Tech: 2015 Mustang GT CAI Test

2015 Mustang GT CAI Test Featured

Test ’N Tune

Testing Airaid’s new 5.0 cold-air intake and SCT Performance tuning

By Steve Turner

We hope you tuned in for our story on testing the new Airaid cold-air intake system for the 2015 EcoBoost Mustang. If so, you know we were able to double down and sit in for the testing of SCT Performance’s preload tunes for the 2.3- and 5.0-liter S550s. This time around we started with the stock inlet and calibration and stepped it up from there.

Before embarking on our testing, SCT Performance head calibrator, Matt Alderman, had already dialed in his preload tune for the Airaid system. However, he returned the company’s in-house 2015 Mustang GT to stock before we started our testing. With the exception of a Borla Cat-Back exhaust system, the car was stock for our session.
Before embarking on our testing, SCT Performance head calibrator, Matt Alderman, had already dialed in his preload tune for the Airaid system. However, he returned the company’s in-house 2015 Mustang GT to stock before we started our testing. With the exception of a Borla Cat-Back exhaust system, the car was stock for our session.

SCT Performance’s Matt Alderman had already worked his magic behind the keyboard to create a preload tune for the Airaid MXP Series Cold Air Dam Intake System for the 2015 Mustang GT. However, for our visit he returned the car to its stock airbox and calibration for our baseline testing. Then he reinstalled the Airaid system and flashed in the preload tune via an SCT X4 handheld device.

You’ll be able to do the same, as this file will be preloaded on SCT devices. As such, you can just scroll through the tuning options and select the Airaid file for your Mustang. The combination of the freer-flowing intake and the preload calibration worked quite well. The car picked up significant peak gains and even greater gains under the curve. You can watch our test pulls here:

Once we had established the gains from the Airaid system and the preload tune, Matt decided to dial up a slightly more aggressive calibration, which represents what your tuner of choice might create as a custom file for your car. Adding it picked things up across the board, but we just narrowly missed surpassing the 400-rear-wheel-horsepower barrier.

We first tested the system with the stock air intake, then Matt removed the stock airbox and inlet as one piece. The day we tested, the air was quite cold by Florida standards, and it seemed to affect the results. The prior day when Matt developed the call, the baseline numbers were lower and the after results were higher. However, we wanted to do our work all on the same day. As with any dyno testing, your mileage may vary.
We first tested the system with the stock air intake, then Matt removed the stock airbox and inlet as one piece. The day we tested, the air was quite cold by Florida standards, and it seemed to affect the results. The prior day when Matt developed the call, the baseline numbers were lower and the after results were higher. However, we wanted to do our work all on the same day. As with any dyno testing, your mileage may vary.

Interestingly, Matt was able to get the car to make 406 at the tire the day before we arrived, but the weather was just a bit warmer. We were testing on a really cold day by Florida standards, so the correction likely shaved a little power off.

In any event, we can safely round 399.99 up to 400 at the wheels, and making that kind of power with a CAI, Cat-Back and tune shows just how great it is to be into cars at this point in time.

SCT will be developing tunes for a few other parts on this car, so expect to see some more product development right here on SVTP. For now, however, just enjoy the gains from the tune and cold-air intake.

