Reviews On 5 Top-Rated Cold Air Intake For 5.9L Cummins

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The 5.9 Cummins is a great engine. No matter whom you ask, you will hear nothing but praises from the people who owned the Dodge Ram trucks.

But what you did not know that the performance of the engine can be improved significantly. Yes, that’s right. This is possible, thanks to a cold air intake. It is a piece of equipment that attaches to the engine and, as the name says, you get better airflow.

So, I have managed to write this ultimate guide consisting of the best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins. I have even included an FAQ at the end in case you have any questions or confusion.

So, without any further ado, let’s begin.

5 Top Best Dodge RAM 5.9 Cummins Cold Air Intakes Comparison

IMAGE PRODUCT EDITOR’S RATING PRICE
TOP PICK

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit

9.7
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S&B Filter 75-5094D Cold Air Intake S&B Filter 75-5094D Cold Air Intake

9.5
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Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit

Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit

9.1
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Banks 42145 Ram Air Intake System Banks 42145 Ram Air Intake System

8.8
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aFe Magnum Force Stage 2 Pro-5R Cold Air Intake System aFe Magnum Force Stage 2 Pro-5R Cold Air Intake System

8.6
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1. K&N Cold Air Intake Kit

The 5.9 Cummins was in the market for a long time. It was present in Ram trucks from 1989 to 2007. That is almost 20 years! Perhaps the most widely used model was the 2006 and 2007 ones.

And arriving in the first place is a Cold Air Intake Kit by K&N, which supports all 5.9L engines, released during 2003 and 2007. The brand itself is an extraordinary one.

Let me walk you through some of its impressive features. Let’s talk numbers. Some of you may be people who want data that will help you decide if a product is good enough for you.

Well, how does 10.96 HP sound to you? Yes, that’s right. With this intake, you get a more than decent improvement in horsepower, which translates to a massively better driving experience.

Instead of using aluminum, commonly used in most intake tubes, the brand decided to go a different route. They have used high-density polyethylene or more commonly known as HDPE, for making the tube.

It allows for better airflow and is one of the major components which guarantee improvements in horsepower. Let’s talk about the filter, as it is one of the most important parts of the intake system.

Well, thanks to the oversized design of the oiled filter media, this high-flow air filter can last for 100000 miles before needing a service. Yes, you read that right. This filter is reusable and washable. Combine these two, and you are getting a product that is extremely convenient to use.

Lastly, the brand has even included a heat shield that protects the intake from the scorching temperatures of the engine. Lack of something like this is the reason for many intakes failing. The system can also be installed in a matter of 90 minutes.

As expected with a product from such a huge brand, there are no faults with it. Buyers were more than satisfied with it.
PROS
  • Quick installation
  • HDPE tubing
  • 10.96 HP gain
  • Included heat shield
  • Rewashable filter
CONS
  • None

They say that nothing is perfect. Well, K&N proved that statement wrong. This one is a product that has nothing but benefits, and you will surely love it if you choose to buy it.

2. S&B Filter 75-5094D Cold Air Intake

I have written articles in search of cold air intake for various vehicles. The norm has been that K&N Filters and S&B filters take the lead almost every single time.

History is repeating itself once again, with the second product on the article belonging to S&B. This 75-5094D Cold Air Intake comes extremely close to the first one, and you will surely love it.

S&B Filters labels this system is a maximum performance product. I guess that is true because of the 42% better airflow possible with it.

This value has been calculated compared to the factory air box, which is restrictive and does not let the engine work at its maximum capacity. The air box is completely enclosed, which helps keep the filter clear from dirt and protects it from the high engine temperature.

Perhaps the most prominent feature of this intake is its second inlet. It is the reason for such a great airflow capacity. The filters and the couplers are made of silicon.

Now, you may ask, why silicon? Silicon can handle temperatures as high as 400-degrees Fahrenheit. It won’t crack or tear. Plus, thanks to its high friction surface, you won’t have to worry about the couplers sliding off.

One common problem with air intakes is that they cause engine problems. The problems may be expensive to fix, but the more common one is the dreadful check engine light. So, what to do about that?

Well, thanks to the experienced engineers at S&B, you won’t have to worry about that. The intake won’t require any custom calibrations. It maintains the mapping of the airflow sensor, so you won’t have to worry about engine issues.

