Buying the Best Intake Manifold [2021 EDITION]
What is the best intake manifold on the market in 2021? Clearly, this is dependent on the type of vehicle you are looking to upgrade.
It’s worth the search though. The right choice will lead to better overall performance, and you will have a manifold that should easily last the lifetime of your vehicle.
However, there are a ton of options out there, and knowing which to go for can be confusing. To assist we have reviewed 5 top-rated after-market intake manifolds, covering a range of vehicle types and models.
For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For an in-depth review of each manifold, plus a detailed buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
- Best Air Intake Manifold – Top 5
- Intake Manifold Reviews
- Cold air intake systems – A Buyer’s Guide
- The 3 functions of the intake manifold
- The two main categories of intake manifolds
Best Air Intake Manifold – Top 5
TOP PICK:Dorman 615-175 Intake Manifold
Low-rise intakeHeat-resistant molding, EGR readyLimited lifetimewarranty
Dual plane8 outlet ports2 year warranty
Single planeMade fromheat-stabilized nylonLimited lifetimewarranty
Engine CompatibilityMustang GT 4.6LSingle Plane24months warranty
GM-recommended replacement.Integrated gaskets12 Month Warranty
Intake Manifold Reviews
Intake manifolds can be rated based on operational efficiency, durability, and design performance.
This has allowed for the top 5 intake manifolds to be identified and selected for review.
1. TOP PICK: Dorman 615-175 Air Intake Manifold Review
Our number one pick is a durable and high-quality single plane, low rise intake manifold manufactured by Dorman.
The 615-175 is made from heat-resistant plastic polymer that is reinforced by aluminum in the coolant passage walls.
This lightweight model is engineered to fit well into most in-demand vehicles whose engines have a V8 configuration.
These include the 2001-2011 Ford Crown Victoria, 2001-2011 Mercury Grand Marquis, 2001-2011 Lincoln Town Car, 1999-2004 Ford Mustang, and the 2002 Mercury Mountaineer. (You can check full compatibility specs on the Amazon.com sales page here.)
This intake manifold is best suited for modular small-block V8 engines whose total engine displacement capacity averages 4.6liters(L) or 281cubic inches(ci).
All the aforementioned car models have modular V8 engines with a 4.6liters displacement capacity, with all the gasoline engines featuring an overhead camshaft hence the modular engine design.
The intake manifold is designed to be bolted directly on the upper part of the V8 engine.
The intake manifold weighs about 9pounds, and it is 20.1inches long, 16.3inches wide, and 10.1inches tall. It has a single intake port and 8 outlet ports (runners).
The port dimensions of each outlet runner are 44mm by 38mm. This allows the outlet port to fit into either the round or square inlet port in the cylinder head.
This model is shipped as a complete package that comes with the intake manifold, 10 sheet-metal screws, threaded metal plug, O-ring, coolant cap-bolt spacers, thermostat, instruction manual, and the bolts and nuts for fixing it to the engine head.
The easy-to-follow manual allows for easy installation as it clearly explains the bolt tightening sequence and torque specifications.
This manifold comes with a mount for an alternator. It has a black finish.
The unit designed for durability, improved performance, and convenient and efficient delivery of the combustion mixture into the combustion chamber.
It has been re-engineered from an earlier model with its hard and durable heat-resistant polymer plastic preventing warping around the engine blockhead, in addition to preventing cracking which could lead to the leakage of coolant fluids.
Likewise, its coolant passageways efficiently route coolants above the engine body.
At the junction where the coolant fluid enters or leaves the manifold, the passageways have been reinforced with aluminum so that coolant crossover does not cause corrosion.
This also ensures that the crossover junctions are not subjected to excess vibrations when the engine is running.
These vibrations usually occur between the manifold and engine block, and between the manifold and other parts of the coolant system.
This manifold model come with an integrated gasket that can effectively seal off the cylinder heads of the engine.
If the engine features exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), this manifold provides for aluminum-reinforced passageways that the gases can flow through.
The unit comes with a limited lifetime warranty guaranteed by Dorman Products so long as it is purchased from authorized traders.
