5 Best Cold Air Intake For 5.9 Cummins In 2024 : (Engine Life)

The air intake is always a sure and great way to improve your truck’s performance level. It improves performance by increasing airflow to improve combustion.

However, if you are not an expert, getting the best air intake can be a challenging task. In the market, you will find all manner of air intakes. Unfortunately, not all intakes will perform as they promise to.

This article will share the 5 best cold air intakes for 5.9 Cummins. But before we continue, here is our top pick

But, before that, let us know about Cummins 5.9 and understand what cold air intake is.

Our Top Pick: K&N Cold Air Intake Kit

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: Increase Acceleration & Towing Power, Guaranteed to Increase Horsepower up to 11HP: Compatible with 5.9L, V8, 2003-2007 Dodge (Ram...

Here is a cold air intake that gives much airflow. In the market, you won’t find another cold air intake that gives much air intake as this cold air intake. It offers 42% more airflow than standard air intake that comes with 5.9 Cummins.

It’s one of the cold air intakes that come with a secondary air inlet. It’s perfect for anyone who wants more air than normal.

Click here to check the latest price and buy it from Amazon now.

Cummins 5.9: What is it?

Cummins 5.9 is nothing but a diesel engine with a fuel capacity of 5.9L. It is an engine variant developed by the American automobile parts manufacturer Cummins. The Cummins 5.9 is a member of this manufacturer’s ‘B series’ engine lineup. 

It was developed in 1984 and is still in production with a lot newer additions in the lineup. People know the Cummins 5.9 L engine by its name, the 12Valve Cummins. It is so-called because it encompasses 12 valves for the cylinders to combust the fuel.

Moreover, the Cummins 5.9 was also the first among all other variants to be introduced in the B-series lineup. It particularly aims to find its usage in light truck-like vehicles, such as the Dodge pickups.

Cummins 5.9 b-Series: General Features

The features of the B-series engines, including the Cummins 5.9, include engine bores that are machined directly into the block. The previous engines from Cummins used wet liners instead. 

The new B-series also stands apart from the previous models due to its shallow one-piece head. So, it requires closer tolerances as compared to other Cummins products.

The first production of this engine began in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. After that, other parts were introduced in Mexico, Turkey, Darlington, etc.

The Cummins 5.9 has powered the Dodge pickups ever since its initial production that began in 1989. It equipped the truck with a turbocharger.

You can also find it utilizing a gear-drive camshaft. The camshaft provides extra reliability to the vehicle. The B series engine also specifies a deep-skirt engine block.

Moreover, it also comes with connecting rods that are extra strong in durability. The B series also used the Holset turbocharger and was uplifted to offer 24 valves. It has also incorporated an electronic engine management system.

5.9 Cummins B-Series: Other Variants

There are other variants in the B series lineup besides the 5.9 Cummins.


The B series family starts with the 3.9L engine with variants, namely 4B/4BT/4BTA. It can be aspirated in the 4B version or turbodiesel as 4BT/4BTA. The 3.9 L Cummins has witnessed significant usage in bread vans, agricultural equipment, small SUVs, trucks, etc.


The 4B 3.9L Cummins is the least powered and naturally aspirated variant that produces 53 hp at 40 kW. It is commonly used in wood chippers, generators, etc.


Next comes the variants in the 5.9L that include the 6BT, 6B, etc.

The 6BT found its use in the trucks and buses meant for light, medium, and heavy-duty after 1989. Recently its popularity has grown in the UK with proven performance in the Land Rover fraternity.  


The 6BT first appeared in the Dodge Ram pickup trucks during 1989-1998. After that, it grew as an alternative to the V8 gasoline engines. They were used among full-size pickup trucks because of their torque production.


6B, on the other hand, is a naturally aspirated variant of the 6BT 5.9 Cummins. It offers a power output that ranges between 150-173hp. It also offers a compression ratio of 19:1.

4.5L ISB

The ISB variants in the B series start with a 4.5L engine. ISB expands as Interact System B. The 4.5L is a four-cylinder engine that aims to be a two-thirds version of the 6.7L variant. It offers 185 hp or 138kW and is popularly used in double-decker buses in London. Especially the New Routemaster series of hybrid diesel-electric buses.

5.9L ISB 

It is among the largest straight-six engines we can find in light truck vehicles.

