Lower Engine temps and better performance are Chevy’s key benefits

Chevrolet has debuted a new air intake system for its Duramax diesel-powered Silverado HD pickups that is said to improve the V-8’s maximum performance thanks to a greater volume of cooler air, which lowers engine temperatures. The air intake provides a ram-air effect, pushing 60 percent of the needed air into the engine, while the other 40 percent still comes from inside the front fender as on previous Silverados.

Fears on water intake though the hood scoop are quenched by Chevy’s uniquely designed air/water separator that only allows dry air into the engine. The air enters an expansion chamber with a sharp, 180-degree bend before it reaches the air filter. This is said to make humidity and mist form larger water droplets, which are flung centrifugally against the housing wall. Water is then drained through a valve, while dry air is then filtered before entering the engine.

Chevy says it tested the new air intake in every possible condition, from driving rain and wind-driven ice pellets to mist and light snow. “The 2017 Silverado HD was engineered to provide maximum utility for our customers in even the most extreme situations,” said Eric Stanczak, chief engineer, Silverado HD.

Interestingly enough, Chevy says mist is the hardest water element to remove from the intake. “Big, heavy raindrops from a thunderstorm are relatively easy to eliminate from air,” says Kevin Dunn, from Chevy’s global vehicle performance for splash engineering. “The more challenging issue comes from the mist-like spray generated by semi trucks on wet highways. Those very fine water droplets prove more challenging to separate from the air. The air intake is an elegant solution that works well with water droplets of all sizes. For customers, the results deliver maximum engine performance and even greater towing confidence.”

Chevrolet has not announced any analytical performance gains from the new air intake system.

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Why It Matters

Providing more air at lower temperatures into an engine is a recipe for more power. While Chevy has not announced any horsepower or torque improvements for the 6.6-liter Duramax V-8, the engine is said to run cooler thanks to the increases volume of ambient air.

Chevy isn’t the first GM truck to debut this new air intake system. GMC recently debuted the system on its Sierra HD pickups with the Duramax turbodiesel. GMC’s press release contained far less information than Chevrolet’s but we’d suspect the same information applies to both trucks.

Currently the Silverado and Sierra pickups are trailing the Ford Super Duty and Ram HDs in horsepower and torque, along with towing and hauling capabilities. This new air intake, along with possible engine tuning, could help the GM twins become more competitive in the segment. If GM does announce power improvements to the Silverado and Sierra, you can find the info here at TopSpeed.

2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD

2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD here.

Press Release

DETROIT – New for 2017, Chevrolet Silverado HD trucks feature a patented air intake system that drives cool, dry air into the engine for sustained performance and cooler engine temperatures during difficult driving conditions. The intake system underwent extensive testing based on the most challenging real-world driving conditions to ensure capable performance no matter the weather.

Chevy Debuts Air Intake System for Duramax-Powered Silverado HDs High Resolution Exterior
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Marked by a dramatic hood scoop, the all-new air intake system provides 60 percent of the air to the Duramax diesel engine from an inlet at the front of the hood. The air provided to the engine is very close to the outside ambient temperature and much cooler than the air under the hood.

Cooler air helps the engine run better under load, especially in conditions where engine and transmission temperatures can rise quickly. Running cooler allows the Duramax diesel to maintain full power and vehicle speed for capable trailering in even the toughest conditions.

There’s also a ram-air effect from the incoming air at highway speed that helps pack more air into the engine. The air filter housing also draws 40 percent additional air from a dry location in one of the front fenders. It blends with the cooler air from the hood inlet before funneling into the Duramax’s combustion chambers. This assures the engine can breathe even if the hood is completely blocked.

“The 2017 Silverado HD was engineered to provide maximum utility for our customers in even the most extreme situations,” said Eric Stanczak, chief engineer, Silverado HD. “While developing this all-new induction system, we considered our customers towing a maximum-weight trailer through the Eisenhower Tunnel on a hot, rainy summer day.”

Chevy Debuts Air Intake System for Duramax-Powered Silverado HDs High Resolution Exterior
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At more than 11,000 feet above sea level, the Eisenhower Tunnel, is the highest vehicle tunnel in the world and one of the highest elevations for any roadway in North America.

Maximized engine performance requires more than cool air; the air must also be clean and dry. Accordingly, the functional hood scoop includes a unique air/water separator to ensure only combustion-enhancing dry air is drawn into the engine. The air charge enters an expansion chamber containing a sharp, 180-degree turn on its way to the air filter housing. That creates a velocity change that causes humidity or mist to form larger, heavier droplets that are flung centrifugally against the outside wall of the housing. The collected water drains through a valve, while the air charge continues on to the filter housing and into the engine.

Testing the effectiveness of the system was rooted in real-world driving conditions of every degree — from misty rains to monsoon-level downpours; from powdery snow to wind-driven ice pellets; from desert dust to arctic cold.

Surprisingly, torrential downpours do not necessarily pose the biggest challenge, according to Kevin Dunn, global vehicle performance for splash engineering: “Big, heavy raindrops from a thunderstorm are relatively easy to eliminate from air. The more challenging issue comes from the mist-like spray generated by semitrucks on wet highways. Those very fine water droplets prove more challenging to separate from the air. The air intake is an elegant solution that works well with water droplets of all sizes. For customers, the results delivers maximum engine performance and even greater towing confidence.”

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