There are a lot of factors that go into purchasing any part for your car, and a turbo inlet pipe is no different. With a wide variety of materials and configurations on the market, it can be a difficult decision.
I think the major discerning differences between metal and silicone are that silicone is an insulator, which is why there are claims that the silicone is a) quieter and b) less prone to heat soak. I’m not sure if a) is true to a consequential amount, haven’t done a dB comparison by any means…but I seriously doubt that b) is true either. All materials have thermal properties, all materials transmit thermal mass at different rates. You can deduce all sorts of theories as to how this effects the boost air temps, but I really doubt that there is any discernible power output or boost air temp difference between a silicone, aluminum or stainless inlet pipe from one pull to the next. These vehicles push enough air to fill an office cubicle through that pipe in the span of under a minute. Then they run that air into a turbocharger that superheats the air. It takes 3 degrees of inlet air temperature change to result in one degree of boost air temperature change with a stock intercooler based on thermocouple datalogging that I’ve done on a number of different cars (Speed6’s and 3’s). With air traveling through a tube at insane velocities (like lets say…60 meters per second…or better yet 134 miles per hour), I find it hard to believe that there is any major detriment to having the turbo inlet pipe made of a more thermally conductive material than another.
The reason you buy the pipe is so you get rid of the stock pipe, which sports an oh so stylish, effectively square profile that changes cross sectional area erratically and is made of plastic which is also pretty thermally benign. But that’s not where the power or quickening of spool up happens when you add the inlet -it’s the flow of the air and the smooth transition from the intake to your turbo that you want to optimize. Simple as that.
If it were my car, I’d get one that a) works reliably, b) has quality construction and c) has a reasonable price tag. I can’t point out any on the market that fail a) or b)…all are excellent from what I have seen. Ours is ~$120….because designing and manufacturing any piece of tubing and/or silicone doesn’t cost much. Period. It’s a pipe. Every turbo inlet pipe on the market is a pipe -with three pipes in factory locations connecting into it. A few have factory like brackets that attach to the valvecover, some don’t. Some are aluminum (CorkSport and RPMC), some are stainless (Protege Garage), some are silicone. They all do the same thing.
Our system certainly gives you a few options that you should be familiar with when purchasing . But the first thing to remark on is -our intake includes these parts. If you’re in the market for an intake, this information is of benefit to you, but if you really want a good deal on all of these bits, grab our Power Series Short Ram Intake for your MS3 or MS6 or CX-7.
So back to the configurable differences if you already own an intake and want to get a turbo inlet pipe to match. Our turbo inlet pipes have a few toggles: Valvecover breather (yes/no) and Recirculation Valve Port (yes/no). The valvecover breather is almost completely unnecessary if you have an aftermarket intake that is not made by us -as most intakes include this provision in the CAI pipe or the coupler. So that’s almost always going to be a ‘no’ unless there’s some other reason why you want an external intake vacuum source to plug into (catch can, etc). The other is the recirculation valve. If you have chosen to do a strictly vent to atmosphere configuration on your bypass valve (not necessarily recommended), you can choose this option and clean up your engine bay a bit.
The final dial on these is the silicone color – for the silicone coupler between the turbo and inlet pipe, as well as the valvecover breather and boost control solenoid lines. These are available in Red, Blue and Black. Finally, in the near future we will be offering one or more powdercoating options starting with black.
Any questions, leave us a comment or shoot me an email.