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DIY Universal Intake Insulation Wrap
Although there is some validity to heat soak with aluminum cold air intakes, there are some cases where I believe an intake wrap is just dead weight on the car. Most forced induction cars should not benefit from the wrap.
This is because when the air is compressed by the turbo it heats up which then gets cooled by the intercooler. So a few degrees is not going to make a difference if the air is just going to get super heated and then cooled again.
Stock intakes generally don't benefit because the materials are PLASTIC. Plastic has a low specific heat and air traveling inside the intake can cool it down pretty quick. In addition, most of these lengths are short or too complex to wrap.
I'd like to really question all those people who use heat reflective tape. Maybe if heat was BLASTING on the intake, then a heat reflective tape might work ok, but as far as I know, COOL air is supposed to surround the intake. Also a flow of cool air rushes into the engine bay at high velocities while driving.
So what's the purpose of an intake wrap?
Well I believe the only reason to use one is if you have a LONG aluminum cold air intake and you do a lot of daily driving.
While your car is at a stop, heat builds up in the engine bay and this heat will transfer to the intake making it very hot to touch. When you accelerate, the hot intake tubing heats the moving air inside the intake so it becomes less dense. As a result you may notice a little less power or perhaps nothing at all. The same concept is found in your home with an air conditioner that has an air duct going through a hot attic and into a room. Well if you insulate the duct going through the hot attic, well this means cooler air will reach your rooms.
So from my understanding, if you've got a heavy material with a high specific heat surrounding your intake air path, it's going to store heat and then that heat will seep into the air ingested by your car. Thus, ideally one would want the following in an intake wrap:
In early July 2008 I consulted an industrial insulation expert who gave me tips on finding the best CAI wrap material available.
What he described to me didn't exist, which means I'd have to make it myself. However he told me what one guy does on industrial air compressors that works great:
A company called ArmaCell makes high quality insulation foams. I can take one of their products called ArmaFlex in 1/8" to 1/4" thick sheets, then laminate them with Aluminum or Mylar. The end result will be a thermal insulation foam with a protective layer on the outside.
What I would like to make is my Armaflex/Mylar hybrid material, however my supplier can only give me 588 square foot rolls. This means I'd have to shell out a lot of money just to start selling this material to the public.
The retail cost might end up being about $4 per square foot, while the average intake may require about 4 square feet.
With this type of money ($16) many frugal internet buyers will simply turn to their home depot or refrigeration supply stores for some "similar" materials so they can make their car look like a home improvement store abomination like my intake below. I know for a fact nobody will buy this which is why I'm not going to sell it.
Instead I'm going to run some tests, and maybe use my sample materials to see how much an effect heat soak has on a long CAI in daily driving.
The first test uses Home Depot material reflectrix ($20) for smallest roll they had. 3M high temp duct tape $7.
INTAKE WRAP installation WALKTHROUGH
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