NeededWings. GotWings. SavedCash. (DIY dual intake) - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

Performance MODS for the R170 Tuning and Performance modifications for your SLK

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#1 Old 09-28-2014
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NeededWings. GotWings. SavedCash. (DIY dual intake)

So I wanted a full dual intake.

NeedsWings makes a nice-looking product, but it has two drawbacks:

1) It is *really* expensive for what it is. You're paying for convenience and looks, and heavily.

2) It requires the power steering cooler to be replaced with a smaller one. Not a big deal, but there's not a lot of PS cooling capacity on these cars to begin with (I'm going to install a real finned heat exchanger for it if I ever track the car). I'm also not wild about putting the filters that far up front, as I have a CLK-style grill and I'm worried about them getting soaked.

OK, so what can we do about this?

Well... we can build a full 3" intake for a fraction of the price.

How?

Easy.

First, get a 3.0" aluminum tee. I ended up having to special order mine, but if you have a shop nearby that can do TIG welding that's where I'd go... I paid 50 for this.

Next, you'll need two 3.0" inline filter chambers. I got two Spectre 9833 ones from Amazon. They've since raised the price (I paid about 50 a piece), so eBay might be your best bet. eBay + a little negotiation should get you these for no more than 65 a piece.

Ok, so now we need the connectors and clamps and such. Personally I'd go with SiliconeIntakes.com (aka FrozenBoost.com). They've got what we need, and they're pretty reasonable price-wise. Plus, they ship quickly... which is a big plus if you're reading this at work around lunch-time and want parts for a mod session next weekend. ;)

Here's what you'll need:
  • 2 x 3.0" 60 degree silicone bends (16.99 each)
  • 2 x 3.0" 30 degree silicone bends (16.99 each)
  • 2 x 3.0" 1 foot aluminum pipe (9.99 each)
  • 1 x 3.0" 1 foot silicone straight hose (29.99 each)
  • 1 x 2.75" 1 foot silicone straight hose (29.99 each)
  • 1 x 2.75" <-> 3.0" silicone reducer (11.99 each)
  • 1 x 3.0" aluminum 90 degree bend (14.99 each)
  • 1 x 2.75" aluminum 90 degree bend (14.99 each)

From elsewhere:
  • short segment of 2.75" aluminum pipe (scavenged, or a couple bucks on eBay)
  • 10 x 3.0"-capable hose clamps (depends on quality. Figure 2-3 each for nice ones, or 1 each for whatever your local store sells in bulk.)
  • small PCV breather filter (local auto parts store should have it for 10 bucks or so)
  • (if the PCV filter isn't the right size for the stock MB hose) suitable hose to couple the filter to the stock hose (2 bucks? You hardly need any. You probably have some lying around...)

Then it's a simple matter of assembling it from the TB on back (I'm assuming you have the grill off, have the radiator core supports removed, stock intake removed, etc.)

1) Cut off about 2 inches from the 3.0" silicone hose. Use that to attach the T to the throttle body.

2) Put the 60 degree bends on the T.

3) Put the straight pipe on the 60s.

4) Put the 30 degree bends on the straight pipe.

5) Put the inline filter on the 30s.

6) On the passenger side, put the straight coupler on the inline filter, passing it through the space next to the radiator. Don't cut it 'til you've got everything lined up.

7) On the driver's side, put the reducer on the inline filter, and use the 2.75" aluminum segment to couple it to the straight coupler. Again, put the coupler through the space next to the radiator.

8) Now, start aligning things. You don't want anything resting on the coil packs. Precision of alignment will depend on how picky you are... Don't worry about the PCV breather hose for now.

9) Once you've got everything aligned, clamp it together.

10) At this point, you have a ton of straight coupler sticking out of the front of your car. Now remember those 90 degree bends? Well this is where you get to decide if you want to use them. If you don't, then you'll want to trim the coupler such that it fits behind the grill. At this point, you're done (except for the next step).

11) Attach the PCV filter to the PCV hose using the segment of heater hose or whatever that you scrounged up. You just want it to a) sit somewhere not against the engine block b) be reasonably close to airtight. Feel free to do some redneck engineering aided by Permatex. PCV breathers don't produce a lot of vacuum, so no worries.

Now, for the optional steps if you want intake scoops...

12) Cut the 90 degree bends such that you have no straight segment on one side (i.e. such that one side has straight pipe remaining while the other simply stops as soon as it starts to straighten out.)

13) Cut the bends from the long side towards the short side. The cut should start cutting the pipe in half, and gradually shift such that the very end of the pipe (the short side) is whole. Basically, you're trying to create a "scoop" on one side that channels air into the whole, erm... hole.