The Dorman 615-175 is a durable single plane, low rise intake manifold that is made from heat-resistant plastic polymer that is reinforced by aluminum in the coolant passage walls.
This compactly-designed lightweight model is best suited for modular small-block V8 engines whose total engine displacement capacity averages 4.6L or 281ci.
The outstanding operational efficiency, durable construction, and superb design performance of Dorman 615-175 makes it, in our opinion, the best intake manifold in our top 5 round-up.
2. Edelbrock 3704 Air Intake Manifold Review
The Edelbrock 3704 a high-performance, low-rise, dual-plane intake manifold that is specially designed for Chevy diesel engines that use throttle body injection (TBI) for pumping atomized diesel fuel into the combustion chambers.
To be more specific, it is best suited for installation on a small block Chevy TBI engines whose total engine displacement capacity ranges from 5.0L to 5.7L or 305-350ci.
This makes most suitable for the following car models; 1987-1995 Chevrolet-G30 van, 1990-1995 Chevrolet-G20 van, 1989-1995 GMC G35/G3500, and the 1992-1995 Chevrolet Blazer.
The firing order of this manifold covers 180degrees outstanding performance at full throttle, with torque generated reaching its peak.
This manifold designed to deliver good torque at a wide range of engine speed (as measured in revolutions-per-minute [rpm]), with good torque being rapidly generated from the off-idle state of 0rpm to 5000rpm.
Thus its basic operating (engine) speed is 0-5000rpm. This manifold only works with throttle body injectors. It cannot therefore fit into Buick, Caprice and Cadillac-B Bodies.
This model is designed and made by Edelbrock.
This relatively lightweight intake manifold weighs about 20pounds, which makes it considerably heavier than the Dorman 615-175.
The Edelbrock 3704 manifold is 21.7inches long, 11.5iches wide, and 6.3inches tall. It has two intake ports and 8 outlet ports (runners).
The unit comes with a complete intake section and is designed to be fitted onto standard cylinder heads of the stock/OEM standard deck engine blocks. The plenum and base of the manifold are made of aluminum.
This TBI-based manifold model is shipped as a complete package that comes with the intake manifold, 10 sheet-metal screws, threaded metal plug, a power-brake hose vacuum bracket, hex cap screw, hex nut, and a star and AN washers, alongside an instruction manual.
The easy-to-follow manual clearly explains the torque specifications and sequence. It has a natural (aluminum) finish.
This model does not come with a gasket. Even so, it is designed for durability, improved performance, and convenient and efficient delivery of the filtered air into the combustion chamber.
It is built with EGR passageways which allows exhaust gases to be recirculated through the manifold so that it can heat up the air. the gases can flow through.
The manifold comes with a 24-months warranty guaranteed by Edelbrock as long as the product is purchased from authorized traders.
The Edelbrock 3704 is a high-performance, compact and durable low-rise, dual-plane intake manifold that is specially designed for small block Chevy TBI engines whose total engine displacement capacity ranges from 5.0L to 5.7L or 305-350ci.
It is built from aluminum and features a natural aluminum finish. If you own a Chevy with a small block TBI engine this is the unit to buy.
3. ATP Automotive 106010 intake manifold Review
The ATP Automotive 106010 is a single plane, low rise intake manifold made from heat-stabilized nylon polymer that comes with a gasket.
This lightweight model is specially designed to fit well into the following vehicle models; 2003-2014 Ford E-150, 2003-2005 Ford E-150 Club-Wagon, 2001-2008 Ford E-150 Econoline, 2000-2002 Ford E-150 Econoline Club-Wagon, 2003-2014 Ford E-250, 2003-2014 Ford E-350, 2006-2014 Ford E-450 Super-Duty, and 2000-2004 Ford Excursion.
The unit is designed for V8 engines whose total engine displacement capacity averages 5.4L or 330ci. It can also be fitted in engines that have an overhead camshaft.
The manifold must be bolted directly on the top part of the V8 engine. This model is designed and manufactured by ATP Automotive.
