Pure VQ Sound! Mishimoto’s 350Z Performance Intake R&D, Part 1: Intro, Goals, And Initial Fabrication

The Nissan V6 is a familiar animal here at Mishimoto. We have designed various cooling components for this model, and several of our employees have owned or presently own a Nissan of this particular vintage. After covering the cooling system of the Z, we decided it was time to turn our attention toward a power-adding component.

The first product we want to tackle is a performance 350Z air intake system. Over the past couple years our team has been designing and testing intake systems for a variety of vehicles, including the Subaru WRX/STI, Subaru BRZ, BMW E46, and Mercedes CLA45 AMG, to name a few. Each project introduces a unique challenge and an opportunity for our team to produce additional vehicle power and improve intake sound and volume.

Project Goals

Goals drive an appropriate end product, and we needed to construct a set of basic guidelines so we could be sure that our final design was exactly what our customers needed.

First, as with any intake system, we want to increase power output. This includes both horsepower and torque, while avoiding any impact on engine integrity. Easier said than done, but we’ve done it many times, and I am sure we would do it once again with the 350Z intake.

Secondly, we want to create a more appealing intake sound for the Nissan 350Z intake. The stock airbox muffles intake noise, so we want to let this engine breathe, and we want the driver to hear it.

Our third major goal will be a general plan for fitment. We want to utilize the stock air-inlet duct on the driver side of the engine bay. We also want this 350Z intake system to bolt into position like the stock unit and function with all stock equipment.

Initial Intake Fabrication

Stock 350Z intake system
Stock 350Z intake system

Let’s jump right into the design of our intake! First, we removed the stock system and evaluated the space between the stock MAF housing and the duct from the front of the vehicle.

Stock Nissan 350Z intake airbox removed
Stock Nissan 350Z intake airbox removed
Stock Nissan 350Z intake airbox removed
Stock Nissan 350Z intake airbox removed

For this kit, we will be retaining the stock MAF housing and designing our kit from that point to the front of the vehicle. We removed the stock MAF housing and used our Romer arm to collect dimensions and place them into a 3D model.

Stock MAF housing dimension collection
Stock MAF housing dimension collection
Stock MAF housing dimension collection
Stock MAF housing dimension collection

Once we had all the points needed from the stock housing, we began to design an adapter that would fit between this housing and our air filter. This piece would also pass through a port on our airbox.

Check out the 3D-printed filter adapter below!

3D-printed MAF housing adapter
3D-printed MAF housing adapter

Now that we had a clear idea of space for our airbox design, the fabrication process for our 350Z air intake begins!

We started with a cardboard template to provide an idea of the shape and bend locations we would need for our initial 350Z intake mock-up design.

Airbox cardboard template for Mishimoto Nissan 350Z intake
Airbox cardboard template for the Mishimoto Nissan 350Z intake
Airbox cardboard template for Mishimoto Nissan 350Z intake
Airbox cardboard template for the Mishimoto Nissan 350Z intake

Soon we had a template created for our 350Z air intake that completely enclosed the filter location, which would be fed by the stock front duct.

Airbox cardboard template for Mishimoto Nissan 350Z intake
Airbox cardboard template for the Mishimoto Nissan 350Z intake

We now had a basic shape that could be translated into an initial prototype of the steel airbox.

Airbox cardboard template
Airbox cardboard template

Within a few minutes, we had this shape cut out of our steel sheet along with the ports for the air filter and the stock inlet duct.

350Z intake airbox metal prototype
350Z intake airbox metal prototype

We then identified the appropriate bend points, and soon we had a large portion of our airbox complete.

Airbox metal prototype
Airbox metal prototype
Airbox metal prototype
Airbox metal prototype

Check out this portion of our 350Z air intake mocked into position within the engine bay of our test vehicle!

Airbox metal prototype mocked into position
Airbox metal prototype mocked into position

Coming Up!

Although we have a nice start on this project, we still have some work to do in terms of fabrication of our prototype and the validation of our design through testing.

Check back next time for an inside look at our team putting the finishing touches on our first airbox prototype for the Mishimoto 350Z intake!

Thanks for reading!

-John

BMW E46 3-Series Silicone Intake Boot Development!

During the development of our new intake system for the 1999–2005 BMW 3-series, we identified yet another component that would be a vital upgrade as the E46 chassis begins to age (gracefully though, right?). With a lack of support in offerings for a silicone E46 intake boot set, we decided to design a set that would replace the failure-prone stock rubber units. If you’ve ever owned a BMW (E30, E36, E46, etc.) that utilizes such rubber intake elbows and hoses, you may have experienced failure at some point. Typically the area of flex begins to develop cracks and tears over time. The unmonitored air entry results in a rough running straight-six … not exactly ideal. So let’s get to the project!

