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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 8:02 am 
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There seems to be some many myths about air filters it's hard to know where to start, but here's some basic truths.

The task of an air filter is to remove harmful particles from the inlet air.

A filter is a filter and not a sieve. ALL filters filter more efficiently the dirtier they are (so long as they fit and are used in the right application). Just read that again.

ALL filters filter more efficiently the dirtier they are. Right up until the point they choke the engine. That means they are filtering so well they are actually stopping the air molecules from reaching the engine.

Every time you open the airbox of your engine you shorten the life of the engine. Industrial machinery (and even landcruisers) run a tell tale light to tell the operator when to change the filter based on pressure drop between each side of the filter. when the light lights, THAT's when you change the filter. You're actually harming the motor by changing the filter before there is a measurable pressure drop across the filter, and that's because you let dust into the inlet tract.

Every time you service your air filter, you reduce its filtration efficiency.

Foam and cotton gauze air filters don't filter as well as the stock paper filter. When they are really dirty, they might filter as well as a new paper filter in the same application.

Car manufacturers employ hundreds of engineers and have lots of money to throw around. Their engineers know stuff. They will fit the smallest, lightest and therefore cheapest air filter that provides the minimum required air filtration for the car and it's intended use. That means for a passenger car, a much smaller and lighter filter than for a 4WD. It also means it's false economy to fit a smaller lighter filter than the car came with unless you aren't interested in how long the engine lasts.

The air filter element is very rarely the source of power loss in an inlet tract. It's most often the diameter and path of the piping to and from the element.

Foam and oiled gauze filters generally have a smaller surface area than a convoluted paper filter. That means there is less surface area to trap dirt, meaning they clog more quickly.

OEM Air filter housings are designed to work with a paper filter. Most of the debris is designed to fall away from the filter, either by centrifugal force or gravity. Most filter housings then have a small hole or trap that actually lets this dust fall out of the housing. Oiled filters trap all this dirt, making the filter clog even quicker and preventing the airbox from working properly.

The particles that will wear out your engine are too small to see. If you can see dust in your inlet tract, your filtration is worse than terrible. Bear this in mind when you hold up a oiled gauze filter to the light. You can see pinpricks of light through them when new and clean.

If you think your air filter is a power restriction, you need a larger element and a larger airbox, not a filter with less surface area and a less efficient filter medium.

What is used in (certain forms of) racing is not applicable for road or recreational 4WD use. In a race car, if the engine rebuild interval is short, the air filtration becomes progressively less important. Two strokes that run for hours require just enough filtration to prevent the engine wearing out before it's operating parameters wear it out.

However, an engine that's expected to last 200,000km will require significantly better filtration than a race engine that has to last 1000km.

Additionally, as I touched on, use plays a huge part. An LS motor in a commodore uses a small, flat filter. An LS motor in a chev truck uses a huge flat filter. an LS motor in a desert race buggy (often) uses a UMP filter or a donaldson - a huge centrifugal filter that wouldn't fit under the bonnet of a road car, however, many people are happy to reduce the filtration effectiveness of their stock airbox with a "free flowing" filter.

There's a fair amount of science in filter selection. Paper filters are still considered the industry standard for filtration effectiveness.

If you want to make more power via your filter, fit a larger filter, not a smaller one.

Sorry if this seems like an arrogant rant, but there are plenty of people out there that are still buying oiled gauze and foam filters believing the marketing hype that they are doing something good for their motor (often because that's what "race teams use." The science (and logic) doesn't support this. You will never, ever, find any independent scientific data from the manufacturers of any of these filters indicating they filter as well or better than paper, but enormous lettering on the box about how many HP you will gain. It's a con.

Some context:

I've destroyed motors from poor filter selection (foam). I've also dynoed motors in cars with modified inlet pipe diameters, and with different filter sizes. I run a 1980's Hi-ace van filter in my Sierra, which is an almost direct copy of a Donaldson cyclopac. It's very well designed. I leave it alone- I haven't opened it since I fitted it over 12 months ago. It runs a paper filter.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 8:17 am 
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lol

I have a K&N, i bought it with much enthusiasm seven years ago.

all i can say is .

