Ford released their famed 5.0 Coyote engine in 2011, installing it in the S197 Mustang GT and the 13th Gen F150s. Ford has kept the Coyote in both the F150 and Mustang GT through 2022, steadily increasing the power output. The F150 has made between 360-400 horsepower and 380-410 lb-ft of torque from 2011-2022. Comparatively, the Mustang GT has made between 412-460 horsepower and 390-420 lb-ft of torque.
While these numbers are pretty good stock, the 5.0 Coyote V8 is capable of so much more. One of the most effective ways to increase horsepower is a 5.0 Coyote intake manifold upgrade. The stock 5.0 Coyote intake manifold performs suitably for stock power levels and average builds, but an aftermarket intake manifold can really help with top-end power. That’s why one of the best 5.0 Coyote upgrades is to the intake manifold. You will gain horsepower while shedding weight and improving efficiency.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about upgrading your 5.0 Coyote intake manifold. We’ll talk about what intake manifolds are, and we’ll cover the benefits to upgrading. We’ll also look at the improvements Ford has made to their stock intake manifold over the years. Finally, we’ll give you recommendations of the top 5.0 Coyote intake manifolds on the market to choose from. Let’s get started.
What is a Ford 5.0 Coyote Intake Manifold?
Intake manifolds are the part of the system that sits directly on top of the cylinder head, and is the most visible part of the Coyote engine bay. The intake chain starts with the intake filter and tubing, which attaches to the Coyote throttle body. The throttle body attaches to the intake manifold, which then attaches directly to the cylinder head.
The stock 5.0 Coyote intake manifold has gone through several revisions. The Gen 1 manifold lasted from 2011-2014, before getting upgraded for Gen 2 in 2015-2017. According to Ford, the Gen 2 manifold got new charge motion control valves (CMCV) to partially close off port flow at lower engine speeds. The effect was to increase the air charge tumble and swirl for improved air-fuel mixing, resulting in better fuel economy, idle stability, and lower emissions.
The Gen 3 manifold released in 2018 is far superior to either the Gen 1-2 5.0 Coyote intake manifolds. It flows much better, due to improved design, and far outperforms either the Gen 1-2 manifolds by a wide margin.
Ford Coyote Manifold Parts
There are a few important parts of the 5.0 Coyote intake manifold that we’ll mention here first. The plenum is the “top” part of the intake manifold, and is usually the area you will see the brand/logo. Connected to the plenum on Coyote intake manifolds are eight individual runners or ports – one runner per cylinder – with four per side. Inside of the runners are butterfly valves that open or close to determine how much air flows into the cylinders.
While it’s not part of the intake manifold, the throttle body is also important. The throttle body controls how much air flows into the intake manifold from the intake or turbos/supercharger. Similar to the valves in the manifold runners, throttle bodies have a throttle blade that opens/closes to determine airflow. On 5.0 Coyote engines, it’s common to get a larger throttle body when getting a larger intake manifold. Some throttle bodies also have dual blades for more optimized flow control and better drivability – though they sacrifice some performance.
5.0 Ford Intake Manifold Runner Control DTCs
One of the most common problems with Gen 2-3 Coyote intake manifolds is the dreaded P2005, P2006, P2007, and P2008 DTC codes. The codes mean that the charge motion control valves have a stuck open or stuck closed intake runner flap in one of the banks. The ECU controls the CMCV position, and when the malfunction is detected a Check Engine Light is set.
The CMCVs (also known as intake manifold runner control valves IMRC) are in the intake manifold. Basically, CMCV failure is when the ECU is unable to control the opening and closing of flaps in the runners. They can either get stuck open, or more likely stuck closed – choking the engine of air.
Some of the causes of the P2005/6/7/8 codes are:
- Intake manifold runner that is clogged and/or failing
- Wiring harness failure
- Intake manifold runner control solenoid failure
- Poor electrical connections
What are the symptoms of the P2005/6/7/8 codes?
- Check Engine Light
- Poor engine performance
- Limp mode
- Failure to maintain idle
If you have the IMRC DTC codes, the solution is to fix the wiring harness/electrical connection and clean or replace the runners. Also, changing the CMCV solenoids and actuators can solve the problem. If you have a Gen 2 engine, you can always upgrade to the improved next gen manifold.
