does improve horsepower but veries from car to car and many in performance benefits. Cooler air density and oxygen level is high and Capable of burning more fuel to produce more horsepower.Do you need a tune for a cold air intake and exhaust? ›
A cold air intake is a cheap and easy upgrade that does not require tuning. It will work well, without a tune and people have reported that it will not cause any damage to your car if not tuned.Does a K&N filter add horsepower? ›
Does a K&N system really increase power? Yes, K&N intakes really do increase horsepower and torque; in fact, it's guaranteed. One of the fastest ways to add more airflow, horsepower, and throttle response to your vehicle is by installing a cold air intake.Do cold air intakes increase throttle response? ›
Beyond the horsepower increase, cold air intakes can also provide better throttle response and improved fuel economy. When your engine has the ability to get more air, it has the ability to create more power.How much HP does a straight pipe add? ›
You'll likely gain about ten hp with a straight pipe as compared with five hp or less by just taking off your muffler. Keep in mind that putting on a straight pipe also involves adjusting your fuel injection and otherwise tuning up the car.Do cold air intakes make your truck louder? ›
Yes, they usually do. I've installed kits on two trucks I've owned, and both intake kits allowed the engines to make more intake sound. There was a sound mitigation system on both trucks before I installed the kits, and both kits eliminated those mitigation systems.