Review & Install Video
Hey, guys. Adam here with americanmuscle.com. And today, we're taking a closer look at installing and listening to the C&L Cold Air Intake, available for the '15 to '17 EcoBoost Mustang. You should be checking this out for your four-cylinder if you're looking to ditch the factory intake to pick up an aftermarket cold air that's not only gonna help your engine breathe a lot better, it's gonna make that turbo sound more aggressive, especially from the inside of the car, and it's gonna have a superior filtration capability.
Well, guys, as you just heard from our sound clip, this cold air intake from C&L sounds so close to a blow-off valve. There's a huge sound difference between this and the factory intake. It's really gonna accentuate that turbo sound and that recirculation of the boost. You are deleting the factory silencer or the sound resonator on the factory tubing, so that really does help. At the end of the day, guys, this just sounds really aggressive with the turbo. This particular cold air intake, I'll say right off the bat, does not require a tune, which is great for the guys looking for just a direct bolt-on cold air intake. It doesn't require any of the extra bells and whistles to get up and going.
This here, I will say, would maximize its potential if you paired it with an optional tune there. C&L, as a matter of fact, lets us know if you did pair it with the tune. You can expect gains around 76 horsepower and about 80-pound feet of torque, which is to be expected. We know the EcoBoost reap a lot of power when it comes to tuning them, especially paired with an intake, so it's something to keep in mind for the future but not required.
Back to this intake here. Now this one here does have a larger diameter tubing. It's very big in comparison to the factory one, and we'll break down some of those details a little bit later on, comparing it to stock once we uninstall it. The filter itself is washable and reusable, it's an oiled filter, so when it comes time for maintenance, pop it off, wash it, recoil it, throw right back in, don't need a new one.
This intake is also going to have this heat shield that is a lot larger than the factory one and also has this clear plexiglass lid you can install, which I think looks really good under the hood but allows you to peek in there to see the condition of your filter. Now the intake does use a new air duct to the front of the grille to make sure it's maximizing all of the cold air potential to pull it straight into the filter and ultimately into your turbo.
Now this guy here does work with the factory turbo only and only works with factory intercooler piping. So if you have a little bit more of a custom setup, this might not be the one for you or it may require some additional modifications to work with your setup if you're not rocking that factory component. With that said, this guy is gonna come in right around 350 bucks and the install is gonna get a very simple 1 out of 3 wrenches on our difficulty meter. Anybody can tackle it in the driveway at home.
We all know cold air intakes are some of the easiest mods you can possibly do, especially under the hood here. I'm gonna show you every single step of the process. It's gonna take you about an hour from start to finish. Let's get to it. Tools used in this install include an impact gun, a ratchet, a variety of extensions including a pretty long one. You're also gonna need a 6, 8 and 10-millimeter deep socket. Recommended but not required would be a universal swivel socket and a short 10-millimeter socket or a 10-millimeter swivel, and a small Allen key around two and a half millimeters.
First up here, guys, if you follow your factory intake all the way down to your turbo on the bottom or the side really of your engine bay on your passenger side, you'll see straight down that your intake tubing connects right onto the throttle body mouth. So what we're gonna do is take a pretty big extension and a 6-millimeter socket. You can also use a flat head, I just think extensions are gonna be a little easier, and you're gonna loosen up this clamp. Perfect.
All right, next step, if you follow that same tubing back up a little bit, you'll find there are two hoses, there's a PCV hose and this rubber hose. It's not even clamped on really, it's just pressurized there. You can pull straight back on the thicker hose, let that off. And then with this one here, you're gonna pull back on the gray locking tab and disconnect.
All right, next step is pretty simple. You're gonna go over here to your temperature sensor, pinch and disconnect that harness. Now what I like to do is just pull it out of the way here. Just set it across the top of the shroud because this whole thing is gonna come off in one piece and you don't want that to get caught up. Finally, on the far top right side, on your driver's side, you'll find a 10-millimeter bolt holding on the heat shield, you wanna grab a 10 socket and you want to get that off.