I agree!

a larger oem airbox and paper fileter is a better investment
(and i haven't actually tested it yet but a flat filter is apparently better than a cylinder filter for engine noise reduction acording to the peeps at autospeed)

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 8:30 am 
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yeah, K&N filters and the like are useless for an offroad vehicle unless your engine likes to run on dust

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 8:54 am 
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not to mention they clog the hot wire in the afm on most vehicles !
only thing im not sure on is the light coming on in cruisers? iv never seen heard of this??

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:01 am 
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I don't anyone ever runs one long enough to see the light come on. They definitely have (had?) one - my Dad's FJ62 did.

My Gwagen uses a little pop-off telltale on the airbox. In theory, if it's not popped, don't open the box. (In theory. I'm aware that there's probably a good case to check/change a filter 12 monthly or somehting, if only due to the possibility of a large amount of debris or moisture in the airbox.

If you run a donaldson precleaner on the intake though, there's really no need.- it won't get wet or debris past the precleaner.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:10 am 
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Sorry guy's but thats a load of misguided information, especially to say a dirty paper filter works better than a new afterftermarket filter.

Here's a simple yet effective demonstration about Paper Vs Cotton Vs Foam filters, Disregard the brand, same principle applies. For dusty conditions, A pre filter should be used.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r8NajjYkFA

Science doesn't lie, But believe what you like..

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Last edited by buzbox on Wed May 26, 2010 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:13 am 
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Gwagensteve wrote:
I run a 1980's Hi-ace van filter in my Sierra, which is an almost direct copy of a Donaldson cyclopac. It's very well designed. I leave it alone- I haven't opened it since I fitted it over 12 months ago. It runs a paper filter.

Steve.


is this in a 1lt air box or 1.3lt?

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:24 am 
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I don't have a photo - I'll take some on the weekend.

Mine is in a 1.0 trayback, but because of my 660cc conversion, it sits on the passenger side, not the drivers side.

It's a steel cylinder airbox that looks a bit like a larger 1.0 airbox, but it's 1000000 times better sealed and designed. The filter element is twice the size of the 1.0 element.

It's not a bolt in and requires welding to modify the inlet/outlet to suit the sierra application, but IMHO it's worth it for a cheap, steel, well designed airbox.

Steve.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:28 am 
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Engineers design for something to be effective enough for the cheapest price. That is it.

Look at the dirt/dust coming from the wheels on my kart. That stuff is finer than talcum powder.

Image

This pic shows where the air cleaner lives. I use a K&N filter with a coarse foam stripper on it. It runs parallel to the rear tyre and the outer foam stripper actually rubs on the tyre. Tell me that isn't an extreme situation to try and keep dirt out of an engine. This whole show is less than 75mm from the ground. At least your 4wd's have a bit of height to them.

Image

If these engines get ANY dirt in them it is rebuild time. Half a lap with an incorrectly oiled filter is enough to cause problems.

Anyone that has problems with a K&N isn't cleaning and oiling them correctly.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:38 am 
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i have a Donaldson pre cleaner and reckon it is the go.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:41 am 
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shep wrote:
i have a Donaldson pre cleaner and reckon it is the go.


Where do you get them from? I'm looking for one of the little ones.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:42 am 
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Red_October wrote:
shep wrote:
i have a Donaldson pre cleaner and reckon it is the go.


Where do you get them from? I'm looking for one of the little ones.


Wildkat spares

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:42 am 
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ball wrote:
Engineers design for something to be effective enough for the cheapest price. That is it.

Look at the dirt/dust coming from the wheels on my kart. That stuff is finer than talcum powder.

Image

This pic shows where the air cleaner lives. I use a K&N filter with a coarse foam stripper on it. It runs parallel to the rear tyre and the outer foam stripper actually rubs on the tyre. Tell me that isn't an extreme situation to try and keep dirt out of an engine. This whole show is less than 75mm from the ground. At least your 4wd's have a bit of height to them.

Image

If these engines get ANY dirt in them it is rebuild time. Half a lap with an incorrectly oiled filter is enough to cause problems.

Anyone that has problems with a K&N isn't cleaning and oiling them correctly.



THATS ACE :!: :lol: 8)

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:47 am 
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kenn wrote:


THATS ACE :!: :lol: 8)


Fun to drive too :wink:

One engine just doesn't seem fast enough anymore, going to bolt a second one on the other side.

70HP on something that weighs less than 55kg should make things a bit more exciting :twisted:

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:49 am 
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ball wrote:
Red_October wrote:
shep wrote:
i have a Donaldson pre cleaner and reckon it is the go.


