Are you looking for a new cold air intake for your Ram 1500 truck? It could be the factory stock air intake in your truck needs to be replaced, or you want to upgrade the air intake to help its HEMI engine run at its full potential. Either way, we’ve put together this review to help you narrow down your choices to the best ones available.
Every winter, aging trucks like the Dodge Ram 1500 are tested by cold temperatures and frigid winds that cause parts like an engine’s cold air intake to crack. You’re first hint of trouble might be a stubborn check engine light. If airflow through the intake is disrupted enough, the loss of power and fuel efficiency can get noticeable. On top of that, the horsepower an aging engine can provide goes down as it suffers wear and tear. A larger and clear airflow into its combustion chambers is one way to get the most you can from the Ram 1500’s legendary HEMI engine.
The Best Cold Air Intakes Reviewed
|K&N 63 SERIES||8-inch air filter height||Check Price|
|K&N 77 SERIES||Re-usable, chrome-topped filter||Check Price|
|S&B Filters 75-5106D||Dry filters can be cleaned with compressed air||Check Price|
|AIRAID 303-277||Washable air filters||Check Price|
|aFe Power Momentum GT 54-72102||Advanced 5-layer intake filter||Check Price|
K&N’s Air Charger 63-1561
- Estimated HP gain of 15.66 at 4688 RPM
- Free-Flowing High Density Polyethylene Tube
- 100,000 miles between service checks
- 8-inch air filter height
The K&N 63 series cold air intake that fits the Dodge Ram 1500 is their Air Charger 63-1561 product. This air intake is one of the best that we could find for 5.7L HEMI engine, especially for the power boost that it makes possible with an increased air flow channel and larger filter.
The Air Charger does a couple things to provide a better air supply to the engine. It increases the volume of air that can move through it, but it also employs a chrome-topped re-usable air filter and a heat shield. This stops the air supply from becoming excessively hot and interfering with the air-fuel mixture. K&N rates the filter for 100,000 miles before you should need to look at it under normal driving conditions, and when you do you can give it a thorough cleaning and put it back into the intake.
This intake and the next one in this guide were a close first and second place in our book. We liked K&N’s focus on performance and how much it delivered, not to mention nice touches like a chrome filter. Combined with reasonable prices, their models represented the best value for your money.
K&N’s 77-1561KP Air Intake
- Boosts power by 10.3 HP at 4382 RPM
- Free-flowing aluminum tube
- Washable and reusable filter
- 100,000 miles between service checks
K&N’s 77 Series has the 77-1661KP intake available for several different Dodge truck models including the Ram 1500. This air intake uses the same design as the Air Charger 63-1561, but it’s made of more durable materials and looks flashier under the hood than the black polyethylene of the 63 Series intakes.
This intake yields similar performance gains compared to the Air Charger. The main difference is that it comes with a housing made of polished aluminum, which is more durable in high-heat environments like those found under the hood of a work truck like the Ram 1500. It includes the same over-sized, chrome-topped filter that can last 100,000 before it clogs.
If you can spend a little more for a better-looking aluminum housing, I’d recommend this air intake over the 63 Series product. If you’re more interested in performance, you can’t go wrong with the either of these intakes and save a little money getting the Air Charger instead.
S&B’s 75-5106 Cold Air Intake
- 41% more airflow & 99.46% efficiency rating
- Made of long-lasting silicone material
- Dry filters can be cleaned with compressed air
The 75-5106 is S&B’s answer to the need for a better cold air intake for the Dodge Ram 1500’s 5.7L HEMI. This intake is made of heat-resistant silicone to improve both its look and its overall life. You can choose between two styles of air filter: a dry filter and a cotton filter than can be washed. The dry filter can be reused by blowing dust and debris out of it with compressed air.
S&B increased total air flow by 41.3% with this cold air intake design, which improves air intake efficiency by nearly 100%. They also worked to ensure that the change in air flow doesn’t interfere with the engine’s sensors, designing their intake to conform to ISO 5011 standards. The silicone plastic housing is a bit glossier than polyethylene and resists long-term heat damage.
If you’re looking for an intake that offers a choice between air filters and a well-designed housing, this is an option to consider.
AIRAID 303-277 MXP Air Intake System
- Washable air filters
- Lifetime warranty
- Black polyethylene construction
This is another of the better cold air intake replacements for the stock intake that comes with the 5.7L HEMI. Like others, it uses a large, washable filter that’s designed for greater air flow. It’s billed as a way to increase engine performance, but there wasn’t much detail about how much horsepower gain it provided. The kit also comes with a lifetime warranty, which is a plus.
