A Look-enhancing, Power-enhancing Hood Add-on

by : Anthony Fontanelle

Giving the Saturn an additional boost both to its looks and performance is the Saturn hood scoop. Saturn's hood scoop is an air vent on the hood of a vehicle that allows a flow of air to directly enter the engine compartment. Closed hood scoops are attached as a purely aesthetic add-on, while the other types of scoops serve in different possible ways.

The Saturn hood scoop is designed to let outside air into the engine's intake through a heat-resistant tub or channel, and ahead of the air cleaner and carburetor or fuel injection manifold. When a vehicle is running at relatively higher velocity, a properly attached hood scoop increases the speed and pressure with which air enters the engine's intake. As a result, a resonating supercharge effect is created resulting to an additional 10-15 HP output. Such effects are usually felt at high speeds that make ram air especially fitted for racing instead of street performance. Some engines with turbochargers are equipped with top mounted intercoolers to reduce the temperature and on the other hand, increase the density of the high-pressure air from the compressor. An improvement to the power output is thus made.

A may be part of the hood or the engine's air cleaner assembly jutting through a hole cut into the hood. Such a scoop is called a shaker because the scoop vibrates visibly when the engine is running, especially under power. For it to attain its full potential, a functional scoop must be located at a high-pressure area on the hood. Some functional scoops are located at the rear of the hood, near the vehicle's cowl. It is at the cowl where the curvature of the windshield creates a high-pressure zone.

Despite its obvious performance-enhancing functions, the Saturn hood scoop may pose several problems to a vehicle owner. For example, the scoop opening increases the audible engine noise---a problem a problem car owners must solve to abide by laws that regulate noise levels created by automobiles. Another problem is the possibility of debris or water getting directly into the engine. The scoop air intake's cooling effect may also complicate engine warm-up and pollution control. Because of these, manufacturers created scoop designs that can be shut until opened by engine vacuum.