Modifying stock plastic upper inlet manifold?
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    1. #1
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      Modifying stock plastic upper inlet manifold?

      This may seem crazy, but has anyone attempted to improve the stock plastic upper inlet manifold by enlarging the entry and exit holes? Looking at pictures, it seems like there is some room to enlarge the exit ports where the manifold mates with the lower manifold to more closely match the lower manifold. Also, I'm considering upgrading to one of the 70 mm throttle bodies and wonder if the inlet side of the manifold can be enlarged to better match the larger throttle body bore size? I'd like to improve the inlet manifold but don't want to spend the money on an aftermarket performance manifold.
      2010 XC70 T6 148k; 2006 S40 T5 AWD M66 205k; 2004 XC70 275k; 1998 V70 288k (sold); 1970 Dodge Super Bee 383 Magnum 122k

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    3. #2
      Junior Member One's Avatar
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      I don't know about that. On the Ford RS that plastic inlet was prone to failure. If you take of material from the entry and exit holes you might introduce areas on which the manifold can fail.

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    4. #3
      Global Moderator MyNameIdeasWereTaken's Avatar
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      I have an extra plastic manifold that you can have for the price of shipping if you want to play around with it.

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    6. #4
      Member jondevieonS40's Avatar
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      Modifying stock plastic upper inlet manifold?

      The inlets plastic so - imo thinning out that plastic anymore - I'm not sure if it would hold up , which is the same reason modifying the stock air box may be pointless as well. If you start cutting into the plastic how are you going to seal it up strong enough to withstand engine heat.

      You can just buy an enclosed filter and run 3" tubing for pretty cheap, about the same price you'd spend on sand paper and sealant.


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    7. #5
      It's made of pretty brittle plastic. It won't hold up if you change it.
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    8. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIdeasWereTaken View Post
      I have an extra plastic manifold that you can have for the price of shipping if you want to play around with it.
      That would be great - I was just going to drop by a wrecking yard to see if they have one but I imagine it would cost more than your shipping. I have a 70 mm throttle body on the way so I can play around with matching the manifold inlet size to it without disabling my car. I'll PM you about shipping details.

      Quote Originally Posted by One View Post
      I don't know about that. On the Ford RS that plastic inlet was prone to failure. If you take of material from the entry and exit holes you might introduce areas on which the manifold can fail.

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      I've heard this as well but it was usually involving high boost levels. Anyone know where the intakes failed on the RS's? All I really want to do is match the inlet to the 70 mm TB and perhaps enlarge the outlets slightly. I like the idea of a plastic intake plenum and its heat insulating properties keeping the incoming air somewhat cooler than an aluminum plenum. Anyone know the specific material used for plastic intake plenum?

      Also, any suggestions on how to enlarge the inlet/outlets? I'm thinking since the inlet at the TB is cylindrical perhaps a honing device at slow speed to prevent melting. Since the outlets are not cylindrical I'm not sure the best approach. Actually, I'm not sure how much modification the outlets need - anyone know the dimensions of the stock lower intake ports where they meet the upper, and if there is a significant mismatch?
      2010 XC70 T6 148k; 2006 S40 T5 AWD M66 205k; 2004 XC70 275k; 1998 V70 288k (sold); 1970 Dodge Super Bee 383 Magnum 122k

    9. #7
      I really think to get the most out of the 70mm throttle body you have to have an aftermarket inlet (as well as all the piping from the intake to the manifold).
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    10. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by kjhiggins View Post
      Anyone know the specific material used for plastic intake plenum?
      Mine is marked "PA6-GF30" so probably BASF Ultramid B3WG6 or similar; 30% glass reinforced, black pigmented, heat stabilized injection molding PA6 (polyamide 6) grade thermoplastic resin.

      I wouldn't exactly call it brittle, but the dimensions and wall thicknesses have been computer-optimized for thermal and mechanical stress, so modifying it's profile - especially near mating surfaces - risks disturbing a delicate balance and could result in heat-cycle induced cracking.

      It could be reenforced around the areas you are modifying, but it's pretty difficult to bond to this stuff; only a few adhesives will hold under heat. Your best bet would be several layers of tightly wound woven fiberglass tape (or carbon fiber if you were going for overkill :P) saturated in a 2-part polyurethane adhesive.

      All that aside, while porting might theoretically help dyno numbers, in terms of real-world performance I'm not sure if the slight flow rate gained will offset the additional weight of the manifold reinforcement. Making or buying a metal aftermarket manifold might actually to reduce overall performance due to the increased charge air heat transfer and additional weight.

      PS: here is an interesting history of plastic manifolds and a good comparison of the different trade names of thermoplastics and their applications.
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    11. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by GRat9717 View Post
      I really think to get the most out of the 70mm throttle body you have to have an aftermarket inlet (as well as all the piping from the intake to the manifold).
      I've been working on upgrading the entire inlet path - K&N filter, ECU spacer, Snabb intake pipe, Elevate turbo to IC hardpipe, XC60 intercooler, and now 70 mm TB so I am hoping to remove the last restriction in the inlet path by at least matching the inlet size of the manifold to the TB. I don't want to spend another $400-$1,000 on an aftermarket intake because I still need to upgrade the exhaust system. I'd also sleep better at night thinking of that smooth flowing transition from TB to intake.