14) Hammer time. Take a hammer and widen the open end of the pipe so that it's nearly flat. This'll then taper into a more curved (and increasingly more cylindrical) side.

15) File and polish. You don't want to suck in metal shavings. (Although this is pre-filter, so no worries if you do.)

16) Now to position the scoops. You'll need to a) place them carefully to avoid blocking off the PS cooler lines and to avoid hitting them b) take a hammer to the end that fits into the silicone, as it's a tight fit and can only be made if the coupled portion of each is *not* round, but oval. This will require patience and trial-and-error.


Ok, so we're done. Button everything back up and enjoy your DIY, inline, bad-ass-looking intake system. Oh, and enjoy the money you saved (on parts... labor is assumed to be free since you do this for fun. Right? RIGHT?!?)

Speaking of which, what do the totals come to?

Let's see:

Code:
1 x 3.0" aluminum tee					50 x 1 = 50
2 x 3.0" inline filter housings + filters		65 x 2 = 130
2 x 3.0" 60 degree silicone bends			17 x 2 = 34
2 x 3.0" 30 degree silicone bends			17 x 2 = 34
2 x 3.0" 1 foot aluminum pipe (9.99 each)		10 x 1 = 10
1 x 3.0" 1 foot silicone straight hose			30 x 1 = 30
1 x 2.75" 1 foot silicone straight hose			30 x 1 = 30
1 x 2.75" <-> 3.0" silicone reducer			12 x 1 = 12
1 x 3.0" aluminum 90 degree bend			15 x 1 = 15
1 x 2.75" aluminum 90 degree bend			15 x 1 = 15
1 x PCV filter						10 x 1 = 10

50 + 130 + 34 + 34 + 10 + 30 + 30 + 12 + 15 + 15 + 10 = 370
370 bucks. That's less than half of what NeedsWings charges. And that drops to 340 if you don't want scoops in the front.

And what do you get in return (aside from a fun two-beer DIY project)?

Well you don't have to mess with your PS line. You don't have to move your horns. You don't have to worry about your filters getting soaked in a rainstorm. You can change your filters without removing the grill. You have a nice-looking setup without any logos. You can choose your color scheme without a 2-3 week lead time. And best of all, you can take it apart and re-use the parts for your next car. ;)

Oh, and I have a picture. It's not quite correct, as I had to scavenge a 30 degree bend from my intake setup for another project, so the driver's side is currently just rigged with a straight shot of silicone... but when I'm done with that other project I'll return the setup to the one I described above, and the driver and passenger side will look identical...



And this is what the scoop looks like *before* flattening the end out and filing it down:



Live fast.

-Rob
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Last edited by ThinkRob; 09-29-2014 at 08:16 PM.
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#2 Old 09-29-2014
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Rob, the only issue I would have with that set-up is the "T" at the intake, possible turbulence because the pipes do not haven some curve to,them blending the 2 pipes into one. I contacted one of the silicone suppliers who brought that up,themselves. I have seen aluminum turbine with what they call a 180 degree "T" and it seems to have some blending of their welding work on the pipes. I,question how much material would have to be removed so the piece would fit between the intake inlet and the firewall but you showed there is enough room. Did you say how many inches of silicone adapter you,used between intake and your "T"? How many inches of the leg of the"t" that attaches that "T" to the silicone adapter?
Sorry for asking a lot but Imdon't want to,damage the "T" or "Y" pipe I would possibly get as it is nearly $100.
The inlet on our motors is 3" too? THX, Mark
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#3 Old 09-29-2014
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Yes, in theory there is turbulence, etc. I'm not too worried about that, as from everything I know re: other intakes, turbo setups, etc. on other cars, the loss of airflow is so minimal as to be negligible. Hell, the throttle body itself produces plenty of turbulence as is. I think this is one of the areas where the perfection of theory meets reality. There's always room for a more perfect design; the issue is whether or not it's worth it. In other words, yes you could measure the inefficiency, but you'd never know otherwise.

If you're worried about welding flash on the inside of the pipe you can file it down. It's plenty big enough to get a file in there...

The inlet is not 76mm precisely, but it is close enough that a 3" pipe with a 3" ID coupler is fine.

I used as little silicone as possible. Basically, just enough to get two hose clamps on in the right place.

The question is not whether or not this produces the exact results that NeedsWings does. The question is whether NeedsWings produces nearly half a grand's worth better results. And the answer I'm inclined to believe -- unless I see numbers proving otherwise -- is no.

