Independent Granatelli CAI Review by a newb...
I've followed several threads on Granatelli's CAI. Seems like 50% of us hate Granatelli and 50% of us love them. I thought it was time for a more moderate viewpoint. Below is a review of this CAI by a guy with no prior experience with Granatelli, no serious performance aspirations, and no racing experience. I'm no mechanic either, just basic tool-using skills.
Why I chose Granatelli...
I'm afraid of tuners; I'm afraid of warranty hassles; I'm afraid of spending money. Guess I'm just afraid. So I've reviewed all the 'tuneless' CAIs on the market. Granatelli spoke to me because its not really tuneless - it provides a recalibrated MAF sensor that alows the engine to properly match fuel to the new higher air flow, using the stock tune. This just makes more sense than restricting the air tube so that the flow matches factory specs as in other tuneless CAIs. If the numbers bear out, there is some good bang-for-the-buck in this unit. Granatelli's site reports a 25rwhp increase with the CAI. Independent dynos have seen 18-20rwhp. Even if I only get 18rwhp for $300, I call that a good deal.
I also like the fact that there is a one-for-one swap between old and new, no sharing of MAF or other parts. This allows for swapping the old one back in in a matter of minutes if you get freaked out by warranty hassles.
Finally, the throttle lag, torque nanny, and rev-limiter didn't really bother me before, so there wasn't much point in getting a tuner at this time.
Several reports of missing or broken parts being received in this kit have circulated around this and other forums. From the look of my package, Granatelli seems to have learned a lesson from this. The parts were shipped in a large cardboard box which was entirely encased in shrink wrap. Inside, the parts were floating in a sea of foam packing 'peanuts'. The MAF electronics, already mounted in the air tube, were wrapped twice with bubble wrap and then the entire tube was wrapped with more shrink wrap. The small parts (wiring harness, clamps, and tubes) and instructions were in compartments in a heat-sealed plastic bag.
No broken or missing parts. I had been prepared for the worst, so I was very pleased with the packaging.
Into my GT...
The installation of this unit is incredibly simple. because the MAF sesnor is already included, there is no disassembly of the factory intake, you simply remove it as a single unit by removing the 10mm bolt holding the air-box to the fender and the clamp holding the air-tube to the throttle body. Reverse the procedure with the new parts and you're done. Entire install time was under 30 minutes.
Although the unit goes in easy, there is one big wart. As reported in previous threads, the filter does not clear the ABS lines. I knew about this defect before buying, however I can easily see why someone who did not expect it would be seriously ticked off about it. The Granatelli-provided workaround, which is to gently bend the offending ABS line out of the way, does not inspire much confidence.
I did bend the line as much as I was willing to risk. The filter went in fine but did rub slightly against the line. I was worried about the filter abraiding the line and the line abraiding the filter, so I split about 2" of 3/8"ID rubber tubing and created a 'sleeve' for the line. Problem solved.
And onto the Road...
After reconnecting the negative battery terminal, I fired 'er up. No problem, no hard-starting, no unusual idling, and no CELs.
Just a gratifying new 'whooshing' sound as the mighty 4.6 breathed freely for the first time since being built. With the hood closed, the sound quieted, in fact, the level of noise coming from the engine itself seems noticeably lower. I love this new 'feature', beacuse there is less to interfere with the rumble of the Borlas.
I don't have scientific numbers, just the old Butt-dyno, but the smile of that first test drive is still on my face. I got the car out on some open road and wound it out to 6k rpm in the first couple gears. Yup, a definate, noticeable, improvement in giddyup, no doubt about it. That plus the terrific new sound makes this a $300 well-spent.
This CAI is not for everyone. If your a serious performance enthusiast or if you simply can't stand the throttle lag, or the torque/rev limiters, you're going to want the extra control of a CAI + tuner combo. On the other hand, if you just want to pick up some quick hp with little effort - this might just do it for you. I think this unit plus any excellent exhaust system is a terrific combo for the Mustang owner who is looking to keep things pretty stock.
As usual - your results may vary. Happy driving!