Ram Air

Here's how I created a custom Ram Air system for my 54 Pontiac. A Ram Air system is often mislabeled by manufacturers to mean a freer flowing air filter system. It's also called a fresh air system or cool air system. A Ram Air system has a scoop that provides cool air outside of the engine compartment. The air is forced into the engine by the pressure of the vehicle moving forward - it is a free mini supercharger.

The fresh air for the interior comes from two 4" openings on either side the radiator, two 4" pipes pass the air to the firewall.

Fresh air vent

Fresh air vent between radiator and fender

I'm going to use the front vent openings for ram-air for the engine. I'm in the process of modifying a 1980 GM Van's air cleaner housing with 2 snorkels from 1976 Camaro 2 bbl V8 engines. The reason for the Van's housing is that it has a smaller diameter so it can clear the radiator hose off of the intake manifold. The hose goes straight up rather than to the side. The housing also holds a very tall air filter for good air flow.

ram air

Ram air cleaner with 2 snorkels needing some finish work

The 76 Camaro snorkels have nice big diameter ends on for connecting to fresh air hose. They flow quite well. I welded on the 2 snorkels - that's an experience! Very thin sheet metal, after about an inch, the metal would get too hot and burn through. Glad that's over. I put the snorkels at 120 deg angle but they could be closer together.


Cleaned up and painted white to match the engine.

On the engine

An alternative to making a dual snorkel air filter is to buy Ram Air Box which looks pretty damn hot. I used 3" aluminum furnance ducting for the hose and found a 4" to 3" spun aluminum furnace adapter. Hose clamps and it looks pretty damn good.

Spun aluminum adapter

I originally used aluminum furnace ducting but it is very fragile and quickly shows every little bump and crease. I switched to high temperature black rubber hoses used on big rigs. It looks like black dryer vent hose. It is way more durable but is a lot stiffer and more difficult to work with. I don't have a picture that shows the new hose.

Now that's an aggressive look!

New replacement protective screen at rad support

I replaced the protective screen at the rad support. You need the screen to stop foreign objects from bouncing around in the air filter housing. Not a good idea to have small rocks and stuff in there.

I was over at my mother's house and she was cleaning out the garage getting rid of some of her old gardening materials. Among the things she had was some screening. I thought that it would work to replace the old vent screening. Well, it happens to be an exact replacement for the original 54 year old screening! Can't get any more lucky than that.

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Copyright May 2011 Eugene Blanchard