With the stock inlet system removed from the car, Matt removes the stock mass airflow sensor from the factory inlet tract.
With the stock inlet system removed from the car, Matt removes the stock mass airflow sensor from the factory inlet tract.
Just swap the factory mass-air sensor into the larger Airaid inlet tube. This system is designed with a built-in velocity stack designed so that it will run properly without a recalibration. Of course, tuning will maximize its potential.
Just swap the factory mass-air sensor into the larger Airaid inlet tube. This system is designed with a built-in velocity stack designed so that it will run properly without a recalibration. Of course, tuning will maximize its potential.
After installing the filter and coupler into the Airaid box, Matt slides the assembly into place. The sealed airbox features an integral fresh-air tube, which mates with the factory scoop behind the grille.
After installing the filter and coupler into the Airaid box, Matt slides the assembly into place. The sealed airbox features an integral fresh-air tube, which mates with the factory scoop behind the grille.
With the Airbox secured to the chassis using the stock airbox fasteners, Matt can now install the Airaid inlet tube that joins the airbox to the throttle body. Airaid wisely chose to use a silicone coupler, which necks its large inlet tube down to match the stock 80mm throttle body. That way if you install a larger throttle body you can retain the Airaid tube by simply using a new coupler.
With the Airbox secured to the chassis using the stock airbox fasteners, Matt can now install the Airaid inlet tube that joins the airbox to the throttle body. Airaid wisely chose to use a silicone coupler, which necks its large inlet tube down to match the stock 80mm throttle body. That way if you install a larger throttle body you can retain the Airaid tube by simply using a new coupler.
The 5.0 Mustangs aren’t speed-density yet, so don’t forget to plug in the mass air sensor. There is even a hole in the Airaid box so you can clip the mass air harness to the box, just like the stock setup.
The 5.0 Mustangs aren’t speed-density yet, so don’t forget to plug in the mass air sensor. There is even a hole in the Airaid box so you can clip the mass air harness to the box, just like the stock setup.
Both Airaid systems for the 2015 Mustang feature a sealed box with this clear lid. It not only lets you check to see when the filter needs cleaning, but it opens up the possibility of customizing the kit to your ride. You could engrave your something custom in the lid or even paint-match its metal support.
Both Airaid systems for the 2015 Mustang feature a sealed box with this clear lid. It not only lets you check to see when the filter needs cleaning, but it opens up the possibility of customizing the kit to your ride. You could engrave your something custom in the lid or even paint-match its metal support.
As you can see in some of our prior photos, it is possible to rejoin the factory Induction Sound Tube, but it doesn’t fit well. The inline resonator will poke up and generally be in the way. Fortunately, Airaid includes a replacement hose—sans resonator—to pump the induction sound into the cabin. A cap is also included should you want to delete the IST.
As you can see in some of our prior photos, it is possible to rejoin the factory Induction Sound Tube, but it doesn’t fit well. The inline resonator will poke up and generally be in the way. Fortunately, Airaid includes a replacement hose—sans resonator—to pump the induction sound into the cabin. A cap is also included should you want to delete the IST.
Here is the completed Airaid installation. As we said, this system is designed to function properly with the factory calibration, but we were on hand to watch SCT test its preload tune for the system. That means you’ll be able to select the Airaid cold air right in your SCT device and flash it into your Mustang’s PCM to make the most of the increased airflow.
Here is the completed Airaid installation. As we said, this system is designed to function properly with the factory calibration, but we were on hand to watch SCT test its preload tune for the system. That means you’ll be able to select the Airaid cold air right in your SCT device and flash it into your Mustang’s PCM to make the most of the increased airflow.
With the stock induction, stock calibration, and a Borla Cat-Back exhaust, the SCT Performance 2015 Mustang GT put down 383.28 horsepower and 365.30 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. This the same car that made the first drag strip pass at the NMRA World Finals and drove cross-country collecting signatures en route to The SEMA Show.
With the stock induction, stock calibration, and a Borla Cat-Back exhaust, the SCT Performance 2015 Mustang GT put down 383.28 horsepower and 365.30 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. This the same car that made the first drag strip pass at the NMRA World Finals and drove cross-country collecting signatures en route to The SEMA Show.
You gotta love it when the dyno graphs show clear gains with each change. With the Airaid CAI and SCT preload tune, this 2015 Mustang GT picked up peak-to-peak gains of 8.34 horsepower and 11.13 lb-ft of torque. With a more aggressive custom tune, the peak-to-peak gains increased to 16.71 horsepower and 16.13 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.
You gotta love it when the dyno graphs show clear gains with each change. With the Airaid CAI and SCT preload tune, this 2015 Mustang GT picked up peak-to-peak gains of 8.34 horsepower and 11.13 lb-ft of torque. With a more aggressive custom tune, the peak-to-peak gains increased to 16.71 horsepower and 16.13 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.
When it’s possible to get more dyno data, we like to take a look at a sampling of data in chart form. While the graphs offer the highest possible number of data points, examining the runs at 100-rpm intervals can uncover trends and show those under-the-curve gains you will actually feel. As you can see, the CAI and preload tune deliver nice double-digit gains in the midrange. Digging deeper into the numbers, we see that the custom tune and the CAI bested the stock setup with under the curve gains of 21.89 horsepower at 20.93 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.
When it’s possible to get more dyno data, we like to take a look at a sampling of data in chart form. While the graphs offer the highest possible number of data points, examining the runs at 100-rpm intervals can uncover trends and show those under-the-curve gains you will actually feel. As you can see, the CAI and preload tune deliver nice double-digit gains in the midrange. Digging deeper into the numbers, we see that the custom tune and the CAI bested the stock setup with under the curve gains of 21.89 horsepower at 20.93 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.

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