How To

How to Install a Cold Air Intake on a Dodge Ram

There are many ways to improve your vehicle’s performance. You can replace the exhaust system, install an advanced header, or a turbocharger. And what about a cold air kit? In my experience, it’s one of the most effective and least expensive upgrades available on the market. And for a rough, tough, and off-road-ready monster like the RAM, it will be an excellent investment.

But wait – you’ll have to install it first to get the benefits! Now, it’s not a particularly complicated process; however, for a novice, it can be pretty challenging. That’s why I wrote this guide: so that together, we can learn how to install a cold air intake on a Dodge Ram 1500 quickly, hassle-free, and without any outside help. So, if you’re ready to boost your truck’s powertrain, let’s get to it!

Step #1: Preparing the Vehicle

Preparing the VehicleFinding the right spot to park the vehicle is very important. The ground must be even and smooth. Plus, there should be enough space around the truck for you to walk around freely. If you’ve got a garage (and it’s not overcrowded), it can be a great place to start. Also, I’d recommend doing this during the day, when the sun is up and there’s plenty of light. Ok, now, switch the RAM to park, turn off the ignition, and let the engine cool down.

A hot motor can burn your fingers; plus, there might still be electricity running through some of the electronic components. So, let it rest for at least a couple of hours. Next, turn off the battery. Unplug the negative terminal first (it should be black) and then the positive one (red).

Step #2: Removing the Factory System

The stock air kit shouldn’t be hard to find: essentially, it’s a pretty big tube feeding into a plastic box. Start with disconnecting the CCV hose and the electrical harness; next, move on to the “big fish”. You’ll need to remove every single component, including the intake tube, the air filter, and the plastic housing. Now, depending on the manufacturer, these components may be secured to the engine bay with bolts/nuts or plastic mounts.

Removing the Factory SystemFor the bolts, use a socket of the right size or a wrench. You’ll also see hose clamps holding the air intake kit together. Again, use a socket, or, better yet, a screwdriver to loosen everything. For example, the stock intake tube will be secured to the throttle body with a hose clamp. Once the air box and the tube are free from the clamps and bolts start pulling up the housing to free it from the grommets.

Oh, and do keep the grommets, as you’ll need them for securing the new air kit. A quick note: the most advanced cold air intakes have one, or a couple of air sensors that measure the temperature. Be extra gentle when removing them, as they’re pretty fragile and cost a lot. And don’t throw away the factory gear just yet. It might turn out that the aftermarket system is damaged or not compatible with your truck’s make, model, and year.

So, put it away for now and only consider getting rid of it when you know the new gear fits and works perfectly.

Step #3: Installing the New Cold Air Intake

Installing the New Cold Air IntakeAlright, now we can go on and install the brand-new Cold Air Intake For Dodge Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi. Most third-party kits come with installation instructions. They’re usually pretty detailed, with a step-by-step guide and lots of pictures. But, don’t rely on it too much, because it’s not rare for companies to write “universal” manuals instead of vehicle-specific ones. When shopping for a new cold air intake, check the specs for “OEM, bolt-on installation”.

That means there won’t be any drilling or cutting involved. Basically, all you need to do is put the tube, box, and filter into the factory spots. Line up the holes with the stock mounting points, and tighten the bolts/clamps. The intake is usually installed first; the air filter follows. Use a couple of hose clamps to secure the intake tube. Last, but not least, reconnect the CCV hose and the electrical harness.

Finishing Up

Before closing the hood, inspect the new gear manually. Make sure it’s not wobbling or shaking. If it does, most likely, the mountings aren’t tight enough. The last thing you want is a new air kit that’s jumping up and down on every bump. Don’t forget to plug the battery terminals. But this time around, go with the positive one first and only then connect the negative terminal.

We’re almost there! Fire up the engine and give the new air kit a try. First, let it idle for 5-10 minutes. Does everything seem to be working properly? Then get behind the wheel and hit the road. If you don’t hear any strange sounds and there are no problems with acceleration or the ride quality at high RPMs, that means you did a good job.


A decent aftermarket air intake kit can give the RAM a strong boost. I’m talking about extra horsepower, torque, better acceleration, and up-hill performance. Some advanced systems also improve fuel efficiency. Plus, obviously, a decent air intake can increase the air filtration/flow, keeping the engine nice and cool. Today, we learned how to install a third-party kit on the world-famous RAM 1500.

There’s nothing hard about it: no fancy tools or equipment are required. You won’t even need an extra set of hands to help you out. The most important thing here is patience and care. Do this slowly, steadily, and you’ll be done in an hour, or even sooner. Make sure the bolts are tight, check on the air filter regularly and enjoy the added power, improved mileage, and performance!

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