Where do you get them from? I'm looking for one of the little ones.


Wildkat spares


haha fair way to travel. any truck spare parts place will have them. mine is a
2 5/8 pipe size and was $22.50 but the fella that sold it to me doesn't like me so ya
might be able to get it cheaper. :wink:

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:59 am 
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Dirt Karts - 8)

Your engine runs for 20 minutes before a rebuild. You have no idea how bad your filtration is, only that it's good enough to outlast the rebuild durability of your motor. That means a K&N is fine for your application, any better filtration would be a waste as it would certainly add weight and complexity and it would be a huge challenge to design it to not cost power.

Your experience is exactly the reason that race applications aren't relevant to road applications.

I recall in the other thread you commented on a bad performing filter being evident by feeling the dirt inside the bore.

Any amount of dirt you can see or feel will destroy a motor in a short time. The size of dirt particles (specifically silica) required to destroy an enigne can't be seen or felt. The level of filtration that's perfectly adequate for your Kart might destroy a car engine in days, or weeks, or months, but it would certainly be shorter engine life than with a factory filter.

Quote:
Engineers design for something to be effective enough for the cheapest price. That is it.
and so is your Kart filter. It's effective enough to outlast your engine rebuild duration.

In fact, there might well be something else going on with your filter. It's area is very small and gas velocity travelling through it quite high. Like the F1 example isuzurover used on outers, it's possible that dirt in your filter might actually be being smashed through the thin K&N material, so it's rare case where frequent servicing is a requirement.

I think you are inferring that if manufacturers had more money they'd run K&N. I disagree, because in applications were engine life rebuild cost is massive and dust is severe (Like mine equipment, off highway trucks etc), the budget for filtration is very high - and those applications use paper too.

In a car application cleaning an oiling a K&N "properly" will be taking its filtration efficiency the wrong way- worse than a paper filter. Overservicing is the #1 cause of problems with K&N, and K&N warn about it. That's because every time you service the element its filtration efficiency drops until it's dirtied up again.

K&N might be perfect for Karts. That doesn't make them perfect for cars.

Steve.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:16 am 
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all ag and tractor places will have them

when I was off racing road bikes a few years back my training partner was on a full factory ride with yamaha.

they tested his bike and another top ten placed vic riders bikes a few months before the finke desert race air filter wise as the previous year they had several motor failures due to dust ingestion.

it was concluded the worst filture for dirt/dust penitration was oiled cotton gauze, single layer foam was almost on par.
two layer foam was much better, more than 250% better.
the best by far was paper, it was so superior they had trouble measuring the dust ingress.
anyway long story shortened they ran all the Yamaha factory and yamaha sponcered bike that year with a foam single layered inner filter and some sort of custom paper over filter with exellent results .

seems to me there must be some truth to the paper argument.
also dont think a freshly oiled foam will save you when it gets really bad , I had a brand new KTM 4 stroke race bike engine total rebuild after the warrigual 4 day enduro .I changed the filters twice daily with new oiled filters out of a sealed bag that twin air had supplied me with a new foam prefilter each time.
so much fine dust had past though the filters that the carby slide was starting to stick on the last day and the bike was using 350 to 400 ml ml of oil a day out of a total sump and gearbox cap of 1100 ml

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:17 am 
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this is interesting...

i've switched from paper to cotton filter... the cotton filter is more restrictive than the paper too - tested by blowing through it, it was noticeably harder to blow through the cotton - which means its a tighter weave than the OEM paper replacement.

The second upshot of the cotton was previous to having a snorkel, the paper filter if wet clogged up bad enough to starve the engine (i know i know water on the air filter is bad, but i got a snorkel now)... anyway - the cotton filter once wet dried faster and didnt stay clogged once dried out.

just my observations =)

Very good topic too steve!

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:33 am 
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buzbox wrote:


That's not science, that's advertising.

Steve.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:35 am 
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Simple really, paper in offroad application , what ever you like onroad.

My 2001 vx commonwhore wagon has clocked up 250,000 km's has had a k&n filter in it for over 5 years.
I clean and oil it every 5000km's and when i do my oil change every 10,000km's my oil is still up around the full mark on the dipstick.
I see no sign of engine wear what so ever.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:42 am 
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steve post up a pic of the precleaner setup please

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:48 am 
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Here's one on a sierra.

