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View Full Version : Air filters revisited


TimJuhl
09-03-2008, 05:08 AM
Gosh but you can learn a lot on this forum. I've cruised a few of the others where Sprinter folks hang out but the level of expertise and willingness to dig up and share information is unmatched elsewhere.

After following the previous air filter thread I am seriously thinking that I made a mistake putting the K & N into my Sprinter. I'm thinking that a good old OEM unit (German, not Chinese) might be a good idea. That raises the question of what is better, the standard or Heavy duty filter with the extra foam piece.

Again, your comments are welcome.

Tim

rlent
09-03-2008, 05:47 AM
You may have seen a post or two of mine where I've mentioned I got 123K miles out of the original stock filter (the heavy-duty one with the foam) and it was still showing no restriction on the ASSYST "filter minder" gauge on the air cleaner housing.

You may have also seen the results of a used oil analysis (UOA) that I also posted - this was done at 117K+ miles, with 14K+ miles on the oil - if not, then here ya go :smilewink::

rlent
09-03-2008, 06:02 AM
Notice the silicon level in the above sample is 5 ppm. So what does a used oil analysis have to do with air filters ? :hmmm:

A virgin oil analysis (VOA) of unused oil of the type I use (Mobil 0w40 European Car Formula) will show that unused oil to have a silicon level of around 6 ppm in it's virgin (refined, but unused) state. So the silicon level in my 14K+ mile used oil is on par with the fresh, virgin oil straight out of the bottle. :bounce:

High, elevated silicon levels in used motor oil = dirt (dust, sand, etc.) :cry:

How does silicon (other than what the refiner adds, or leaves, in refining process) get into oil ? ....... thru the air filter mostly ..... gets on the cylinder walls and the pistons and rings, oil, and incompletely burned fuel wash it down into the oil sump. :professor:

The above UOA simply shows that my stock air filter was doing it's job ..... very well, in fact. :thumbup:

Altered Sprinter
09-03-2008, 06:04 AM
I don't think the K@N is so bad as to using them before on other models, My thoughts were as to the cost of keeping them clean.."De-oiling spray" not cheap and down time in prep of filter, as compared to OEM Filters with or with out the extra foam insert optional as to pollen in some geographic areas.
Aztec recently showed his as to the amount of muck and a huge amount of what appeared to be particle soot accumulation He did show some good photos as proof to visually see.
MY original filter no-foam was still hanging in after 60 thousand Kilometers but no wear in the state as aztec showed:eek: could have reused, but was wiser in thought to replace. Interesting comment cabin smells the older they get the more under certain atmospheric conditions with fresh air vents open only that smell can drift back into the cabin. Since replacing mine the old musty smell dissipated , not sure if that was the direct cause as it's dependent on type of fuel being used Summer and Winter based fuels.
I have the old filter, but just blew the LCD out in my camera:bash: , so in for repairs as I cant see what the cameras is set at for lighting and focus. Three weeks to fix I may as well get another.:D:
Richard.
9539

sikwan
09-03-2008, 02:54 PM
You may have seen a post or two of mine where I've mentioned I got 123K miles out of the original stock filter (the heavy-duty one with the foam) and it was still showing no restriction on the ASSYST "filter minder" gauge on the air cleaner housing.

RLent...were you the first owner of the Sprinter for those 123k miles? Did you unknowlingly decide not to change your filter or were you relying solely on the filter gauge? Why did you decide to change if it was still showing no restriction?

I have an extra filter and I may as well prolong the usage of my original like you and maybe Aztec. :smirk: I have the gauge also and am wondering if anyone knew if it actually works.

schwarzwaldsprinter
09-03-2008, 03:17 PM
RLent...were you the first owner of the Sprinter for those 123k miles? Did you unknowlingly decide not to change your filter or were you relying solely on the filter gauge? Why did you decide to change if it was still showing no restriction?



I have an extra filter and I may as well prolong the usage of my original like you and maybe Aztec. :smirk: I have the gauge also and am wondering if anyone knew if it actually works.



