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How to: Improve Direct Airflow To Airbox Inlet

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ecoboost_xsport

Mad Scientist
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Orangevale, California
Year, Model & Trim Level
2015 Ford Explorer Sport
Improve Direct Airflow To Airbox Inlet

I did this mod about 2 years ago and finally now getting to the write-up for it (I'm doing a bunch here lately, LOL). Figured better late than never.

So when I pulled off that piece of plastic that covers about 15% of the stock IC behind the front grille, I started thinking about the flow of air into the airbox. I noticed that the opening doesn't get direct flow. It comes in from behind the front grille indirectly. I'm sure Ford does this in order to keep debris and water from entering directly into the airbox.

I thought maybe I can get just a bit more air if I gave it more of a "ram air" effect. After all, the SHO and F150 have this coming into the airbox more directly anyway.

So as I had the front grille and bumper off for some other project I was attempting, I decided to tackle this at the same time.

Although it's possible to do this without removing the bumper (or so I've heard), it's tough to reach some of the hardware. As I had the bumper off, it was a breeze to get the grille separated. Now the grille is actually three pieces on top of each other in the Sport. On the outside, you have the three horizontal "bars", then underneath that is the plastic "mesh" layer, and beneath that is the main barrier piece. This was the piece that needed trimming.

There are a lot of small clips that hold these various levels together. I didn't get a photo of it, but what worked liked a charm without breaking these tabs was some plumbers tape I cut into tiny squares and just wedged those into each clip. Once I had all them wedged, the pieces just fell apart super easy. Best part...nothing broke.
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I wish I would've taken a picture of it, but apologies. Maybe when I take the grille off again, I will update this post to show it.

Anyway, here's a pic with the bumper and grille off. You can see the opening for the airbox...
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Here's the inner barrier piece that needs trimming:
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I took it off and on a few times to get the exact shape and opening size I was looking for. Here you see the final hole size I was happy with:
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Mesh layer over it:
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And finally, the three "bars" mocked up onto it:
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As you can see, it's very well hidden and is virtually unnoticeable:
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Now, how much better flow is it, you ask? I can't really say, tbh. It's kind of a small mod that may or may not help out some, but the logic is sound, so I'm going with that, LOL.

Of course, this may not be for everyone; however, it's been 2 years with no detrimental effects nor have I gotten anything significant into the airbox. I've driven in rain as well as having gone through multiple car washes throughout the years. So, I'd say it was a decent modification since I had the bumper off anyway.

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Thats gotta get alot better direct airflow. I would only worry about rain or when washing the suv, and the possibility of water getting to the air filter. But, that's my OCD talking... Nice work, looks 👍...
 






Thats gotta get alot better direct airflow. I would only worry about rain or when washing the suv, and the possibility of water getting to the air filter. But, that's my OCD talking... Nice work, looks 👍...
Yup, but as mentioned...been 2 years now and no ill effects from either rain or car washes. But I live in Cali, where we don’t get much bad weather, so....mod at your own risk.
 






Good idea! I've been considering just drilling some holes there to help with air flow but this looks much cleaner I'm sure. One modification I did to cut down on restrictions was I cut the entire bottom half off the OEM airbox just below where the filter sits. This way I was able to save the part of the air box that holds the filter in securely. I left the duct from the grille to feed outside air in under the filter. Intake noises have improved if nothing else.
 






Good idea! I've been considering just drilling some holes there to help with air flow but this looks much cleaner I'm sure. One modification I did to cut down on restrictions was I cut the entire bottom half off the OEM airbox just below where the filter sits. This way I was able to save the part of the air box that holds the filter in securely. I left the duct from the grille to feed outside air in under the filter. Intake noises have improved if nothing else.

I noticed the same 2 weeks ago doing the plugs on mine. Just pull the extra plastics off and make sure the box is held in place after. It is only held in by the 2 soft stilts now without the extra plastic to hold it. Now if there was a way to delete the baffle boxes after the filter? Next...lol have fun!
 






I noticed the same 2 weeks ago doing the plugs on mine. Just pull the extra plastics off and make sure the box is held in place after. It is only held in by the 2 soft stilts now without the extra plastic to hold it. Now if there was a way to delete the baffle boxes after the filter? Next...lol have fun!

Do you mean the 2 stilts on the bottom of the air box? If so, that's gone. I took a hack saw to the air box and quite literally cut the entire bottom half off just below where the filter locks in. I left the duct from the grille to feed outside air below the filter with hopes of mitigating excessively high IAT. The intake still bolts to the grille duct so it's not floppy enough to cause concern. If I knew how to post a damn picture I would...
 






Do you mean the 2 stilts on the bottom of the air box? If so, that's gone. I took a hack saw to the air box and quite literally cut the entire bottom half off just below where the filter locks in. I left the duct from the grille to feed outside air below the filter with hopes of mitigating excessively high IAT. The intake still bolts to the grille duct so it's not floppy enough to cause concern. If I knew how to post a damn picture I would...
Great idea. Way more air than the little 5 inch oval left over! I have an AEM reusable air filter and the sound is nice. Gas mileage no change, keeping it in the rpm band that sounds sweet is way up! I need to do exhaust and get rid of the flat intermediate pipe that goes under the subframe and this will sound really good. I do appreciate the big box bolt ons but cutting and creating is way more fun!
 






Great idea. Way more air than the little 5 inch oval left over! I have an AEM reusable air filter and the sound is nice. Gas mileage no change, keeping it in the rpm band that sounds sweet is way up! I need to do exhaust and get rid of the flat intermediate pipe that goes under the subframe and this will sound really good. I do appreciate the big box bolt ons but cutting and creating is way more fun!
I agree, I'm a big diy kinda guy and with some attention to detail you can do a lot! I'm working on putting some Flowmasters as we speak!
 






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