One or two buyers complained that the intake system was difficult to install. Apart from that, most buyers were more than satisfied with the product’s performance.
PROS
  • Silicon couplers and filters
  • Closed air box to keep dirt out
  • 42% better airflow
  • No check engine light
CONS
  • May have fitment issues

Those two buyers did not state the models of their trucks. The probable reason is that they may have received faulty units. S&B has outdone themselves once again, and I can guarantee you that you will love this one .

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3. Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit

Did you like the previous systems but have an older model truck? Then check out this Air Intake Kit by Spectre Performance designed for Cummins engines released between 1994 and 2001. It comes very close to the S&B filter, and let’s takes a detailed look into what makes it a great product.

This product has one of the best airflow gains on the market. It provides you with 50% more airflow, which is more than the S&B filter. That is seriously impressive.

The improved airflow guarantees improved horsepower and torque while also improving the acceleration and even the throttle response. This is something that people who use their trucks for towing and racing will find attractive.

Get a full performance upgrade is incomplete without the accompanying growl. You will get that too with this beastly intake system.

You will feel and hear the loud and aggressive sound of this system, which you and the people around you will surely love. If you love to race, people near you will know your truck is the beast before you step on the pedal.

The rarest thing a person can find in an intake system is easy maintenance. Well, this Spectre system is one of those rare ones that are extremely convenient to use.

You can go without cleaning the filter for 100000 miles. Yes, both of those things are possible with this product. It is not only reusable but has an extremely high working time.

It looks Spectre has made this product with one thing in mind: convenience. Adding to that category, you are getting a bolt-on installation process, making this product extremely easy to install.

You can be up and running within a matter of an hour. The cherry on top is that you won’t even void your truck’s warranty after installing this intake system.

Buyers complained that this one does not fit the 2002 5.9 Cummins engine. These ratings can be completely ignored because the seller lists that the intake fits in engines released in 2001.
PROS
  • Easy to install
  • 100000 between servicing
  • Loud and aggressive sound
  • 50% better airflow
CONS
  • Doesn’t fit in 2002 models

Apart from the wrong ratings, you don’t have to worry about anything with this one . You can buy it with complete peace of mind as long as your engine is within the compatibility range.

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10/15/2021 10:44 am GMT

4. Banks 42145 Ram Air Intake System

So, you are one of those who want to go a little rogue and try something from a new brand? Well, I have got just the product for you.

Arriving in fourth place is a Product by the Brand Banks, a company that has been taken a look at by me several times but never managed to earn a spot on a list. But today changes things. This 42145 intake system is an excellent product that should be on your consideration list.

So, let’s see what makes it so impressive. This is the product that the Spectre Performance intake could not beat in terms of airflow. The brand has designed this product for maximum airflow. The intake is so good that you get 62% more air in than the stock settings. This is on a completely new level.

This huge airflow can be credited mainly to the huge filter, allowing more air to come in. The large inlets on the side and the bottom also do their job excellently.

The one feature that helped this brand earn a spot on this article is its filter options. You can choose from two filters when buying this product. You can either go for an oiled filter or a dry one.

They also provide a pre-filter, a thin layer that also helps keep the dust and contaminants out. According to the brand, 6 out of 7 intake systems provide air with less density than the stock intake system. Although they do improve performance, the turbo performance is degraded.

This is completely valid. Dense air means more oxygen to burn. More oxygen means a better and more complete combustion process. This leads to increased horsepower and also an improvement in fuel consumption.

Perhaps the only drawback of this system is that it is made completely out of plastic. It won’t cause a problem for most people, but there is a certain peace of mind when you get a product that is made from, let’s say, perhaps aluminum.
PROS
  • 62% better airflow
  • Can choose from different filter options
  • Better horsepower and mpg
CONS
  • Made from plastic

Although Banks has made a great product, they would have made it perfect if it was made out of a stronger material. Regardless, buyers did not have any complaints about it, so you can buy it tension-free.

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10/15/2021 10:43 am GMT

5. aFe Magnum Force Stage 2 Pro-5R Cold Air Intake System

Whoa, that name is a mouthful. aFe takes up the last spot on this article. The brand has only shown up once on an article of mine, but it really is a great product.