I'm scheduled for a dyno run a week from now, and I'll happily provide numbers when I get them.

If you're really worried about the T, you can always get a 4" one and use a 3->4 reducer coupler. It'll be an even tighter fit, but you should be able to make it juuuuuust barely. (You might have to warp the plastic wire shroud a bit though, but you do technically have the space.) I actually considered going this route, but as I'd have to use 3->4 reducer bends as the 60 degree elbows, etc. I decided it wasn't worth it. If I get some extra time I may play around with that design later, but I don't think it matters for now.

As plenty of people have confirmed: the big win for these intakes is getting rid of the restrictions in the airbox (check), the restrictions at the end of the flex hoses in the front (check) and the restrictions in the radiator pass-through area (check.) The rest is just gravy...
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#4 Old 09-29-2014
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So someone created an aftermarket performance product and added in a margin for overhead / the time spent designing it / profit - shocker, right?

Then someone else copies the original innovator's work and posts how people can save a few bucks by not going to the innovator at all.

This must be how people will continue to create products for the platform. Or not.
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#5 Old 09-29-2014
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Oh, that's hogwash. I didn't "copy" anything. I simply decided that NeedsWings's product was too expensive for what it was.

I didn't copy their piping design. I used a different off-the-shelf filter than they did. I handled the PCV hose differently than they did. I used off-the-shelf parts (instead of getting mandrel-bent tubes like they did).

Here's a list of what I "copied":

1) I have two intake tubes.

2) I removed the radiator core supports.

3) I use silicone and aluminum.

If that's copying, then perhaps you should be pissed at NeedsWings for "copying" Daimler's decision to use a dual intake setup? (More seriously, NeedsWings were neither the first nor the only people to work on aftermarket intake setups for the R170 platform.)

At the risk of derailing this thread further, a quick aside about the sentiment behind your comment.

NeedsWings offers some products that I think are a good value. They also offer some that carry a huge markup and are available from other sources for less. That doesn't mean that you're doing some huge moral injustice by not purchasing from them -- that means that you're electing to spend your money in a way that maximizes returns.

This is Mercedes tuning we're talking about. There's definitely a market for a tuning parts company that offers a "one stop shop" for upgrades. If you don't want to bother looking up part numbers, planning out builds, etc. you can just go to NeedsWings, spend about 10 minutes an five grand, and -- after you follow the instructions that Rob + co. are nice enough to put together with every order -- wind up with a car that is vastly improved. That's good! There's a good market for that because -- as Mercedes have themselves figured out -- there're a lot of people that are willing to trade cash for time when it comes to performance cars. They too are maximizing their dollar's return, just in a different way.

For some people -- such as myself -- planning out a car build is almost as fun as doing the assembly. We *like* figuring out that there's a cheaper heat exchanger that you can use instead of the SuperCooler and that by fabbing a bracket or two you can save 300 bucks. We could just buy a brake upgrade kit for a grand or two, but it's more fun to pick your own rotors, pads, lines, etc. and see if you can come up with something better for less.


And we now return to our regularly scheduled programming...
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#6 Old 09-29-2014
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Originally Posted by bumpa2 View Post
So someone created an aftermarket performance product and added in a margin for overhead / the time spent designing it / profit - shocker, right?

Then someone else copies the original innovator's work and posts how people can save a few bucks by not going to the innovator at all.

This must be how people will continue to create products for the platform. Or not.
I doubt he will put them out of business or go into competition - people copy ideas all the time.
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#7 Old 10-02-2014
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I doubt he will put them out of business or go into competition - people copy ideas all the time.
Plus, it's not like I'm "copying" the idea of a dual intake. It's not hard to look at the stock intake setup and go "man, this sucks. I can do better".
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#8 Old 10-03-2014
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Just admit it and say you ripped off their design (saw their design first, then copied it as best as possible) using substandard parts to try to save a buck.

That's what you were heading towards in your posts, but now you are getting defensive about it, despite it being obvious.
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#9 Old 10-04-2014
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Just admit it and say you ripped off their design (saw their design first, then copied it as best as possible) using substandard parts to try to save a buck.
Oh, I absolutely am poking fun at them. They produce a well-integrated, well-designed product, but it's IMHO still vastly overpriced for what it is. That's what prompted me to see what it would cost to build a similar solution. I poked fun at them because this is the Web and you shouldn't take life too seriously.