It offers an improvised output which placed it on the Ward’s best engine’s list for 2004.

One of the peculiar features it has is the multi-valve pushrod design. That encompasses 4 valves per cylinder, making it popularly known as the 24 valve Cummins.

This engine has a displacement of 5.9 L; 359.0 cu in (5,883 ccs). Moreover, it comes with a 102 mm × 120 mm (4.02 in × 4.72 in) cylinder bore and piston stroke. We can also find a turbocharger that increases the output in the high-compression diesel.

The engine’s body consists of all-iron material supplemented with forged steel connecting rods. It also incorporates an intake manifold made of cast aluminum.

6.7L ISB

It boasts of being the newest variant available in the Cummins B series engine lineup. Presently, there is no other straight-six engine larger than Cummins 6.7 ISB for school buses and light trucks. It offers the user a 350 hp or 261kW in the new Dodge 2500/3500 trucks. Whereas when seen with the Mercedes G56, we can notice a slight reduction in the engine torque.

Whereas if we look at the new Cab and Chassis trucks, it will provide only a 305hp or 227kw. On the other hand, 2008 4500 or 5500 medium-duty chassis cabs can reap 350 hp or 261kw. If we move on to the 2011 Ram trucks, we can see them producing 350hp or 261 kW. We can find this engine being used in the Thomas Saf-T-Liner C2 and Blue Bird Vision school buses.

 However, for the 2020 arrivals, the manufacturer has updated the engine up to the capacity of 400hp and a torque of 1000ft-lb.

Changes Over the 5.9L ISB

The 6.7 ISB offers many changes over the previous 5.9L ISB for the Dodge truck. 

 The most evident feature is the larger displacement. 

It increased its cylinder bore and piston stroke as well. Unlike the 5.9L, it is 107 mm x 124mm with the 6.7 ISB. As a result, it gives a displacement of 6.7 L; 408.2 cu in (6,690 ccs)

The 6.7L ISB also introduced the VG Turbocharger. It expands as the Variable Geometry Turbocharger, which reduces the turbo lag. It does that by augmenting the vanes by sliding a steel ring in the exhaust housing. As a result, it effectively controls the turbocharger’s speed by creating more or less pressure in the exhaust housing. 

The VGT also offers versatility by working as an integrated brake system. An electronic actuator present on the turbocharger is responsible for controlling all that. The VGT system has been a common component with the 6.7L ISB engine. 

Air Intake System: How Does It Work?

Regardless of the vehicle or the heavy machinery, be it a scooter or a ship, all engines nowadays work on the principle of internal combustion. In an internal combustion engine, the power is generated within the cylinders or chambers themselves.

It differs from the old external combustion variants where the power was generated externally. The fuel must burn externally to convert water into a stem in that type of engine. The steam created high pressure, which generated the power needed to move the pistons. 

However, in internal combustion variants, the same process happens directly with the help of a volatile fuel like gasoline or diesel and air mixture. 

It means there is a basic requirement of two components, namely, fuel and air/oxygen. But you must not think that it happens simply by tossing fuel and oxygen together.

A dedicated air intake system is needed to execute the entire combustion process.

The system will consist of tubes and valves that direct the fuel and oxygen into the cylinder. After that, a piston will compress the mixture, which the ignition system will later ignite. 

When the ignition happens, as a result of it, a combustive force is generated that pushes down the piston. Consequently, the crankshaft is forced to rotate and provide a mechanical force. It is this force that makes your vehicle move in the desired direction. The same force is responsible for all the vehicular functions, such as the running of generators, water pumping, etc., along with the engine.

The air intake system is crucial for an engine’s functioning as it directs the air to individual cylinders after collecting it. 

In the air intake system, you can find the cold-air intake tube located in a place from where it can pull air from outside. So, you can find it near the grille, fender, or hood scoop. We can reckon that a cold-air intake tube leads the air through the entire system. It is the only opening that paves the way for the air to enter. 

The outside air is generally lower in temperature, which makes it denser. A denser air is known to be richer in the amount of oxygen. Therefore, more oxygen will provide better fuel combustion, eventually increasing the engine’s efficiency and power output.

Air Intake System: Different Parts

To understand how the air intake system works and the role of the cold air, we must know the functions of the system’s parts. Let us view them one by one. 