All right, at this point, pull the tubing off of that turbo to disconnect. Lift up on the entire assembly and set it aside. All right, guys, so we got our factory intake off of our 2015 EcoBoost behind me and it's on the table next to our C&L cold air intake. I want to take you through quickly some of the differences and similarities between the two kits, and really there's just a whole lot of difference between the two. Let's start up top with the air filter.
Now I took apart that factory air box to pull out the factory air filter, which is a dry paper element filter, very commonly used from the factory on makes and models like Ford Mustangs, Challenger uses them, so on and so forth. These do a pretty good job of pulling in cold air. It's not really maximizing airflow. And it's doing an all right job filtering out all the particles you don't want getting into the engine bay.
And our EcoBoost has definitely seen some miles. This is looking a little dirty so you can see it putting in a little work. Switching over to a conical cold air intake filter like the one from C&L, this is gonna be a 360-degree conical filter that's a lot larger than the factory flat paper element. It's gonna do a way better job maximizing that airflow. It's a free-flowing high flow filter so you can expect a lot more air being pulled in and also it's using a cotton gauze material for wire, diamond wire mesh outer layer, which is gonna help filter out more particles than the factory one.
And the big selling point there is not only gonna be pulling in all the cold air like I just said, but it's also washable and reusable. This isn't oiled filter so when it comes time for routine maintenance, really just washing that filter out, making it look good as new, re-oiling it, and throwing it right back in. No need to pick up a new filter every couple of thousand miles when maintenance comes around.
Aside from that though, guys, your tubing and your heat shield are also gonna be a big upgrade in that department. This intake tubing here is a rotomolded plastic textured black, looks really good under the hood, very commonly used material when it comes to aftermarket cold air intakes. It's also a much larger diameter. This is your factory tubing here. Now if I put these two side by side, you can definitely see the bigger girth here when it comes to pulling into that intake.
This here on its own doesn't require a tune, like I said, although it does have a much larger sensor housing. With that tune, you'd really maximize a lot of that, which I talked about earlier on, but this doesn't require one, which I think is a big selling point for the guys who just want an out of the box intake that'll bolt right up and give you some of that power.
Aside from that tubing, you're also getting that rotomolded heat shield which is very different than the factory one. Number one, it is much larger, it's gonna pull in a lot more cold air, it has a lot more capacity to hold cold air pulling in. It's also got the front air duct molded into it, so there's no need to detach your factory one that has that factory sound resonator. No need to transfer that over, we've got one already built into the new housing, and it doesn't have this weirdly shaped resonator on top of it, so I think it looks a lot better under the hood as well.
This heat shield is a little bit different in the fact that it has this window on the top. So this window here obviously has a plastic backing on there so it doesn't get all scratched up before installing it. So this will be clear and see-through, of course. This is gonna help you not only see straight into the filter condition so you don't have to uninstall it and open it up just to check out the filter, you can look straight through and see what kind of condition it's in, but it's also gonna make under the hood look a lot cooler.
This is just gonna look a lot more aggressive. The blue filter here adds a nice contrast to the engine bay, giving it a little pop of color. So all in all form and function really built into this heat shield that I really like. New silicone couplers are gonna make sure there are no air leaks. It's gonna have a really tight squeeze in an OEM-like fitment, this is gonna go all the way back to the factory turbo. This is gonna be used in conjunction with your factory turbo outlet and it's also gonna be used in conjunction with the factory intercooler piping, and that's all gonna be fitting in with the host fittings that are already connected to the side. There is one that we're gonna have to input there for the PCV breather tube, which we'll talk about in just a little bit.
The first thing I want to do guys is transfer over. We're gonna remove and transfer over the factory temperature sensor from the side of the heat shield, the factory one, transfer it over to the side of our new piping here, so let's get started there. We had the factory tubing here, what we're gonna do is basically locate that temperature, sensor twist, pull straight back, and it will detach. From there we can set our factory aside. So you just want to pinch that, give it a twist counter-clockwise, you might have to wiggle it, pull straight back, set it down. We can toss this aside.