I can tell you that on my 2002 Sprinter the gauge does not work verry well. It never showed restrictions. I was very suspicius and connected a vacuum on the clean air side and closed off the intake side - nothing happened on the gauge. So, don' trust the gauge. On my 2004 it works just fine but I change the filter every 10k. I always have a lot of sand in the box. This sand will sucked in the filter an will reduce airflow. Just my opinion on the air flow.

Sven

sikwan
09-03-2008, 03:36 PM
Thanks Sven.

rlent
09-03-2008, 06:31 PM
Seek,

Yes, we were the original owners - the vehicle was picked up with somewhere around 500 to 700 miles on it, IIRC. We bought it from a dealer who had picked it up from another dealer several states away for a customer and had driven it back. The customer ended up not taking the vehicle.

My not changing the air filter was not unknowing - IOW, I intentionally did not change it - and was relying on the restriction gauge. The reasons I decided to change it was several-fold: 1. I already had the filter and actually had it for almost a year and had been carting it around under my sleeper bunk in the van (being in the air filter housing was probably a safer place for it than under my bunk with all the other junk :smirk:), 2. from what I know and have read, air filters will often go from an acceptable level of restriction to an unacceptable one fairly rapidly - I was doing a major maintenance on the vehicle and just incorporated changing the filter into what I was doing, so that I wouldn't have to deal with it while running a load (which are often tight, time-wise), 3. the mfg's replacement recommendation is: A. if the filter shows restricted, or B. every three years ....

I quite possibly could have gotten another 25K or 50K miles out of it. :idunno: ........ next time mebbe ..... :D:

The gauge does work on my vehicle - I checked it by applying a vacuum directly to the gauge itself, using a vacuum cleaner and rag to form a seal (which is slightly different than applying a vacuum to the air filter housing) As I recall, I was able to get the gauge to advance the restriction indicator (so that red on the dial showed) without even creating that tight of seal with the rag. Would have been better (or a little more scientific) if I had actually used a vacuum pump with a gauge ......

I've read some posts (mostly on the Yahoo Sprinter Group) of opinions that the gauge does not work. Many of these opinions seemed to based on the fact that the gauge never showed any restriction (well duh ....... if the filter ain't restricted it ain't gonna ..... :bash:) and as I recall none of them were based on actually testing the mechanism itself. :crazy: ...... kudos to Sven for actually testing it ...... but since I wasn't there and didn't actually observe exactly what he did ..... I'm reluctant to trust his report ..... might be true ..... and it might be his procedure for testing it was flawed ..... dunno .... at any rate I was there when I tested mine ...... and I know what the results of that were. My gauge works as advertised.

In my opinion, one probably runs more of a risk of letting dirt get by the filter by changing the filter every 10K miles - than by letting it go for 50K miles (arbitrary numbers, just pulled out of the air .... or some darker place :eek:) - simply because you run the risk of not getting the filter properly seated in the housing and allowing dirty air to get thru ....... that's just an opinion though ..... :smilewink:

If you want to get some additional data on air filtration, the life of air filters, the need to change them, and how these type of restriction gauges work, then go here:

http://www.filterminder.com/

.... and read the pages linked on the sidebar of the page. While this company doesn't make the restriction gauge that comes on the Sprinter, they do make the ones that Dodge offers on RAM's with the Cummins Turbo Diesel (I have one on my '05 RAM 3500 CTD :smilewink:)

jdcaples
09-03-2008, 07:15 PM
If you want to get some additional data on air filtration, the life of air filters, the need to change them, and how these type of restriction gauges work, then go here:

http://www.filterminder.com/


Great. Yet another modification I want to attempt after my warranty expires. Like I need more work. Thanks, Pal. :)

sikwan
09-03-2008, 07:20 PM
Thanks RLent for the detailed description.

rlent
09-03-2008, 07:35 PM
Great. Yet another modification I want to attempt after my warranty expires. Like I need more work. Thanks, Pal. :)
Heheheh .... glad to oblige Jon .... :smirk: .... shouldn't be too bad ..... drill & a holesaw and you'll have it knocked out in 30 minutes ..... (famous last words .....)