Engine Air Filter

Once the air is pulled into the air intake system, it passes through this filter normally placed in an air box. This component’s primary purpose is to filter the air. The air is a homogeneous mixture of gases like nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc. 

But, the atmospheric air also contains various pollutants and other gases in trace amounts. Such constituents may also vary according to the season and geography. The air may sometimes contain dirt, asbestos particles, pollen grains, leaves, and small insects. So, if these contaminants enter the engine parts, that could be destructive. Hence, the engine air filter prevents them.

Mass Air Flow Meter

As the name suggests, this meter measures the mass of air coming into the system. The Engine Control Module determines the amount of fuel that needs to be injected. It does that with the help of the MAF meter. The MAF meter tells the ECM the amount of air entering the system. 

So, the ECM can determine the exact amount of fuel needed to create an ideal air/fuel mixture. Nowadays, most vehicles incorporate the MAF meters instead of the Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor that we can place near the intake manifold. However, turbocharged engines may use a combination of both sensors.

Turbocharger and Intercooler

Some vehicles make use of a turbocharger in them. In such vehicles, the air passes through the turbocharger inlet next. The turbine in the turbine housing will spin up by the exhaust gases. As a result, it spins the compressor wheel present in the compressor housing. 

Now the air that comes in can be compressed and dense. But, since the compression will increase the air’s temperature, the intercooler acts as the medium through which the air flows and loses the temperature. Hence, that prevents any chance of detonation or pre-ignition.

Throttle Body

We can see a throttle body through a cable, sometimes electronically connected or otherwise. The accelerator pedal is connected and consists of a throttle plate that will open up while there is a depression on the accelerator. 

The plate is also called a butterfly valve, and its main function is to allow more airflow into the engine—the increased airflow results in enhanced power and speed. If the cruise control is also engaged with the throttle body, a separate cable usually helps operate the throttle and eventually helps maintain the preferred speed.

Intake Manifold

The intake air reaches the intake manifold after passing through the throttle body. The intake manifold or the inlet manifold is nothing but a series of metallic tubes. Its primary role is to deliver air to each cylinder’s intake valve.

Intake Valves

These are the parts that control the intake air before entering the cylinder for combustion. It functions by opening to allow the cylinder to pull air. The cylinder can then pull the air due to the piston going down.

Cold Air Intake Systems: What are They?

The Cold Air Intake Systems are advanced forms of the basic air intake system. The main function of the CAIS is to bring cold air into the intake manifold. Cold air is denser than the usual air with moderate to hot temperatures.

It is because the cooler air gets the molecules to come closer. As a result, cold air will have more oxygen in it. In other words, a given volume of cold air will include more oxygen than hot air.

A Cold Air Intake System boosts the engine’s performance by generating more power. It will improve the mileage of the car.

The cold air intakes differ from the regular airbox with a metallic tube leading to an engine air filter.

It includes heat shields that help protect the air filter from other engine components. When the engine operates for a longer period, it tends to get heated up, so the heat shields help.

The cold air essentially keeps the air outside the engine’s environment comparatively cooler. Doing that allows denser air to enter the combustion chambers or, in other words, cylinders. Consequently it helps in achieving better combustion.

Cold Air Intake: Working Mechanism

The working mechanism behind a cold air intake is simple. Usually, the car has a stock air intake placed near the engine. So, the temperature of the air around it increases significantly. A cold air intake is placed farther from the engine to counter that. The distance allows the cold air intake to supply cold air to the motor.

By incorporating this mechanism, a car manufacturer can hope to increase the overall horsepower of the engine. The user can expect to increase 5 to 20 hp by adding a cold air intake system into the car. 

Therefore, it is advisable to uplift your car’s air intake system by incorporating a compatible and durable cold air intake system. If your Cummins 5.9 lacks one, you must search for the best suited cold air intake available out there.

Top Cold Air Intake For 5.9 Cummins

Best Cold Air Intake For 5.9 Cummins in 2022

1. S&B Filters 75-5094 Cold Air Intake

S&B Filters 75-5094 Cold Air Intake For 2003-2007 Dodge Ram Cummins 5.9L (Oiled Cleanable, 8-ply Cotton Filter)

This cold air intake gives much airflow. It offers 42% more airflow than the standard air intake that comes with 5.9 Cummins. It’s one of the cold air intakes that come with a secondary air inlet. It’s perfect for anyone who wants more air than usual.

