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2004 Xterra XE 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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Image 1 is the air tube from the airbox to the engine. That white stuff is likely left over from manufacturing and, if so, is harmless.

Image 2 is the normal intake runner from the fender to the airbox. It contains the IAT sensor.

Image 3 shows the little puffy pads that I removed from mine. After 1 or 2 mudholes, you'll need to clean the innards of your intake system. I got a bunch of mud in mine after just one trip, but then I realized that most of it was due to my inner fender liner missing. After installing a new one, it was a lot better. You may want to inspect yours for holes and/or proper attachment, or consider swapping out to a snorkel.

Image 4 is the IAT. Be nice to it!

Image 5 is a resonator. (See @Arizona Pro-Photo's post). All 3 can be removed, but you will want to seal 2 of the openings. 1 will be at the small opening in image #1, the 2nd will be the larger opening in the side of image #2.
 

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2004 Xterra XE 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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2,531 Posts
The only reason I can think of for those soft pads is to act as sound absorbers.

Resonators are also used to attenuate the sound of the air movement. Some folks disapprove of any sound from the intake, and apparently the Japanese engineers chose to add 3 resonators and some soft pads to deal with it. The thing is, the pads and 2 of the 3 resonators are on the outside of the air filter. The only resonator between the air filter and intake is the one on the air intake tube, and its ability to do any tuning of the intake runners is limited by the fact that it's not part of the intake plenum or runners, and the effect of the throttle body plate. I would hazard a guess that the butterfly is rarely open 100% of the time, so that will limit any effects of that final resonator.

The way that a number of manufacturers have tuned the lengths of the intake runners (not the plenum, intake tube, or anything beyond the TB) is to have 2 runners for each cylinder. Below about 3ooo RPM, the longer path is available, above 3ooo the shorter path is made available. This is done in a manner similar to when the throttle plate opens and closes. The longer paths are more optimal for lower engine speeds since the sound pressure waves have to travel further, which makes them take more time to return and thereby affect the airflow. The shorter paths are more optimal for higher engine speeds.

It is nice to work on my rig without them in the way, and having taken out the one under the fender means that there are 2 openings for fresh air to reach the filter rather than just one.
 
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