best cold air intake for duramax
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Best Cold Air Intake for Duramax Review

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.

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 6.6 Duramax (Updated April, 2021)

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Editor’s Choice

S&B Filters 75-5075-1 Cold Air Intake For 2011-2016 Chevy/GMC Duramax 6.6L

1) S&B Filters 75-5075-1 Duramax Cold Air Intake

  • Best Features:
    • Available both with a cleanable and an expandable filter
    • Top-quality silicone parts and premium build quality
    • Designed, crafted, and tested in the States
  • Filter Type: Oiled/Dry
  • Power Increase: 29% More Airflow
  • Engine Type: Duramax 6.6 L V8

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K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: High Performance, Guaranteed to Increase Horsepower: 2005-2007 Chevy/GMC Heavy Duty

2) K&N Cold Air Intake Kit for Duramax

  • Best Features:
    • World-class protection against contaminants
    • Up to 50% more airflow + improved throttle response
    • Easy installation with basic tools
  • Filter Type: Oiled/Dry
  • Power Increase: 29% More Airflow
  • Engine Type: Duramax 6.6 L V8

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aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-32322 GM Diesel Truck 11-15 V8-6.6L (td) LML Performance Intake System

3) aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-32322

  • Best Features:
    • Pro-grade, five-layer filter
    • Powder-coated housing and heat-insulating tube
    • An impressive increase in HP and torque
  • Filter Type: Oiled
  • Power Increase: 30HP and 50 lbs of Torque
  • Engine Type: Duramax 6.6 L V8

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Banks 42142 Ram Air Intake System

4) Duramax Cold Air Intake System

  • Best Features:
    • Provides a decent boost in fuel efficiency
    • Features all the necessary installation hardware
    • Backed by a five-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Filter Type: Oiled
  • Power Increase: 57% More Airflow
  • Engine Type: Duramax 6.6 L V8

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Best Cold Air Intake for LB7 Duramax Review

1. S&B Filters 75-5075-1 Duramax Cold Air Intake

S&B Filters 75-5075-1 Cold Air Intake For 2011-2016 Chevy/GMC Duramax 6.6L

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.

Product Rating
Performance Increase
5
Mileage
5
Easy to Install
5
Value for Money
5
Result
5
Pros & Cons
Can be bought with a washable or expendable filter
Top-notch silicone parts with excellent construction quality
A 100% US-made product; passed dozens of tests
Doesn’t improve the MPG ratio at all

Verdict
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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.

2. K&N Cold Air Intake Kit for Duramax

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: High Performance, Guaranteed to Increase Horsepower: 2005-2007 Chevy/GMC Heavy Duty

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.

Product Rating
Performance Increase
5
Mileage
4.9
Easy to Install
4.9
Value for Money
5
Result
5
Pros & Cons
Strong protection for the engine against debris
Guaranteed boost in airflow (up to 50%) and towing
Effortless installation – won’t take you long
The installation process can be a bit tricky

Verdict
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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.

3. aFe Power Magnum Duramax Cold Air Intake

aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-32322 GM Diesel Truck 11-15 V8-6.6L (td) LML Performance Intake System

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).

Product Rating
Performance Increase
5
Mileage
4.9
Easy to Install
4.8
Value for Money
5
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
Includes a premium-quality, five-layer washable filter
Powder-coated housing for extra durability
Maximizes the Duramax performance
Not available in California (legally)

Verdict
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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.

4. Banks 42142 Duramax Cold Air Intake System

Banks 42142 Ram 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.

Product Rating
Performance Increase
5
Mileage
4.9
Easy to Install
4.7
Value for Money
4.8
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
Improves mileage both on and off the road
The package includes everything needed for the installation
Five-year (manufacturer’s) guarantee
Expensive, compared to the market average

Verdict
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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.

Conclusion

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?

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