J-Marche HKS intake box review

j-marche intake box

The J-Marche airbox is an accessory now available for the Honda CR-Z HKS reloaded intake. It can be purchased either as a combo kit with the HKS reloaded intake or stand alone. Basic function is to isolate the intake from heat generated by the engine bay and to allow the cooler air from the front collector to be routed as close as possible to the intake inlet.

The airbox is constructed of a lightweight plastic core aluminum skinned box. Airbox brackets are aluminum, with plastic locking clips. Top cover is a lexan or clear plastic to display the HKS reloaded intake inside.

Basic materials look ok, and the light weight is good feature, but issues start to arise when trying to assemble the airbox. Considering the basic nature of this airbox (it’s just a box), one would figure that an initial prototype and then template would be pretty easy to duplicate and still obtain good fitment. With the J-Marche airbox this is not the case (no pun intended). Various pieces had to be trimmed with a dremel in order to get the slots and sides to fit together even remotely close. Once the box is constructed, part two is to install the HKS reloaded intake into the box.

Part two was worse than part one, with very little room to insert the curved intake, not scratching the extremely thin aluminum skin walls was nearly impossible. The plastic foam core helps to insulate the box against the external heat, but also makes the box far to delicate. With some delicate maneuvering the HKS intake made it’s way into the recepticle and it was on to part three; engine bay installation.

In every story there are lots of chapters, of which in general, one usually gets by the early portions of the story without too much drama. Part three of this install further demonstrated how bad the fitment of the airbox actually was. In the intake filter area there isn’t much that moves around or dramatically rearranges itself. One could blame the right hand drive (RHD) vs. left hand drive (LHD) engine configuration, but I’m unsure if that really is the issue. The airbox fits in a tight space as demonstrated by the OEM filterbox removal. But the J-Marche airbox was too weakly constructed to withstand the pressure from the OEM front collector, throttle body, and various other engine components nearby. The box basically warped into more of a trapazoid. The lower anchor (only held in by the plastic retaining pin) gave into the pressure and popped out of the box. The airbox itself can be maneuvered to fit tightly into the space provided, but then the clear lexan cover no longer sits squarly on the top. With a little more squishing and skewing of the box the components can be coaxed into a reasonable facsimile of a box like object.

Considering the construction, the down right annoying install, and that the import price is basically the same as a domestic CAI, this definitely isn’t a product worth using.  For now it will stay put (unless it begins to deconstruct itself due to the engine heat) until the turbo/supercharger market releases something actually useful to replace the airbox’s location. If nothing comes out in the near future, the airbox will most likely be replaced by a CAI.


Link: J-Marche airbox for Honda CR-Z