Stock Intake Boots

First, check out the factory-equipped boots!

Stock E46 induction hose assembly
Stock BMW E46 intake boot assembly
Stock E46 induction hose assembly
Stock BMW E46 intake boot assembly
Stock E46 induction hose assembly
Stock BMW E46 intake boot assembly

The stock E46 intake boot uses a two-piece unit with three individual ports. The two-piece design allows for easier installation.

3D Models

The start of our design work began in Solidworks. We collected dimensional data from the stock hoses and began modeling our counterparts.

First, check out a couple renderings of our throttle-body connection hose!

Throttle-body hose 3D model
Throttle-body hose 3D model
Throttle-body hose 3D model
Throttle-body hose 3D model

One feature you will notice on this piece is the lip on the inside of the throttle-body connection. Like the stock rubber piece, this lip is designed to fit into a groove on the throttle-body for an optimal seal. Below is a shot of the throttle-body, showing the groove!

E46 throttle body
E46 throttle-body

Next, check out the second portion of this induction hose assembly. This part attaches to the throttle-body hose via a CNC-machined connector and then attaches to the MAF housing.

MAF hose 3D model
MAF hose 3D model
MAF hose 3D model
MAF hose 3D model

Functional Prototype Images

We worked up a few initial prototypes so we could move forward with the test-fitting process. Check it out!

Mishimoto prototype hoses (top) and stock hoses (bottom)
Mishimoto prototype E46 intake boot set (top) and stock E46 intake boot set (bottom)
Mishimoto prototype throttle-body hose (right) and stock throttle-body hose (left)
Mishimoto prototype throttle-body boot (right) and stock throttle-body boot (left)

We noted the lip on the throttle-body connection and translated from our model, which is shown on our prototype below.

Mishimoto prototype throttle-body hose lip (left) and stock throttle-body hose lip (top)
Mishimoto prototype throttle-body boot lip (left) and stock throttle-body boot lip (top)

As you can see in the images above, we designed a CNC-machined adapter that will mate with the two hoses. We could have used a plastic component, but we wanted to eliminate the chance of failure, so aluminum was selected as an ideal material. Check out a close-up shot of this piece!

Mishimoto CNC-machined hose connector
Mishimoto CNC-machined hose connector

This is not the only CNC-machined component here! The two other hose-connection points were manufactured from aluminum as well.

Mishimoto CNC-machined barb fitting
Mishimoto CNC-machined barb fitting

Installed Shots!

Once we compared the two hoses, the Mishimoto prototype BMW E46 intake boot was installed. Check out a few images with this kit fully installed on an otherwise stock vehicle.

Mishimoto silicone induction hose kit installed
Mishimoto silicone induction hose kit installed
Mishimoto silicone induction hose kit installed
Mishimoto silicone induction hose kit installed
Mishimoto silicone induction hose kit installed
Mishimoto silicone induction hose kit installed

The installation process is rather straightforward and should take around an hour from start to finish. We will be highlighting the process in the form of an installation video guide.

Discounted Pre-sale

Along with our full intake system, we will be running a discounted pre-sale for the E46 intake boot kit we developed. Check back soon for more details on pricing and shipping information if you’re looking to pick up this kit!

Thanks for taking a look! Feel free to follow up with any questions or comments.

-John

Mercedes CLA45 AMG Intake R&D, Part 5: Final Prototype Installed

Interested in picking up our Mercedes CLA45 intake system? Check out our discounted pre-sale linked below!

Pre-Sale Link!

We’ve been working on this Mercedes cold-air intake for months, and finally we have arrived at our last test fit. After constructing a final prototype of our Mercedes air intake, we phoned our test vehicle owner and wrangled him into coming down to our headquarters for another day. A big “thank you” to the vehicle owner for the use of his CLA!

Installed Shots

Everything fit into place perfectly and looks fantastic! First, take a look at our final silicone intake inlet hose and pressure-sensor flange.

Mishimoto silicone intake inlet hose (left) and pressure-sensor flange (right)
Mishimoto silicone intake inlet hose (left) and pressure-sensor flange (right)

As we’ve discussed in previous portions of this series, these components are key in producing the power gains we saw when we tested our kit. Next, we installed the intake into the vehicle. Check it out!

Mishimoto intake system installed
Mishimoto intake system installed
Mishimoto intake system installed
Mishimoto intake system installed

And here’s a close-up shot of our inlet tube fully installed with all stock equipment!

Mishimoto intake system installed
Mishimoto intake system installed

With the airbox lid removed, you can see the cooling duct provided for the ECU heat sink. Pretty slick!

Mishimoto intake system installed
Mishimoto Mercedes intake system installed

Here’s a look in the airbox with the filter installed.

