Why would you even bother thinking about the airflow inside of the engine bay? Isn’t that already taken care of in the factory gear? Well, not quite. While the stock Duramax setup is decent, it might not “pull through” in the harshest conditions. The reason: it’s a V8, with a 250-550HP power output and 460-1000+ pound-feet of torque. When pushed to the limit, this powertrain can literally get overheated.
A cold air intake system is an important upgrade for any Duramax engine. Cold air intakes are designed to increase the amount of cool, dense air that reaches the engine cylinders in order to maximize horsepower and torque. They also improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and provide a more aggressive sound from the exhaust. In this article, we review some of the best cold air intakes for your Duramax engine and explain how they work.
And that’s where the best cold air intake for Duramax comes in. It will greatly improve the air filtration and heat dissipation, thus protecting the engine from breaking down. Today, our focus will be on four magnificent air kits from the biggest names in the industry. They will keep your engine cool, protect it from contaminants, and boost the overall performance. Here they are!
Best Cold Air Intake for LB7 Duramax Review
1. K&N Cold Air Intake Kit for Duramax
For people that know their way around aftermarket gear/accessories, K&N needs no introductions. It’s a big, respected brand with hundreds of quality parts available for the fans of off-roading. As for this cold air intake, it was specifically manufactured for the rough-tough GMC trucks and SUVs. As a result, we get a fast installation. I do have to say, however, that the design is a bit strange. First of all, the air box is shorter than it should be.
Secondly, the screws that hold the cover are very hard to reach with a standard screwdriver/wrench. The good news is – the company guarantees a mighty increase in the airflow (up to 50%) and a boost in up-hill performance. So, if towing heavy stuff up steep hills is your thing, you might want to pay extra attention to this air intake system. It will safeguard the Duramax engine from contaminants, thus increasing its lifespan.
This air intake’s biggest downside is the somewhat challenging installation process. As for the pros, it greatly improves the airflow, protects the engine from debris, and boasts above-average durability. Besides, while the installation can be tricky, most of it is straightforward.
2. aFe Power Magnum Duramax Cold Air Intake
Diesel trucks and SUVs with the V8 engine are quite powerful and aren’t “afraid” of the toughest challenges. But, as I mentioned in the beginning, they mostly lack proper air filtration. On the bright side – with an aftermarket air intake kit like the one by aFe, that won’t be an issue anymore. This company decided not to go cheap with its product and only used premium-quality materials and parts. First of all, the filter consists of five layers and is very easy to wash.
Secondly, the plastic tube is molded and heat-insulation, which means it’s quite effective as dispersing the heat generated by the engine. The heat shield, in turn, is a one-piece powder-coated construction for extra reliability and efficiency. Last, but not least, I was impressed by this kit’s performance boost. With it, you’ll get an extra 30HP and 50 lb-ft. of torque. Sadly, it’s not available in California (because it’s not CARB-exempt).
The incredible increase in performance, high-quality parts and five-layer filter are this air intake system’s biggest selling points. aFe crafted one of the best options for the Duramax engine, that’s for sure. It’s not currently on sale in California, though, which is rather unfortunate.
3. Banks 42142 Duramax Cold Air Intake System
Last, but not least, let’s take a look at the most expensive product on my list. Banks is just as big and influential as K&N or the other leaders in the field. And, it backs its cold air intake system with a generous five-year manufacturer’s guarantee. This kit improves the MPG (miles per gallon) ratio both on even pavements and on unforgiving terrain somewhere off the road.
Now, this is a China-made product, but boasts superb engineering. The package, in turn, includes everything you’ll ever need for a smooth, easy installation. But is all of that worth the steep price-tag, or not? Well, it’s actually up to you to decide, since you’ll be the one paying for it and enjoying the improved performance of the Duramax engine.
If not for the high price, this air filtration kit by Banks would’ve been a safe bet for most truck/SUV drivers. At the same time, it is quite capable, reliable, and will, most certainly, protect your powertrain from overheating. Plus, it provides a five-year warranty and will be a perfect fit for the Duramax engine.
4. S&B Filters 75-5075-1 Duramax Cold Air Intake
With the S&B air intake system, you can go both with an expendable and a washable filter. They cost the same, but if you want a long-lasting air kit, purchase the washable slash reusable one. Regardless of your choice, you’ll get market-leading build quality and parts. Silicone is known as a sturdy, yet flexible material, and it’s perfect for this type of gear. Another important factor: The 75-5075-1 filter is a 100% US-made product.
It was designed and manufactured in the States. And, it passed dozens of tests with flying colors, including the ISO standard test. So, the proud owners of the Duramax 6.6-lit V8 engine should put this filter on their list of must-haves. It has one (minor) downside: you won’t see any significant improvements in fuel efficiency. The same is true for the HP/torque boost. Other than that, it’s a bargain.
Made and tested in the US, a perfect fit for the Duramax, and crafted from premium-quality materials – that’s what this S&B cold air intake system is all about. And while it can’t provide an impressive powertrain/performance increase, overall, it will be money well-spent as a reliable and capable filter.
Best Cold Air Intake for 6.6 Duramax (Updated February, 2024)
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Duramax is one of the most capable engines in the General Motors lineup. Designed and manufactured by DMAX, it can handle the toughest trails and the steepest climbs. However, without a proper air filtration system, it will overheat before long. So, if you want your Silverado, Sierra, or any other big-bad pickup or SUV to last as long as possible, don’t hesitate to invest in a good-quality cold air intake.
The best aftermarket intake kits greatly increase the airflow and filtration plus maximize the performance, adding extra HP and torque. Go back to my comparison table, give the best features and specs a good look, and only then make a purchase. Banks has the most expensive offer, while the other three are a bit more affordable. Which one, do you think, will be the ultimate pick for an off-roader?