It’s one of the cold air intakes that come with a secondary air inlet. It’s perfect for anyone who wants more air than normal.

Since this airflow gives, the maximum airflow expects it to save on fuel while giving maximum performance.

And for controlling the air intake, the S&B filter comes with a plug that acts as a custom enclosure. It shields the intake from engine heat. And for easy access, the intake comes with a transparent lid.

Key Features

  • Provides 42% more airflow
  • Custom heat shield
  • Durable

The cold air intake is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy it from Amazon today.

2. K&N 57-1532

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: Increase Acceleration & Towing Power, Guaranteed to Increase Horsepower up to 11HP: Compatible with 5.9L, V8, 2003-2007 Dodge (Ram...

It’s one of the best aftermarket cold air intakes you should consider buying today from Amazon. It improves air intake through an aerodynamically engineered intake tube. This gives an efficient airflow that delivers the engine’s throttle body to guarantee power gain.

Here is a great air intake that fits 2003-2007 Dodge ram 3500 and 2500 models.

Before maintenance, you will drive up to over 100,000 standard miles. Thanks to the oversized conical air filter. The design also comes with an additional vent that connects to temperature sensors.

Installation is easy, and when put in place, it’s you can easily access and maintain the cold air intake.

Key Features

  • Increases Horsepower
  • A free-flowing high-density polyethylene tube
  • Easy to Install

The cold air intake is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy it from Amazon today.

3. Spectre 9938

Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit: High Performance, Desgined to Increase Horsepower and Torque: Fits 2003-2007 DODGE (Ram 2500, Ram 3500) SPE-9938

The Spectre air intake system is a superior real cold air intake filter kit. It comes with Spectre reusable low-restriction air filter for great performance. It helps prevent hot engine air from entering your intake inlet.

For better performance, the intake uses a polished aluminum tubing equipped with a powder-coated with heat shield.

With this intake, you can expect powerful airflow that improves combustion and increases horsepower. You will also have to save on the fuel you use when you buy and intake this cold air intake over your 5.9 Cummins.

Key Features

  • Improves horsepower
  • Durable with high quality polished aluminum tubes
  • Easy to install

The cold air intake is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy it from Amazon today.

4. Banks Ram-Air Intake System

Banks 42145 Ram Air Intake System

This is a cold air intake for anyone looking for less smoke, cooler temperatures, and more MPG. It won’t give you more power than the other systems, but it will provide you with fantastic cooling for your engine.

In short, this is the best cold air intake for people who drive for long hours, and their engine overheats. The colder air intake will ensure that you get a fantastic cooling effect from your engine.

The intake will also give you durable performance. It comes with a 5-year warranty.

Key Features

  • Great cooling effects
  • Durable
  • Accommodate engine movements

Banks Ram is available on Amazon. If you are looking for cold air intake to cool your engine, look no further. Click here to check the latest price and buy it from Amazon today.

5. aFe Stage 2 Pro-5R Cold Air Intake System

aFe Stage 2 Pro-5R Cold Air Intake System Dodge Ram 5.9L/6.7L Cummins 03-08

aFe is one of the companies that manufacture aftermarket parts for 5.9 Cummins and other trucks. Just like its other spare parts, this cold air intake is superior.

With its construction, you can expect excellent airflow to your car engine.

With its construction, you can expect excellent airflow to your car engine.

Key Features

  • Increase airflow by 105%
  • Solid heat shield
  • High-temperature silicone couplings

The cold air intake is available on Amazon. Click here to check the latest price and buy it on Amazon today.

Why Do You Need A Cold Air Intake For 5.9 Cummins?

Probably, you already know that cold air intake improves the performance of your 5.9 Cummins. But the question is, how?

The following are the benefits you will get from a Cold Air Intake for 5.9 Cummins.

Increase Power (Horsepower)

When using a Cold Air Intake in your 5.9 Cummins, more oxygen is taken in for proper combustion. This means that fuel ignites well, increasing the horsepower of your Cummins vehicle. Good combustion ensures that air-fuel is burnt well to give full power to your car.

Fuel Economy

As you improve air supply in your engine, it means you get better combustion. When your engine burns fuel efficiently, it reduces the chances of wastages since most gas is burnt. You get more energy on low fuel hence making them very economical.

