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Induction Kit
Review


One of the first
modifications done to the Skyline is to fit an induction kit to rid the engine
of the restrictive stock air box, salve which helps the engine breathe more easily.
This is a very simple modification, pilule and there are many different induction kits
available. The next question is, “Which one is best?”. This article relates to
the 4 most popular kits available, being HKS, Apexi, Blitz and K & N.

What are the benefits of an
Induction Kit?

The
primary function of an Induction Kit is to clean the air before it enters the
engine, but also to provide better air flow to improve the engines power output.
The power output of an engine is proportional to the volume of air it can ingest
at any given time, assuming that the fuelling is also set up correctly. The most
minute restriction in the air induction system will cause an engine's optimum
power output to drop. Maintaining optimum, unrestricted air flow becomes a
problem when the air must pass through a filter element. There are many
different designs of filters on the market, and each manufacturer will make
claims that their design is more effective than their competitors. Generally,
the greater the air flow restriction, the greater the power loss. Therefore, the
ultimate acheivement is to choose as filter that will flow as much air as
possible, witthout sacrificing filtration efficiency.

Blitz Sus
Filter
The BLITZ
'Sus' Power air filters are made from T304 stainless steel which is
totally unique to Blitz. The entire filtration element is made from a fine
stainless steel mesh which means the filters never wear out and Blitz
claim they have substantially less restriction than any other filter. Some
of the other aftermarket filters are made from paper or foam elements, and
some do require oiling to maintain their filtration capacity. According to
Blitz, this oil gradually disperses into the inlet tracts of an engine,
and coats the walls and in particular the air flow sensor, slowly reducing
the performance of the vehicle. The Blitz air filters also have the same
fine mesh in the top of the filter, which improves the amount of air they
can flow, and because the element is 100% metallic, Blitz claim the
induction note it produces is similar to a Touring car or group 'A' rally
car.

Blitz
Claim:

“The
Blitz air filter is by far the best performing and best looking automotive
air filter money can buy…”

HKS Mega Flow
Filters
HKS state
that engine power is directly related to the amount of air an engine can
take in and expel. Therefore, one of the easiest and least expensive ways
to increase the horsepower of any engine is to improve the airflow into
the cylinders. However, many products in the marketplace sacrifice air
filtration capability for improved air flow characteristics. HKS claim
that their High Performance Air Filter Systems offer the ultimate in both
air filtration and air flow for maximum engine performance. The elements
use a special oil to stop unwanted dirt particles from passing through the
multi-layer polyurethane filter. Filters are thrown away when their
lifetime has expired and are replaced with new filters, which are
inexpensive and easy to replace.

HKS Claim:

“The ultimate in both air filtration and air flow for
maximum engine performance…”

Apexi Power
Intake Filter
The Apexi
dual funnel Power Intake has evolved from the Apexi Super Intake filter
with some subtle refinements in the design and filter element. According
to Apexi, this resulted in a 10% reduction in pressure drop by utilizing
an upper and lower funnel. The Power Intake reduces air turbulence within
the filter and creates smooth air flow into the throttle body. Maintenance
is kept to a minimum as this filter is a dry-type air filter and will
alleviate the problem of filter oil from “wet” air cleaners, interfering
with the air-flow meter.

Apexi Claim:

“Accept No Imitations…”

K & N
Filtercharger
K & N
use their own unique design unlike others which use a conventional paper
or foam material. K & N state that because the dirt particles are
trapped inside the passages of foam or paper filters, that they eventually
clog, and when this occurs, airflow restriction increases dramatically.
The K & N Filtercharger uses a special cotton fabric which is
sandwiched between aluminum screen wires. K & N claim that the pleated
design provides five times more filtering surface over the element
circumference. The filter is then saturated with an air filter oil which
attracts particles of dirt and debris which build up on the outside of the
filter.

K & N
Claim:

“…Doubles the air flow…adds up to 15 extra
horsepower…”



How they were
tested.

The filters were
tested on the quality of the filtration, simulated by using a vacuum
cleaner and millions of microscopic dirt particles. The particles that
penetrated the air filter, were collected on a secondary paper filter, so
that a fair comparison could be performed, and the results could be
compared like for like. As well as the fine particle test, the performance
gains were also measured using each of

the induction kits in the test.
Therefore, in the quest to find the ultimate induction kit, the filters
must not only filter the particles out efficiently, but must maximize the
amount of clean air flow, through the filter. The winner would be the
induction kit that filters the most dirt particles, whilst acheiving the
maxmimum power output of the vehicle.

Technical
Comparison

Filter Type Filtration Maintenance Cost BHP Gains
Blitz Sus

Dry Metallic Mesh Type Filter

Poor

Zero Maintenance – Lifetime Use. £200.00 13.9 bhp
HKS Mega Flow

Wet, Foam type filter.

Very Poor

Throw away. Change Filter every 10,000 Miles. Replacement filters
cost around £25.
£200.00 13 bhp
Apexi Power Intake

Dry, Mesh type filter.

Excellent

Zero Maintenance – Lifetime Use. £200.00 14 bhp
K
& N Filtercharger

Wet, Mesh type filter.

Good

Lifetime Usage – Inspect every 30,000 Miles or 12 Months – Clean
and re-oil, if appropriate.
£200.00 13 bhp

Conclusion

The comparison clearly shows that the Apexi Power Intake filter wins the
test, not only on filtration but also by providing the maximum power gains, with
K & N, Blitz and HKS coming in second, third and last, respectively. From a
filtration point of view, the photographic evidence shows that various induction
kits had poor filtration properties, leaving high levels of dirt and carbon on
the paper filters. Any deposits that are allowed through the filters, can
potentially cause problems with the Air Flow Meters on the car, which are
attached to the ends of the induction pipes. It is a fairly common fault with
the Skyline, to 'blow' an A.F.M, and a large amount of carbon can be found
coating the sensor in the A.F.M.

It is questionable how accurate the
original source of data is, as HKS are proven to sell more induction kits than
any one of the others featured in the test, and yet there induction kit rates as
the worst kit in the test. This suggests that either HKS rely upon their brand
name to sell their 'poorly' manufactured air filters, or that the original
Japanese test was nothing more than a PR stunt to promote the lesser known
equipment. HKS and Blitz continue to be the best selling induction kits in the
UK, and are used by Middlehursts, Hiteq and Abbey Motorsport as their first
choice when the induction kit modification is carried out.

One thing
that does stand out is the fact that all the induction kits seem to offer
similar performance gains, of around 13 – 14 bhp. This would seem consistant
with actual power gains that have been confirmed by using a rolling road.

So the question still stands, “Which Induction Kit is the best?”. Well,
if you can trust the original source of data, then the clear winner is the Apexi
Power Intake. For those of you that are more sceptical, the choice is probably
more to do with the cosmetic looks of the induction kit, as the performance
gains are very much the same.

Important Notes regarding the comparison:

– Extracts of
this article have been transcribed from a Japanese article featured in Revspeed
Magazine, August 1999.
– The original test was based upon the results found
when using filters specifically made to fit the Toyota Supra. However, the
filtration is unlikely to differ, as all the filtration materials used are the
same for every model of car.
– The cost given for the filters are based on a
the kit for an R33 Skyline GTR, except the K & N kit which only currently
exists for a Skyline GTS, and are inclusive of
VAT.

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