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View Full Version : Has anyone used a "made in China Air filter" ?


Coast2Coast
07-02-2013, 12:47 AM
Just wondering what brand of air filter was most superior in quality. Do you use the one w/ or w/o foam attached to bottom? Mann, Mahle, Hengst, Fram, Wix, Full, Opparts, Meyle etc?

Boater
07-02-2013, 02:01 AM
I have been told that ones in MB packaging are usually either Mann or Hengst - don't know if this is true but seems widely believed.

The filter with the foam on the bottom is for use in sandy/dusty areas, you should get better airflow through the other type if you don't have a lot of sand/dust to worry about - performance vs peace of mind. I have in my head an idea that Denver is dusty?

Amboman
07-02-2013, 02:12 AM
The frequency of change is possibly more important than brand.

Aqua Puttana
07-02-2013, 02:37 AM
I haven't ever edit: knowingly used one.

There are some of the techs who post here that have indicated they don't like the knockoff filters. The comments which I remember are more related to the filter not fitting properly and unseating the seal, not that the filter media is the real issue.

Unless you have some indication that the one you choose has good performance history it is probably better to stay with OEM or name brands.

Just an opinion. vic

shortshort
07-02-2013, 05:56 AM
Everyone, knowingly or unknowingly, has used a made in China everything.

mendonsy
07-02-2013, 12:29 PM
Everyone, knowingly or unknowingly, has used a made in China everything.
Unfortunately that is very true!!
It is really irritating to buy brand name stuff only to find out that it is cheap Chinese junk anyway.

Coast2Coast
07-02-2013, 09:59 PM
The Chinese OP Parts filter is $11 and the Hengst and Mann ones are $16, do you think it's worth the extra $5. I was tempted just to try the opparts one out just one time to see what it's like.

I'm not always in Denver, the sprinter get use in all states. It's not too dusty up in Colorado.

sailquik
07-02-2013, 11:00 PM
Coast2Coast.....it's your engine that's going to be eating all the sand and abrasives out of the air.
You replace the engine air filter every 20K (at the "B" service) so that would be $20 difference in cost per 100k miles.
For what it costs to replace an engine, I think I'll stick to Mann/Hengst/OEM from MB.
The air going into my engine through the air filter cannot be too clean....period...end of story!
Roger

shortshort
07-03-2013, 01:33 AM
Harbor Freight tools are made in China and often one would be better served by cutting the picture of the tool out of the ad and attempting to use that. iPhones are also made in China to a very high spec. Chinese is not synonymous with crap. This is good, because damn near every drug we take comes from there.

Oilburner
07-03-2013, 02:48 AM
Who knows, how many Sprinter assembly parts are made in China. When I see rusted 4 years old Sprinters, I am very suspicious..

mendonsy
07-03-2013, 12:24 PM
Harbor Freight tools are made in China and often one would be better served by cutting the picture of the tool out of the ad and attempting to use that. iPhones are also made in China to a very high spec. Chinese is not synonymous with crap. This is good, because damn near every drug we take comes from there.
At least with Harbor Freight you know what you are getting and they are priced accordingly.

Boater
07-03-2013, 01:33 PM
Harbor Freight tools are made in China and often one would be better served by cutting the picture of the tool out of the ad and attempting to use that. iPhones are also made in China to a very high spec. Chinese is not synonymous with crap. This is good, because damn near every drug we take comes from there.

Always nice to see someone else understands how manufacturing works!

China can produce products just as accurately and just as usable as anyone else, but when they do they cost the same. Chinese manufacturers therefore offer cheaper alternatives built to a lower spec in order to gain massive market share.

Unfortunately IP doesn't seem to mean much in China, any number of European and US companies have moved manufacturing out there, taken the time to work with the factories to get them to produce the quality they need to the specification they need, only to realise that the same factory has also started making the product to the same drawings but using lower spec materials, wider dimensional tolerances (so less wasted product to throw away, the customer gets it!), cheaper finishes etc. etc. and is undercutting them by supplying them to the same market as grey imports.

So what do you get when you buy a brand name air filter made in china? You get something that meets the OEM dimensional tolerance and materials requirements which will seal properly in your air cleaner housing so it defintiely filters the air.