Back on topic more: I'm hardly the only one to use off the shelf parts to build an intake for the R170. People over on the Crossfire forums and elsewhere were doing DIY dual intakes well before Needswings offered one. It's a cycle. Needswings has relied on the expertise of people over there when designing their products, as well they should. There are a lot of good designs that come out of enthusiast forums like that. (The "Needswings supercooler" came from woody modifying a Summit Racing core, for example.)

If I wanted to copy their design, I could do that. I could easily get aluminum mandrel bent into the same shapes (local machine shops can do that no problem), use the same K&N filters that they do (Amazon), and even get a silicone Y pipe made (yay for China). I didn't do that because aside from aesthetics, I saw no benefit over just using readily available (much cheaper) parts.

That said, there's really nothing to defend. If you want to pay them and use their parts, great! You're more than welcome to. I have no problem with that. If you agree that it's overpriced and want to use the same setup I did you're welcome to do that too. I stand to gain exactly nothing either way.

I shared my solution in the hopes that it would be useful to somebody looking to get good results for a lot less money. I'm sorry if it's not interesting to you or if it somehow is personally offensive to you, but feel free to ignore it if it is.
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#10 Old 10-04-2014
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how much better does it help air flow and is there an increase in power?
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#11 Old 10-04-2014
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how much better does it help air flow and is there an increase in power?
Airflow. Hmmm. Well it eliminates the same three restrictions that all other intake mods do: 1) the junction near the TB, which narrows considerably on the stock setup 2) the airboxes, which are very low flow compared to both the SL55 ones and the Spectre inlines and 3) the pass-through next to the radiator, which is *way* smaller on stock (The max tubing you can do is 3.0" and 2.75" on the passenger's and driver's side respectively, which is what I and others do. Stock is something like 2" max.)

As far as power, well... I'm hitting the dyno on Monday, so we'll see. Given that the SL55 airboxes alone add quite a bit, and that they don't fix all of the above I suspect this should easily beat those. I know that a single 3.0" intake with an inline filter and a scoop is good for around 20 WHP and 20 ft/lbs of torque, and I can't imagine that doubling the intake flow capacity is going to produce worse results...
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#12 Old 10-04-2014
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Originally Posted by ThinkRob View Post
Airflow. Hmmm. Well it eliminates the same three restrictions that all other intake mods do: 1) the junction near the TB, which narrows considerably on the stock setup 2) the airboxes, which are very low flow compared to both the SL55 ones and the Spectre inlines and 3) the pass-through next to the radiator, which is *way* smaller on stock (The max tubing you can do is 3.0" and 2.75" on the passenger's and driver's side respectively, which is what I and others do. Stock is something like 2" max.)

As far as power, well... I'm hitting the dyno on Monday, so we'll see. Given that the SL55 airboxes alone add quite a bit, and that they don't fix all of the above I suspect this should easily beat those. I know that a single 3.0" intake with an inline filter and a scoop is good for around 20 WHP and 20 ft/lbs of torque, and I can't imagine that doubling the intake flow capacity is going to produce worse results...
lets hope you get the 20hp and more, that would be great
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lets hope you get the 20hp and more, that would be great
I'm quite confident I'll see 20. As I said a single 3.0" DIY intake can make that easily, so unless my understanding of physics is seriously lacking I can't see how an additional inlet will produce less airflow...

Stay tuned.
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hi,

now this is funny: i got my spectre 9833 filters from amazon today for a diy custom intake on my 32.

i feel that they`re still too small because e55`s loose about 10-15 rwhp with them and the filter inserts are very tinny.

i would have better taken the 4" 9832`s, but i was afraid about their size and didn`t want to use "several" of the 4" to 3" silicone reducers and different piping.

are you planning to retune your slk32? i have seen that eurocharged and needwings recommend a retune on their dual intake air systems.

i am not sure if this would be really needed or not. hopefully not

anyway: i probabely will get a tune here in germany because i would like to remove also the v-max for the german autobahn and eurocharged doesn`t do this for me ;-)

cheers

No2laggy

berlin germany

please post a pic from the grill and the scoops

Last edited by No2laggy; 10-05-2014 at 05:40 AM.
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#15 Old 10-05-2014
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hi,

now this is funny: i got my spectre 9833 filters from amazon today for a diy custom intake on my 32.

i feel that they`re still too small because e55`s loose about 10-15 rwhp with them and the filter inserts are very tinny.
The 9833s are rated at 450 CFM each. That means that -- if the filters are the bottleneck -- that you're limited to 900 CFM. That's a huge amount of air. I seem to remember from the Crossfire forum that the Needswings DCAI does a bit under 800 CFM, and the NW setup provides way more air than the M112K can reasonably use (even with mods.)

