Airaid Poweraid throttle-body spacer install brings incremental performance increase to GM 5.3Ls
By Bruce W. Smith
Six years ago I was looking for ways to boost power and fuel economy in my 2002 Chevy TrailBlazer’s 4.2L inline-six.
A gearhead always curious about new aftermarket upgrades and technology, I turned my attention to Airaid.
The company touted their cold-air air intake systems and “throttle-body” spacers as keys to improving both horsepower and fuel economy.
Airaid claims the design of their spacer, which utilizes a “helix-bore” to spin and maintain the velocity of the air/fuel mixture, helps provide better combustion. Better combustion means a more efficient fuel burn.
Ever the skeptic of such claims, I installed both and worked with a performance dyno shop in New Orleans to document each install.
The results were surprising: Poweraid spacer, by itself, added 5hp to the 4.2L in the 1,500-2,100rpm range and showed similar hp boost again above 5,200rpm.
Subsequent road tests showed a 1mpg (5%) gain in fuel economy at 65mph. Combined with the Airaid cold-air intake, the 4.2L gained 20hp in the low- mid rpm and 1.5mpg on the highway.
I want to see if similar improvements will be seen on Project Bedrock, my 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 with the 5.3L V8.
To that end I’ve installed an Airaid Poweraid throttle-body spacer and high-flow Airaid lifetime air filter.
The installation of the spacer is very simple, takes about 30 minutes, and requires nothing more than a screwdriver and 3/8-inch metric socket set.
I don’t have access to a dyno. But I do keep an accurate mileage log and have a good feel for how my truck performs so I’ll be able to note any significant improvements over the next few months.
(The great thing about Airaid is their products carry a Lifetime “No Hassle” Warranty that gives your money back if you aren’t satisfied with the results. )
To check up on the results, go to the Project Bedrock logbook on our website under the “Project Trucks” tab. – Pro