Most Chevy truck enthusiasts know that improving the flow of air into the engine and reducing backpressure are sure ways to make some power. But believe it or not, this process is not as simple as it sounds. Differences in factory computer settings and the flow of air through increasingly more sensitive mass airflow sensors are often difficult hurdles to overcome for most aftermarket performance manufacturers.
The Chevrolet 5.3L V-8 is a great engine, with a sophisticated computer system operating it. Monitoring the engine's ECM while conducting several dyno tests show that differences in air temperature and the manner in which the air flows through the MAF sensor can either make or take away horsepower.
One air intake manufacturer, Volant Cool Air Intakes, takes this information and uses it to create a potent intake system for GM truck engines. The company takes a different approach to its air intake systems and claims the systems deliver more consistent horsepower results. While most intakes use a large open-element filter and a large-diameter inlet tube, Volant chooses to use a sealed air filter box that houses a high-flow filter and a dyno-tested air-inlet duct. The idea is to keep the air intake temperature cool, while increasing flow. Volant tells us that its testing has shown that heatshields don't always block engine heat. In fact, some trucks showed a dramatic increase in air intake temperatures when the engine fans turned on and actually blew hot air into the intake of popular open-element systems with a heatshield.
The factory air intake system...
The factory air intake system works well, but tests have shown that increasing cold air can add horsepower.
We wanted to see if Volant's theory of making more horsepower wasn't just a bunch of hot air. We bolted on the company's intake system #15053 to a Chevy Silverado equipped with a 5.3L V-8. The installation was simple and the system includes an oversized air intake box that gathers cold air from the factory fender inlet hole and from an opening at the bottom of the air filter box. This hole also attaches to Volant's optional ram air scoop that bolts to the area behind the bumper valence and gathers more cold air at higher speeds.
The system also uses a redesigned intake tube that is very smooth and has a gradual bend into the factory throttle body. A mass airflow sensor adapter is also used to direct airflow into the sensor, and a large cotton-gauze air filter is supplied along with cleaner and oil so it can be reused.
The system is easy to install and simply requires removing the factory air filter box and inlet duct. The Volant box is larger in volume, but fits in the factory location without any problems. The mass airflow adapter fits in the box, and the mass airflow sensor attaches to the outer portion of the filter box. High-temperature silicone sleeves are used to attach the air duct to the box and the throttle body, and they use stainless-steel clamps to secure them in place.
Once the Volant intake system was installed, we noticed an increase in throttle response and a good tone from the air rushing through the throttle body. The system also looks great, as it features a faux-carbon-fiber lid, and its black polyethylene construction looks as though it were a factory piece.
To test the system, we took the truck over to Westech Performance Group, where the crew there performed a baseline test with the stock intake, and a test after the Volant intake was installed. The results show that the Volant intake system created 18 peak horsepower more than the stock system over a majority of the engine's rpm range.
Volant's intake system is also 50-state emissions-legal and comes with all of the necessary hardware, decals, and installation instructions. The company's theory of making horsepower definitely works, as several dyno tests show consistent results no matter how hot the engine got on the dyno. We agree that Volant's intake system works well and is a great addition to your Chevy truck engine.