When you buy an unbranded (or unrecognised) chinese grey import what do you get? Do you get something from the same factory with lower quality checking applied, that may or may not meet the dimensional tolerance and seal properly, does it have lower spec materials (larger pores for dirt to pass through, less strength so deteriorates more quickly), is it a copy from another factory who have reversed engineered it with no idea what the dimensional tolerances or material requiremetns are, or are you simply buying one that failed the OEM suppliers quality check and the factory stuck it in their own brand box instead of in the skip....???

That HF tooling is a nice example - a lot of their machines come from Shanghai Industries, you can trace them to many other cheap outlets and brands in the UK and US (one UK site even sells them under the manufacturers name). People have mixed experiences, bolts that break or holes that are misthreaded, burrs on machine surfaces and slideways etc. etc. whilst others have none of these - low quality doesn't mean every product will be crap, it just means the measure of whether it is crap enough to be rejected or not is set quite low.
I can think of 2 companies in the UK that offer these machines at a higher price, they import them ex-factory, strip them and remove the storage grease, remove burrs, sort out threads and bolts etc. and adjust the machines so that they work as intended and will cut to a good level of accuracy and repeatability (1 of the companies also sells them in the ex-factory condition to do yourself if you want to spend less). Another company goes to a similar level of trouble and fits digital readouts, stepper motors to the controls and adds a whole CNC package. Underneath you have a cheap machine which is probably maligned in reviews all around the world, yet when that company has finished with it, you have a low budget but very useable CNC machine which gets great reviews. So the Chinese manufacturer ends up with a wide range of markets and price points but can keep on building the machines cheaply so as to offer something for every budget!

Obviously that doesn't really work with air filters - if the silicone seal doesn't fit your cleaner housing, you can't really fettle it to fit!

The important thing to understand is that when we complain about made in China, we are actually complaining about low price goods - if you want it to fit better, you have to pay more because the factory will have to scrap more of it's output and the price differential to Europe or US will reduce dramatically - it really is that simple!

Coast2Coast
07-03-2013, 02:23 PM
$5 less is all it is... but if you buy 5 and change it more frequently that is my logic.

I wouldn't go chinese oil/fuel filter. I currently have a chinese automatic trans filter and a german oem gasket.

And watch out for some sketchy restaurants when visiting chinatown. :)

http://www.europortparts.com/searchitem.epc?lookfor=090%2033056%20501&s_temp_transfer_key=_3TN0JYOKR

I just went 40k on my last change and I felt it was too long so I want to change the air filter more periodically.

Aqua Puttana
07-03-2013, 02:50 PM
...
I just went 40k on my last change and I felt it was too long so I want to change the air filter more periodically.
That is about my miles on my present filter also. I feel the same way, but my ASSYST filter minder hasn't shown any red at all. Most of my driving is on pavement. Very seldom on gravel or sand roads. I can't remember the last time I was on dirt roads. So the service interval on my filter may not be excessive so far. :idunno:

Right now I'm holding off on the filter change because I do believe in the ASSYST technology related to oil change interval. MB provides me the tool so I'm thinkin' I should use it. People say to read the operator manual and follow the recommendations. ASSYST is in the manual and in BEVO.

When I do replace the air filter it will be with an OEM or one of the names associated with OEM.

I'm hoping to get some real world experience input on the ASSYST filter monitor in my filter monitor thread.

ASSYST Filter Minder Experience
http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27413

vic

NBB
07-03-2013, 05:07 PM
You get something that meets the OEM dimensional tolerance and materials requirements which will seal properly in your air cleaner housing so it defintiely filters the air.
I agree with most of your post, but just to clarify:

You are ONLY assured your part meets OEM requirements when you buy the OEM stamped part.

Period.

Everything else is an assumption.

autostaretx
07-03-2013, 05:07 PM
When you buy an unbranded (or unrecognised) chinese grey import what do you get? Do you get something from the same factory with lower quality checking applied, that may or may not meet the dimensional tolerance and seal properly, does it have lower spec materials (larger pores for dirt to pass through, less strength so deteriorates more quickly), is it a copy from another factory who have reversed engineered it with no idea what the dimensional tolerances or material requiremetns are, or are you simply buying one that failed the OEM suppliers quality check and the factory stuck it in their own brand box instead of in the skip....???
Long before "made in China" was the saying, people would say the same things about parts bought at NAPA shops.
The same factories (in the US or not) would build (or remanufacture, such as cylinder head assemblies) and then test them.
Those "in spec" got the automobile manufacturer's labeling and boxing "OEM parts"
Those "out of spec" were sold as "generic" brands through the NAPA-like shops.
I'm sure there were the "almost in spec" buckets that went to some dealers/labels (BAP/GEON back in the days...)
and the "wildly out of spec" that were "white boxed"

