NTPOG Iceman Intake Review

Author: John Haley
 


Initial Impressions
The Iceman intake is essentially a very simple design. It consists of a single plastic tube that approximately follows the course of the stock intake plumbing from near the battery up to the throttle body. The tube smoothly decreases in diameter from the bottom end (battery) to the top (throttle). Knight Engineering claims that this is to increase airflow velocity, you can make your own decision about that. The tube also has a brass fitting for the breather hose. Knight supplies everything you need for installation (pipe couplers, hose clamps, even a replacement breather hose) and the filter is genuine K&N (it comes still in the box). The slickest part about the intake is this: You can mount the filter directly to the end of the main pipe, and have it sit next to the battery (like RS*Akimoto or Weapon R). Or, you can use the included competition extension and mount the filter in the "cold air" location -- inside the fender, out of the engine compartment. The extension is the same, smooth bore, textured exterior plastic as the main pipe, and it's shaped to fit the oval hole left by the stock intake -- that means no cutting.

In this picture, you're looking at the competition extension. The filter could be mounted here, next to the battery, if you wanted. It's hard to see in this picture, but the pipe goes perfectly through the hole.

Installation Impressions
I firmly believe that Knight Engineering is a dishonest group of incompetent monkeys (email me if you want to know why), but they really nailed it with this intake. Nearly everything fits perfectly. The pipe couplers and hose clamps are exactly the right size, and the pipe runs perfectly where it's supposed to.

There ARE two things that I didn't like. The first is the mounting bracket (painted red in my picture). I think they cut a corner here and included the 4th Gen bracket, because it doesn't seem to fit anywhere. You'll have to bend it substantially to get it to mount securely anywhere, and even then it's shaky at best. This might actually be a good thing because the engine torques a good bit, and maybe a little play in the mount isn't too bad after all. Anyway, after 15k miles with it, it's never come loose, so I guess it's not bad, just a little slack on their part. The second problem is one that can't really be helped. The extension piece is oval at the bottom (to go through the hole) and round at the top (to match the main pipe). Because neither the round part or the filter will fit through the oval hole, you'll have to insert the extension from the top, and then mount the filter inside the fender. The fitting on the filter is rubber and is easily pliable enough to get it to fit the oval pipe, but it's hard to get it all to line up and then tighten the clamp while you're squeezing inside the fender. Someone with smaller hands might not have as hard of a time as I did.

This picture shows a side view of the main pipe. The flimsy bracket is circled in green, and the breather fitting/hose is circled in blue.

If you are wondering if the filter gets wet when it rains, the answer is a definite YES.  It doesn't seem to cause any problems, though. I have driven through huge downpours and puddles up to about 8 inches deep (in a lowered car) without any problems. The filter sits at the very top of the fender, so I think (don't quote me) you'd have to be submerged almost up to the headlights before you aspirate enough water to do damage.

Performance Impressions
The Iceman is so close to the AEM in performance that I can basically cut/paste the first part of the AEM review and have everything still be applicable. The intake is definitely louder than the stock intake, and it adds a very pleasing throatiness to the tone. At partial throttle with the radio off, you can hear the air rushing through the intake system. Also, at idle, standing by the passenger side of the front bumper, you can hear the air being sucked in by the intake. I don't think that the intake makes the exhaust louder, but the sound of the air rushing into the filter can be heard inside and outside of the vehicle. Performance wise, my butt-dyno noticed a small increase down low, and a big increase up high. I've seen dyno plots that show a max gain of 13 Torque and 9 HP. I know this sounds outlandish, and I can't seem to find those plots any more, so I guess I'll have to leave it at "It definitely makes a difference." VTEC is more pronounced and there seems to be more kick, but I wasn't able to dyno the car before and after, so I cannot confirm any gains/losses. I would say that if you're going for performance, this would probably be the ideal first step. It makes a relatively large contribution, and isn't very expensive anymore.

In terms of performance, sound, and functionality, I think the Iceman and the AEM are virtually equivalent. The Iceman has several advantages -- it looks better (IMO), it doesn't require any grinding or cutting of sheet metal, and it's cheaper.

For comments or questions, e-mail me.



This page last updated 4/3/01.