The Volant Hummer H3 PowerCore Air Intake System

Can Better Breathing Lead to Better Gas Mileage?

Jun. 18, 2008 By Dan Sanchez

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The Hummer H3 is an excellent SUV for both street and off-road use. We found that you can increase its performance and fuel economy by upgrading the air intake system.

At a time when SUV and off road enthusiasts are looking for ways to make power and conserve fuel, it would be great to install an inexpensive aftermarket product that can do both. In our experience, we’ve found that increasing an engine’s efficiency can lead to minor gains in fuel economy as well as horsepower, but only to a point. Nevertheless, at a time when fuel prices are sky high, any improvement can lead to easing a vehicle’s cost per mile.

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The key to improved fuel economy gains from this system is the PowerCore air filter. This unique design filters at 99.99 % efficiency and lasts 100,000 miles.

We’ve heard about Volant’s newest air filter design called the PowerCore that is more efficient than current filter designs and provides a greater amount of air to the engine. If this was true, then their new filter, in conjunction with the company’s popular Cold Air Intake system, might be what we were looking for.

Volant manufactures Cold Air Intake systems for many applications. Its most popular system is for late-model Chevy/GM trucks and sport utility vehicles. So we opted to install their Cold Air Intake Kit onto a 2007 Hummer H3.  Volant claims that the H3 air intake system incorporates extensive testing and dyno work that actually increases airflow to the engine, improving efficiency which ultimately leads to increased horsepower, torque and fuel economy. In addition, the intake utilizes the company’s new PowerCore air filter which we’ve heard so much about.

The PowerCore is maintenance free, high-flow synthetic filter that is 99.99 percent efficient at trapping dirt. In addition, the PowerCore air filter is also impervious to water and lasts 100,000 miles before it needs to be replaced. This makes it a perfect filter for off-road use.

We asked Volant how all this was possible. They explained that paper, cotton/gauze and other pleated style filters gather dirt on the surface and can block incoming air. The PowerCore allows dirty air to enter into its flutes and collects in one of thousands of chambers. When the air hits a plugged chamber, it is directed to freely exit out another. In addition to being impervious to any moisture, the PowerCore does not need to be cleaned and oiled like popular cotton/gauze filters, making it virtually maintenance free.

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The flutes in the filter chamber capture dirt and allows air to pass around clogged chambers to flow freely into the engine.

When we compared the filtration properties of the PowerCore design to other filters, we found that seven layer cotton /gauze designs typically filter at around 98.34 percent efficiency. Some synthetic filters can do better, and are 99.54 percent efficient.

The .09 percent of efficiency difference between the PowerCore and its closest competitor doesn’t sound like much, but Volant showed us test results that measured nearly one full gram of dust is captured by the PowerCore over the nearest competitor. 

Volant seals the filter in a box to protect it from dirt, water and engine heat. The Volant filter box, however, is much larger than the factory unit, and gathers more air from several openings.

This too helps improve throttle response, and with the aid of a smooth-designed intake tube, more air velocity is created to give the H3’s engine additional horsepower and torque.

Installing the Volant H3 intake takes about 20 minutes and does not require any special tools. Once it was installed, we noticed an increase in the H3’s power.

Although we didn’t get an opportunity to dyno test the system, Volant conservatively claims an 8-10 horsepower improvement. But aside from the seat-of-the-pants performance observations, we wanted to measure the H3’s fuel economy to see if we made any improvements.

Over the course of a month, the H3 had a baseline fuel economy average of 13.2 mpg. After the Volant Cool Air Intake was installed, we averaged the fuel consumption over two tank-fulls of fuel. Surprisingly, the H3 improved to 14.3 mpg, averaging a 1.1 mpg improvement. This dramatically changes the H3’s cost per mile from .32 cents to .29 cents. That equals out to a $3.00 savings every 100 miles which can definitely make the cost of the intake system, around $370, well worth the investment.

Volant Performance
8759 Lion St.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

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The first step is to remove the engine lid. This allows you to gain full access to the factory intake tube and throttle body.

Unplug and remove the factory Mass Air Flow sensor from the original intake tube. This will be replaced onto the Volant intake later.
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Loosen the clamps to the air intake box and at the throttle body. The factory intake tube and the top portion of the filter box can then be removed. The bottom of the filter box is attached to the fender with two brackets and bolts. These must be loosened so that the box can be removed from the vehicle.
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The MAF sensor is attached to the Volant velocity adaptor using the new bolts provided in the kit.

The velocity adaptor also improves airflow into the intake tube and is attached to the larger Volant air filter box.

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New brackets and bolts are provided to attach the Volant box to the inner fender.

New silicone hose couplers and stainless steel clamps are used to attach the intake tube to the filter box and the throttle body.

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Additional connections such as the crankcase ventilation hose and the MAF sensor wiring harness are attached to the Volant intake.

The PowerCore air filter is inserted into the Volant box. The filter flows much more air, has a larger surface area and doesn’t have to be replaced for 100,000 miles.

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With the stainless lid on the box, the intake looks and performs great. Our testing showed we gained a 1.1 mpg improvement in fuel economy, which over the long haul can save money. Newsletter
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