With a cold air intake, you will see a huge difference in fuel consumption.

Increase Throttle Response

Whenever you press your gas pedal, your car will pick a full-throttle without lagging or being slow. This is because there is enough air for combustion, and the vehicle can gain power immediately. Increased airflow is the reason for increased power.

Improve Engine Life

Efficient air supply means more fuel is burnt. As a result, there is less contaminant accumulating over your engine. This is what gives your 5.9 Cummins engine an increased life.

Factors To Consider Before Buying A Cold Air Intake

Cold air intake offers an amazing performance to your 5.9 Cummins. But to get the best cold air intake, there are critical factors you need to put into considerations. The following are some of the factors you need to think about before buying a cold air intake.


It’s important first to think about the quality of the filter on a cold air intake before you make the decision to buy your cold air intake. This is the most important factor.

A good filter should be washable and reusable. This will ensure you can clean it to give efficient airflow. Also, it will save you a good amount of money as you won’t need to replace it with time over time. You only need to clean and reuse.

Read Also: Top 5 Best Exhaust For 5.9 Cummins In 2022: Reviews & Buying Guide


You need a cold air intake that will fit perfectly on your truck. So, it’s essential to buy a cold air intake that matches the size of your 5.9 Cummins. Once you get a fitting cold air intake, you won’t have to compromise on the performance of your engine.

Style of Cold Air Intake

You also need to think about the style of design on which your cold air intake works. Basically, you will get it in three types – True cold air intake system, short ram system, and Ram air intake.

True Cold Air Intake

This is a design that puts more emphasis on keeping the air filter furthest. As a result, it draws air from the outside engine and gives a denser and cooler air. The true cold air intake system produces more cold airflow than any other design. This design is usually the most expensive and difficult to install due to its more piping. However, it gives the best performance over the other systems.

Short Ram System

This is a system that comes with a new smooth pipe equipped with an open-element air filter. It gives a short and smooth path of air to your engine. The system is cheaper and easy to install than the truly cold air intake. However, it’s designed requires fabrication work to install. It also gives less torque and horsepower as compared to the cold air intake.

Ram Air Intake

The Ram air intake functions almost the same with a cold air intake system. The only difference is that the air filter is at the back of the system and has longer tubes. These two factors are helpful when on high speed – it draws large air volume, which improves engine power.


You need to evaluate the material you use on the cold air intake. You don’t want to buy and replace it after a short period. Look for materials that don’t wear and tear. These are materials that will last longer.

All the cold air intake discussed in this article uses high-quality material.


Almost everyone looks at the price as the first thing. Everyone wants to buy a cheap cold air intake. But this shouldn’t be the case.

Price should be the last thing you think about when choosing a cold air intake. First, consider other critical factors that affect performance directly.

When you choose a high-performance cold air intake, you will be saving on other costs such as replacement and fuel.


How much HP does a cold air intake add to a 5.9 Cummins?

A cold air intake can potentially add 5-10 HP to a 5.9 Cummins, depending on the specific intake and engine modifications.

Do Diesels run better with cold air intake?

Diesel engines can benefit from a cold air intake, as cooler, denser air can improve combustion efficiency, resulting in increased performance and fuel economy.

How much HP can a 5.9 handle?

A stock 5.9 Cummins engine can typically handle around 1,500 HP. With proper modifications and upgrades, the engine can handle more power, but reliability and longevity may be affected.

Does cold air intake make a difference on a diesel?

A cold air intake can make a difference in a diesel engine by providing cooler, denser air, which can improve combustion efficiency, resulting in increased performance and fuel economy.

Is a cold air intake system essential?

It is an essential component though some cars may not have it. Instead, they may have only the basic air intake system. The cold air intake will help in improving the performance without a doubt. But it will also prevent the heated air from damaging other engine parts.

Is the cold air intake system costly?

The cost of the old air system largely depends on the model you choose. It is also dependent on the car engine. Therefore, if you choose one that goes well with your engine, the expenditure will be worth it. However, the above list shows some of the affordable options.

How much power can a cold air intake add?

Finding the right and suitable cold air intake kit for your car engine will surely add a significant amount of power. Depending on the engine and the cold air intake system you choose, you can expect up to an additional 20 hp.

Final Verdict

Pick a cold air intake that will fit your needs. Without a doubt, you will get the best performance from these cold air intake.

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