      Quote Originally Posted by theshadow27 View Post
      Mine is marked "PA6-GF30" so probably BASF Ultramid B3WG6 or similar; 30% glass reinforced, black pigmented, heat stabilized injection molding PA6 (polyamide 6) grade thermoplastic resin.

      I wouldn't exactly call it brittle, but the dimensions and wall thicknesses have been computer-optimized for thermal and mechanical stress, so modifying it's profile - especially near mating surfaces - risks disturbing a delicate balance and could result in heat-cycle induced cracking.

      It could be reenforced around the areas you are modifying, but it's pretty difficult to bond to this stuff; only a few adhesives will hold under heat. Your best bet would be several layers of tightly wound woven fiberglass tape (or carbon fiber if you were going for overkill :P) saturated in a 2-part polyurethane adhesive.

      All that aside, while porting might theoretically help dyno numbers, in terms of real-world performance I'm not sure if the slight flow rate gained will offset the additional weight of the manifold reinforcement. Making or buying a metal aftermarket manifold might actually to reduce overall performance due to the increased charge air heat transfer and additional weight.

      PS: here is an interesting history of plastic manifolds and a good comparison of the different trade names of thermoplastics and their applications.
      Thank you for all that great information. I'll have to see if I can find anything on machining or working with BASF Ultramid B3WG6. Once I get an intake to play with I'll measure the thickness at the points I'd like to modify and determine what percent reduction in thickness the mods represent. I'm hoping Volvo over-engineered it with a bit of extra material - I'll have to see. I'd really like to see what can be done with the stock intake to port match the inlet and outlets to eliminate that aspect of performance gains with aftermarket intakes. It would also be really interesting to measure the actual intake air temperature for plastic vs aluminum intakes but I think that is beyond my skill or knowledge level!
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    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by kjhiggins View Post
      I'll have to see if I can find anything on machining or working with BASF Ultramid B3WG6.
      Might help to search "glass reinforced polyamide" or "glass reinforced nylon", the exact formulation determines the thermal/chemical/injection properties for design & manufacture, but machining will be generally the same for all 30% glass fiber resin composites.

      Quote Originally Posted by kjhiggins View Post
      I'm hoping Volvo over-engineered it
      You mean Ford

      Quote Originally Posted by kjhiggins View Post
      It would also be really interesting to measure the actual intake air temperature for plastic vs aluminum intakes but I think that is beyond my skill or knowledge level!
      If you want to shell out $27 to SAE you could save yourself the trouble: http://papers.sae.org/980728/
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    13. #11
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      MNIWT - thank you for sending the manifold. It turns out the inlet side doesn't have to be altered at all for the 70 mm throttle body since it is a 70 mm inlet! I bolted the new throttle body to the manifold and there is a perfectly smooth transition between the two pieces.

      Now the question is how to enlarge the outlet ports to better match the lower inlet manifold. Based on information on Elevate's website the ports would have to be enlarged about 3 mm in both directions and it does seem thick enough in the outlet port area to allow for this level of enlargement without risking weak spots. I'd like to be able to enlarge the ports evenly and not use a grinding or sanding barrel and I'm wondering if something like a brake cylinder hone might work if used at slow speed. I saw someone mention a flexi-hone as a possibility as well. I realize the HP gain to be had is probably pretty low but I think it is fun to try to squeeze as much out of these pieces as possible without spending several hundred dollars for a new intake.
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    14. #12
      Member jondevieonS40's Avatar
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      Did you ever do anything with the lower ports - i found a spare inlet and was gonna hack it up, specifically just take off the fins and smooth it off.
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    15. #13
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      I finally installed my ported lower manifold last year and along with it I enlarged the outlet ports of the OE upper inlet to match. The lower manifold ports matched the Elevate gasket so I used it as a template for the upper inlet manifold. I took pictures but I can't find them right now. I used a 3/4" sanding barrel in a drill motor and it went pretty quickly. One thing to be careful about is not to go too fast and have the plastic melt instead of getting sanded away.
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    16. #14
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      Well that would have been nice for you to share with us unless i missed it lmao thats cool ill definitely have to try it out i dont see why it would help at least a little.
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    17. #15
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      Sorry about that! I meant to post it but when I couldn't find the pictures (that I know I took!) I let it slide. I still can't find the 'after' pictures but I have one that shows the amount of material to be removed:

      intake small.jpg

      I have no idea how much of a difference it made since I installed it together with a ported lower manifold but given the obvious difference in port size I think it would have made at least a small difference.
      2010 XC70 T6 148k; 2006 S40 T5 AWD M66 205k; 2004 XC70 275k; 1998 V70 288k (sold); 1970 Dodge Super Bee 383 Magnum 122k

    18. #16
      Member jondevieonS40's Avatar
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      I i assume you havent had problems with cracking or leaks, nice mine this is dope!
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    19. #17
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      It's been about a year now and no evidence of cracking or leaks. I found the pictures from when I was doing the porting.

      intake ported 4.jpg

      intake ported 2.jpg

      intake ported 3.jpg

      Top two pictures are after doing one port and the bottom shows the finished intake.
      2010 XC70 T6 148k; 2006 S40 T5 AWD M66 205k; 2004 XC70 275k; 1998 V70 288k (sold); 1970 Dodge Super Bee 383 Magnum 122k

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