Mishimoto Mercedes air intake system installed
Mishimoto Mercedes air intake system installed

Discounted Pre-sale!

With a successful test fit of our Mercedes CLA45 AMG Performance Air Intake and positive results from our dyno testing, we are all set from an R&D standpoint on this particular kit. To show our appreciation for the folks following along with our development process, we are launching a discounted pre-sale!

Check back tomorrow for full details regarding an estimated ship date as well as pricing.

Thanks

-John

Interested in picking up our Mercedes CLA45 intake system? Check out our discounted pre-sale linked below!

Pre-Sale Link!

Keeping the Party Cool! Mishimoto’s Fiesta ST Radiator R&D, Part 1: Intro, Goals, and 3D Models

If you keep up with the perpetually bustling engineering team here at Mishimoto, you would have noticed our recent projects involving the Focus ST. We could not ignore this vehicle’s little brother, the Fiesta, and after numerous requests we decided it was time to start development of new performance Fiesta ST parts.

Before jumping into development, we needed a vehicle. So, we made a trip to the local Ford dealer here in Delaware and drove back in the beauty shown below.

Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST shop vehicle
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST shop vehicle
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST shop vehicle
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST shop vehicle
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST shop vehicle
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST shop vehicle

The drive home revealed a well-balanced, peppy hatchback that was quite comfortable. Although the power could use a slight bump (to be fair, I had just stepped out of a 400+ whp Evolution), I can see why many drivers are using these cars for track and for autocross (although they seem to be banned from certain classes). Not to mention, it makes a nice daily driver that separates itself from the slew of boring, beige, characterless compact cars currently on the roads.

Radiator Development and Goals

We have many great projects planned for this little hatch, one of the first being an aluminum Fiesta ST radiator. Why replace the stock radiator if it isn’t leaking? Several factors drove our decision to develop this product, but the primary contributors were enthusiasts’ (your) requests. We’ve had a ton of requests for an aluminum Ford Fiesta radiator. Most of these from folks who are tracking their cars and seeing temperatures exceed 220°F. Not only are track cars seeing this, but aggressive street driving on steep grades for lengthy time periods are also resulting in hot temperatures. Some early issues were related to defective stock radiators, and many vehicle owners are still not pleased with on-track temperatures with the stock Fiesta ST radiator.

This situation can’t be ignored. Hitting the track is an absolute blast, and no one wants their lapping cut short due to high temperatures. We need to use our knowledge and experience with aluminum radiator design to bring you guys an appropriate solution.

We intend to design a full aluminum Fiesta ST radiator that provides increased capacity and improved heat transfer. We will be covering the process from start to finish here in this thread, and we will also be fully testing our product to ensure it meets the needs of the people who need it (yeah, that’s you guys!). This Ford Fiesta radiator will be a drop-in unit and will fit with all stock equipment.

Development Beginnings

Actual product development for our aluminum Fiesta ST radiator actually started prior to us even seeing the vehicle. How the heck did we manage that? Well, we were in touch with the folks from Ford and they were able to provide CAD data for the front end and engine components on the ST. A couple shots of the models are shown below.

Fiesta ST CAD model
Fiesta ST CAD model
Fiesta ST CAD model
Fiesta ST CAD model

These models provided a baseline for product design and we used many of the critical dimension of the stock Ford Fiesta radiator and surrounding components to gauge the size of our unit.

Once we had our test vehicle, we could pull it into the shop and collect final dimensional data. This includes specific tube/fin information so we can begin to decide upon the fin composition for our Fiesta ST radiator design.

Below is a look at the engine bay of our ST!

Fiesta ST engine bay
Fiesta ST engine bay
Fiesta ST engine bay
Fiesta ST engine bay
Fiesta ST engine bay
Fiesta ST engine bay

Radiator Prototype 3D Model

After pulling dimensions from both sources, we jumped right into 3D modeling and design. The prototype was assembled within the constraints of all factory-equipped Fiesta ST parts, and we soon had a completed 3D model of our radiator. Check out a few shots of the front of our Fiesta ST radiator.

Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST Radiator 3D Model
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST Radiator 3D Model
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST Radiator 3D Model
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST Radiator 3D Model
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST Radiator 3D Model
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta ST Radiator 3D Model

And here’s a look at the back side (engine-facing) of our design.

Mishimoto Ford Fiesta Radiator 3D Model
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta Radiator 3D Model
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta Radiator 3D Model
Mishimoto Ford Fiesta Radiator 3D Model

As you can see from the models, we’ve retained all stock component mounting points. This includes the fan shroud mounts, the stock radiator mounting pegs, as well as the condenser mounts. We’ve also specified a rather dense fin-and-tube construction for improved heat transfer, and we expanded the core thickness.

What’s Next?