(for VW body parts circa 1970, "hecho in Mexico" was the thing not-to-buy.. and they weren't sold by VW dealers)

I'm aware of many other industries that (a) moved production to China (b) had a few shipments of horribly-manufactured product (c) sent a US-trained Quality Assurance exec over to the factory (d) started getting MUCH more reliable product.

Since the US is a tiny fraction of the Sprinter consumable parts market and the vendors have little impetus to provide quality instead of "lowest price", poorly-built filters (etc) will continue to appear at the price-sensitive shops.

--dick (who opens the filter boxes in the store to see where they're built)

kthflieger
07-03-2013, 08:40 PM
what about KNN re-useable filters.....anyone use one of those - any performance or mileage boost?

shortshort
07-04-2013, 07:09 AM
Don't. Get a replaceable paper element. Oiled gauze is not going to make you happy. Let's in way to much grit.

lindenengineering
07-05-2013, 04:21 AM
Well I haven't used one, but I did take one out of a rig that had suffered severe cylinder bore wear!

Thing didn't fit nor filter too well.

As for u oil K'n N's--In short don't!
The oil vapor carry over often coats the MAF sensor element and cause lots of running problems.
Dennis

glas1700
07-05-2013, 06:17 AM
I have a brand new, still in the box, Mann air filter and the filter itself is stamped, "Made in China" on one end and "Mann" on the other end.

flman
07-05-2013, 11:27 AM
I have a brand new, still in the box, Mann air filter and the filter itself is stamped, "Made in China" on one end and "Mann" on the other end.

I noticed my Local foreign auto parts store used to sell Mann and now they sell Wix, I wonder if that is why?

mendonsy
07-05-2013, 05:41 PM
I have a brand new, still in the box, Mann air filter and the filter itself is stamped, "Made in China" on one end and "Mann" on the other end.
Exactly!!!
That's the problem with brand name stuff. You buy it and then find out there's cheap junk inside the box! :yell: :censored:

autostaretx
07-05-2013, 06:43 PM
So i dug out my Hengst Fuel Filter... the box says "Germany" (not Made in ...) and the filter itself says "Made in EU"

So: Poland? Germany? Portugal? Greece?

If Mann stands by (or "stands over") their Chinese production line, that's one thing.
If they simply market without keeping very close tabs on product quality, that's a horse of a different color (why does it say "Baaa"?)

If you look at all of the "made in..." marks on your Sprinter's original components, they do take you on a wide-ranging "tour" of the continent. (my OEM sliding windows are from Belgium)

--dick

glas1700
07-06-2013, 01:15 AM
So now I not only have a Mann air filter made in China, but also a Mann oil filter made in Mexico. I talked to someone else with Mann air filters made in Spain. Mann is a global company with 41 locations and over 13,000 employees and after looking at their website, I figure that their quality control is the same no matter where their filters are made.

Coast2Coast
07-14-2013, 03:47 PM
I ordered one Hengst (Germany) $16 and one OP Parts (China) Filter $10.50

Going to compare the two when they arrive in the mail.

The vendor said that none of the customers have complained about OP Parts. As far as oil filter goes I will spring a extra buck or two to get the Hengst one. I currently have a MANN air filter. Previous one is a Meyle with the foam on the bottom.

shortshort
07-14-2013, 05:48 PM
I have two Hengst fuel filters on the shelf. Both say Germany all over them by way of telling me who Hengst is. They are stamped made in EU. Could mean Hecho en Yakostenesia for all I know. Or care. Origin is irrelevant. Seriously irrelevant. So is brand name. For years Ohlins would whore their name by selling truly inferior "performance" motorcycle shocks. They were an improvement over OE, but far behind the other brands. People were paying a premium for the name.