The Gen 3 intake manifold will fit the Gen 2 engines, however it’s not a perfect setup. We’ll get into the details later, but if you go this route you will have to get your car tuned. You can also get a performance intake manifold to replace the stock one, which will also require tuning.
Ford Coyote IMRC/CMCV Delete
The other option for the IMRC/CMCV DTC is to go with a IMRC/CMCV delete kit. The Gen 2-3 intake manifolds can be fitted with deletes to remove the problem. This is a necessary mod when swapping Gen 3 intake manifolds onto Gen 1-2 cars.
However, this isn’t a mod to do lightly. IMRC deletes basically keep the runner flaps open at all times, which can be detrimental to low-end torque. Still, it will improve top-end performance. You will need a tuner to turn off the CEL, so keep that in mind with a delete kit.
It’s really a mod done for those looking at adding forced induction. If you’re planning on boosting your Coyote, with either a turbo or centrifugal supercharger, and are keeping the stock manifold, CMCV are smart upgrades. If your Coyote is stock and naturally aspirated, stick with the CMCVs. They won’t hinder noticeably hinder performance and will aid with low-end torque and fuel economy.
5.0 Coyote Intake Manifold Upgrade Benefits
The benefits of upgrading the 5.0 Coyote intake manifold are:
- +10-40 whp (depending on other mods)
- Decreased intake restriction and improved flow
- Louder exhaust volume
- Improved power band
The biggest benefit to upgrading the 5.0 Coyote intake manifold is going to be the power increases. On smaller builds you can see gains of 10-20 whp. Larger builds, those above 600 whp, can add 20-40 whp with an upgraded and better flowing manifold. Depending on which manifold you choose, you will either get better low-end torque or better top-end horsepower.
It’s impossible to give precise numbers for gains, because every setup is different, but these are averages from Coyote builds. Depending on the manifold, you might see a slightly decreased power band at the expense of better top-end power.
Finally, you will likely see an increase in exhaust volume following the installation of a larger intake manifold. It won’t be drastic, like installing a cat back, but the volume will definitely be louder.
Mustang GT 5.0 and F150 5.0 Intake Manifold Swapping
LIke we said, depending on the 5.0 Coyote intake manifold, you can either prioritize low-end torque or top-end horsepower. It’s not a common mod by any means, but if you are looking to change the characteristics of your Mustang GT to have more low-end torque, swapping on a F150 5.0 Coyote intake manifold is an option. You will see a reduction in horsepower, but a bump in torque – especially on the low end.
At the same time, if you’re looking for your truck to breathe a little breather at the higher RPMs, swapping a Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote intake manifold is an option. You’ll sacrifice some towing capacity and low-end response, but you’ll definitely feel the difference past 5,000 RPM.
If you do plan on swapping Mustang GT and F150 Coyote intake manifolds, you will need a tune. The F150 and Mustang GT manifolds both got the same Gen 2-3 improvements, although with slightly different designs, so make sure you check what Gen you are getting before installing. As we mentioned earlier, Gen 2s will swap onto Gen 1s, but with no performance gains and non-functional CMCVs. See below on Gen 3 to Gen 1-2 swaps.
Ford 5.0 Mustang Gen 1-2 to Gen 3 Manifold Upgrade
One of the most common upgrades for Gen 1-2 5.0 Coyote Mustang GTs and F150s is swap on a Gen 3 intake manifold. The Gen 3 intake manifold far outperforms the Gen 1-2, and it is pretty much a direct fit. However, you will need a couple of things to make sure your car performs well after it is on.
Number one is tuning. If you put a 2018+ Coyote intake manifold on a 2011-2017 Coyote engine, you have to get custom tuning done. If not, your car will run rough, possibly put itself into limp mode, and will struggle to idle. You will also eventually get misfiring and other issues.
If you are swapping a Gen 3 manifold onto a Gen 2 engine, you will want to get VMP Performances PNP CMC harnesses in order to retain use of the Gen 3 CMCV / IMRC / CMRC system. This will not work on the Gen 1 engines because those manifolds did not originally have a CMCV system. You will need to get them disabled, either through your tuner or with a delete kit.