Now that we have our initial modeling work done, it is time to construct our first prototype Ford Fiesta radiator to check both fitment and performance.

While we wait for this first prototype, we want to open the floor to any recommendations for additional features you would like to see with this radiator, or any other Fiesta ST parts. Are there any track-oriented additions or components that would help with other modifications or aftermarket engine bay components?

Let us know! Thanks for reading!

Thanks

-John

 

Keeping the twins cool! Mishimoto’s BRZ/FR-S Plug-N-Play Fan Shroud R&D, Part 1: Stock System and Initial Fabrication

Taking a look at our lineup of products for the BRZ/FR-S reveals a solid offering in both cooling performance and power-adding upgrades. Our engineering team has evaluated numerous vehicle systems and provided upgrade components where solutions were needed. Our intake components provide improved induction noise and nice increases in power. Our oil cooler system provides a solution for high oil temperatures on the track. And, our performance aluminum radiator is ideal for track vehicle owners looking for some additional peace of mind during long-duration lapping. These are just a few of the components we currently offer, and we’ve managed to find yet another opportunity to provide an awesome component that will enhance your vehicle: a direct-fit fan BRZ/FR-S fan shroud kit.

Our fan shroud kits have become more complex over the years for two reasons. First, our engineering team has identified methods for improving performance, aesthetics, and ease of install. We’ve performed extensive testing to ensure that our fan location and shroud thickness are optimal in direct-fit kits. Our team has explored a few uniquely styled shrouds (see BMW E36/E46 shrouds) for improved airflow on the track. And, we’ve started to include stock-like fan plugs, so install is simple and no wiring is required.

Stock fan shroud design is the second reason our shroud kits have evolved. Many modern fan shrouds double or triple their functions to hold hoses in place, mount expansion tanks, or even function as coolant pathways for transmission coolers. These factors create some additional challenges for our team of engineers. But, would designing automotive components be interesting if they were all simple?

Stock Fan Setup

The stock fan system utilizes dual electric fans mounted to a plastic shroud. This shroud also provides a mounting position for the coolant overflow tank. The stock fans are set to activate at 212°F (100°C), although they will also activate when the AC system is being used. Additionally, the stock fans run on a multispeed system that will need to be incorporated into our design. Below is a look at what you will see once the hood is open on your BRZ or FR-S.

Stock fan shroud
Stock fan shroud
Stock fan shroud
Stock fan shroud

Mishimoto Fan Shroud Plans

We have a few basic goals for this particular product design. First, we want to ensure that this product is easy to install. To achieve this we will be using stock plugs to create an easy, wiring-free installation. We will also be incorporating the stock overflow tank mount into our shroud, making this kit will be a full bolt-on replacement unit.

Second, we are looking to achieve optimal airflow and cooling while providing a slim profile. Our slim electric fans produce a substantial amount of CFM and will be quite suitable for this kit and vehicle.

Fan Shroud Fabrication

After establishing our plans and guidelines, we set out to begin fabrication of our aluminum shroud. We have a talented fabrication staff that pays attention to every detail.

This fan shroud started life as a flat sheet of aluminum, and our aluminum radiator was used to identify critical shroud mounting points.

Shroud fabrication
Shroud fabrication

Measurements were made and we started mapping out our cuts.

Shroud fabrication
Shroud fabrication

We made a few cuts, bent the edges, and welded our basic shroud shape. The goal was to fit the entirety of the radiator core footprint, which would allow the fans to pull air through the entire surface.

Shroud fabrication
Shroud fabrication
Shroud fabrication
Shroud fabrication

Next we needed to construct mounting tabs that would attach the shroud to the radiator itself. These were crafted from aluminum and tacked into place.

Shroud mounting tab fabrication
Shroud mounting tab fabrication
Shroud mounting tab fabrication
Shroud mounting tab fabrication

We fired up the welder and got to work attaching these mounting points.

Shroud mounting tab welding
Shroud mounting tab welding

The end result is quite nice!

Shroud mounting tab fabrication
Shroud mounting tab fabrication
Shroud mounting tab fabrication
Shroud mounting tab fabrication

Next we needed to cut holes for the fans and drill holes for the fan mounting hardware. The surface area of the shroud allowed us to use two of our 12” fans, which produce 1,150 CFM each. These fans will have no issues keeping the FA20 cool under any environment or driving situation.

Mounting fans to shroud
Mounting fans to shroud

Once the locations were selected, we cut the fan holes and drilled our mounting location points.

Fan shroud fabrication
Fan shroud fabrication

Coming Up!

This shroud prototype is not done yet! We still need to construct mounts for the coolant overflow tank. Check back next time for a look at what we did!

Thanks for reading!

-John

An inside look at the engineering of Mishimoto products.

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