Power Stroke Tech: Air Intake Heater

Published online: Jul 31, 2009 News
Viewed 1811 time(s)

The 1999.5-2003 7.3L Power Stroke came equipped with a factory Air Intake Heater (AIH) that can be found in intake tract. The AIH is modulated by the pcm via a relay that is located next to the glow plug relay. This intake heater protrudes directly into the air stream in the cold side of the intake manifold and blocks approximately 20 percent of the intake path.

While the design and use of the AIH may have good reasoning behind it, which is to heat incoming air to alleviate white and gray smoke while the engine is cold. The factory programmed pretty specific circumstances into the PCM before it will power up the relay and engage the AIH to operate. Meaning, the AIH is rarely used, and on most vehicles, especially those in warmer climates, it is not needed.

It's a pretty common practice to remove the AIH completely from the truck, freeing up some of the space in the intake tract, allowing for better airflow. If it's not being used, why obstruct and inhibit airflow to the motor, right?

Removal of the AIH is simple, and will have no negative effects on operation of your engine. First, you'll need to disconnect the wiring that runs from the AIH to the relay. Start by removing the black ground wire, and then disconnect the red wire from the heater, following that wire to the relay/solenoid. Loosen the nut holding the red wire on and remove the red wire. Be sure to leave the blue wire connected to the relay; it needs to stay. You can then remove the AIH from the intake manifold. Once it's out you'll see how much of an obstruction it actually is. To plug the open port in the intake manifold, run to the local parts house and purchase a standard 5.9L Cummins engine oil pan drain plug. This oil pan plug is the same thread pitch and will have a gasket on it to create a tight seal. Simply install it where the AIH once was and snug it down.

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