All right, next step here once you have that removed is to locate the new O-ring included in the kit along with the very small Allen screw, I want to say it's about two and a half, 3-millimeter Allen key you'll need for this, as well as the larger flat washer. Take a flat head screwdriver, you're gonna remove the factory blue O-ring on the side of this sensor. Just kind of work it off every side and from there pull it down. I'm gonna replace that guy with the new black O-ring, which I do believe is a little bit smaller, which will seal in tight to make sure there's no air leaks on your new intake.
Just use that flathead to work at all the way around and seat it down. Perfect. From here, because the insert on your tubing, where this is gonna go, is just completely solid open, there is no a locking mechanism, there's no twist like we took it off of the factory one. So what you're gonna do is just insert that, make sure the O-ring is seated in that hole. You'll notice there is a little tab on the one side of that sensor. Rotate that tab facing this open threaded hole. Just like that.
If you look inside your tubing, you should see the blue sensor portion facing the outside. Now what you're gonna do is take the flat washer in the kit and the Allen screw and you're gonna tighten that down to the threaded hole. The edge of your washer should be overlapping the tab on your sensor. This is more of a retainer situation here. This is gonna hold that sensor in place. This isn't exactly my favorite way to install a temperature sensor, this isn't one of the better installations that I've seen. I would've liked to see this have some kind of puzzle piece locking mechanism such as the one in the factory intake tubing. This is a little bit more makeshift in my opinion but it does lock in there and it is very secure, so it does work. May not be the prettiest solution but it works.
Now on that same tubing, opposite end, we're gonna install our one fitting that needs to be installed here. It's this chrome little pipe you got in your kit. You're gonna also take that grommet. The grommet, we're gonna seat in this hole, just kind of right in the middle there, it seats in pretty nicely, take your fitting and the fatter end is gonna sit in there. Now what you don't want to do is push straight down because the grommet is just gonna pop right inside of the tubing. If that happens, just shake it out and try again.
What you kind of want to do, you kind of want to rotate that fitting until it sits in, just like that. Next step, grab the silicone coupler, that is a step down. It goes from this larger mouth to the smaller one. Smaller portions are gonna go to your turbo, larger portion is gonna go to this side where your fittings are on the tubing. Grab the medium-sized clamp. There are three different sizes, there's larger ones, the medium one, and then a really small one. The small one is gonna go to the turbo, this one is gonna go to the back end.
You want to install the coupler and the clamp, with the clamp head facing up, just like this, like it would be accessible in the car. So what we're gonna do is feed over this tubing. It is a very tight squeeze, you may need to get your fingers in there and work it up. You want to make sure it's seated all the way on, all the way around the edges. Make sure it's even so there's no air leaks. Once you have that taken care of, rotate your clamp upward and put it in position on the edge. Grab an 8-millimeter socket or a flat head screwdriver and tighten it down.
If you're using an impact gun like I am, just put your impact gun on its lowest setting and just take it easy. A couple of clicks, make sure it's nice and snug. On the other end, I like to just take the clamp and just set it over so we don't forget. All right, now we can take the two remaining clamps and the remaining coupler, and we're gonna install it on the other end. Now this one, you want to make sure you're getting a clamp and putting it over and then installing the coupler.
This one just sits right down to the edge, you don't have to worry about where exactly it's gonna sit. Just push it all the way down. And then from there, again, make sure it's facing upward, grab your socket and tighten this one down. All right and, again, I'm just gonna take this other one and just set it over the edge. Now I'm not really gonna tighten it too much, I'm just gonna get it snug so it doesn't fall off.
Next up, we're gonna grab this velocity stack that has three threaded holes on it. You're gonna put this on the inside so that this big mouth is where your filter will attach. Put it on the inside and you're gonna basically rotate this until the threaded holes line up with the three drilled holes on your heat shield. Grab those hex bolts and washers included in the kit. And from the outside, you're just gonna thread those into those holes by hand and then we'll tighten them down.
