The Camaro SS Cold Air Intake (Gen 6) Guide. The Chevrolet Camaro SS is one of history’s most recognizable pony cars. Chevrolet first released it in 1967 to compete with the Ford Mustang, and it remained one of the best-performing and best-selling cars of the era until 1970. Unfortunately, emissions regulations and other issues resulted in a significant drop in performance beginning in 1971, and Chevy discontinued the SS trim from 1974 to 1995. When it was reintroduced in 1996, Chevy gave it the 5.7 L LT1 V8, which produced 305 horsepower. The Camaro SS was an excellent performer from 1996 to 2002, but Chevy retired it after 35 years owing to dwindling sales.
The Camaro SS returned to much fanfare and expectation in 2010, and Chevy finally gave it more than 400 horsepower for the first time in history. Chevy introduced the sixth and most recent model of the Camaro SS in 2016, with the 6.2 L LT1 V8 (not to be confused with the 1990s 5.7L LT1). The Camaro SS with the LT1 produces 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque in 2023.
A cold air intake (CAI) is one of the best and most popular upgrades for folks trying to get even more power out of their LT1. They are simple to install, reasonably inexpensive, and provide a substantial performance boost. They also improve fuel efficiency, brighten up the engine bay, and boost engine noise.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about modifying your Camaro SS’s factory intake. We’ll discuss what they are, the various styles available, the countless benefits, and our suggestions for the best performers. Let’s get this party started!
Intakes for the Camaro SS
As previously said, there are numerous reasons to upgrade the factory intake on your 6th Gen Camaro SS. The factory intake is well-designed, however it is regarded restricted when compared to aftermarket alternatives. Upgrading to a performance intake on the LT1 Camaro SS will increase power, efficiency, appearance, and weight.
The major way that performance intakes boost power is by using a larger intake filter in conjunction with less restrictive intake piping. The larger filter lets in more air, and the smoother piping design lowers air turbulence. Both of these factors work together to increase the volume and velocity of airflow through the intake system. Increase engine power by increasing fuel and air, and performance intakes are the best place to start.
Short Ram versus Camaro Cold Air Intakes
Cold air intakes and short ram intakes are the two most common forms of performance intakes. The length and position of the intake piping and air filter change between the two. Short rams have the least amount of piping possible, allowing the air filter to be located very close to the engine in the bay. Short rams have shorter piping than cold air intakes. This enables them to move the air filter further away from the engine, usually in the wheel well or fender area.
The name “cold air intake” comes from the fact that the further away from the engine you can pull in air, the colder that air will be. Cold air is better for engines because it contains more oxygen than hot air, resulting in improved performance. Short rams are advantageous because they have the shortest intake piping length, allowing air to travel the shortest distance into the engine.
Cold air intakes are recommended on the Camaro SS, but the difference is relatively minor. There isn’t much place to move the filter due to the size of the 6.2 L LT1 V8 and the compact engine bay. Most short rams and cold air intakes look nearly identical, with the exception that cold air intakes typically contain an airbox. Airboxes are crucial because they help to isolate the filter from the engine, reducing heat soak.
Because the filter is located as far away from the engine as possible, the stock Camaro SS intake is already somewhat of a cold air intake. The benefits of Camaro SS performance intakes will be higher flow and volume of air.
Systems that are open vs closed
Another difference between the Camaro SS intake systems is whether they are open or closed. Air filters in open air intake systems are totally exposed in the engine bay. Closed systems, on the other hand, house the filter in an airbox, which isolates it from the engine compartment. Open air intake systems are advantageous since there is no restriction of air going into the filter, but closed systems’ airboxes do restrict flow slightly. The advantage of airboxes on closed systems is that they lower intake temperatures by sheltering heat from the engine.
There are very few entirely open intake systems for the Camaro SS, and the majority of them are hybrid style. They contain 34 airboxes, allowing at least one side to be totally open in order to grab in air. This gives the Camaro SS’s 6.2 L LT1 performance intakes the best of both worlds: half open and closed.
Camaro SS Cold Air Intake Advantages
The following are the advantages of installing a Camaro SS performance cold air intake:
- +5 to 15 whp/wtq
- enhanced throttle response
- Aesthetics of the engine bay have been improved.
- increased fuel economy
- increased volume and movement of air
- increased engine noise
The most visible benefit of replacing your Camaro SS intake will be increased power. Simply adding an intake will result in 5-15 whp/wtq at peak power. You’ll also notice improved throttle responsiveness across the powerband, especially at modest engine loads when cruising. As previously stated, the majority of this is due to the increased flow and volume of air passing via the larger than stock intake.
However, improved performance isn’t the only reason to replace your stock Camaro SS intake. The more open design intake system allows you to hear the lovely sounds of the LT1 more clearly. You will also notice a slight gain in gas mileage, albeit this is minor.
Another advantage of an aftermarket intake is the improved appearance of your engine bay. The stock system features textured pipework that leads to an enormous and awkwardly formed plastic airbox. Aftermarket intakes have smoother and nicer-looking pipework than OEM, giving them a clean but aggressive appearance. The airboxes are also more visually appealing, allowing you to view the big K&N cone filters in the bay.
