aFe Intake Install & Review on 5th Gen 4Runner

aFe Momentum GT Cold Air Intake on 5th Gen 4Runner

aFe Cold Air Intake Install on 5th Gen 4Runner

AFE Momentum GT Pro DRY S Cold Air Intake System – Installation, review and comparison to the TRD Intake on 5th Generation 4Runner

After we installed the Borla exhaust on my girls 2016 SR5 4Runner, I wanted to kick it up a notch with an intake. I tried ordering a K&N on Amazon but they wouldn’t ship to California. Then I tried ordering an aFe (Advanced FLOW engineering) Momentum Intake and it worked.

I also chose the aFe because another guy on YouTube installed one and it sounded pretty good. I would still really like to install the K&N on a 4Runner in the future and see what that is all about. We installed the TRD intake on my 4Runner about a year ago. That is also why we went with the aFe, it was just something different.

The TRD intake was pretty impressive to me, for the cost. For around $400, the TRD intake showed a noticeable difference in HP gains and caused an increase in throaty sound. The aFe intake is right around the same price as the TRD ($430).

In this post, we see how the aFe intake stacks up against the TRD intake on the 5th Gen.

aFe Cold Air Intake Filter Options

  • Pro Dry S Filter
  • aFe Pro 10R – Maximum Filtration
  • aFe Pro 5R – Maximum Flow
  • aFe Pro Guard 7 – Maximum Protection

This massive filter measures 7″ x 4″ and is 8″ tall with an inverted top.

The aFe intake filter comes with options. You can go with a dry filter or an oiled filter.

Oiled filters typically allow for more air flow while dry filters allow for better filtration. If you live in dusty climates or off-road in dusty environments often, you should consider a dry filter. If you want maximum airflow and don’t typically wheel your 4Runner in dusty conditions, consider an oiled filter option.

We purchased the Pro Dry S filter. Our Northern California trails tend to get a little dusty.

aFe Momentum GT Pro Dry S Specs & Benefits

aFe Momentum GT Pro Dry S - 5th Gen 4Runner

  • Pro DRY S is oil-free
  • HP Gain Claims: +24 HP
  • Max Torque Gains Claims: +24 lbs
  • Increased Flow: 39%
  • Compatible with Magnuson SC
  • Sealed housing
  • Sight window for easy filter inspection
  • Super easy installation
  • No cutting/drilling

The +24HP and torque is a bold claim but judging by the Dyno on their website, they got it.

aFe Cold Air Intake Performance Overview & Review

The aFe Momentum GT intake does not feel as responsive as the TRD intake at first.

I have driven with the TRD intake in my 2014 Trail 4Runner for over a year and you can definitely tell there is a change in performance through feel and sound from low to high RPMs.

With the aFe Momentum GT, you will start to hear and feel the intake in the power band. Specifically, around 4000-6000 RPMs, this intake will come alive. It is rare when we hit 6000 RPMs though so I feel like the window for “felt” performance is around 3700 RPMs to 4700 RPMs.

When you do hit the power band, the aFe Momentum GT will definitely give you a sense of power in both sound and actual power to the wheels. You can hear the intake perform most in the power band, both in the front and rear of the 4Runner.

The rear sound will get more throaty with an aftermarket cat-back exhaust. Combined with the Borla exhaust, this cold air intake has definitely added a rumbling punch with its peak level of sound and felt performance at around 3900-4500 RPMs.

Driving with the aFe Intake

City driving, this intake may be a bit of a sleeper for some. Getting on the freeway at speeds, however, you will hear and feel the aFe Momentum GT come to life. The Borla exhaust has been opened up around town for sure, but to really hear and feel this intake, you need to approach your power band aggressively.

aFe Intake Whistle or Turbo Sound

The TRD intake has a stronger and more noticeable turbo sounding whistle in lower RPMs (1800-2200 RPMs). I am not referring to a chirping or squeaking whistle, this is more of a turbo “swishhh” sound. Some people complain about the intake whistle and some really enjoy it.

This sound occurs when your throttle body opens up. The factory airbox is designed to minimize this sound. Aftermarket intakes bring it out.

The aFe Momentum GT intake still has a noticeable whistle but is less noticeable and is shortened to a tighter window of the same RPM band (1900-2000 RPMs).

aFe Intake Vs. TRD Intake?

All around, you will absolutely notice a difference after you install the aFe. The TRD just has more noticeable sound throughout a wider range of the RPM band while the aFe has a narrow window of sound performance leaning very close to the power band.

The aFe Momentum GT intake is also very large compared to the TRD. If you have plans of installing a second battery or an onboard air compressor, you may want to choose the TRD or a smaller intake.

If you like a more mellow sounding exhaust and less intake whistle while city driving, then the aFe is for you. Expect the aFe to come alive on the power band, though. Passing cars on the freeway, getting on the freeway and gunning it around town really brings this intakes sound performance out.

The Borla and the aFe pair very nicely together to create a subtle yet powerful performance kick for the 4Runner. If you are looking for a deeper, more aggressive sound, the TRD intake and MagnaFlow will give you what you are looking for.

Both Intakes and Pricing

Complementary Modification:

  • Pedal Commander Throttle Response Controller: Check Price

aFe Momentum GT intake Installation

The aFe intake is super easy to install. No re-routing of MAF sensor wiring like the TRD intake. The installation was pretty smooth and relatively fast. Jimmy Jet and I installed the intake in about 1.5 hours while shooting photos and taking video. Very basic shop tools will get the job done. If you are looking for a quick and easy intake to install, then go with the aFe for sure. The TRD was a little more advanced but not by much.

