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K&N INTAKE 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!
:bigthumb:
 

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Nice review and funny pic of Sean! Looks like a nice setup but I have to agree that the exposed filter will get dirty faster than if it were in a box. As many of you know when you splash throgh mud it goes everywhere and that will cause the filter to need to be cleaned earlier than if it were enclosed. I run the K&N stock replacement filter and have been quite happy with it.
 

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Great write up! The photo of Sean reminds me of Crocodile Dundee laying down the line "That's not a wrench....THIS is a wrench!"

:bigthumb:
 

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From my bikes to my cars, and a few trucks, and even a ATV I have been a K&N believer for about 13 years now. Of course back then the competition wasn't too steep. Looks like a nice kit.

Looks like it would great for some serious street use, I know the snorkle equiped will not be pleased.
 

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I run K&N on my chainsaw, Stihl O44. I don't think that the filter needs protection from dust as you pointed out.
 

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Well, I don't want to be too much of a critic since the forum gods are behind this one.

-Power gains cannot be quantified without before/after dyno charts
-With an exposed filter element and oiled-gauze type filter, this is NOT an offroad friendly setup (filter element will get very dirty very quickly, and does not filter as well as other types such as paper)
-Oiled filters wreak havoc on MAF sensors (which we have)

That being said, good write-up and thanks for all the information :)
 

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Matt Nice write up. I have the same filter and intake set. I love it I love the added sound and as you said my MPG has gone down cause i love it so much. The filter does get dirty quick and i clean it after every off road trip but it is simple. K&N Rocks:rocker:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
BlackCherryota said:
Well, I don't want to be too much of a critic since the forum gods are behind this one.
It is a discussion, no worries.

-Power gains cannot be quantified without before/after dyno charts
The kit I installed for my girl came with a dyno chart. It was based on a stock Civic before and after. Did one come with the kit for the FJ?

-With an exposed filter element and oiled-gauze type filter, this is NOT an offroad friendly setup (filter element will get very dirty very quickly, and does not filter as well as other types such as paper)
It may not be optimal for offroad use, but does the box on this install mate up with the hood? On the Civic it did. The stock cold air inlet led straight to the box. Also, K&N is very reputable, and makes filters for almost any application. Drop in ones as well.

-Oiled filters wreak havoc on MAF sensors (which we have)
If you over-oil a filter it can wreak havoc on any sensor in the intake. Over-oiling the filter after you clean it is a common mistake. I hate watching someone overload a filter with oil after cleaning.

That being said, good write-up and thanks for all the information :)
I like the write up as well. Great job! I wrote a review on our Honda site for the kit on my girl's car. If you want to see the pictures of that kit, check it out at Superhonda.com. There is another one posted on our Tacoma site as well, written by a member at: Customtacos - The ultimate resource for Tacoma Enthusiasts. There should be another review coming soon for the V8 GTO if anyone likes those.

Nadeem
 

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I included the link for the chart in the original write-up, HP before and after, and I feel some improved performance but the range it helps the most in is the range in which most rock crawlers aren't going to see much. After several tanks through it I'm able to see it coming back around to the mileage I was getting before...




...but I still love to punch it around someone and watch them cower below the steering wheel of their little ricer! :D
 

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possible to use that big filter with the trd intake instead of the small cone filter that trd supplies?
 

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possible to use that big filter with the trd intake instead of the small cone filter that trd supplies?
The TRD filter barley fits the CAI box, no way that monster will fit.
 

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and its a monster. the filter opening is around six inches. but i have to say, i have the K&N and love it. great write up
 

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Just a note that folks should be cautious with manufacturer claims of HP gains on many intakes. Many times there is an increase in HP but there are two separate things going on:
a) There is higher flow rate (more oxygen = more energy released in the gas ignition reaction)
b) Somewhat detrimental, the Mass Air Flow sensor is fooled (since the pipe is bigger now so there is more flow for the same pressure compared to before) and thus the amount of air actually entering the cylinder is more than the ECU thinks, and the engine runs lean as a result.

Consequently, I have heard of some intakes resulting in a temporary increase in HP but over a week or so the self-adjusting algorithms in the ECU detect and correct the lean mix and bring it down to normal, negating the effects - in this case you would only get a long-term HP boost by continually unplugging the battery and resetting the ECU. So dyno would show +8HP or whatever, but a week later it would be back to normal.

In other cases, the ECU might not be sophisticated enough to detect the issue and may run lean forever, causing your engine to run hotter and decreasing the engine life in the long run.

Don't mean to burst the OP's bubble (or anyone else's) - K&N is a well known reputable brand and its probably fine, but each car is different and even with the best brands you often improve the performance by getting the ECU reprogrammed to compensate for the changes in the air-fuel mix - that being said I have no idea if this is a problem with this particular intake or with the FJ at all, but it wouldn't hurt to take the car into a tuner shop (someone who tunes Toyota's or Scions) and get their opinion and possibly put it on the dyno and hook up the ECU to see if there is anything fishy.

There are good articles on this here for folks who want to read more:
 

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So should i or should i not install a K&N intake???
if i have the money for it.... is there any better intake system for FJ?
it seems the K&n is the way to go!?!?
 

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So should i or should i not install a K&N intake???
if i have the money for it.... is there any better intake system for FJ?
it seems the K&n is the way to go!?!?
Personally I would want to see a real performance shop test the intake (i.e do a series of longer-term dyno tests and a read-out on what programming changes needed to be done for the specific intake on the specific engine).

Since we have the same engine as the Tacoma & 4 runner (1GR-FE), its possible there's some literature on this, but there isn't that much interest for this level of scrutiny for most of us truck owners, its more of a tuner thing really.

Soooo, your call! You may feel comfortable with a reputable brand like K&N and want to go for it - I think its lower risk with one of the big guys - just don't go buying a generic intake off eBay!
 

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With pretty much any performance mod PCM programming is required to get true long term benefits of the modification. Also, most cars come tuned very rich form the factory, leaning it out a little can be a good thing.
 

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I have one of these, and trying to sell it because I am adding a Snorkel and this won't work with the Volant Snorkel. Great Mod though, noticeable gains even without a tune.
 

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Cars used to come rich....or lean....from the factory, but now they kind of have things down. A CAI won't usually rob performance, but it's definitely not going to give anyone an 11hp gain. And I have no idea what dyno only spits out HP and not torque. Why did K&N omit that? Perhaps they couldn't remember that the hp/tq graph intersects at 5250rpm? Loss of torque?
 
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