The Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote Updated Intake Guide. This tutorial will go through the advantages and performance gains of improved intake systems, as well as a couple of our preferred intake alternatives for the 5.0 Coyote.
Generally speaking, creating more horsepower demands greater airflow. Because of its restricted nature, the stock intake system on the 5.0 Coyote can limit power gains from other upgrades. Upgraded intakes are thought of as the foundation or support for future improvements.
While an intake will provide some minor power gains on its own, the major value of a cold air intake comes when combined with other changes. Before we go into product recommendations, let’s talk about the advantages of an enhanced intake and the fundamentals of intake design.
Cold Air Intakes for the Mustang GT
“Cold air intake” is usually the first thing that springs to mind when you think of an enhanced intake. Currently, intake systems are known by a plethora of different names. There will be cold air intake, ram air intake, performance intake, and so forth. They all do the same thing at the end of the day.
The main advantage of an enhanced intake is the increased air flow, not necessarily the capacity to lower intake air temperatures. While IATs are more critical on normally aspirated engines like the 5.0 Coyote since they lack intercoolers, almost all of these intake systems are created the same way.
Having said that, the change in IAT between intakes is quite small. As a result, we wish to concentrate on air flow. Systems with the greatest improvement in airflow will provide the biggest performance gains and support for future changes.
Intake System Design: Open vs. Closed
While the name “cold air” in the intake system does not important, the architecture of the system does. There are two types of intakes for the GT 5.0: open and closed. The air filter in an open intake system is directly exposed to the engine bay air. With a closed system, the air filter is often housed within some form of enclosed hosing within the engine bay.
Because open systems are not constrained by a closed box, they can move more air. Because the filter is immediately exposed to engine heat, IATs may be a few degrees higher. However, all open systems for the GT 5.0 include heat shields to protect the air filter.
Because the air filter can only suck air in as rapidly as it can get into the confined box, closed intake systems are more limiting. They are more limiting than open systems, but less restrictive than stock intake. Despite the fact that they move less air, closed systems have two advantages. First, the air filter is not directly exposed to engine heat, which benefits IATs. Second, because of the enclosed box, the air that is pushed into the engine is slightly more compressed.
Generally, open or closed doesn’t make a significant difference in performance on a lightly modified 5.0 Coyote. Because of the increased air flow, we favor open intake systems. But, unless you intend to use forced induction via a turbocharger or supercharger, the increased air flow from the open system will be insignificant.
5.0 Mustang “Tune-Required” Intakes
As you look at performance intake options you will see some state “tune required”. Several performance intakes, like the JLT intake shown below, expand the diameter of the intake piping. The diameter has been expanded to provide for more air flow while remaining compatible with updated intake manifolds and throttle bodies.
The 5.0 Coyote ECM and mass airflow sensor are set up for stock intake pipe. As the piping diameter is increased, the MAF and ECM become confused, causing the engine to run too lean. Long durations of running lean can cause considerable engine damage, which is why a tune is essential.
Another advantage of combining a tune with an intake is improved performance. While a no-tune-required intake will still provide performance gains and other benefits, they will be less significant. Nevertheless, the tradeoff is the convenience of installation and the elimination of the need to adjust your engine’s computer.
Advantages of Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote Upgraded Intake
The benefits of Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote intake improvements include:
- Gains of 5-10 horsepower
- 5-10% increase in torque
- Increase in air flow of 20% or more
- Engine noise is pleasant.
- enhanced throttle response
- MPG gains are minor.
Many aftermarket companies claim 20hp or more from their intake systems. While this is possible with additional modifications, a cold air intake alone on a standard Mustang GT 5.0 will not create 20hp. As previously said, the finest results come with additional changes. As a result, the value of an enhanced intake grows as more improvements are added.
The only other point I’ll offer is that open intake systems produce a lot of engine noise. The engine pulling in air will be audible as a “whooshing” sound. Although not a deciding factor, open is the way to go if you want more engine noise and a cool intake sound.