Gen 1s require IMRC lockouts and CMCV actuator deletes. Gen 2 requires IMRC lockouts and modification to the wiring harness to work with the Gen 3 CMCV actuators.
A Gen 3 to Gen 1-2 swap is a solid upgrade for both the Mustang GT 5.0 and F150 5.0 Coyotes. You will see improvements everywhere in the power band, especially on the top end. Getting the Gen 3 manifold ported will offer even bigger gains, and should definitely be considered.
5 Best 5.0 Intake Manifolds
The top 5 best 5.0 Coyote intake manifolds are:
- Ford Cobra Jet
- Ford GT350
- Edelbrock Victor II
- Holley Sniper
- Ford Boss 302
These intake manifolds combine the best in price, performance, quality, and aesthetics. While there are literally dozens of different manifolds available, these are the top options if you’re looking to upgrade. We included both Ford Performance and iconic brands like Edelbrock and Holley for the best and widest possible selection.
1) Ford 5.0 Cobra Jet Intake Manifold
Purchase Link: Cobra Jet Intake Manifold
Our top suggestion for upgrading the 5.0 Coyote intake manifold is the Ford Cobra Jet manifold. There are two generations of the Cobra Jet, with the most recent one being released in September 2022. The Cobra Jet manifold is the best for top-end and high-RPM engine performance. They are meant for drag racing applications, as they do sacrifice some low-end torque for superior top-end horsepower.
The Cobra Jet manifolds have shorter intake runners for better top-end performance, as well as a larger plenum volume than stock. They can handle up to 20 PSI reliably and are great for boosted builds. The Gen 1 and Gen 2 Cobra Jets, unfortunately, perform almost identical to each other. The Gen 2 has a larger plenum and runners, but actually fits under the hood better than the Gen 1s.
Ford Cobra Jet 5.0 Compatibility
The Cobra Jet manifold is compatible with the Gen 1-3 Coyote engines, but there are some modifications required. All Cobra Jet installs require tuning, regardless of the generation. For a Gen 1 upgrade, you’ll need the CJ intake, larger throttle body, LMR installation kit (for EVAP), and the factory strut tower bar will need to be removed/replaced with a Boss 302 compatible bar.
For a Gen 2 upgrade, you will need all of the above for a Gen 1 swap, but it won’t clear the stock ‘15-’17 hood. You’ll need either an aftermarket hood, or lower engine mounts. The Gen 3 swap is the same as the Gen 2, except you need the dual-blade throttle body.
On a totally stock Coyote engine, you probably won’t see huge gains above 10-15 wheel-horsepower. However, when you start adding more fueling and exhaust mods, the manifold really starts to shine. If you’re looking at building a Mustang GT 5.0 drag racer, the Cobra Jet should be high in consideration for your pick.
2) Ford 5.0 GT350 Intake Manifold
Purchase Link: GT350 Intake Manifold
Our next suggestion for upgrading the 5.0 Coyote intake manifold is the GT350 manifold off the 5.2 L Voodoo engine. Prior to the Gen 3 intake manifold coming out, the GT350 was the top option (it predates the Cobra Jet). It’s still a solid choice, but only performs marginally better, if not the same, as the Gen 3s.
The runners on the GT350 manifold are larger and longer than the Gen 1-2. They also have CMCV/IMRC valves for better low and top-end performance. The GT350 intake manifold has longer runners than the Cobra Jets and Gen 1-2 manifolds, giving them solid low-end torque.
Like the Cobra Jet, the GT350 fits any generation Coyote motor with light modifications. For a Gen 1 upgrade, the CMCV actuators need to be removed and the IMRCs need lockouts. You will also need a throttle body adaptor or the 87 mm GT350 throttle body. Gen 2s need the same throttle body mod, but not the CMCV actuator deletes or IMRC lockouts.
The Gen 3s need the IMRC lockouts as well as the throttle body mod. All generations require custom tuning to perform safely and adequately. The exception is if you have the Ford Performance Power Pack 2. Then you can fit the GT350 intake manifold on your car without any custom tuning, as the PP2 tune is already optimized for the GT350 intake.
