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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, first time posting here. I hate to have my first post be another thread about Cold Air Intakes but after spending a decent amount of time searching various forums I haven’t really found the concrete answer I’ve been looking for.

I own a 2010 V6 Mustang. So far the only mod I’ve done is dual exhaust with a custom X-Pipe a shop made for me plus a couple Magnaflow Mufflers. I am pretty set on buying an SCT SF3/X3 Tuner with Bama custom tunes from AM but I’m on the fence on whether I should get a CAI or not for a couple reasons. First, I live in California, which due to CARB laws kind of limits what I can get. I know I can probably get away with a non CARB legal CAI and I could switch the OEM box back before emissions but I’d rather not deal with the hassle or the possibility of a Fix-It ticket. From what I’ve gathered the only CARB legal CAI’s available for a 2010 V6 is the BBK one and the K&N Typhoon.

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about the BBK CAI, although most of these seem related to not getting a tune. Haven’t heard much about K&N but it is over $100 more expensive than the BBK so it seems a bit pricey. I’ve also heard that Ford made some changes to the 2010 OEM Air Box so that it performs a bit better than the 05-09 one, so sticking with stock might not be so bad. Not 100% sure if this is true though.

Given the choice between BBK or K&N (or if there are other CARB legal CAI’s out there for a 2010 V6 that I don’t know about), is it worth it to still get the CAI?

Thanks all!
 

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welcome to the forums bro.

i have the bbk cai and i passed my smog test recently. the bbk cai did make an improvement without the tune. once i tuned it everything runs great. most people recommend getting the combo from ameican muscle(sct flash and jlt cai).
these additions to your stang are easy and will give your car alot of power:bigthumbsup
 

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Selk,

How do you drive the car? If it’s mostly city driving at low speeds the stock air box should be good enough (in fact the stock air box may have a slight advantage at low RPM torque due to it’s longer tuned length). If you wind out the car a lot then a good CAI will do better at the higher RPMs. The BBK and K&N are hit or miss as far as improving performance in and of themselves, depending on tolerances in engine sensors and the CAI components. The tuner is actually where you get most of your driving improvement. But you typically won’t pass a Calif smog test with a Bama tune (unless you request an emissions one). And technically speaking the SCT tuners aren’t even legal in Calif (says so right on the package), as you can change things with them that could potentially affect emissions. Most enthusiasts pretty much ignore that though. Unfortunately living in Calif there really isn’t a great answer. You pretty much have to decide what risk and potential hassle you want to take at smog check time.

Josh,

How did you pass smog with that list of mods? Wherever you went I want to go there. The guys around here go over things with a fine-toothed comb. Even the SD coil isn’t technically legal in Calif.
 

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I have te jlt and scat tuner I live in Cali, I just switched the tune back to stock n stock air box in before I went in for smog, I'm selling the twomif you are interested
 

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Having lived in Calif for 38 years I know what you are going through. Down here if FLA you can run straight pipes and get away with it...lol
 

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Discussion Starter #6
JOSHSTANG said:
i have the bbk cai and i passed my smog test recently. the bbk cai did make an improvement without the tune. once i tuned it everything runs great. most people recommend getting the combo from ameican muscle(sct flash and jlt cai).
these additions to your stang are easy and will give your car alot of power
My biggest concern when it comes to the tune and CAI combo is how much benefit will I be seeing from each part. I know it is hard to quantify, but if I am getting 80% of my benefit from the Tuner and only 20% from a BBK CAI then I could probably live without the CAI and save the cash.


Selk,

How do you drive the car? If it’s mostly city driving at low speeds the stock air box should be good enough (in fact the stock air box may have a slight advantage at low RPM torque due to it’s longer tuned length). If you wind out the car a lot then a good CAI will do better at the higher RPMs. The BBK and K&N are hit or miss as far as improving performance in and of themselves, depending on tolerances in engine sensors and the CAI components. The tuner is actually where you get most of your driving improvement. But you typically won’t pass a Calif smog test with a Bama tune (unless you request an emissions one). And technically speaking the SCT tuners aren’t even legal in Calif (says so right on the package), as you can change things with them that could potentially affect emissions. Most enthusiasts pretty much ignore that though. Unfortunately living in Calif there really isn’t a great answer. You pretty much have to decide what risk and potential hassle you want to take at smog check time.
I use it as my DD; no plans to go racing it or anything. I'm not too worried about the Tuner not being emissions friendly since I can always switch it back to stock in less than 10 minutes when needed.

Stevostang said:
I have te jlt and scat tuner I live in Cali, I just switched the tune back to stock n stock air box in before I went in for smog, I'm selling the twomif you are interested
I appreciate the offer Stevostang, but I'm probably going to buy from AM since I can get my free custom tunes for life that way.

HenryinFlorida said:
Having lived in Calif for 38 years I know what you are going through. Down here if FLA you can run straight pipes and get away with it...lol
Haha, it's a pain for sure!
 

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My biggest concern when it comes to the tune and CAI combo is how much benefit will I be seeing from each part. I know it is hard to quantify, but if I am getting 80% of my benefit from the Tuner and only 20% from a BBK CAI then I could probably live without the CAI and save the cash.
Around 80 - 90 % of your benefit will come from the tune, what you get from the CAI will be mostly at the top end.
 

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I would definitely recommend getting the SCT Tuner! Before my friend gave me his used JLT CAI, I was running the stock airbox with a K&N Drop in filter. I ran like that for 15,000 miles before he gave me the CAI and can say that the tune is key! I have had the JLT on the car now for a little over 5,000 miles and the major difference is in the top end power.

I think you will be very happy with the K&N Drop in filter with the SCT Tuner. Save your money and put it towards another mod.
 

