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· Senior Privileged Member
4,104 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I received from K&N their dyno curve chart for their Aircharger kit (NOT the simple K&N air filter!) which they state shows the improvement over the stock air intake system. I am going to be very careful in phrasing my report on it.

Their chart came to me in MS Word format, which does not convert as a whole into postable JPG format. I had to copy, paste into MS PhotoEditor, and then save as a JPG file, so I lost all their text above and below the chart itself. I’ve attached the chart to this posting below.

That text had lots of interesting information in it, for anyone obsessed enough with detail to actually look for it. Note that this chart was apaprently generated using an 04 SSR 5.3L as the vehicle.

First, it is labeled as the dyno chart for the “Fuel Injection Performance Kit (FIPK) Generation II”, which apaprently is the alternate marketing name for what is usually called their “Aircharger” on their website.

Secondly, it shows that the “before (stock)” dyno curve was generated 2 hours and 25 minutes before the “after” (with K&N Aircharger)” dyno curve, so I think we can conclude that the installation cannot possibly be very complicated.

Thirdly, the date for both runs is shown as “3/9/2004” (2004, not 2005), which begs the question of why it took them so long to make it publishable. I had asked for it at least 2 weeks before I actually received it on 5-11-05, and the reason given for the delay was that it was “not yet ready”.

Fourth, the “before” run was done at a far less than ideal 89 degrees Farenheit, and the “after” run was done at an even worse 95 degrees Farenheit. These are AWFUL temperatures to dyno at, since despite the theoretical compensation factors, no real engine actually works anywhere close to well at temperatures this high. So, the power output was on the low side (for both before AND after, of course)

Fifth, the run was done on a vehicle with only 233 odometer miles on it, which is too early to subject an engine and driveline to the stresses of a dyno run. This again also probably produced a lower power output than a more broken-in engine would produce (before AND after).

Sixth, the runs were done in 2nd gear instead of the normal 4th gear. Those who know how dyno runs are done will immediately understand that this again depresses the power numbers (before AND after), as numerically higher gears tend to reduce the power readings on an inertia dyno.

I point these things out because in my view they are all significant deviations from what you would expect a manufacturer to do to get optimal testing results.

Anyway, the net result will probably underwhelm you. Note that the peak gain in power is only 5.39 hp, and occurs at about 5200 rpm. Note also that this is the GREATEST apparent differential between the “before” and “after” dyno curves. There is a gain everywhere else n the curve as well, but it ranges from about 2 hp to a maximum of about 5 hp anywhere else in the curve. Note that the 5.39 hp (largest gain) happily occurs at where peak horsepower normally occurs. Note also though that the gain erodes very quickly to almost nothing above 5500 rpm.

This last fact bothers me. If the aircharger is really flowing more air than stock, why would its advantage over stock erode so quickly to almost nothing just 300 rpm above stock peak? The only sensible explanation, IF this chart really represents reality, which K&N certainly implies it does by sending it to me when I asked for “a dyno chart that shows the improvements over stock throughout the entire rpm range”, then there must be one whale of a cork somewhere else in the 5.3L induction or exhaust system, that makes improving the air intake a futile act above 5500 rpm.

However, that does not agree with the actual results I saw in person at MTI Racing when they changed from my stock exhaust manifolds to Supermaxx headers. There, there definitely WAS a continued gain in horsepower above 5500 rpm as a result of the better exhaust flow.

So, I am puzzled by this.

Now, I have to accept that K&N is sending me a chart of improvements that my own, or YOUR own, SSR should be able to duplicate, albeit with a higher or lower overall power curve (mine is higher overall). In other words, I have to believe that they would not knowingly send me a chart that overstates or understates the actual gains.

So, if I take this chart at face value, and accept that these Aircharger kits can be bought on the street for about $350 plus shipping, say $375 total, I calculate that you spend $375 / 5.39 hp = $70 per hp, plus some labor that probably any of us is qualified to do, and therefore can realistically be disregarded as a cost.

That’s actually a great horsepower per dollar deal compared to other modifications you can do. Supermaxx headers for example cost about $130 per hp, PLUS realistically about $65 per hp in installation labor, unless you really, really want to do this yourself in a driveway (read my posting on Supermaxx headers before impetuously saying “sure”).

Impact on your 0 to 60 and quarter mile times? About 0.1 second. So, on the Jim G scale of dollars per tenth, this is about $375/tenth, which is actually decent in the rarified world of high performance. (The headers are more like double that cost per tenth). On the other hand, it’s not nearly as good as the current winner mod: regearing, which costs only $100 per tenth or less (depends on yoru weight and the amount of fuel weight in the vehicle).

This is all PROVIDED that you believe the chart is an accurate representation of what will actually happen. I am not in a qualified position to address that, as I am not going to buy this particular air intake solution, at least just yet, as I am number one on the wait list for the “almost ready” Vararam intake kit for the SSR, which Vararam promises is going to be betetr than the K&N. See my separate upcoming posting on that. Therefore, I am not going to be able to show you what an SSR that actually belongs to one of US actually gets on a dyno session WE can observe, with a K&N Aircharger. Maybe, one of you has this K&N Aircharger / FIPK kit, and either has, or is willing to, spring for a dyno session with stock versus K&N kit. If not, this is the best info currently available to us (I haven’t been able to find an actual magazine test of this kit either).

So, there you have it. Everything that is AVALABLE to know about the K&N Aircharger or FIPK for the SSR.

Jim G


· Tu-Tone club member
5,996 Posts
Jim, nice work on the anaylsis....

Looks like I'll not spend any $$$ on that thing. :nono I'll wait until the Vararam unit comes out before I buy anything.

Thanxx, Jim


Peace :flag

· Senior Privileged Member
4,104 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Argo-7: As I noted above, $350 to $400 for 5 hp is not bad (less costly per horsepower than my headers and exhaust!), IF the aicharger really delivers the 5.4 hp.

The track record on most of these horsepower addons is not good. The claims often do not translate into reality. That's why I am trying to do a one-step at a time program with MTI, measuring the gains at each step.

But, as you point out, you need to recognize, and remember, that when you free up ONE "cork" in the overall system, you may get SOME gain if the system is not bumpng up against a BIGGER cork somewhere else, but you may not get the really big gain you are looking for until you have upgraded enough components one at a time to find the WORST one. Once you find and replace that worst one, the whole package wakes up.

It CAN be a little discouraging along the way, especially if you replace some of the more costly components first and don't see decent gains. Makes you feel like the money "was wasted". This is why it is helpful to be following a program that someone else has already proven.

Unfortunately, for SSRs, there IS no proven one yet. I'm hoping to change that with the things that MTI and I are doing on my SSR.

Jim G
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