K&N 77 Cold Air Intake: An Affordable Performance Upgrade For Your 3rd Gen Tacoma
At last, you’ve stumbled upon the guide you were looking for!
Welcome to your passageway to a whole new world of a properly aspirated engine, the way it should have come from the factory.
I’m here to give you an effective overview and my personal experience with the K&N 77 Cold Air Intake. Without further ado, let’s get started!
What Exactly Is a Cold Air Intake & What Does It Do?
A cold air intake is an aftermarket assembly modification that aims to increase airflow to your engine while decreasing the temperature of the airflow to provide your engine with the best possible source of oxygen for combustion.
Cooler air is denser than its warmer counterpart and brings more oxygen into the combustion chamber. Ultimately, this means that the engine can produce more power and potentially increase the healthspan of your radiator and the motor.
A cold air intake will completely replace the stock Tacoma airbox along with the piping/inlet and housing.
Simply put, a cold air intake is put in place to improve the performance and longevity of your vehicle’s engine.
- Gain In Horsepower
- Increase In MPG
- More Efficient Air To Fuel Ratios
- Better Shift Points
- Quicker Throttle Response
- Increased Torque
- Savings On Air Filters
Not only does a cold air intake have all those benefits, but if you decide to pair a cold air intake with an aftermarket exhaust or other engine modifications, you will be creating a much more capable and efficient engine system.
Our Tacomas come stock with a big, bulky airbox and intake piping full of unnecessary chambers. The stock design, which works great for the average buyer, can negatively affect the vehicle’s overall performance. The design can hinder the intake of oxygen coming into the motor and in turn, affect our engine’s performance.
A K&N intake allows you to remove the bulky airbox and further better the airflow and is paired with a sleek design while still keeping the OEM mass airflow sensor properly installed to make sure your truck is running well. Not only does the intake look better, but it also performs!
Do Cold Air Intakes Work?
I know there are a lot of people out there that will disagree with the “performance” you will see from a cold air intake and to each their own. But to address some of your opinions that feel some type of way, take a look at the information below from Tacoma World.
Tacoma Owner Concern: “The Tacoma intake system is already a cold air system that draws air from the fender, the K&N cold air intake system pulls air directly from inside the engine bay so this system actually draws in hotter air and robs HP and MPG.”
K&N Representative: “To answer this question, our intake system does still act like the original airbox set up with a huge amount of less restriction. Starting off with the heat shield itself. We utilize almost stock location to draw in the air from the fender and that air comes from the cowling. So air is still rushing through there, colder air. It is blocked off from the engine with our heat shield. What about the top? Once you close your hood, the hood, and the liner we use mate up and create a seal. Did we block out ALL heat? No, the stock one can’t even do that. We tried our best to eliminate as much heat as possible and still make sure we have surface area for air to flow through. We do not, and will continue not to test for anything but horsepower and torque. We do NOT test for MPG as there is WAY to many variables to accounts for. You will see this brought up again in the email.”
Keep in mind, this is only one persons review of the K&N Intake seen here, and I happen to really like this addition to my Tacoma. Not everyone will feel the same, and that’s ok. To each their own.
K&N Intake Options
There are many cold air intake options for the Tacoma, but it is my opinion that K&N has developed the most intelligent and capable air intakes due to their years of knowledge in the world of aftermarket vehicle performance enhancements.
While you are considering an air intake for your vehicle, remember to keep your needs, knowledge, and budget in mind.
Thankfully, K&N has developed an array of intakes to make your choices a lot easier based on your needs and your budget. You may be questioning if it is worth it to spend the money on an air intake but don’t worry because K&N offers a few different cold air intake options for your 3rd Gen Tacoma at different price points.
The intakes are all very comparable and only differ slightly in performance due to more or less expensive materials used to construct the air intake. The shape and construction of all models will appear the same but the real difference is in the materials. From heavy-duty plastic or aluminum piping to different filter mediums.
After doing my research, I believe all the intakes, to the majority of us, will look, feel, and sound basically the same. The only true comparison could potentially be in a dyno. Most likely, there is little to no difference.