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Josh,

How did you pass smog with that list of mods? Wherever you went I want to go there. The guys around here go over things with a fine-toothed comb. Even the SD coil isn’t technically legal in Calif.
when i did my smog in jan I only had my dual exhaust with custom H, asp underdrive pulley and cai. are you sure the coil and tuner are not legal in cal? if so that sucks (but i do save all my oem parts)
 

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are you sure the coil and tuner are not legal in cal? if so that sucks (but i do save all my oem parts)
Yeah a couple of years ago I was thinking about trying out the SD coil so I looked into it. Read up on Calif smog laws, contacted a couple of smog stations, and also Performance Distributers, the guys behind the SD coil. All told me the same thing, any coil that’s used as a replacement for the OEM coil in Calif needs to be CARB certified with an EO # on it (seems kind of extreme to me), which the SD is not. And the BAMA race tune is known for failing smog tests, as the rear O2 sensors are turned off in the tune and show as not ready in the OBD II port scan. On the bright side though I did some measurements on the stock ignition system and it's pretty good. Primary firing voltage was 450 volts, with multispark firing below 1K RPM. The stock coil's turns ratio measured 88:1. Which means that the stock system can deliver around 39KV open circuit. The SD coil is only rated for 45KV open circuit, so the difference isn't that huge as far as max output voltage. Don't know about the actual energy comparisons though.
 

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it should pass with the sd coil. i think they are more concerned about the smog (exhaust) . like you said i dont think the tune will pass.

i love living in california but i hate the smog laws and traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Based on what ya'll have said I'm thinking I'll just go with the Tuner for now and maybe grab the drop in filter too. Maybe I'll grab the JLT CAI if I ever find myself in a state that doesn't make nearly everything you do to your car illegal.

Thanks for the help everyone, I'll report back once I get my car tuned.
 

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Based on what ya'll have said I'm thinking I'll just go with the Tuner for now and maybe grab the drop in filter too. Maybe I'll grab the JLT CAI if I ever find myself in a state that doesn't make nearly everything you do to your car illegal.

Thanks for the help everyone, I'll report back once I get my car tuned.
You will think you are driving a different car :yup:
 

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good luck keep us updated:bigthumbsup
 

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The parts that you buy outside Ca. without C.A.R.B. approval are the same as the ones that have approval. It is weather or not the part manufacturer paid to have it approved.

There are no roadside inspections for cars and there is no agency that polices car smog mods on the street so you won't get a ticket. Just put your stuff back on before you get tested and everything will be fine.

Ca. smog is pretty much taken care of through the biannual test system.

Ca. Mustangs are turning in the same e.t.'s and dyno results the rest of you are getting.

So don't be scared, MOD AWAY CALI
 

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There are no roadside inspections for cars and there is no agency that polices car smog mods on the street so you won't get a ticket.
Not true. I’ve seen them set up in Orange here plenty of times over the years (haven’t seen any recently though, maybe the budget crunch put an end to it?). Reading up on it apparently you can choose to opt out and there’s no immediate punitive action if you have something improper. Still don’t think I’d want those guys climbing around on my car roadside though (I've little doubt that they exert a lot of pressure to try to get you to "participate"). There’s also newer technology where sensors are actually placed at roadside and can do an emissions checks on the fly. Apparently they snap your license plate and send you a copy of the results. Here’s a brief blurb on the new technology:

“HOW REMOTE SMOG SENSING WORKS

Remote smog sensors are appearing along California roadsides to measure emissions from cars as they drive by. The entire process takes about three seconds.

(1) An infrared beam shot across the highway picks up the contents of a car's exhaust. A calibrator and computer on the other side of the road screen and measure the emissions.

(2) At the same time, a camera snaps a pictire of the vehicle's license plate. The state uses that in information to find and notify the vehicle's owner if emissions are too high.”



I also know a cop on Irvine PD who’s told me that they have one officer who’s specifically trained at spotting and messing with guys with obvious and overt mods who wander into their city breaking traffic laws.


The parts that you buy outside Ca. without C.A.R.B. approval are the same as the ones that have approval. It is weather or not the part manufacturer paid to have it approved.
Not sure what you’re trying to say here. If a part’s CARB approved it’s CARB approved, doesn’t matter what state it’s shipped to, it still has the approval and an EO# assigned. There are far more parts not approved than approved though, as the process of getting approval is lengthy and costly and many manufacturers don’t bother just for the limited Calif market.


Here’s pdf of the state spiel about the roadside checks:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The parts that you buy outside Ca. without C.A.R.B. approval are the same as the ones that have approval. It is weather or not the part manufacturer paid to have it approved.

There are no roadside inspections for cars and there is no agency that polices car smog mods on the street so you won't get a ticket. Just put your stuff back on before you get tested and everything will be fine.

Ca. smog is pretty much taken care of through the biannual test system.

Ca. Mustangs are turning in the same e.t.'s and dyno results the rest of you are getting.

So don't be scared, MOD AWAY CALI
I agree that I probably would never run into any trouble with the CHP and since I have a 2010 I wouldn't even have to worry about a Smog test until 2015. I may reconsider what to do about a CAI in the future, but for now I'll just stick with the tuner.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Haha just read star's reply right after I posted my last one. I hadn't seen any of those roadside checks but I remember reading a post on another forum where a guy with the Typhoon CAI was pulled over because the CHP was able to tell the difference between the stock box and the CAI. Fortunately his was CARB approved so he was fine, but this was the exact scenario that I am trying to avoid.
 

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I have seen what look like a dyno type of thing and they were stopping cars and i am guessing running em to see if they pass emissions in Escondido and San Marcos California (San Diego County)
I got a ford racing cai and they are smog legal.
Idk if the the ford racing cai are for 2010 tho
 
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