surlyoldbill
07-14-2013, 06:00 PM
My experience with filters:
Problems with EVERY Hastings fuel filter; connections just do not fit well, or the supplied and old o-rings are not compatible.
Air filters must be CAREFULLY fit when replacing, I think I have only used Mann. The previous one was off the edge under the washer bottle, allowing some debris through.

geopunk
02-22-2016, 11:12 PM
I was just on the phone with Doktor A today, and he says the brand of air filter really matters. If you get the wrong one, it will deform. The air intake picks up a lot of sand and grit (no matter where you live, you'll get some), and a deformed air filter will allow that grit to pass right into your #1 cylinder. He strongly recommended I get the Mahle brand. The problem is that I can't figure out the right part number.

lindenengineering
02-23-2016, 01:32 AM
I was just on the phone with Doktor A today, and he says the brand of air filter really matters. If you get the wrong one, it will deform. The air intake picks up a lot of sand and grit (no matter where you live, you'll get some), and a deformed air filter will allow that grit to pass right into your #1 cylinder. He strongly recommended I get the Mahle brand. The problem is that I can't figure out the right part number.

Andy is absolutely right!
I see them deformed like pagoda roofs allowing dirt to enter the engine and eroding the turbo impellor on its way in!
I often ask myself in astonishment what possess some owners to install cheap junk filters and expect the engine to peform and not throw codes often stranding the owner in somewhere remote!

Now I am on this subject!
Who on earth fits K&N filters. FFS
Boy these folk have done a great marketing job on many of you!:lol:

I had one in over the weekend---MAP sensor problems soaked in oil, and turbo performance--All out, & down to a filter that was choked with crap!

Can anyone tell me why this is a prefered fit over the standard paper filter from MB for a measly or paltry $35 from an MB dealer!

Filters!
Yes even what appear to be a brand name from parts house has to be sold at a profit!
The mark up is somewhere around 1.7 to 2,00 times the buy in price, so your aftermarket filter was purchased for around $8 and that has includes shipping import duties etc!
On this I am being conservative!
So how cheap you might ask?

Well filters come off the production line and are tested to a base flow rate . Specific manufacturers specifiy higher exacting flow rates and conduct periodic tests on suppliers quality. Its called QC!
The components that don't meet these specs are sold as seconds or to parts houses as deep discounted items who in turn sell them for healthy mark ups! TO YOU!

My brother the worlds best flogger maniac of seconds in our local market used to buy auto parts, rolls of cloth, crockery, women's underwear to name a few product lines , and flog it with his missus on Saturdays at the local market or in boot sales out of a Bedford van at club meets, car race days! You name the event and he had something to flog on the cheap.

Complaints he had few!--But his standard reply was always "Wun't me mate it was your bloody fault for fitting cheap stuff!
But he had no shortage of customers!
In short Buyer beware--- caveat emptor1
Dennis
My brother Raymond now a Digger Auzzie in Brissy!

smiller
02-23-2016, 02:20 AM
Friends don't let friends use K&N filters.

flman
02-23-2016, 12:34 PM
I put an STP filter in my van, after I forgot to change it, the OE one was so stopped up it put it in LHM, even the STP filter kept it in LHM, had to go to dealer to be readapted, and still required an OE filter to keep the van out of LHM? So if you have an NCV3 you need to treat it like a boy in a bubble.

Boatman
02-23-2016, 03:36 PM
Friends don't let friends use K&N filters.

True!!

I never understood the attraction of these filters. Besides the argument whether they do or don't filter better,,,, when I want to change the filter I don't want to hassle with cleaning the filter.

hayduke
02-23-2016, 10:13 PM
How important is the cabin air filter? Does the charcoal matter? How often do you change it? Does it actually look dirty when it needs a change?

Aqua Puttana
02-24-2016, 12:58 AM
How important is the cabin air filter? Does the charcoal matter? How often do you change it? Does it actually look dirty when it needs a change?
All good questions.

How important? I've been riding in vehicles since 1950. The first one, to my knowledge, which had a cabin air filter was my 2004 Dodge Sprinter which I bought about 2007. Is the Sprinter filter before the evaporator coil? In building A/C units the primary purpose of the air filter is to keep the evaporator coil from plugging up.

Charcoal? Activated carbon needs contact time to absorb. Traditionally that is accomplished by large mass of the carbon medium, and convoluted air path. The Sprinter "carbon filter" has neither.