Image

You can get them from truck/ag shops.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 11:05 am 
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Cool! I'll cross the K&N off the mod list if general consensus is they're more hype than function. But FYI - i've owned them in the past myself and thought they were great. I kept them maintained and they worked a treat.


Living in coastal QLD, the only time dust seems to be an issue is when humidity drops - maybe that's just my runnings though. My only concern with dusty paper filters is once they get wet/moist they're pretty much shot. At least with a K&N you can clean em up and off you go again.... but i'm not hammering bull dust tracks day in, day out.


All the filter options have their pro's and con's - you just gotta work out what's best on balance for your own application.


Last edited by Che on Wed May 26, 2010 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 11:09 am 
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you all know the cotton or foam does no filtering at all dont you? its just there to suspend the oil which is what cleans the air

ive seen tests that are backed up by a guy at cat whom I trust to know his shit that says foam is the bomb, backed up by his own long term oil analysis on his car

The reason its not widely used is like everyone says its hard to service and hard to get right and the cost if it isnt right its massive so chuck and replace field servicing is the norm for heavy industry

some people that have dealt with more than one type of car might also know of engines that used the oil soley for filtering, oil bath precleaners are common on real big engines used in forestry applications too

yet to see real proof from anyone so its all still internet bullshit, paper isnt used a lot either anymore, different media :wink:

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 11:13 am 
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Gwagensteve wrote:
Dirt Karts - 8)

Your engine runs for 20 minutes before a rebuild. You have no idea how bad your filtration is, only that it's good enough to outlast the rebuild durability of your motor. That means a K&N is fine for your application, any better filtration would be a waste as it would certainly add weight and complexity and it would be a huge challenge to design it to not cost power.

Your experience is exactly the reason that race applications aren't relevant to road applications.

I recall in the other thread you commented on a bad performing filter being evident by feeling the dirt inside the bore.

Any amount of dirt you can see or feel will destroy a motor in a short time. The size of dirt particles (specifically silica) required to destroy an enigne can't be seen or felt. The level of filtration that's perfectly adequate for your Kart might destroy a car engine in days, or weeks, or months, but it would certainly be shorter engine life than with a factory filter.

Quote:
Engineers design for something to be effective enough for the cheapest price. That is it.
and so is your Kart filter. It's effective enough to outlast your engine rebuild duration.

In fact, there might well be something else going on with your filter. It's area is very small and gas velocity travelling through it quite high. Like the F1 example isuzurover used on outers, it's possible that dirt in your filter might actually be being smashed through the thin K&N material, so it's rare case where frequent servicing is a requirement.

I think you are inferring that if manufacturers had more money they'd run K&N. I disagree, because in applications were engine life rebuild cost is massive and dust is severe (Like mine equipment, off highway trucks etc), the budget for filtration is very high - and those applications use paper too.

In a car application cleaning an oiling a K&N "properly" will be taking its filtration efficiency the wrong way- worse than a paper filter. Overservicing is the #1 cause of problems with K&N, and K&N warn about it. That's because every time you service the element its filtration efficiency drops until it's dirtied up again.

K&N might be perfect for Karts. That doesn't make them perfect for cars.

Steve.


I aim to get more than 20mins run time from my engines. I am looking for at least a full season of racing before having to put a piston in it. A good season will be 4 hours of race time. If I want more life then I keep the engine RPM under 17000.

If you feel any dirt in the inlet tract then the engine is toast, I know it is up for at least a piston and ring without opening it up.

When you get into pulling them down, inspecting and documenting all wear and damage you start to see when you have dirt problems long before you can feel the dirt. Part of my engine development over the last 15 years has been to work out how long and hard I can run them. I have tested lot of different air filters over the years and I get the best life out of the setup I am using now. On the dyno there is virtually no difference in power to any of the setups I have tried compared to no filter at all, just some allow a longer time between rebuilds.

I run a foam stripper (red) on the outside. Sometimes I will replace them after each heat race if the conditions are super dusty, sometimes it is every second or third race. The K&N underneath is usually quite clean and can be used for several race meetings before needing a clean and re-oil.

You appear to agree with me regarding the people that have K&N problems aren't cleaning and re oiling them properly. Over servicing is just as bad as under servicing.

