A Beginner’s Guide To Upgrading Your Intake Manifold

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When your vehicle’s intake manifold is failing, you’ll notice because you’ll have less control and power behind the wheel. This is because it causes a disturbance to the engine’s fuel-air mixture, which affects the function of the pistons, which, in turn, affects performance.

Replacing your vehicle’s intake manifold is something that you can do at home, if you have a good understanding of automotive mechanics and the proper space and equipment. You want to be sure, though, because if you’re installing a 351 performance kit, you don’t want an amateur mistake to cost.

What’s the Best Material for an Intake Manifold?

In the past, intake manifolds were always made of aluminum and cast iron. Today, though, composite plastic materials are replacing these metals because they promise great performance and durability. When it comes to the tubes, for instance, the shape of metal intake tubes is limited because the metal can’t be bent or welded too much, lest it loses its integrity.

Two big reasons for choosing plastic over metal are cost and weight. This is a trend that applies to most aspects of the automobile industry. From engine parts to body parts to accessories, composite plastics are proving their worth to drivers everywhere. When you’re able to get a product that performs as well as the original version, but is much easier to work with and has the potential to save you money at the check-out line and in fuel consumption, it’s a no-brainer. Although, classic car enthusiasts might disagree, in the same way they insist that a carbureter should never be replaced by a fuel injection system.

Single-plane Vs. Dual-plane Manifolds

A 350 TBI performance kit promises power and performance. The difference between single-plane and dual-plane manifolds has to do with power. With a single-plane manifold, all of the engine’s runners connect directly to a single common plenum with minimum bends, which minimizes airflow restriction. In this system, the engine’s cylinders draw air from a large-volume common plenum. This makes a smaller carburetor or air meter act larger.

With a dual-plane manifold, you’ve effectively got two two intake manifolds that are separated by a divided and unequal-height plenum. In this system, each half routes air and fuel from that group’s separate plenum area to half the engine’s cylinders. The smaller plenums increase airflow velocity, while also transmitting the induction pulses from the intake valve to the carbureter better, which improves fuel atomization and metering, especially at low rpm. Dual-plane manifolds offer better power off idle and at cruising rpm.

With the right engine building tools, there’s a lot you can do at home. Installing a new intake manifold can cost between $200 and $12,000, depending on the vehicle and the parts involved. It takes between two and a half and four and a half hours. Remember that when you’re doing any work at home, safety is critical. Visit an auto parts store today to get your upgraded intake manifold, or any  parts and accessories you need to get the job done right.

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