Change? I've owned my 2004 for over 7 years. One dishwasher cleaning and one replacement. Air flow has always been fine.

Look dirty? :idunno:

vic

lindenengineering
02-24-2016, 02:30 AM
Cabin filters are usually a mix of paper and fibreglass strand mix, the latter for tear restistance.

On T1N Sprinter the cover is a bit marginal and the filter element is often found damaged upon removal. The retail MB replacement price is $55 reflecting its construction.
It is there not only to keep the evaparator clean but it does what its often called, a dust & pollen filter!
It also does a good job of filtering out diesel exhaust particles which can be found/observed by the state of the thing when removed in many cases !

Change out intervals are usually something in the order of every 80,000 miles.
Known for harboring bacteria in hot damp climates like Florida, a spray with something like BG's Frigiflush or Zep's Zepnamatic will kill such organisms & make the van smell of an English Country Garden, (seriously says so on the label! ) or something like the inside of a hopital where it is used to kill Legionaires Disease--(Not French ones nor Veterans of Foreign Wars! just bugs ) :laughing:

Some useful info to some I suppose!
Cheers Dennis

flman
02-24-2016, 12:55 PM
My cabin filter is made of coconut fibers.

Aqua Puttana
02-24-2016, 02:58 PM
My cabin filter is made of coconut fibers.
..

74111

CharlesinGA
02-24-2016, 11:03 PM
I was just on the phone with Doktor A today, and he says the brand of air filter really matters. If you get the wrong one, it will deform. The air intake picks up a lot of sand and grit (no matter where you live, you'll get some), and a deformed air filter will allow that grit to pass right into your #1 cylinder. He strongly recommended I get the Mahle brand. The problem is that I can't figure out the right part number.

Mann C32 338 standard filter with no foam layer
Mann C32 338/1 same filter but with the foam overlay glued on.

Hengst E240L standard filter with no foam layer
Hengst E240L01 again, same filter but with a foam layer on it.

Mahle LX 511/1 standard flter with no foam layer
Mahle LX 513/1 same filter but with the foam overlay.

The filters with foam are intended for use in vehicles with the Assyst system installed. Do not use if you do not have that system installed.

Charles

seans
03-02-2016, 06:05 AM
Andy is absolutely right!
I see them deformed like pagoda roofs allowing dirt to enter the engine and eroding the turbo impellor on its way in!
Time to repost (http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showpost.php?p=245946&postcount=1) this:

The true cost of an air filter problem:

74282

Those leading edges are supposed to be straight. Top impeller may have been damaged by a piece of the adhesive bead which holds the pleats together, which failed and was ingested by the engine.

Filter replacement every, say, 10K miles with a quality filter works out to 5-7 cents per gallon. About a third of a cent per mile.

As for a K&N filter, they pass a lot of dirt (http://www.nicoclub.com/archives/kn-vs-oem-filter.html). New turbo costs around $1500 if you shop around.

Aqua Puttana
03-02-2016, 02:45 PM
...

Filter replacement every, say, 10K miles with a quality filter ...
Why not change it out based upon the very conservative Mercedes Benz maintenance intervals found in the operators manual?

Each and every extra time that you mess with the air filter unnecessarily increases your chances of improperly seating the filter during install. Improper installation of the best filter in the world will result in the very problem which you are suggesting to avoid by unnecessary extra changes.

:2cents: vic

smiller
03-02-2016, 04:34 PM
Each and every extra time that you mess with the air filter unnecessarily increases your chances of improperly seating the filter during install. Improper installation of the best filter in the world will result in the very problem which you are suggesting to avoid by unnecessary extra changes.
Yes, there are several papers I've seen (from a commercial vehicle fleet operator perspective) that suggests excessive maintenance is to be avoided just as much as inadequate maintenance, the idea being that (for instance) replacing filters more often than necessary results in no reliability improvement while at the same time providing an opportunity to inject a problem. The likelihood may be small, but a small likelihood of a problem with no corresponding benefit is not a good statistical bet. Plus paper filters are generally at their lowest filtering performance when brand new.

Bottom line, by all means perform all maintenance as recommended and use high quality parts but there's generally no reason, in fact maybe even a contraindication, to half recommended intervals 'to be safe.'

misterbond10
03-03-2016, 02:22 AM
Everything is made in China now. Is causes great anxiety within myself.