Top 4 Cold Air Intakes for the Camaro SS
The top four Camaro SS performance cold air intakes are as follows:
- Cold Air Intake Roto-Fab
- Performance Intake for Chevrolet
- Mishimoto Intake Performance
- Performance Intakes by K&N
There are several solid choices for modifying the Camaro SS intake. We’ll look over the top four Camaro SS intakes in terms of pricing, performance, appearance, and design. There are dozens of Camaro SS intake options, so this is not an exhaustive list, but it does represent the best possibilities.
1) Cold Air Intake Roto-Fab Camaro SS
Price: $469.99 – $489.95
The Roto-Fab CAI with sound tube deletion is our top recommendation. The Roto-Fab CAI is by far the most popular and well-reviewed in the Camaro SS community. It has repeatedly demonstrated the greatest increases on dynos and in the real world, and tuners highly suggest it. The Roto-Fab produces 10-15 whp/wtq gains, making it a high-performance choice.
The airbox of the Roto-Fab is open on top. This results in effective heat shielding while still allowing for optimal flow. The sound tube deletion has little effect on the sound because the intake creates more noise than stock. It does, however, eliminate the gimmicky device within the piping, allowing for a perfectly smooth elbow design for maximum flow and volume.
The Roto-fab Camaro SS intake features a large K&N filter, which is a significant improvement over the factory panel filter. The cone shape provides for a larger surface area and a more fluid design. The Roto-Fab is highly recommended for all Camaro SS construction levels, large and small. It operates admirably under all conditions and has dyno-proven results.
2) Performance Intake for Chevrolet Camaro SS
The second intake on our list is Chevrolet’s officially released performance intake. Cold Air Inductions designed the intake and sells a version of it on their website. Chevrolet has officially discontinued the intake for 2023+ cars, but it is still available through Cold Air Inductions.
Chevrolet claims that their intake reduces constraints by 17%, and CAI claims that the intake produces up to 13 whp. It has a similar design to the Roto-Fab, but the filter is smaller and the airbox is different. The Chevrolet performance intake has the airbox opening on the side rather than the top. This provides adequate flow while keeping the filter as close to the fender as possible. This intake’s airbox is also insulated, and the intake piping is thermal coated for maximum heat dissipation.
The Chevrolet performance intake, like the Roto-Fab, is a solid alternative for projects of all sizes, big and small. It’s a significant improvement over standard and looks fantastic in the engine compartment. Being Chevrolet’s own authorized intake lends it some credence, albeit it’s unlikely to perform significantly better.
3) Air Intake Mishimoto Camaro SS Performance
The Mishimoto performance air intake system is our next suggested Camaro SS intake. Mishimoto is a well-known name in the intake and performance market, and their Camaro line is excellent. It has received positive feedback from the community for unleashing excellent LT1 sounds while also looking very nice.
On the stock tune, Mishimoto claims gains of up to 14 whp/wtq with just their intake. The silicone intake elbow and larger K&N filter contribute to this. The elbow is wire-reinforced and comes in three colors: black, red, and blue. The system also includes a heat-resistant, glass-reinforced nylon MAF sensor housing and a plastic-injected integrated air straightener.
The Mishimoto Camaro SS performance intake is an excellent choice for any LT1 setup. The larger pipe will be able to handle as much airflow as you require, and the powder coated airbox will help to reduce heat soak.
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4) Performance Air Intake Systems by K&N
Price: $429.99 – $549.99
K&N’s two performance air intake systems are the final recommended for improved Camaro SS intakes. The 63-3092 and the 71-3092 are the two systems. The 63 is less expensive than the 71 and delivers greater horsepower and torque. The 71, on the other hand, is the “Blackhawk Induction” air intake with a powder coated intake elbow and blacked out filter. The Blackhawk obviously wins in terms of style, but it’s a tight tie in terms of performance. Not to mention the $130 difference in pricing.
The only variation between the two systems is the color of the elbow, filter, and steel airbox. K&N has long been acknowledged as one of the industry’s premier air intake manufacturers, and their filters are used in practically every intake system. Their Camaro SS intakes work well, but there is space for improvement.
For lower level Camaro SS builds, we recommend the K&N intake systems. They are definitely good choices for builds with less than 600-700 hp, but anything above that may require you to upgrade your intake once more. They are slightly more restrictive than our other alternatives, owing to a lower quality intake elbow. Nonetheless, they work well as a single mod on smaller builds.
Summary of the Camaro SS Cold Air Intake Guide
Intake enhancements on the Camaro SS are enjoyable tweaks that improve performance while also looking good. With a new intake, you can gain 5-15 whp/wtq while also making your car sound more aggressive and sprucing up the engine bay. With an intake improvement, tuning is not required, but it will undoubtedly assist extract more power. In our guide, we looked at a variety of intakes, and all of them are good options.
The Roto-Fab CAI with the sound tube deletion will be the clear winner. It provides the ideal balance of performance, design, dependability, and style. In terms of performance, design, and price, the Mishimoto and Chevrolet performance intakes are very similar. You can’t go wrong with either one for your build, while the Mishimoto intake is slightly cheaper. If you just want a regular K&N intake for your Camaro SS, you can look at both of their 63/71-3092 options, but those are unlikely to be the greatest performers.