AEM BruteForce 5.9L ZJ Intake

Article by David Niemeier.

AEM BruceForce 5.9I had just walked in the door after a long day at work when I heard a knock at the door… “whohoo! FedEx man is here!” When I am asked to do a product review, the reviewing process starts immediately after the delivery of the product. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the box from AEM. The box appeared clean, no major dings or bent corners. So far so good! In the following article, I am going to discuss my overall experience with both the install of the product, and thoughts of the product performance. The instructions that come with the “Brute Force Intake System” from AEM were very detailed and sufficient to perform the install with, therefore I will not be going into major detail about the specifics of the install itself.

The contents of the box were packaged very well. Plenty of Styrofoam peanuts to keep it soft in there. The contents included everything I would need to perform the install, and even a few extra goodies. The instructions are printed on regular paper, with black and white photos, both of good quality print and quite legible. After removing all of the contents and inspecting them, every item seemed in perfect condition and showed no sign of traveling across the country in the back of a van.

The next step (as per the directions) was to start removing the factory intake system. In my case, I already had an aftermarket intake system installed, so I just simply removed that. Removing a factory intake system is not difficult, and it is covered well in the AEM instructions. About the only thing you’ll want to do here is make sure your engine has had plenty of time to cool down since the last time it ran. In the below photos you can see the aftermarket system I started with, as well as what the engine bay looks like without any intake system.

AEM BruceForce 5.9 AEM BruceForce 5.9

The next step is to remove the throttle body and install the throttle body spacer, or “Power Spacer” as AEM calls it. I was a bit surprised to see that the thickness of the spacer was around ¼”. The spacers that I am used to seeing for similar applications are usually quite a bit thicker. Perhaps the thinner spacer works better in the Jeep V8 applications. This step was as simple as removing 4 bolts, and placing the spacer under the throttle body with the gaskets and replace the throttle body as before. One thing I did notice here was that the directions called out to place the spacer between two gaskets. The kit only came with one gasket, but the factory gasket can be used with the new gasket and the spacer, chances are this is what AEM intended, but I was surprised not to see two new gaskets. Once everything is in place, torque down the bolts to the specs in the directions and you’re done with this step.

AEM BruceForce 5.9 AEM BruceForce 5.9

The next step is to install the heat deflector shield. There are two bolts that go through the bottom of the engine compartment and another that ties into one of the factory bolts that holds the windshield washer fluid bottle. This third bolt was probably the most difficult part of the whole installation which isn’t saying much because I just used an extra long ¼” drive extension to get the bolt back in. It is just a little tight, but nothing a good set of tools can handle. Once you get the shield installed, you can place the rubber sealer/trim pieces on the top edges if you would like, then you are done with this step.

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The next step is to prepare the intake for the new plenum. Here, you just simply remove the factory plenum support and replace with the supplied threaded stud and new plenum support. It also says to remove the factory gasket. I opted to keep mine on, however I placed it on top of the new AEM gasket because it was a bit smaller, so the AEM gasket supported the factory gasket. I did this because after I installed the plenum, there was still a small gap. That was solved by using both gaskets. Only the AEM gasket is shown in the photo. After that, you are done with this step.

AEM BruceForce 5.9 AEM BruceForce 5.9

The next step is to install the plenum, the intake tube, and the connecting 3.5” hose. I just simply placed the plenum on the intake, and threaded a wing nut on the stud, but didn’t tighten it down. Then I installed the connecting hose on the end of the plenum with the supplied hose clamp. Then I installed the intake tube and secured that to the connecting hose, with the supplied hose clamp. Once you have done all of this, feel free to connect your breather hose onto the nipple on the intake tube. After that, you are done with this step.

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The next step is to install the air filter using the supplied hose clamp, and adjust everything to line up well and secure everything down. I had to give the filter some pressure to get it to slide onto the intake tube far enough. A little bit of oil, would make this easier. After you have secured everything down, and given everything a ‘once over’, you are pretty much done. At this point, I closed the hood and took it for a test drive.

AEM BruceForce 5.9 AEM BruceForce 5.9

After returning from the quick test drive, I decided to pop the hood and check everything over. Before, when I had hooked up the breather line onto the nipple I thought it was a bit short for the distance it had to span to reach the nipple. Turns out I was right, during the test drive, the breather hose had slipped off of the nipple. This was probably because the breather hose was a bit too short, and the small diameter of the nipple on the intake hose wasn’t quite big enough for the hose to hold tight. This was very easily solved with a couple small hose clamps. Once the hose clamps were installed, I was able to take it out for a real test drive.

AEM BruceForce 5.9Final thoughts: After driving it for a few days I have come to the conclusion that there is a noticeable increase in power. Remember, prior to this installation I already had an aftermarket intake system, so this comparison surprised me. I figured it would be about the same as before. The sound is incredible! It has a much more ‘throaty’ sound to it, even more so than the prior intake.

My overall impression is very good. The kit was very well thought out and engineered. The directions made for an easy installation, and the high quality parts made the fitment almost perfect. I would recommend this intake system to anyone looking for a little added extra boost.

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