3) Edelbrock Victor II Coyote Intake Manifold
Purchase Link: Edelbrock Victor II Intake Manifold
The third suggestion for our list is the Edelbrock Victor II 5.0 Coyote intake manifold. This manifold performs best and was primarily designed for nitrous and high boost applications. This is because the aluminum build is far superior to the plastic composite of the stock manifold for big power. They can withstand the nitrous and high pressure much better and for much longer.
The plenum is much larger than stock, and the runners are shorter – hence better top-end performance. It fits all the Gen 1-3 engines, though the stock strut tower bar is not compatible. Gen 3 upgrades also require Gen 1-2 head gaskets (preferably Gen 2). Custom tuning is of course required for any generation. It will work with the stock 80 mm throttle body, but an upgraded 90 mm is advisable for fit and performance.
Overall, the Edelbrock Victor II intake manifold is not meant for small builds and naturally aspirated applications. You will only want to go with this one if you’re looking at high boost, nitrous, and top-end drag racing performance. You’ll still see some gains on non-boosted applications, but it’s minimal.
4) Holley Sniper Coyote Intake Manifold
Price: $603.86 – $650.66
If you want the best looking and most aesthetically pleasing manifold, you’re likely going to want to take a long look at the Holley Sniper intake manifold. The Holley Sniper is a T6061 sheet metal manifold, which cuts weight and price while performing very well. It’s designed primarily for naturally aspirated vehicles and mid-range to lower end builds below 650 whp.
The runners are shorter with a different taper than the Gen 1-2 Coyote manifolds. This has the effect of improving top-end power while increasing the power band by 200-400 RPM. The throttle body opening is 92 mm on the Gen 1 Sniper and 90 mm on the Gen 2 Sniper.
Holley’s Sniper is only compatible with Gen 1-2 engines, and is not an advisable upgrade for the Gen 3 Coyotes. The stock Gen 3 manifold will perform just as well if not better, though its appearance is certainly lacking. Holley’s intake is best suited for mid-ranged naturally aspirated builds, and is very competitively priced.
5) Ford 5.0 Boss 302 Intake Manifold
Purchase Link: Boss 302 Intake Manifold
Ford released the Boss 302 intake manifold in 2012 to go along with the Boss 302 variant of the Coyote engine. It is a high rise intake manifold and is exclusively designed for high-RPM performance – just like the Boss 302 engine. The shorter runners are good for boosted applications and the plenum is much larger than the Gen 1-2 intake manifolds.
The Boss 302 will fit the Gen 1-3 intake manifolds, but the factory strut tower bar needs to be replaced on all of them with a Boss 302 compatible bar. The Gen 1s also require the LMR installation kit like the Cobra Jets for the EVAP system.
While you can put the Boss 302 on the Gen 2-3, it’s generally not recommended. The CMCVs will not be able to be utilized, and you might actually lose performance. Especially compared with the Gen 3 stock manifold, it’s probably best to not install a Boss 302. If you do, you’ll definitely want a high-boost and high horsepower build, as that’s what the Boss 302 intake manifold serves best.
Ford 5.0 Coyote Intake Manifold Summary
The Ford 5.0 Coyote engine is one of the top V8 motors on the market today. If you really want to make some serious horsepower out of it then intake manifolds are a great mod. You’ll see a considerable improvement to horsepower and torque output, while also making your engine more aesthetically pleasing and lighter.
We looked at a couple of different 5.0 Coyote intake manifolds in this guide, and they are all very solid. The Cobra Jet, Boss 302, and Edelbrock intakes are all best suited for top-end performance builds, and will sacrifice some low-end torque. In addition, the Edelbrock and Boss 302 intakes are both the go-tos for boosted and nitrous applications. The Holley Sniper looks amazing, but is probably best suited for lower range builds without boost.
The GT350 manifold is a great upgrade for Gen 1-2 Coyotes, but is not a huge improvement over the Gen 3. Finally, upgrading a Gen 1-2 5.0 Coyote intake manifold to a Gen 3 is a very popular route with outstanding gains. You really can’t go wrong with any of these manifolds, as they are all top options and performers.
What intake manifold are you thinking about picking for your build and what goals are you looking to achieve? Let us know in the comments below!