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Article: The Steeda Difference: 2015+ S550 Mustang Cold Air Intakes

The Steeda Difference: 2015+ S550 Mustang Cold Air Intakes
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The Steeda Difference: 2015+ S550 Mustang Cold Air Intakes

Modding your car, whether it be a brand new S550 Mustang or something else, can be a very fun and exciting experience – mapping out your upgrade plans, calculating the hp/tq gains, etc. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of mis-information when it comes to competitors’ products, power gains and overall build quality. In this article we hone in on key differences between Steeda’s S550 cold air intake (CAI) and a competitor’s product. Two main things we’re reviewing in detail are airflow and intake tube design.
Building clean, turbulent-free airflow into the intake tube is paramount. Steeda accomplishes this through our industry-leading and technically-advanced velocity stack. The bellmouth in our velocity stack helps air smoothly transition from the filter to the intake tube – this creates the beginning of a healthy laminar boundary layer which transitions to a clean laminar airflow across our mass air sensor.
Steeda S550 CAI Velocity Stack Steeda’s precision CNC mass air housing provides the cleanest mass air signal on the market
Steeda cold air intake super smooth maf housing gives great airflowCompetitor's S550 Cold Air Intake Competitor’s roto-molded mass air housing, note the texture inconsistencies and protrusions which cause turbulence
Non steeda roto molded intake is inconsistent and gives non optimal turbulent air flow
Most brands do not use a velocity stack and the lip created in their system will ‘trip’ up the airflow, creating turbulent flow from the beginning. Competitors try to remedy this through the use of a ‘MAF straightener,’ which is why there is a screen affixed to the filter in our example below (see image below). However, most MAF straighteners are a honeycomb type of material which allows the air to create a small boundary layer and then re-direct itself. The system in our example looks like it may actually trip up the air more and create more turbulence. Why is this important? The MAF sensor is a temperature frequency-driven sensor – in order to get clean, predictable readings for downstream fuel calculations you need to have your airflow be as smooth as possible. Turbulent air conditions cause erroneous MAF frequency, therefore creating the likelihood of drivability issues.
Competitor's S550 Cold Air Intake Filter utilizing a screen to straighten airflow
Non steeda screened filter
S550 Cold Air Intake Filter Comparison
Steeda filter vs competitor screened filter
Steeda’s CAI utilizes a 101mm mass air opening while one of our competitors utilizes a 110mm mass air opening, although what customers may not realize is that their use of a screen negates their 110mm mass air opening because it causes a restriction. Utilizing a screen is required when the competition’s CAI is not utilizing a velocity stack or bellmouth entry.
Intake Tube

The intake tube itself is extremely important, it must deliver the largest, cleanest amount of high velocity air as possible to the throttle body. Steeda again wins out in total volumetric flow as our intake tube has a much larger and cleaner radius than the others on the market today, which can be seen in our example below. Again, a larger diameter also means more laminar flow is possible at higher velocities than the other brands.
S550 Cold Air Intake - Competitor’s inlet tube bend radius vs. Steeda’s
Steeda intake bend radius compared to competitor
S550 Cold Air Intake Bend Radius Comparison :Competitor’s inlet tube bend radius vs. Steeda’s (overlaid)
Steeda intake bend radius overlaid with competitor
Other brands may have turbulent flow carried in from the inlet side of their intake tube since they don’t include a velocity stack. Head loss is the amount of pressure loss or velocity loss you get from the beginning of the tube to the end. Bends introduce this type of loss into the system, the more bends you have, the more loss you have and the tighter the radius of those bends the more loss you have. Steeda wins out in this category as we have a larger bend radius on our intake tube and we also have less bends overall when comparing to the other brands.
Steeda’s S550 CAI seals perfectly against the hood, which provides the lowest amount of heat soak possible especially when comparing to other CAI’s on the market.
Steeda’s been designing and manufacturing cold air intakes since the early 1990’s, and we’ll be doing so for many years to come – there’s a reason why Steeda’s kit is the CAI of choice among many S550 owners.

With our own UK based testing, back to back installing a Pro Flow on a bone stock UK GT, we saw 20 hp and 20ft lbs of torque gained with NO tune. Plus it looked a lot better and sounded amazing! What's not to like? 

Further proof that Steeda take REAL WORLD results seriously is demonstrated with the 2018+ Mustang GT.
We determined that a "no tune" design offered NO GAINS on the new 2018 Coyote 5.0 engine and factory intake, only a radical large bore closed intake design, that will only function correctly with a tune to match. Our competitors? Well they are happy to keep on selling intakes to you, regardless of the results. Note the new closed intake is super effective asnd also works well on 2015 + model too. Tune required.
Purchase your S550 CAI’s here:

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