One of the best bolt-on modifications for the 6.4 Powerstroke is a cold air intake. It will add up to 10whp and 20wtq in addition to numerous other benefits like faster turbo spool and better throttle response. Additionally, you’ll get a nice increase in fuel economy by about 1-2mpg making it even more worth it.
We’ve been selling performance parts for the 6.4 Powerstroke for years now. In this guide I’m going to cover the performance benefits of intake upgrades, considerations between open and closed intakes, and recommend a few of my favorite intakes on the market.
6.4 Powerstroke Intake Upgrade Benefits
A 6.4 Powerstroke cold air intake in a great upgrade for many reasons. Power and torque gains are the primary reasons owners look for aftermarket intake systems. However, the benefits don’t stop there. Some notable benefits to 6.4 Powerstroke intake upgrade kits include:
- 20-30%+ increase in airflow
- Quicker throttle response & turbo spool
- 1-2mpg increases
- Awesome turbo/induction sounds
- Cleaner engine bay
Horsepower gains with a 6.4 Powerstroke intake can vary a lot depending on tuning and other mods. A bone stock truck will likely see minimal power gains, but will still see the fuel economy improvements. However, start increasing boost and power and an intake upgrade can offer 5-10+whp and 10-20+wtq. The higher-end is typically seen with more serious mods like a turbo upgrade.
Intakes can also lead to better throttle response and quicker turbo spool. This is possible due to the increase in airflow and a more efficient intake design overall.
Open vs Closed Intake Systems
The main consideration for selecting an intake system is whether it is an open or closed design. Open intakes are what we recommend – they outflow closed intakes and therefore offer better performance gains. While they will draw in air that is 1-3 degrees warmer, the intercoolers on the 6.4 are strong so the air is ultimately entering the engine at the same temperature regardless.
That said, closed intake systems do exist for a reason. The airbox acts as a muffler and helps reduce intake and turbo sounds. It’s best to stick with this design if you don’t want more noise. On the other hand, open intakes free up a lot of sounds. We think it’s awesome but not everyone will appreciate the added noise. Still, if power and performance are the ultimate goal then an open air intake system is the way to go on your 6.4 Powerstroke.
Best 6.4 Powerstroke Cold Air Intakes
With the benefits and types of intake kits out of the way it’s time to dive into some of the best 6.4 Powerstroke cold air intake kits. As discussed above, we really like the open intake design and believe they provide superior performance. However, it’s not the right design for everyone so we list a couple options for each design.
Open: Boosted Performance 4″ Intake
The Boosted Performance 6.4 PowerStroke intake features an open-design with 4″ mandrel bent aluminum piping and an S&B filter. Quality is top-notch and the open intake delivers great air-flow and performance gains. The wrinkle black finish also looks clean and helps reduce heat transfer. Ultimately, there isn’t much to dislike about the Boosted Performance intake considering its very fair $299 price point – with free shipping.
What We Like: High-quality S&B filter and 4″ mandrel bent piping. Open design ensures maximum flow and power gains. Great price at $299.
What We Don’t Like: Nothing. It doesn’t look quite as fancy as intakes that are powder coated in fancy colors, but unless looks are your top-priority the $$ savings are worthwhile.
Closed: S&B Filters Intake Kit
S&B Filters is a huge player in the air intake and filter industry. A lot of aftermarket intakes actually source their filters from S&B, and they extend much further than just the diesel world. We run cone filters from S&B on all of our BMW’s, too. Anyways, if you’re looking for a proven brand and product then look no further than S&B.
Their 6.4 Powerstroke cold air intake system uses a closed design. You can, however, remove the top cover to increase airflow. According to S&B their intake kit will increase airflow by up to 23.1%. It’s a pretty simple and basic design but it gets the job done. The clear airbox top also spices things up in the engine bay.
What We Like: At $350 it’s a good price for a closed intake design. Big brand name with proven products and excellent quality.
What We Don’t Like: Airbox is large and clunky. Won’t offer as much flow as an open intake.