1) GT 5.0 JLT Cold Air Intake – Needs Tuning
The open design of JLT’s cold air intake is combined with a heat shield to protect the air filter from engine block heat. For enhanced air flow, the air filter is a 57 S&B cone filter with a bellmouth/powerstack configuration. The JLT intake’s filter is substantially larger than the original intake, which can be ascribed to the huge increase in air flow.
For plug & play compatibility with improved throttle bodies, the intake pipe measures 5′′ at the inlet and 4.5′′ at the throttle body (for 2018+ models). Older model 5.0s have a 4′′ throttle body connection that may be updated with bolt-on throttle bodies.
The JLT intake improvement does necessitate the insertion of a tune.
- Cool Air Intake for 2011-2014 Mustang GT JLT
- Mustang 5.0 JLT Intake 2015-2017
- 5.0 Coyote JLT Upgraded Intake 2018+
2) Roush Performance Intake 5.0 Coyote – No Tune Needed
If you’re searching for a no-tune required, closed air intake, Roush is an excellent choice. Also, the Roush intake doesn’t violate factory warranty. It provides slightly less airflow than the JLT intake due to its closed box shape. It also keeps the original intake piping diameter. While this eliminates the need for a tune, it does reduce air flow and necessitate additional piping if the intake manifold or throttle body is ever modified.
The Roush intake changes depending on whatever version of 5.0 you have. Models from 2018 onwards have a closed box form, whereas models from 2011 to 2017 have an open air design. For those seeking to run a custom tune and wider intake pipes, the 2015-2017 versions include a replaceable MAF insert that increases diameter from 85mm to 105mm. As a result, the system is easily adaptable to aftermarket manifolds and throttle bodies.
Generally, the Roush intake outperforms the stock 5.0 Mustang air intake in terms of flow. It’s an excellent choice for anyone searching for a slight performance boost without voiding the manufacturer warranty or needing to add a tune.
- Roush Cold Air Intake – Mustang GT 5.0 2018+
- 2015-2017 Roush GT 5.0 Intake
- 2011-2014 GT 5.0 Roush Intake
3) aFe 5.0 GT Cold Air Intake – No Tuning Necessary
Momentum Intake Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote
aFe is a worthy honorable mention because they provide both open and closed systems. The open Magnum Force system boasts a 43% boost in flow as well as 14hp and 11tq power gains. It uses standard plumbing diameters, so no tuning is required. While it is an open design, when the hood is closed, the heat shield housing actually seals with it. This adds some heat shielding while maintaining higher flow over the fully enclosed system.
The enclosed system, the Momentum GT intake, delivers a 28% increase in air flow over the original system. aFe claims a boost of 18hp and 15tq. The Momentum GT intake, like the open system, employs factory diameter piping and does not require the installation of a tune.
Overall, aFe is one of the most trusted names in aftermarket intake systems, with two competing offerings on the market.
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Synopsis of Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote Upgraded Intake
To summarize, there are two critical intake decision factors:
- Closed vs. Open
- Tune Needed vs. Tune Optional
Open intakes move more air, although their IATs are often a few degrees higher. For anyone trying to push real power, we recommend an open intake. If you’re only installing an intake and exhaust on your Mustang, you can use whichever you want.
If you want more power, we recommend combining a tune with your intake or you plan on adding a tune anyways, purchase the JLT intake. It will allow future flexibility if you decide to upgrade other intake components. If you don’t want to mess with a tune, go with the Roush or aFe intakes. The Roush and aFe intakes can still be tuned, but the smaller diameter piping limits air flow marginally and does not allow for upgrade flexibility.
Ultimately, the appropriate intake is determined by your power and modification goals. All of the systems we discussed are essentially the same. The decision to upgrade your intake is more essential than the intake itself (unless you are planning on forced induction). All choices will deliver better flow and power than the factory intake system, which is the most important factor.