It has some interesting offerings which I am sure you will like. Let’s start with numbers. This 2 Pro-5R Cold Air Intake System provides you with 18HP and 24 pounds per foot of torque.

This is on the higher end of the spectrum, as an intake system can provide a maximum of 20HP. The brand claims that this intake is able to outflow the stock by 117%. This is more than double of the Banks intake. This is straight-up mind-blowing. But it also raises some questions which I will be asking further down.

The air filter contains fine cotton and has five layers of it. Yes, that’s right. You can rest assured that no dust particle will ever reach the engine. The 2 PRO 5R filter itself is made up of polyurethane which is not only extremely durable but can handle multiple cleaning cycles.

Moreover, this is a great choice of material which is not found in other products. The same can be said for the coupling. It is made up of silicon which extremely resistant to high temperatures.

You must know that the 5.9 Cummins can reach scorching temperatures. The intake, on its own, cannot survive those temperatures. This is where the included heat shield steps in.

It is a single piece of powder-coated material that keeps the intake away from the engine’s hot temperature. The coolest thing about this product is its easy installation.

aFe made sure that the product uses the factory mounting system, which makes the installation bolt-on. It is also legal in all 50 states of the USA. You won’t run into any legal issues with it.

Lastly, the product has fewer ratings, considerably less than all other intakes on this list. The second thing I want to question is the more than double airflow claim of the brand. Unless there are more buyers than thoroughly verify this claim, it is a risky decision to buy one just because of this.
PROS
  • Easy to install
  • Five-layer cotton filter
  • Included heat shield
CONS
  • Fewer ratings
  • Absurd claims

aFe has made a great product; there is no doubt about that. I don’t know what testing method they used, but the claim needs to be verified. The product itself is great and will surely satisfy you.

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FAQ

This short FAQ focuses on questions that were asked by various owners of 1994 to 2007 Ram truck owners. I have chosen some of the more critical ones which have been researched to ensure your confusions will be clarified. So, let’s begin!

How Much HP Does A Cold Air Intake Add To A 5.9 Cummins?

This answer varies from product to product. But I can specify a range that specifies the minimum and maximum performance you can expect from an intake system.

You can expect a gain of 5 HP to 20 HP with an intake kit. Even with 5 HP, you can expect a better driving experience which will definitely be noticeable.

Does A Cold Air Intake Make The 5.9L Cummins Louder?

If you are one of those, who skipped the article and scrolled right to the buying guide, the answer to you is yes, it does. A complete combustion process and better airflow lead to a louder sound. This sound is not annoying but something you would expect from a racing vehicle. And we all love that sound.

Do I Need A Tune After Installing A Cold Air Intake On My 5.9 Cummins Engine?

The short answer is no. But if you want to go into the details, a tune can make a difference, but it will be close to zero. Tuning is not only expensive but is only required for major upgrades, such as after getting new-sized tires. Plus, tuning is risky.

You might corrupt the onboard chip, which is extremely expensive to repair. So, no, you don’t have to tune your engine after installing an intake.

What Happens If I Don’t Oil My K&N Filter?

When talking about the K&N filter, we already discussed that it could be reused and rewashed. You only have to service it after every 100000 miles. Because the filter is oiled, you have to replace the oil before reinstalling it.

Now, why is this important? Because the filter is oversized to allow more air in, without the oil, more dust particles will also enter. Those particles will reduce the engine life considerably. The oil reduces the gap so air can pass through and dust particles do not.

Which Is Better, A Dry Or Oiled Air Intake?

Thus the question that arises after reading the previous one. The reality is that both of these types of intakes a more than sufficiently reliable in catching contaminants and dust particles.

A dry filter can stop 99% of particles, while an oiled one is effective for up to 98% of them. The difference is negligible and should not be the reason for you to choose between either one.

Conclusion

If you managed to read through this article, then I must say you are one avid reader. I am hopeful that you might have decided which intake is suitable for you.

I must clarify one thing; whether you choose the first one or the last one, each and every single one of these products will surely exceed your expectations. But there can be only one winner.

The award for the best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins goes to the K&N Cold Air Intake Kit, which earned the first spot on this article. It is easy to use, install and is guaranteed to have no problems or conflicts with the engine.