This compact and well-designed manifold weighs about 12.9pounds, which makes it slightly heavier than the Dorman 615-175 even though both are constructed from heat-stabilized polymers.
The 106010 is 17.7inches long, 12inches wide, and 13.1inches tall which gives it a tall and lean appearance even though it is a low-rise intake manifold. It has one intake port and 8 outlet ports/runners.
These outlet ports can fit into round or square inlet ports in the cylinder heads.
The unit is shipped as a complete package that comes with the intake manifold, vacuum connector, gaskets, 14 bolts, 8 screws, instruction guide, and thermostat.
It does not come with an O-ring. Its easy-to-follow guide enables the worker to install the manifold properly according to the installation instructions and torque sequence.
This high-performance model is designed to be durable and efficient in its delivery of the combustion mixture into the combustion chamber.
Like the Dorman 615-175, the ATP has been re-engineered from an earlier model so that its durable heat-stabilized nylon polymer casing does not wrap around a hot engine blockhead, as well as prevent cracks from developing in the coolant passageways and causing the coolant fluids to leak out of the manifold.
Likewise, the coolant crossover junctions have been reinforced to minimize corrosion and prevent damage from intense vibration.
Unlike the Dorman, the 106010 comes with the gasket unattached to the manifold, and the user is the one who fixes the gasket in between the outlet ports and cylinder head.
This manifold model comes with a limited lifetime warranty guaranteed by ATP Automotive.
The ATP Automotive 106010 is a durable, high-performance single plane, low rise intake manifold made from heat-stabilized nylon polymer that comes with a gasket.
This lightweight model is specially designed to fit well onto V8 engines whose total engine displacement capacity averages 5.4L or 330ci.
4. Ford Racing M9424P46 air intake manifold
The Ford Racing M9424P46 is a single plane, low rise intake manifold made from heat-resistant composite plastic that is reinforced by aluminum in the passage walls of the coolant fluid and EGR gases.
It is designed for performance improvement (PI) in modular small-block V8 Ford engines, especially the engines found in 2001-2004 Ford Mustang cars.
In fact, it is best suited for V8 Ford engines whose total engine displacement capacity averages 4.6L or 281ci.
They are designed as perfect alternatives to the more expensive process of achieving performance improvement through a head swap, that is, replacing the entire manifold and its connected components.
It can also work well with compatible engines featuring an overhead camshaft.
Moreover, it is designed to deliver good torque at a wide range of engine speed, with good torque being rapidly generated from the off-idle state of 0rpm to 6000rpm, which makes its basic engine operating speed to be 0-6000rpm.
This manifold requires bolting to the engine head for it to fit properly. This high-quality model is designed and manufactured by Ford Motor Company.
This black, lightweight and compactly-designed intake manifold weighs about 17.05pounds, which is almost twice the weight of the Dorman 615-175 model, even though both are constructed from plastic polymers.
However, the weight difference can be accounted for by the size of the manifold, quality of plastic and the ratio of plastic-to-aluminum in the manifold construction.
The Ford Racing M9424P46 is 23inches long, 20inches wide, and 16inches tall, which makes it larger than the Dorman 615-175 manifold and this size difference partly explains why it is heavier too.
The M9424P46 has a single intake port and 8 outlet ports/runners, with the outlet ports being capable of fitting into round or square inlet ports in the cylinder heads.
Like the Edelbrock 3704, the Ford Racing manifold works only with fuel injector pumps and this explains why it is most compatible with stock/OEM standard deck engine blocks.
Likewise, it is shipped as a package that comes with the Ford Racing M9424P46 intake manifold, installation hardware, accessories, and an instruction guide.
The easy-to-follow manual guides the manifold installation process, and also describes the bolt tightening sequence and torque specifications.
This performance-improvement model is designed to be durable and efficient in its delivery of filtered air into the combustion chamber.
It is constructed from a hard and durable heat-resistant composite plastic so that it does not warp around the engine blockhead. This also allows the coolant fluid to flow well through the coolant passageways built into the manifold.
This intake manifold comes with a 24-month warranty guaranteed by Ford Motor Company.
