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REVIEW BY: Five-by-Five (Matt)

K&N. The name is synonymous with added power through reduced air intake restriction and the infamous K&N lifetime warranty. For more than 35 years K&N has been a family owned business leading the industry in reusable cotton gauze filter technology for automotive applications. Today K&N's catalog consist of over 3,500 part numbers for drop-in air filters, gold line oil filters and what they call FIPK or Fuel Injection Performance Kits. I was given the opportunity to test and review one of the two kits made for the 2007-2009 FJ Cruiser.

The K&N 63 series Aircharger kit (PT#63-9030) arrived on my doorstep in one average size box. I asked to review it over the 77-9030KP because it offered a bit more power (~12hp @ ~4,800rpm), uses K&N largest cone filter and was less "showy". Some that like a little "bling" might prefer the polished aluminum tube but I'm not that kinda guy. Knowing what I was getting I was surprised to see what I thought was a small box so I immediately ripped into the box like a 6 y/o on Christmas day.

Like that same kid I had a look of disbelief on my face because I was looking at one really long "S" shaped tube, another smaller box (which holds the cone shaped filter separate), a pair of couplers, the edge trim (which resembles door trim) and a bag of nuts, bots, washers, spacers, hose clamps and brackets. The packaging was great and nothing was damaged in shipment. This guy could tell that K&N had packed a box or two before. Everything was not jammed inside the box but at the same time there wasn't any room for things to slide around and cause damage to other components.

I unpacked it all and took note of what all was there while looking over the instructions. I also went through the instructions step-by-step before I opened anything so I would instantly have an idea where things went during the install. I enlisted the help of fellow gear head Sean aka "thekeeper" and his recently reorganized garage and large collection of all types of tools.

On second though... what was I thinking!?! :lol:

On a serious note, thank you to Sean for assisting with the install and not laughing (too loudly) when I realized I placed a bracket on backwards.

K&N's instructions for this kit were relatively straight forward and easy to understand. K&N also states that the install should take around 90 minutes, we clocked in around 75 from popping the hood to re-cranking the VooDoo Blue beast.

Steps 1-9 and 17-19 deal with the removal of the stock intake and notes that you need to save a few parts to reuse on the new K&N one.

Pay special attention to the tube mounting bracket and saddle clamp in steps 10-11, of special note is the orientation of the bracket on the cylinder head and the saddle cup for the intake tube.

Steps 14 and 15 can be reversed to aid in putting the edge trim on, it's a little more cumbersome with the extra bracket on the heat shield.

To get from step 22 (installing the grommet into the new tube) to step 23 (reinstalling the stock crank case vent fitting into the grommet) took a few choice words and eventually some lube. You can use a spray of WD40 or a few drops of oil or even a bit of Vaseline but you will need something to aid in getting the vent fitting through the grommet.

There is a total of 6 hose clamps, one goes around the saddle clamp and the intake tube to hold it in place and keep it from rattling. The #52 clamp seemed a bit short for the task at first but with some more persuasion and another round of choice words it was clamped down. It would be best if the clamp was placed on the tube before you placed it in the truck and then carefully slid over the saddle clamp. That or if there was a slightly longer clamp used with the kit.

Reconnecting of the new fuel pressure regulator hose, crank case vent hose and the mass airflow sensor were a snap and the layout of the K&N tube was right on as the wires and tubes didn't need to be stretched and weren't left with a bunch of extra slack. Even the location of the stud to place the stock engine cover was right on.

There was a lack of room to put the huge K&N filter on the end of the tube with out slightly tweaking the filter element but it doesn't appear to have affected it in any way.

Sorry for the lack of pics, Sean and I were having a good time discussing the installation of the K&N intake kit and enjoying a great Texas afternoon.

On to the results!

The noise from the intake is loud and when you get on it it drowns out my TRD catback exhaust. Take that for what you will, some folks like the added noise and I will tell you that when I went WOT people walking the street were turning around before I got to them to see what was coming. Some prefer a quieter vehicle and I must say that if I keep my foot out of it the noise was not over bearing. Noise aside there is a definite "seat of your pants" improvement in performance, again K&N boasts ~12hp @ ~4,800rpm. I don't have enough time with it on the truck to see an improvement in fuel economy but if it keeps begging me to open it up with the sounds it makes then it might be the cause of a drop in my mpg! ;)

Time for the short story, the goods:
- Well made and engineered
- Great packaging
- More power
- More engine sound (this is a good or bad depending upon what each person likes)
- More mpg? don't know for sure but a smoother intake should help it a bit.

...and the not so goods:
- More engine sound (this is a good or bad depending upon what each person likes)
- Takes up a lot of room under hood (not much room left for a dual battery or on-board air pump)
- Air filter not protected from dust and heat as well as some may like for it to be

All in all I'm pleased with the kit, it is made well and everything went together well in the end with no extra parts or special tools required. It is accurately marketed and will get some long term testing in which reminds me, I will need to get a K&N filter cleaner kit before to long!
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