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All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe


All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe

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									“All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe”

For those of you who joined the scouts as a youngster the phrase “Triangle of Fire”
should ring a bell. This mnemonic states you need three things to start a fire; fuel, air
and a little heat. The internal combustion engine uses the same principle. You need
petrol, air and a spark to make things happen.

I will not be touching upon petrol or sparks. Instead I will be concentrating on air.
Engines, like most animals, need to inhale and exhale air. I won’t be talking about
exhalation either (the exhaust system). I will however focus on inhalation, or to give
it its proper designation, the induction system.

Induction is the means by which the engine inhales air. Simply put - the more air
available the better. One could go to the extent of adding a turbocharger or a
supercharger both of which force air into the engine. But I for one don’t have two or
three grand to spare!

Now if only I could find a way of shortening the air intake tract so the air had less
distance to travel to the engine. Perhaps I could reduce any resistance the air may
have to overcome on the way. I might be able to use the forward motion of the car to
ram air into the system. And maybe I could get colder air to the engine, which means
denser air, which means more air – that would be good too (for every seven degrees
Fahrenheit of cooler air you can add about one percent of power).

You see, the stock induction system has a long intake tract. The standard air filter
slows down incoming air. The system takes air from inside the engine compartment,
which generally means hot air.

I could be onto a winner here. But no, hold on, Jackson Racing has beaten me to it.
Their “Cold Air Induction System” addresses all my points. The intake tract is about
half the length, it employs a high flow air filter, it takes cool air from in front of the
radiator and the forward motion of the car helps drives this air into the system.

And so, distraught at someone else pinching my great idea, I dusted the cobwebs from
the credit card, parted with just over £340 and waited for the system to arrive in the
post. My father, a retired motor mechanic, provided the necessary garage facilities
and supervision. What follows is a brief description of how the installation went.
We began by removing the existing air intake tract from where it begins, at the near
side front wing, all the way across to where it joins the throttle body on the offside of
the engine. This whole section is quite long - perhaps four feet or more of piping. It
incorporates the air box, air filter and air flow meter. There were no problems
encountered during this stage – simply a matter of undoing the usual nuts, bolts and
screws. The air flow meter would be set aside for use later.
Next, the top water hose coming out from the thermostat housing would need to be
raised to allow room for the new intake tract. An aluminium spacer provided the
extra height. This process involved removing the top hose, removing the top of the
housing and inserting the spacer (gaskets provided). We left the top hose off until the
very end of the installation as this afforded us more working space.
Then we bolted the old air flow meter onto the side of the new air box. An extension
cable came with the kit that enabled the meter to be reconnected to the computer.

Next, we built up the new tract bit by bit. A black “elbow” section fitted on to the
throttle body. A concertina type flexible tube fitted on to that. The other end of this
tube fitted onto the open end of the old air flow meter. Two bolts on the front
cowling secured the main air box in place. Our very own STHT editor, Clive,
suggested I use rubber washers underneath the supplied metal washers to prevent the
plastic air box suffering from fatigue cracks. We actually went one stage further. By
enlarging the mounting holes on the front of the air box we were able to insert rubber
grommets. We then inserted some short metal tubing through the centre of the
grommets. This allowed us to securely fix the front of the air box whilst cushioning
any movement. Quite a nice solution (thanks Dad).
We refitted the top hose (topping up the system with anti-freeze). On doing this it
seemed the hose was very close to the top of the relocated air flow meter. We filed
down a very small section of ridging from the top of the meter and this gave a little
more space.
Finally, my car has a brace across the engine bay so the suggested new site for the
bonnet support was not appropriate. We improvised. We relocated the base of the
support as the instructions suggested. However, a couple of carefully placed bends in
the support enabled it to zigzag between the new air box and the radiator filler cap and
still fit back nicely into the original snap-in holder.
We spent about two hours thirty minutes on this job. I reckon, having done it once,
we could easily get this down to one hour thirty minutes or maybe even less.

And the result - the stock 1.6L Mk1 gives out 116 bhp and propels the car from 0 to
60 mph in 9.1 seconds. Before the installation I measured my car on a rolling road at
131 bhp and my 0-60 time was 8.4 seconds (interestingly the same as a stock 1.8L
model). After the installation power had jumped to a quite satisfying 144 bhp, that’s
13 bhp more, about a ten percent increase - and you can tell – 0-60 in 7.9 seconds!

Harry Baldwin
Member in the South West Midlands Region

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