3.6 pentastar cold air intake volant performance
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3.6 Pentastar Cold Air Intake Ultimate Guide

Chandler Stark

Meet Chandler

Chandler is an automotive expert with over a decade of experience working on and modifying cars. A couple of his favorites were his heavily modded 2016 Subaru WRX and his current 2020 VW Golf GTI. He’s also a big fan of American Muscle and automotive history. Chandler’s passion and knowledge of the automotive industry help him deliver high-quality, insightful content to TuningPro readers.

A cold air intake will help improve airflow on the 3.6 Pentastar, resulting in 5-10hp power gains, better throttle response, and improved gas mileage. Ultimately, the benefits make it one of the best performance upgrades on these engines. In this guide we’re going to discuss the basics of intake upgrades, provide real data figures on power and performance gains, and help you choose the right style of intake for you.

3.6 Pentastar Cold Air Intake Basics

First, let’s start off with what a cold air intake is. The air intake is the first part of the intake chain for the engine. On the 3.6 Pentastar, the air intake consists of an air filter, an air box to enclose the filter, and tubing that connects the filter to the throttle body. Air enters the airbox and then air filter, where it travels through the tubing and eventually into the engine. As you can tell, the air intake is one of the most important parts of the 3.6 Pentastar engine. 

Technically, the factory air intake can be considered a cold air intake. That’s because a 3.6 Pentastar “cold air intake” is simply an air intake that locates the filter toward the fenders and wheel-well of a vehicle. This allows for it to take in cooler air because it is further away from the engine. Cooler air has more oxygen than hotter air, which means it will make more horsepower and torque.
On forced induction engines, cold air intakes don’t do a ton for performance. However, on a naturally aspirated engine like the Pentastar, cold air intakes will be more beneficial. Since the factory intake is already a cold air intake, the majority of the power gains from an aftermarket 3.6 Pentastar cold air intake come from the less restrictive tubing and larger air filter. These allow for increased volume and velocity of air flow, which helps performance. 

Typically, with a 3.6 Pentastar cold air intake upgrade, you’ll see gains of about 10-15 horsepower and torque. You can get even more gains combining an intake with ECU tuning.

3.6 pentastar cold air intake
3.6 Pentastar cold air intake from Volant performance

Open vs Closed Systems

There are two main types of 3.6 Pentastar cold air intakes: open or closed intakes. Open intakes do not use an airbox and leave the filter completely exposed or “open.” Closed intakes use an air box to enclose the filter. The purpose of the airbox is to protect the filter from dirt and debris, shield the filter from heat, and allow for more consistent mass airflow meter (MAF) readings. 

However, many people dispute the real world benefits of an airbox and claim they can actually hurt performance. The truth is somewhere in the middle. An airbox will generally decrease intake temperatures by 5-10°, will protect the filter from dirt if your engine bay is dirty, and will help with MAF readings. However, the actual performance difference is incredibly minimal, and due to the added price of an airbox ($50-100), they should not be considered necessary. 

3.6 Pentastar Cold Air Intake Benefits

  • 5-10 horsepower and torque
  • Improved power band and throttle response
  • Increased air flow
  • +0.5-1.5 mpg
  • Increased engine noises
  • Improved engine bay look
3.6L Pentastar Intake HP Gains

The most noticeable benefit from a 3.6 Pentastar cold air intake upgrade will be the increase of 5-10 horsepower and torque. Most of this increase comes from the larger diameter and less restrictive tubing, which allows for superior airflow. With ECU tuning, you can add even more horsepower and torque. 

In addition to having better peak numbers, a 3.6 Pentastar intake will improve the entire power band. You’ll notice the car is much more responsive everywhere, which is part of the benefit of the upgraded intake. You might also notice a small increase (0.5-1.5 mpg) in fuel economy, which again is better with tuning. 

Aesthetically, an upgraded cold air intake will make the engine sound louder and will make the engine bay look much cleaner. Compared with the OEM airbox, aftermarket intakes have less insulation (or no airbox at all). Which makes them much more audible. They also make the engine bay look more like a performance engine, and are a clear indication of increased performance. 

If you’re looking for more on this engine don’t miss our additional content including 3.6 Pentastar supercharger kits, turbo kits, and tons more.

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    1. I think Weapon-R makes a cold air intake for the Pacifica – probably the only/best on the market outside of ebay junk.

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