I run an oiled foam filter in my commodore. It now has 235000 kays on it and it still goes as well as the day I got it. The amount of dirt and dust up here in the dry season is amazing.

Manufactures use paper because it is cheap and easy to replace. If they could save a dollar per car by going to foam or gauze they would.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 11:39 am 
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Gwagensteve wrote:
buzbox wrote:


That's not science, that's advertising.

Steve.


It's a simple demonstration.

Do some research and compare the filtration qualaties with each other.

In short, Paper is widely used because it's cheap and effective for it's purpose, It can filter dirt to the size of 30 microns, Cotton air filters don't filter the air as well but flow more air which may result in an increase in power and filter about 40 microns, Oiled foam filter's are well regarded as being the best filter to use in dusty conditions but don't flow as well as paper or cotton, They can filter down to 5 microns.

Next time your out on the tracks and come across some dirt bikes, Ask them what type of filter they use.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 12:00 pm 
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buzbox wrote:
Gwagensteve wrote:
buzbox wrote:


That's not science, that's advertising.

Steve.


It's a simple demonstration.

Do some research and compare the filtration qualities with each other.

In short, Paper is widely used because it's cheap and effective for it's purpose, It can filter dirt to the size of 30 microns, Cotton air filters don't filter the air as well but flow more air which may result in an increase in power and filter about 40 microns, Oiled foam filter's are well regarded as being the best filter to use in dusty conditions but don't flow as well as paper or cotton, They can filter down to 5 microns.

Next time your out on the tracks and come across some dirt bikes, Ask them what type of filter they use.


I reckon thats where its at. Also different aftermarket filters are made to do different things. Pod filters for pure air flow and foam for proper filtration etc. A proper oil in a decent foam filter will be alot better then a paper filter but way more expensive and alot harder to keep working (regular re-oiling). Cars come with paper filters because its cheaper and works the best for the general population because you never have to service it.

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Post Posted: Wed May 26, 2010 11:38 pm 
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Te best and the only filter type used on Aircraft in Paper Element type as it has the highest filtration rate rate.

So this indicates that Paper is better, especially with a foam overlay.

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Post Posted: Thu May 27, 2010 2:02 am 
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royce wrote:
you all know the cotton or foam does no filtering at all dont you? its just there to suspend the oil which is what cleans the air

ive seen tests that are backed up by a guy at cat whom I trust to know his shit that says foam is the bomb, backed up by his own long term oil analysis on his car

The reason its not widely used is like everyone says its hard to service and hard to get right and the cost if it isnt right its massive so chuck and replace field servicing is the norm for heavy industry

some people that have dealt with more than one type of car might also know of engines that used the oil soley for filtering, oil bath precleaners are common on real big engines used in forestry applications too

yet to see real proof from anyone so its all still internet bullshit, paper isnt used a lot either anymore, different media :wink:


100%. Clean your K&n with the K&N cleaner, let dry well, oil well, leave to dry overnight, and away you go.

I would not have anything other than K&N, but I also go as big as I can possibly make fit.

The K&N I put on my statesman had over 3 times the surface area of the standard filter, and same on suziblu, tho not nearly as large, but well maintained, most excellent.

The very best filter as far as I know is the old oil bath, not cotton or paper-foam, just oil.

edit, I didn't put the filter on the statesman, I only paid for it, the man who tunes them from 225kw to 320 done this. I sort of hope he knows what he is talking about.

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Location: Melbourne

Post Posted: Thu May 27, 2010 7:05 am 
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royce wrote:

The reason its not widely used is like everyone says its hard to service and hard to get right and the cost if it isnt right its massive so chuck and replace field servicing is the norm for heavy industry


and that's vitally important. It seems that anyone who's a fan of re-usable filters points out how important it is to get the cleaning right, but as far as I know the only way to tell you haven't done it right is when you've trashed your engine. That seems like a big risk. I guess alternatively you could pay for oil analysis, but if that costs more than putting a paper filter on the car every time you change the oil, what's the advantage of the reusable filter again?

suziBlu wrote:
I didn't put the filter on the statesman, I only paid for it, the man who tunes them from 225kw to 320 done this. I sort of hope he knows what he is talking about.


I'm not stirring the pot here, but what does his ability to remap your computer have to do with his understanding of filtration? He's probably never thought about it- throws a big K&N on the end of the intake pipe and calls it good. K&N have such a good reputation, who would argue?

Steve.

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