Step 1: Remove Intake inlet clamps and tubing

Step 2: Unclip MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor)

Step 3: Unclip MAF Wiring brackets

Step 4: Remove Intake Inlet Tube & Airbox Lid

Step 5: Remove intake inlet bracket and discard

Step 6: Remove 3 bolts holding down Airbox

Step 7: Install the supplied M8 rubber isolation mount

Install the supplied M8 rubber isolation mount into the front-most threaded hole. Hand tighten only.

Step 8: Install the supplied trim seal onto the airbox

You can see the three ribs on the inside of the supplied trim. We found that placing these on the inside of the airbox worked better. Install the trim all the way around the edge of the inlet until you find out how much you need to cut off.

Step 9: Trim aFe airbox trim seal excess and fit

Step 10: Transfer sleeves and grommets from OE box to aFe box

Remove and transfer two steel sleeves and two rubber grommets from OE box to aFe airbox. Place the steel sleeves and grommets on the rear most mounting points.

Step 11:  Place the aFe airbox into the vehicle and secure

Place the aFe airbox into the vehicle and secure using 12mm bolts from factory airbox. Using the supplied M8 nut and washer, tighten down the airbox onto the isolation mount using a 13mm socket and driver.

Step 12: Install the supplied large T-bolt clamps on Airbox

Install the supplied large T-bolt clamp onto the airbox and slide the air filter into the airbox. Do not tighten the clamps at this time.

Step 13: Reinstall OE MAF and add brass hose fitting

Remove the MAF sensor from the OE airbox and reinstall into the aFe intake tube using the supplied T20 Torx screws. Install the brass hose fitting in the aFe intake tube and tighten using an 11mm open end wrench.

Step 14: Install Reducing Coupler & T-bolt clamps onto the throttle body

Install the supplied reducing coupler with the smaller T-bolt clamp onto the throttle body (lettering on the coupler should be away from the throttle body) and tighten the clamp. Place the larger T-bolt clamp on the coupler, but do not tighten at this time

Step 15: Install the intake tube into the coupling & then filter

Install the intake tube into the vehicle by sliding the tube into the coupling on the throttle body first, then into the filter.

Step 16: Reconnect MAF sensor and check bolts.

Step 16: Reconnect MAF sensor and check bolts. 

Tighten all clamps using an 11mm deep socket and driver. Connect the crankcase vent hose to the aFe intake tube, and connect the 5/32″ vacuum hose to the aFe intake tube. Reconnect the MAF sensor and you are set.

Measurements from Firewall

Finished Product

aFe Cold Air Intake Install on 5th Gen 4Runner

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1 year ago

Regarding the AFE- did you notice any loss in low end torque with or without any top end gain? My 21 4 Runner hates highway speeds, especially in the mountains. thanks

2 years ago

What’s the likelihood you’ll be able to pair this with a snorkel?

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith
3 years ago

Hey Brenan, are you still running this intake? If so, what are your thought on this vs. other options? I’ve been eye balling this one for a while but wasn’t sure if it would clear my compressor and relocated washer fluid reservour. Thanks to your measurements, it looks like it will.

3 years ago

I installed the AFE intake and exhaust, on my 2019 4R and it sounds great(nice growl!) No whistle, BUT… does drone, when climbing hills at highway speed. (Thankfully, the stereo goes to 10)

4 years ago

is this Carb Approved?

4 years ago

After the install of the afe cai do you have to have a tune and will it void the warranty? I recently bought a 2019 4 runner and have been wanting to purchase a cai seen mixed reviews about cai’s. Just was wanting opinions thanks

5 years ago

Does this one whistle like the TRD Intake?

5 years ago
Reply to  Justin

Recently read on a TRD intake install that there is a hole in the box that needs to be plugged with a small rubber insert to reduce or eliminate the whistling.

5 years ago

Question about fitment on 2018 4Runner and aFe 54-81932 Magnum FORCE Stage-2 doh.. Is this a 2018 TRD Off Road by any chance? I’ve been told by my Toyota dealership in Canada as well as a dealership in Grand Forks that this cold air intake is not available for the 2017/2018 models!? Is this your understanding? On your page about cold air intakes I think you also listed the AERB model as well and Amazon says it won’t fit my 2018.

5 years ago

Thank you for the picture with the measurement. 10″ clearance to Firewall. The AFE is BIG.

That seems to be (Just from the pictures) too tight for an Accessory Battery or an ARB Compressor / Tank with a Bandi Mount Set-up.

Can anyone who has the Dual Battery in the Rear Corner confirm if this Intake Fits or not???


5 years ago

You may not get your answer to your question directly, but if you go to SnailTrial4x4 on YT, he just did a video of the install of it.

5 years ago

How much larger (wider) is the AFE Intake compared to the TRD?

I am looking at installing an Off-Grid or similar Dual Battery set-up with the extra battery behind the Air Intake on the Passenger rear corner of the engine compartment.

5 years ago

Heya ! oh you totally saved my life 😛 .. i was about to purchase the intake though i am planning to have a Dual Battery System,

could you tell me is it really tight for the secondary battery to be installed from the top side of the filter since that’s the location i am planning to have the secondary battery.


5 years ago

Try the filter from SBFilters. At $300, it may provide some better performance than the others. It’s still new for CA, so it’ll need to be shipped in, but I suspect it’ll get it’s cert soon. Curious to see what the comparison is between the SB and the ones you’ve written about.

5 years ago
Reply to  Brenan Greene

I don’t unfortunately, but reach out to @madpanda181. He’s got one and it sounds freaking awesome. Has some vids too and knows them pretty well. Good guy.

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