So the intake isn't gonna be the limit either way.

The M113K is a bigger engine with a bigger supercharger and can make use of a *lot* more air, especially with supporting mods, so I'm not surprised if those can be a limiting factor for them.

And yes, Eurocharged did a tune on my 32 after I installed the intake, but a very conservative one, considering that I haven't done fuel mods yet. I'll have them re-tune once I beef up the fuel system.
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#16 Old 10-06-2014
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Today's dyno run showed a gain of 17 WHP over stock airboxes sans restrictions (see below), mostly at the top end. However I'm not satisfied with that for two reasons:

1) I had asked Eurocharged to give me a conservative tune, and they delivered. Waaaaay delivered. The highest AFR I saw was about 12.5 at 5.4-5.5K. The dyno guys told me that the tailpipe meter they were using was inaccurate below 3.5K but were confident it was good above that, but that since it was at the end of the exhaust I should expect it to read lean by about 0.4. So assuming that's true, I am leaving a *lot* of power on the table.

2) I didn't restore the full stock setup w/ all the restrictions. Since I neglected to bring the stock radiator supports with me, I did my "stock" comparison run with 3.0" and 2.75" silicone pipes at either side of the radiator. That's considerably bigger than the stock plastic pieces. When I do my next run I'll make sure I have them so that I can get a true baseline. From the Crossfire forum, I remember that someone dyno'd just that and found that simply removing the supports alone provided an improvement. (Makes sense. The holes in those things are tiny.)

I'm going to send the run files to Eurocharged and see if they can improve the tune some. I may (assuming I can find a suitable day for all parties) ask them to remote tune, but failing that I'm sure they can play around with the tune a bit and come up with some improvements.

I'd also like to test whether putting the filters in front of the grill vs. the inlines makes a difference. It should be about the same price to do either, and while I'm not wild about screwing with the power steering setup, I'll do it if I can make a bit more power. Kinda my mantra...

All in all, a good day, but I need more dyno time! Who doesn't...?

Last edited by ThinkRob; 10-11-2014 at 07:37 PM.
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#17 Old 10-07-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThinkRob View Post
Today's dyno run showed a gain of 17 WHP over stock airboxes sans restrictions (see below), mostly at the top end. However I'm not satisfied with that for two reasons:

1) I had asked Eurocharged to give me a conservative tune, and they delivered. Waaaaay delivered. The highest AFR I saw was about 12.5 at 5.4-5.5K. The dyno guys told me that the tailpipe meter they were using was inaccurate below 3.5K but were confident it was good above that, but that since it was at the end of the exhaust I should expect it to read lean by about 0.4. So assuming that's true, I am leaving a *lot* of power on the table.
hi,

nice results imo

sorry. i didn`t get it right. you would like to go leaner? your target afr @ wot should be around 11.5 on a supercharged engine.

i wouldn`t lean it out too much. a piston will melt faster than you can say "ups" under lean conditions @ wot. especially the crowns on cast pistons cannot stand any kind of detonations. and you`re probabely over 15 psi with a smaller pulley allready.

first, i would install a 02 bung right after a header and get a innovate tool or something similar before you change the tuning files.

you need some acurate readings, everything else is a risk imo.

if you want to do it right get a dyno tune @ a local tuner after installing every mods and a lambda tool.

a good tuner will gain power at any rpm. peak hp does not tell the whole story..

cheepest horsepowers imo
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#18 Old 10-07-2014
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Yeah, I know I need a wideband. It's on my list.

The shop I went to does a *lot* of tuning, just all domestic. They said that on their shop cars the tailpipe sensor is pretty much dead-on though, so I figure it's at least a good start.

I'm definitely below 11.5 towards the middle of the power band though, so I figure it's worth getting a re-tune anyways.

And yeah, I know I need to dyno tune, but that's gonna take time to schedule...

(Oh, and regarding the pistons, I believe they're actually forged, not cast.)

But regarding the intakes, at least I answered my question: yes, they make power. Yes, they make quite a bit of power and for a lot less money than some other options.
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I considered doing what Rob did and would have if I could have found a y pipe I liked. A dilicone/tubing vendor suggested I go with the store bought version, aka needswings dcai,glad you like yours Rob and these have no patent,enjoy,spend rlsrwhete. If I had the cash I'd love s fully built AMG v6 but will with what skills and cash GOD gave me. Mark
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Glad you found something that worked for you.

If you want a T adapter from a well-regarded silicone manufacturer, you can get a USA-made rubber one from IntakeHoses.com
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