What’s Up in the Forums: DIY Wrangler Cold Air Intake for $70

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Homemade Wrangler Cold Air Intake

You don’t need to spend big money to help your Wrangler breathe easier.

A cold air intake is one of the most popular aftermarket upgrades for your Jeep Wrangler, but with some kits costing as much as $250-300, the cost exceeds any real world benefit. It always helps if your engine can breathe a little easier, but for the gains made with a cold air intake, they are fairly expensive.

Fortunately, JK Forum member Ryans_JK put together a great DIY showing how to make a true cold air intake for your Jeep Wrangler with just $70 worth of parts, a little elbow grease and simple tools.


When the OP first shared his Wrangler cold air intake DIY project with the community, he started by explaining his motivation for the build along with a detailed list of the parts needed to build a true cold air setup.

“Well I’m too cheap to pay $250 bucks for a bent plastic tube, filter and a heat shield……so I decided to build my own.

First I got all of my parts from Home Depot and O’reileys. Not shown in the pictures are some vehicle weather stripping and a 1″ x 1/4″ flat bar.

Parts List:
Black duct tape $4
Black trash can $5
3″ pipe clamps $1.50 ea
3/4″ elbow for the valve cover breather $1.30
3″ (swivel style) duct $7
Cone air filter $19
Self taping screws $1 per bag
Weather striping $3 per bag
Flat bar $7
3″ angle bracket $1
Misc bolts found in garage free

Total $70 — but I already had the flat bar in the garage so for me, it was $63.”

Wrangler Cold Air Intake DIY Parts

Cold Air Intake Installation

As you can see in the images here, the OP removed the stock air box and a portion of the stock inlet tubing of his Wrangler’s engine. In place of the air box, he constructed a new air intake box from the plastic trash can, using weather stripping to seal the box against the underside of the hood. This system allows the trash can-turned-air box to draw in cool air and keep warm air from the engine bay away from the filter.

Wrangler Cold Air Intake DIY In Progress

In addition to the new air intake box, the OP used the piece of heating duct tubing to connect a portion of the stock intake system to the conical air filter, with the metal tube extending into the new air box.

Finally, black duct take was used to wrap the metal duct tubing, the clamps were used to hold everything together and the extra metal bits – including the flat bar and the angled piece – were used to secure the box tightly in place.

Finished Product

When the OP was finished with his custom true cold air intake system on his Jeep Wrangler, he had eliminated some restriction that came with the stock air box, but he did so in a way that separates the warm engine bay air with the cooler outside air. As a result, the air will flow more smoothly to the engine and the intake air temperatures will be lower than a vehicle drawing air from the engine bay.

Wrangler Cold Air Intake DIY Complete

While we don’t have any hard numbers, cooler, freer-flowing air is guaranteed to make more power and this DIY shows how to achieve the results of the $250 kit for $70 or less. Click here to check out the DIY for yourself.

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Longtime auto journalist Patrick Rall contributes to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Rennlist , Club Lexus, F-150 Online, and YotaTech.

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