GMC cold air intake

How To Install A GMC Sierra Cold Air Intake

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably at least entertained the idea of installing a cold air intake on a truck. To be honest, why wouldn’t you? It’s relatively cheap, it doesn’t take a lot of time or experience to do yourself, and it offers several benefits for your truck. Because of that, a new cold air intake to replace your factory air filter is one of the first modifications every truck owner should make. This article will focus on how to install a cold air intake for a 2021 GMC Sierra, but you can find plenty of other installs for other makes and models on our site or YouTube channel.

Check out the video above to see YouTuber Donslife walk through the process of installing a cold air intake on a 2021 GMC Sierra AT4 (6.2L engine). As you’ll see, it’s a smooth operation and results in a much better sounding, looking, and performing truck.

Cold Air Inductions Intake Kit

CAI intake kit

The specific Cold Air Inductions kit discussed in this video (Silverado and Sierra truck air intake) comes with all the pieces you’ll need for the installation. That includes the air induction housing, air filter element, PCV tube, inlet duct, and aluminum air intake tube. It’s compatible with 2019-2022 GMC Sierras with 6.2L V8 engines. Don had this to say about the construction of the CAI intake:

“About the construction [of the intake] – being aluminum, it’s less susceptible to heat soak. Plastic components tend to soak up a lot more heat so this [intake] is going to keep the air a lot cooler which means better efficiency and more power for you. Also the air filter element is not something you’re going to pick up off the shelf in an auto parts store. It’s very custom and it’s engineered to get the max air flow.” – Don, DonsLife

The beautiful part about this install is that Don is adding this intake to a truck that already has a Borla S-Type exhaust installed. Viewers get to see the results of combining a premium CAI intake with an upgraded aftermarket exhaust – a result worth watching – and hearing!

Benefits Of An Upgraded Cold Air Intake

GMC intake kit

The video discusses several of the benefits of installing a CAI cold air intake, primarily:

  • You can generally expect a 12 to 14 horsepower improvement after the GMC Sierra cold air intake is installed. You’ll also see a 2 to 3 mile per gallon improvement in gas mileage, on average. That’s always a perk when you drive a truck.
  • As you see in the video, the process is simple to do and doesn’t take a lot of time. If you have the right tools and 30 minutes to spare, you should be able to swap out your factory air intake for a new cold air intake with no problems.
  • Another perk that the video cited is that the design of our cold air intake utilizes the bottom of your truck’s air intake box so it’s an easier install and forms a nice, tight seal.

GMC Sierra Cold Air Intake Installation Process

Here’s the basic process for removing a factory air intake on your truck and replacing it with a high quality cold air intake from Cold Air Inductions:

  • For safety reasons, disconnect the battery terminal. This will also help reset your system.
  • Start the removal by disconnecting the existing PCV hose (using the push tabs).
  • Disconnect (not remove) the mass air flow (MAF) sensor.
  • Loosen the resonator and remove it from the throttle body.
  • Remove the top of the factory air box (making sure to save the screws) and remove the factory filter as well.
  • Remove the MAF sensor from the removed housing, being very careful with it. Install it into the new aluminum air intake tube supplied with our kit.
  • Attach the intake duct to the throttle body and loosely tighten it using hose clamps. Connect the PCV hose as well.
  • Insert the air filter element into the top of the air box (removing the protective film first). Insert the aluminum air intake tube into the filter element, and move it into place in the engine. Connect the aluminum air intake tube to the intake duct.
  • Tighten all hose clamps and screws.
  • Reconnect the MAF sensor harness.
  • Reconnect your battery.

It might look like a fair amount of steps, but the cold air intake installation process goes very quick. With a little mechanical experience and the right tools, you’ll be hearing your truck’s engine come to life with a new voice in no time.