The Ford Racing M9424P46 is a single plane, low rise intake manifold made from heat-resistant composite plastic that is reinforced by aluminum in the passage walls of the coolant fluid and EGR gases.
It is designed for performance improvement (PI) in modular small-block V8 Ford engines whose total engine displacement capacities average 4.6L or 281ci.
If you own a V8 4.6 Mustang and you want to modify the beautiful beast for even better performance, this is one highly recommended route to take.
5. ACDelco 55581014 air intake manifold review
The ACDelco 55581014 is another durable single plane, low rise intake manifold package. It comes as a complete fully-assembled intake manifold kit that incorporates a multi-port fuel injector, a throttle body, and a fuel rail into the manifold unit.
The unit is made from high-quality corrosion-resistant thermoplastic.
It is designed as a perfect replacement option for a damaged intake manifold, or for someone who wants to improve the performance of engine by coupling it with a high-performance manifold.
It is compatible with the 4-cylinder engines in the Buick Encore SUV (Sports-Utility Vehicle) and the Chevrolet Sonic sedan.
In general, the intake manifold kit is best suited for modular small-block four-cylinder in-line engines whose total engine displacement capacity ranges between 1.4L to 1.6liters or 83-98ci.
It is also compatible with gasoline engines featuring an overhead camshaft. This kit must be bolted onto the top of the engine block.
This manifold model is designed and manufactured by ACDelco.
The compact and well-designed intake manifold unit weighs about 13.9pounds, which makes it slightly heavier than the Dorman 615-175, but it still shows that it is constructed from high-quality lightweight thermoplastic, even though both are constructed from heat-stabilized polymers.
The ACDelco manifold unit is 23.5inches long, 14.6inches wide, and 13inches tall which makes larger than the Dorman 615-175 .
The intake manifold of the 55581014 has one intake port and 4 outlet ports/runners.
As alluded to earlier, this model is shipped as a complete fully-assembled intake manifold kit with an attached instruction manual.
This easy-to-follow guide enables one to properly install the kit according to the installation instructions and torque sequence.
At the moment, ACDelco discontinued the manufacture of this kit, and thus its warranty status is not completely clear as damaged kits cannot be replaced with a new unit.
Even so, ACDelco continues to support this product by offering a 12-month replacement warranty for individual parts in the kit.
ACDelco 55581014 is a high-performance and durable single plane, low rise intake manifold package that comes as a complete fully-assembled intake manifold kit that incorporates a multi-port fuel injector, a throttle body, and a fuel rail into the manifold unit.
The intake manifold is made from high-quality corrosion-resistant thermoplastic.
Cold air intake systems – A Buyer’s Guide
The manifold explained
Vehicles are driven by fuel-powered internal combustion engines. In the engines, fuel and air (which is the oxidizer) are delivered into the combustion chamber either separately (in diesel engines) or as a fuel-air mixture (in gasoline/petrol engines).
The combustion chamber is housed in the cylinder, and the component that delivers the combustion mixture (fuel-air mixture or oxidizer/air) is called an intake manifold or inlet manifold.
How the manifold works
This manifold is fitted to the engine cylinders on one end, while the other end is called the intake port and is connected to the throttle body in diesel fuel-injected engines, or a carburetor in petrol engines.
As its name suggests, this manifold component has a many folds which alluded to its many pipes.
Its basic construction is quite simple, there is a single input (the intake port) whose short pipe opens into a chamber called a plenum, which on the other end is connected to several outlet pipes, called runners.
Each of these runners extend to an inlet port in the cylinder head of each engine/combustion chamber.
This allows a single input to supply a combustion mixture to multiple outputs.
The air intake manifold
The key function of an intake manifold is to distribute evenly the combustion mixture, via the runners, so that the same quantity of combustion mixture is delivered into the intake port of each cylinder.
This even distribution of the combustion mixture into all the cylinders of the engine optimizes the engine performance by ensuring that the fuel-air mixture is efficiently burned inside each combustion chamber.
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The 3 functions of the intake manifold
The intake manifold also has 3 other functions in the vehicle.
