I’m sure a fellow 1st Generation Vortec engine aficionado has probably done this before, but in needing constant access to my distributor and intake manifold, I found a super cheap solution for getting rid of the big square Vortec silencer box.
The solution is as simple as it is cheap. All you need is a flat head screwdriver, a standard 12 ounce aluminum can (I chose Pepsi, because my dad recycles aluminum and had a couple sitting in a bin with scrap.) A sharp implement to cut it (a box cutter will work) and gloves if you’re not careful. The directions are as follows:
1. Use the screwdriver to loosen the hose clamp that connects the flexible intact tract to the plenum that sits on top of the throttle body.
2. Unscrew the wing nut that holds the silencer box and plenum assembly to the throttle body.
3. Unplug PCV hose from plenum and remove Plenum and Silencer box assembly together.
4. Loosen the hose clamp that holds the silencer box to the plenum, remove silencer box.
5. Take the 12oz soda can and cut it at about a third of the ways up from the bottom (not the top, unless you want a vacuum leak.)
6. Bend the raw cut end of the can inward slightly so it’s easier to press into the intake plenum. If you think you’re going to cut yourself, now is the time to use those gloves.
7. Slowly press the can, cut end first into the space the silencer box previously occupied. Tighten the hose clamp onto the can.
8. Slip the newly assembled plenum over the throttle body and tighten the wing nut (not too tight though, I stripped mine by going all beef cake on it on accident) Reconnect PVC hose.
9. Reconnect flexible intake tract hose to plenum and tighten the hose clamp.
10. Start the vehicle and listen for vacuum leaks.
11. Find an on ramp and enjoy your slightly increased intake sound.
Here’s some shots of it after installation. Comments about the ingenuity of the idea are only rivaled by the chuckles it receives for how ridiculous it is.
You’re not going to gain a measurable amount of power by performing this. You probably wouldn’t gain a single HP. The reason I did this is because I think cold air intakes and expensive reusable filters are a joke, and usually do more harm than good. Expensive CAI’s will do nothing more than impress your backwards-cap-wearing friends and waste good money that could be spent on something worth a damn, like gears, tires, cam and lifters set, a tune, or even a good set of used heads. A cheap CAI will probably just piss your MAF off and have you hunting for vacuum leaks.
Both will do the complete opposite of a snorkel if your car has low ground clearance. If you don’t already know this, you should: You can’t compress water. Your engine will try to compress water if you have a goofy water sucking CAI and drive through a puddle. It will get hydro-locked and you will be a very sad boyscout.
A removable filter is even worse. It costs a shit ton of money, does nothing for performance and will probably just coat your MAF with it’s filter oil and confuse your ECM. It’s bad news bears, folks. The modification I have outlined will give you all the benefits that you can get with an expensive “Cold Air Intake” (sound, more room in engine bay) and cost you just about absolutely nothing, with cheap paper filters that are stock and easy to purchase at even Walmart, and none of the terrible side effects.