Friday, March 20, 2009

A Perfect Fit...

As the owner of an off road venturing Nissan Xterra that has had some fairly extensive modifications to its front end--fiberglass fenders, removal of fender liners, removal of plastic front fascia, removal of resonators, etc., it has left me with an air intake that is fairly exposed to the elements.  Now if I lived in the Southwest and only had to worry about dust and sand it wouldn't be that big a deal.  But here in the Northeast I have to deal with mud, water, salty water, and more mud getting onto the air intake and into the engine itself.  Given that I did not want to go back to the restrictive stock airbox and have come to like my Jim Wolf Technology air intake a great deal I wanted to add a bit of protection to it.
So enters Outerwears...Not nearly the household name I think they should be in the aftermarket world, Outerwears manufactures a number of products, including a "pre-filter" for most air intakes that not only prevents most dirt and dust from getting to your air intake but is water resistant as well, meaning if the occasional splash or spray gets to your air intake, it will simply run off before ever getting to your nicely oiled cotton mesh.  Additionally, Outerwears testing results show that their products do not significantly restrict airflow and thus allow your aftermarket air intake to continue to provide the performance increase that it was designed for.
Now given that Nissan owners are not the largest aftermarket consumers to begin with, followed by Xterra's being an even smaller target of buyers and lastly that Jim Wolf Technology is one of the smaller aftermarket companies out there, Outerwears did not list a prefilter specifically for the JWT Popcharger (though they do have a number of K&N and other air intake prefilters available for the Xterra).  So I figured I would have to go with a "custom" prefilter, an option Outerwears offers for a slightly higher price.  But when I called to place my custom order the customer service representative made sure to check with the Outerwear engineers to see if any other existing application would fit my needs.  Sure enough, there was one, so because of Outerwears quality customer service they were willing to lose out a few bucks in order to save me, the customer, a few dollars--imagine that in todays world!!  Turns out the air intake for a 1986 Toyota Supra is virtually the same exact size as a JWT popcharger for the '00-'04 Xterra.
So thats the one I ordered (part # 20-1696) and it arrived only a few days later and immediately went on my Xterra.  It could not fit better.  Snug but not tight, it LOOKS like it was custom made for the JWT Popcharger.  There seems to be no noticeable decline in performance since its installation and now I have MUCH more confidence in braving everyday puddles, rainstorms, mud, etc.....I still wouldn't want to sink my X into water above my wheel wells but I feel much more prepared to handle the moments when I just have to hit the skinny pedal when getting through the mud and muck that we encounter throughout the Northeast...

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