The first function is as a mounting point for 3 key components; the carburetor in gasoline engines, and the throttle body and fuel injectors in diesel engines.
These fuel injectors (also called injector pumps) are connected to a fuel rail, and this allows the fuel rail to be connected to the intake manifold (via the fuel injectors).
Components mounted to the manifold
The other components that are mounted to the manifold, or use it as a resource, are as follows:
- the vacuum line to the brake booster,
- the Evap purge valve,
- a throttle cable control mount,
- an intake air temperature (IAT) sensor,
- an idle air control (AC) valve which allows a regulated amount of air into the plenum when the throttle valve in the throttle body is fully closed
- and a breather hose that is part of the crankcase ventilation system that allows blow-by gases inside the crankcase to flow out into the plenum of the intake manifold.
Secondly, the runner output of some intake manifolds form part of the cylinder head where they serve to seal the top of the combustion chamber.
This makes the intake manifold an integral component of the engine top, as is usually the case in engines with a V configuration.
Its third function is to provide a route for coolant to flow around the engine.
The power of vacuum
During the induction (intake) phase of the combustion cycle in a four-stroke piston engine, the inlet/intake valve is open and the downward motion of the piston to its lowest position creates a vacuum in the combustion chamber that allows the combustion mixture to flow into the chamber from the intake manifold.
At the same time, the throttle valve in the carburetor or throttle body is fully closed, and only a little air enters the intake manifold from the idle AC valve.
The outflow of combustion mixture from the intake manifold creates a vacuum inside it, which is partially filled by air flowing through the idle AC valve, and what results is a partial vacuum called the manifold vacuum.
Because this manifold vacuum is created by the vacuum generated in the combustion chamber during its intake stroke, it can only exists when the engine is running.
Carmakers have exploited this vacuum as a suitable automobile accessory power source that can drive power windows, windscreen wipers, and the brake booster in power-assisted brakes.
Materials & construction of the intake manifold
Intake manifolds are made from 3 main materials, aluminum, cast iron , or composite plastic. Initially, they were cast from iron, but these models were heavy.
This led engine makers to mold intake manifolds using aluminum, which is a lighter material as compared to iron.
Later on, composite plastic which is much lighter than aluminum was developed and is currently used to make some intake manifolds.
Even so, the manifold must be made from a strong and durable material that can withstand the high temperature in the combustion chamber.
The common design principles
As mentioned earlier, a manifold must be molded to have a single intake/input and multiple outputs.
In simple designs, the multiple outputs consists in straight or slightly curved runners.
Still, there are designs whose runners have complex curves that allows them to snake from the plenum and into the engine head.
Regardless of the design of the output runners in gasoline engines, the intake port of the manifold must allow for some turbulence so that the petrol droplets in the fuel-air mixture remain in an atomized state during their course through the plenum and runners and into the combustion chamber.
This turbulence is achieved by ensuring that the intake surface to the plenum is rough and unpolished.
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The two main categories of intake manifolds
Generally, intake manifolds are classified into two categories; low-rise and high-rise intake manifolds.
Low rise intake manifolds
Low-rise intake manifolds are designed to fit well into hoods that have a low clearance, that is, the distance from the engine top to the bonnet/hood is small (a short height).
High rise intake manifolds
High-rise intake manifolds are considerably taller than the low-rise models. High-rise models that have 2 square bore intake ports are called tunnel ram intake manifolds.
They can also be classified according to the format of their intake ports because manifolds come with different intake port formats, with the main ones being the single plane intake ports, dual plane intake ports, square bore and spread bore intake ports.
Single plane intake
In single plane intake ports, a single port opens up into the central plenum.
Dual plane intake
In dual plane ports, there are 2 intake ports built side-by-side with each intake port opening into its own plenum, and therefore this manifold has 2 separate plenums and 2 sets of runners.
Square bore and spread bore intake
The square bore and spread bore intake ports are found in gasoline engines with the square bore intake port allowing the manifold to be connected to the 4-barrel square-bore carburetor, while the spread bore intake port connects the manifold to the spread bore carburetor which has 2 small primary venturi and 2 large secondary venturi.