When it comes to results, the 303-277 intake certainly does help boost the HEMI’s power output, but not as much as other intakes on the market. It uses a better filter than the factory intake, though. It has plenty of volume to allow air flow and reduce the number of cleanings needed to once every two or three years for most environments.
For the difference in price, we’d like to see more performance gains than you get from this air intake upgrade. We did like the lifetime warranty, however. You don’t find many manufacturers with the quality workmanship to back that up.
aFe’s 54-72102 Momentum GT Cold Air Intake
- 14 HP and 19 lbs.-ft. power gains
- 23% more air flow than factory intake
- Advanced 5-layer intake filter
If you’re looking for the most advanced cold air intake on the market, aFe’s 54-72102 Momentum GT model is the highest performing aftermarket intake we could find. The most impressive points of this intake design are the advanced washable, five-layer filter and the amount of horsepower gain it can provide.
The performance gains that are possible with this intake can be as much as 14 horsepower or 19 pound-feet of torque at high RPMs. aFe achieves that with a 23% increase in air flow. They also provide the intake with their Pro 5R air filter, which uses five layers of progressively finer material to stop the smallest particles of dust. The filter uses oiled cotton meshes, which makes it reusable with a soapy-water wash.
If you have the budget for this high-quality cold air intake upgrade, we’d recommend it for Dodge Ram 1500 owners who want to get every ounce of horsepower possible from the 5.7L HEMI engine.
Cold Air Intake Buying Guide for the Dodge Ram 1500’s 5.7L HEMI Engine
The cold air intake is an important part of an engine’s performance because it supplies the air needed for the internal combustion process. Increasing the horsepower of an engine means more fuel is burned, and that requires a larger air supply. The HEMI is a high-performance engine that needs a large air supply to haul those heavy tow trailers, so an upgraded air intake can make a difference.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Cold Air Intake
You might be surprised when you research cold air intakes to discover just how important air is to the life and performance of an engine. Below are a few of the benefits of upgrading to an aftermarket air intake.
- Improved power: An air intake with greater air flow can give the HEMI the oxygen it needs to increase its horsepower.
- Better fuel economy: Better air flow can also improve the fuel economy of a diesel engine by helping it burn all the fuel that enters the combustion chambers. The result is more miles driven for every gallon.
- Reduced engine maintenance: Aftermarket air intakes often replace the factory intake filters with high performance products that can go longer before you need to replace them. Higher quality filters also prevent contaminants from entering the engine. That combined with better combustion reduces wear and tear on the engine’s moving parts.
- Faster throttle response: Air flow also affects how responsive the engine is to the accelerator. A restricted air intake or clogged intake filter can make the engine seem sluggish when you need to accelerate quickly.
Features of Cold Air Intakes to Consider Before Buying
There are several components to an air intake that can impact the performance of your HEMI engine. Below are the important things to consider when choosing an aftermarket air intake to replace the one that came from the factory.
- Air intake housing: The shape and size of the intake housing funnels air into the HEMI engine. The volume of air it can hold and how the straightness of the housing both affect the total volume of air that can be delivered.
- Air intake filter: Not all air filters are equal. The size of the filter impacts how long it takes for it to become clogged, and its level of filtration determines whether it stops contaminants like fine dust from getting into the engine’s air supply. Many are rated for the mileage they last between changes.
- Heat shield: The temperature of the air entering the engine also impacts performance. The HEMI is designed for a cold air supply, so some air intakes will use a heat shield to stop the air from being heated as it moves through the filter and housing.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can the horsepower of Dodge Ram 1500’s engine be increased?
Increasing the horsepower of an engine can be accomplished by removing the bottlenecks in the flow of air into the engine and exhaust exiting it. By installing aftermarket parts that increase the total throughput of the engine’s combustion, it’ll burn more fuel. This is what will make your horsepower increase without changing the engine in any fundamental way. Remember, though, that upgrading your air intake is just one part of the puzzle of increasing power.
- Can the air filters on aftermarket cold air intakes be washed and reused?
Yes, often this is cited as a good reason to install a better intake on your Dodge Ram 1500. You’ll save money if it has a re-useable intake filter. Many of these filters can go longer before they get clogged, and some are designed to be washed with warm soapy water.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, we choice was K&N’s 63-1561 Air Charger for the Dodge Ram 1500’s 5.7L HEMI engine. It balances cost with a performance boost and a well-designed re-usable filter. Your mileage may vary, however, if you’re looking for a big performance gain or the most advanced upgrade kit available. If you have the budget for it, the aFe Momentum GT Cold Air Intake is the best the market has to offer.