K&N 57 Series Air Filter Installation Tutorial
Installing the 57 series FIPK intake kit in 1994-1996 Chevrolet Caprices or Impalas
K&N makes Kit 57-3011 for 1994-1996 Chevy Caprices and Impalas with 5.7L V8 engines. The kit replaces the black plastic air intake box (which some folks call "first base" because of its shape) with with a sleek tube and replaces the air filter and filter box with a big unrestricted cone filter and black metal housing. It looks pretty slick and K&N claims horsepower increases of up to 10%.
My vehicle was a 1995 Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 ex-highway patrol vehicle with the 5.7 liter LT1 engine. I purchased my kit from Auto Parts Warehouse. Was happy with their service and recommend them.
Remove old air intake
The first thing to do is perform an intake-ectomy. This removes the assembly of sound chamber (so-called "first base"), mass air sensor (square metal part with one electrical connection) and old air cleaner box.
Get the old MAF sensor
Pull the whole assembly apart to get at the mass airflow (MAF) sensor.
Release the nipples!
Now the only thing left in the car is the bottom of the old air cleaner box.
Okay, see these two perky red little nipples in the photo? These are refered to as "lower tabs" and then "push clips" in the instructions. It is important to keep them intact, as you will need them in subsequent steps. You may be familiar with them, but these are not like any squeeze clip mechanism I'd seen before.
I've made a diagram showing the basic mechanics of disengaging these nipples. Simply squeeze the tops of them with pliers until you hear them pop. What you are trying to do is use the inward force of the pliers to push a plastic pin down and out of the top part of the clip. This will release bottom of the air cleaner box.
Note: The plastic is resiliant, so you probably won't break the clips during normal use. However, if your car is like mine, someone may have broken yours, not understanding the principle. I had to reshape one of mine to more-or-less its original form. Don't worry, they don't need to work for the K&N kit to fit, but they do need to be there.
Preparing the space
Now that everything's out, you'll be looking at the top of the car's metal computer housing and a (mostly) bare wheel well. The car is cleaned out. Cool. The only two things to keep track of under the hood are the mass air sensor electrical connection and the air injection hose.
I used some masking tape to make sure I didn't lose them.
Prepare the kit
You'll have assembled the new parts as per the instructions. I only ran into a couple things.
The new metal air cleaner box (labeled 1 in the photo) had a screw hole that I couldn't line up no matter how much I swore at it. The drill press cleared this problem up right away.
The mass air sensor (the square metal box you rescued before) fits into a big rubber donut called the "filter adapter" in the instructions. The filter adapter then fits into the big hole in the new air cleaner box. The instructions actually mention that "this is a very snug fit." They aren't kidding!
A very snug fit
Here's how I ended up managing to do this:
- Stick the filter adapter about 1/4" into the air cleaner box hole
- Then insert the mass air sensor into the filter adapter
- Now brace a person against a wall and have them hold the box while you use a rag to push on the air sensor until the filter adapter is more or less flush against the cleaner box
Obviously you could do this with a wooden contraption. Also, depending on the size and strength of the people involved, you may not have any problem with this.
Install the air cleaner box
Installation is the easy part. Put the air cleaner box over the push clips (remember those from Step 2?) and press down until it's in place. Nice. It is now probably the cleanest thing under the hood.
Put together the bracket
The metal bracket uses five different pieces of mounting hardware. The instructions are vague at best regarding which pieces to use where. In the picture, I've highlighted the parts. You can see that the short end of the bracket gets parts 3, 4, and 5. The long end gets 1 and 2. The parts are as follows:
- Round-headed hex screw (shorter)
- Internally threaded coupling nut
- Cylindrically-headed hex screw (longer)
- Blank cylindrical metal spacer
- Nut with nylon insert
Insert the airflow tube
Stick the tube into the intake's rubber "bellows," then over the mass air sensor. Secure with hose clamps.
Install injection filter
Oil up the little air injection filter as per the instructions. Wait 20 minutes. Then stick it in the box and connect the air injection hose to it. Tighten with hose clamp.
Install main air filter
Finally, stick the big air filter onto the rubber adapter and tighten with hose clamp. Connect mass air sensor electrical connection. Reconnect negative battery terminal. You're done!
As of 2008, I no longer own the Caprice. My general conclusions after having the K&N installed for about two years is that it may be more of a hassle than it is worth. There may be performance gains, but nothing you're likely to notice in day-to-day driving. The problem is that the K&N lets fine filtering oil to be sucked through the intake. I doubt this is a huge problem for the engine, but it eventually coats the MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor. The problem exhibited itself in my car as a nasty hesitation as the engine computer attempted to reset itself.
The MAF can be cleaned by removing the intake pipe and wiping the MAF very carefully with a cotton swab (or "Q-Tip") and alcohol. This gets rid of the problem, but it will be back in a couple months.
It should go without saying that you'll want to hang onto your stock air cleaner setup until you're positive you don't want to go back.