The filter systems start around $250 and top out at $300 or so.
K&N Filter Options
K&N 63 Performance Air Intake System
- Check Price
- Estimated 17 HP Gain @ ~5400 RPM
- Cotton Gauze Air Filter
- Black High-Density Cross-Linked Polyethylene Piping
- Weight – 16 lbs
K&N 71 Performance Air Intake System
- Check Price
- Estimated 15.5 HP Gain @ ~5400RPM
- Non-Woven Synthetic Air Filter
- Black Aluminum Intake Piping
- Weight – 12 lbs
K&N 77 Performance Air Intake System
- Check Price
- Estimated 18.8 HP Gain @ ~5400RPM
- Cotton Gauze Air filter
- Polished Aluminum Piping
- Weight – 12 lbs
Why I Chose the K&N 77
First things first. From a visual standpoint, doesn’t that red filter and polished aluminum look great under the hood?!
K&N guarantees an increase in horsepower and torque; the system features a mandrel-bent aluminum intake tube (aluminum allows the air to stay the coolest out of all offered materials). Each 77 intake is paired with a washable, reusable high-flow air filter featuring oiled cotton filter material.
The oversized, circular filter design allows you to go up to 100,000 miles between filter services under normal highway driving conditions. If you are driving the truck off-road a lot, it causes no problems, you may just have to clean the filter more frequently. Last but not least, the custom heat shield/airbox helps protect the intake air from the high temperature of your engine bay.
After a quick 30-45 minute install, I was ready to let my new cold air intake rip – and let me tell you, it truly does live up to its claims.
Right out of the gate, the first initial start of the truck sounds smoother and healthier. You will immediately notice the sound of the air filter physically sucking in more air than normal which allows the engine to idle at a much better tempo.
After letting the truck warm up for a bit it’s time to drive it!
The stock Tacoma is quick to shift through the first couple of gears and will immediately jump into a higher gear when the truck senses the RPMs increasing. The shifting with a stock intake feels jumpy and nowhere near smooth, the RPMs and 1-3rd gears jump all over the place when getting on the freeway or even when leaving your neighborhood.
This can become annoying and slightly frustrating if you daily drive your truck. The cold air intake will solve many of these problems and make the truck instantly feel more responsive.
After installing your intake, the initial drive starts out feeling like your truck did before, especially at lower speeds, so don’t be alarmed when you don’t notice an immediate change pulling out of your driveway. Remember, cold air intakes are made to perform at higher RPMS which is why the real change in performance will be evident when you step on the gas.
Once you step on the gas, you’ll notice the awesome sound of the intake sucking in a larger amount of air into your engine. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? If you’ve ever driven a vehicle without an intake silencer, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s just rad!
It almost sounds like a turbocharger or a forced induction system. The real performance is heard and felt when you hit 4-5th gear. When approaching this gear range the truck draws out its gears longer to get into the proper higher RPMs needed to shift at the correct time.
I’ve noticed my truck shifts at about 4-5000rpms from 4-5th gear if I decide to step on the throttle. When this happens, the truck instantaneously feels like it has much more torque; all while sounding tougher, with a deeper resonance, giving you and the V6 a run for its money.
Aside from all the performance gains, I have noticed a jump in miles per gallon. After installing my intake I gained about 2 miles to the gallon. This might be a little off, but there’s no doubt I’m squeezing a few extra miles out of each tank.
We all know that these trucks, with all of our aftermarket modifications, add a lot of weight. Throw on some bigger tires, and, well, the rest is history. So any increase in MPGs is appreciated. Especially when you gain some more power in the meantime. To me, the miles per gallon gain was almost fully worth the price of the intake because, especially in the long run, I’ll see my savings add up!
The K&N 77 high flow cold air intake system has made me fall in love with driving my truck all over again.
It feels much more peppy and ready to go at all times. I have developed a new peace of mind and love knowing the truck is much healthier and more capable than before. The K&N 77 receives a 10/10 rating from me.
I hope this overview was able to help give you valuable insight and the ability to purchase with confidence when upgrading the cold air intake on your Tacoma.