Now for these, grab a 5/32 hex socket. And again, I'm just gonna put them all down by hand with that socket and then I'll grab a ratchet and make sure they're nice and snug. Keep in mind you are tightening down to plastic, so don't go too, too tight, you don't want to crack the plastic and you don't want to strip anything out. All right, so just really nice and snug, and we're good to move on.
All right, first step of the install here is to grab your heat shield, slide that air duct straight back where the factory one was located, and you're gonna mount this to the right where that 10-millimeter bolt was. Grab that 10-millimeter bolt, you're gonna slide it through that open hole on the inside of the heat shield. I'm gonna just make sure I get it started so it grips, so we're good. Grab a socket and tighten that guy down. Now to tighten this guy down because this thing is here, I'm gonna use a swivel socket or a swivel joint with a 10-millimeter short socket to tighten this down. It might make life just a little easier for you since it's on that weird angle.
All right, next up is gonna be our tubing. This may be a little bit tough to see simply because we're going straight back to the turbo down there on the passenger side. What you're basically gonna do is make sure this clamp is over this coupler, and you're gonna feed that down and give it a curve, give it a twist to line up where you want it to be. So I'm gonna set that down for right now, work my way over to the passenger side.
And you're really just kind of bringing it up and trying to attach it to that turbo, you want to push it on to that mouth there. Just gonna twist it and also push, you might need to get your hand underneath of it to get it to seat all the way. All right, so we have that down there. And kind of at the same time you wanna push the other end down to connect to the heat shield. If you need to, you can loosen up the bolt holding on this heat shield, try to get them to flex on together. Just like that.
All right, so we almost have this on. I've got to loosen up this clamp that I put on over the other side of our coupler just to make sure it can flex enough to get onto the heat shield. Perfect. All right, so now we can tighten up this side and then head back to the turbo and tighten up that side. All right, so we have our clamp rotated upward on the turbo. We're gonna tighten this guy down. All right, tightened up. All right, from here we can connect both of our tubings to the little PCV connector here, snaps right into place.
And the other hose, if you remember, it did not have a clamp. It just goes right on around it. Now if you'd like, you can put a hose clamp around this but it is just vacuum suction so it will hold in place. All right, so next step, let's connect our sensor harness. Connect that right here, just drop it in the lock. I'm gonna tuck this harness down underneath, I think it just looks a little cleaner that way. Next up, we'll do our filter and then finally our lid.
All right, so next step is our filter. Now you want to make sure you're looking at the filter seeing the C&L logo. That's gonna be facing downward. You just want to make sure it's legible, it's not upside down. You can also note it by the little chrome piece on the filter itself. Make sure that's on the bottom. So we'll feed this into place, we wanna make sure the clamp is around it. Rotate that clamp into position, grab your socket and tighten it down.
All right, next up you want to peel off the backing of the glass included in the kit, it's more like plexiglass. Peel off the backing on both sides. Just be careful not to get fingerprints all over it, stick to the edges. We're gonna put that underneath of this billet-aluminum plating and just insert it into place. Now they both have pre-drilled holes to line up with the threaded holes on the heat shield. Grab the remaining 5/32 hex screws and washers and put them in place. I'm gonna tighten these down by hands, just getting them nice and snug, and I'll come back with my ratchet and socket to tighten them down.
So again, the same case here as it was for that stack that we installed on the backside of our heat shield connecting to the filter. You just want to make sure you're not over tightening and stripping these out. It is going into plastic and it's also very susceptible to get, you know, stripped out. So make sure you're just taking care of there. And then once that's taken care of guys, you are finished. I'd recommend going back and wiping this down so it doesn't have fingerprints and all the grease all over it and then you're good to go. Well, guys, that's gonna wrap up my review and install for the C&L Cold Air Intake for the '15 to '17 Eco. If you do want to pick this one up for your own '15 or '17 Eco, you can do so right here at americanmuscle.com.