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New to cars. please help!? Answered

okay! i have 3 questions. i have a ford taurus 2003.
1) is there a difference between the 2003 and 2004 model? because i cant see one
2) how does a new air intake improve your car?
3) if a body kit says its for the 2004 model will i be able to fit it on the 2003 model?


Yes there were some chanes from the 2000-2003 models to the 2004+ models befor they were discontinued. The changes were minor externally but they are there. You could make a 2004 kit fit but it would take more work than using an 00-03 kit. As for how does a new air intake improve a car... simply put the more air an engine can get the more power it can produce. One of the most common performance enhancing changes people make is changing the air intake and filter from stock to aftermarket like k&n.

.  Some air kits, in addition to providing lower restriction to flow, will also attempt to bring in cooler, denser air.
.  Air kits are usually one of the easier horsepower boosters to add to a modern engine as no retuning is required in most cases - the MAF/MAP/&c sensors will detect the change and adjust accordingly.

.  The OP may want to check out FordTaurus.net - looks like a good hobbyist site.

I should point out that on many cars, a new air intake does nothing but money and make the driver _think_ the car is more powerful because they can't bear the idea that they've spent all that money for nothing. Along with the spoilers (which have essentially zero effect at normal highway speeds) and Miracle Efficiency Boosters and go-faster stripes.

If you want to play, go ahead. But ask yourself why any engineer would have deliberately underdesigned this component.

.  I'm sure that some air kits are pure bling (and might even hurt performance), but most of the kits from reputable performance part  manufacturers (eg, K&N, as mentioned by rkbrumbelow) will give at least a little improvement. You're not going to get much more than a small handful of extra HP, but it's one of the cheaper mods, it's easy to install, and you don't have to retune the computer.
.  I'd put an air kit in the same league as more RAM in a computer - it won't work miracles, but it will give you a decent boost for a little money.
.  As you point out, modern engines are already finely tuned from the factory, but one can still make a few beneficial tweaks here and there - freer, cooler breathing is tops on many ppl's list. Just don't expect big gains from any mods unless you're willing to spend big bucks. Personally, my 3.7 L engine makes plenty of HP for me, but I wouldn't mind having an air kit, just to get a little cooler air into the engine during hot Summers.

> But ask yourself why any engineer would have deliberately underdesigned this component.
.  Nowadays, that is a great question to ask before modifying anything on a modern car. But sometimes the answer is "it was cheaper and/or easier to assemble". ;)

Granted, car manufacturers shave every penny (which is part of why replacement parts are so expensive; many auto-industry suppliers make most of their profit on the replacements rather than the originally installed units).

But this one... how much metal/machining does it really save?

.  If they can save a nickle on each car and sell 5 million cars, that's a $250k savings.
.  And there are other considerations. OEM ducts will usually have corrugations to facilitate assembly, whereas aftermarket ducts will be smooth; more difficult to install, but less restriction. Many hobbyists will cut extra holes in body and engine compartment panels that the factory didn't want to spend the money to install for the few HP gained. &c
.  And then there's the cool factor - it's just cool to have a chrome K&N air kit on your car. You're not going to gain more than a few HP, but it's still cool (and fairly easy for most DIYers to install).

To date the first four generations of Ford Tauruses numbered 7,519,919 that does not include the same car rebadged such as a mercury sable. Assuming they saved 2 dollars a part (likely more) that would be 15 million dollars on that one part.

Many? Most cars are dedigned with rrstrictive air intacts because of cost and epa requirements on milage. So that answers the question of why an engineer would design them restrictively. To put air flow components in the league of stripes, spoilers designed for looks and those magnetic/ cyclone/votex sheet metal airfloe enhancers is irrespinsible. This is why I specifically mentioned K&N as a manufacturer of air intakes and filters. Solid company and a sollid track record (in both meanings of track record)