Thanks RLent for the detailed description.
Seek, you're quite welcome, of course. :smilewink:

KL2BE
09-03-2008, 09:59 PM
If you want to get some additional data on air filtration, the life of air filters, the need to change them, and how these type of restriction gauges work, then go here:

http://www.filterminder.com/

.... and read the pages linked on the sidebar of the page. While this company doesn't make the restriction gauge that comes on the Sprinter, they do make the ones that Dodge offers on RAM's with the Cummins Turbo Diesel (I have one on my '05 RAM 3500 CTD :smilewink:)

I could not seem to find a source to purchase the filter-minder device; seems they are looking for dealers not end-users.
Before I tried e-mailing them, do you know of a product source?

Aqua Puttana
09-04-2008, 12:40 AM
Thanks for the info and comments. As with the ASSYST (sp ???) and oil changes I plan to believe the OEM filter gauge that I have. I do need to admit that I have already pulled the air filter out, inspected it, blew it off with 100 psi air and re-installed. As you mentioned, my guess is that I probably sent more dirt on to the engine by disturbing the filter seals and knocking any build-up loose than if I would have left well enough alone. Years of "change it at this time" indoctrination is a hard habit to break. Why have tools like ASSYST and the filter gauge if you're not going to use them? There was actually a time when I thought there was no need to buy a calculator from Texas Instruments as long as my slide rule wasn't worn out. Uh....don't ask me to use the slip stick efficiently anymore, that is also ancient history.
Seek,

Yes, we were the original owners - the vehicle was picked up with somewhere around 500 to 700 miles on it, IIRC. We bought it from a dealer who had picked it up from another dealer several states away for a customer and had driven it back. The customer ended up not taking the vehicle.

My not changing the air filter was not unknowing - IOW, I intentionally did not change it - and was relying on the restriction gauge. The reasons I decided to change it was several-fold: 1. I already had the filter and actually had it for almost a year and had been carting it around under my sleeper bunk in the van (being in the air filter housing was probably a safer place for it than under my bunk with all the other junk :smirk:), 2. from what I know and have read, air filters will often go from an acceptable level of restriction to an unacceptable one fairly rapidly - I was doing a major maintenance on the vehicle and just incorporated changing the filter into what I was doing, so that I wouldn't have to deal with it while running a load (which are often tight, time-wise), 3. the mfg's replacement recommendation is: A. if the filter shows restricted, or B. every three years ....

I quite possibly could have gotten another 25K or 50K miles out of it. :idunno: ........ next time mebbe ..... :D:

The gauge does work on my vehicle - I checked it by applying a vacuum directly to the gauge itself, using a vacuum cleaner and rag to form a seal (which is slightly different than applying a vacuum to the air filter housing) As I recall, I was able to get the gauge to advance the restriction indicator (so that red on the dial showed) without even creating that tight of seal with the rag. Would have been better (or a little more scientific) if I had actually used a vacuum pump with a gauge ......

I've read some posts (mostly on the Yahoo Sprinter Group) of opinions that the gauge does not work. Many of these opinions seemed to based on the fact that the gauge never showed any restriction (well duh ....... if the filter ain't restricted it ain't gonna ..... :bash:) and as I recall none of them were based on actually testing the mechanism itself. :crazy: ...... kudos to Sven for actually testing it ...... but since I wasn't there and didn't actually observe exactly what he did ..... I'm reluctant to trust his report ..... might be true ..... and it might be his procedure for testing it was flawed ..... dunno .... at any rate I was there when I tested mine ...... and I know what the results of that were. My gauge works as advertised.

In my opinion, one probably runs more of a risk of letting dirt get by the filter by changing the filter every 10K miles - than by letting it go for 50K miles (arbitrary numbers, just pulled out of the air .... or some darker place :eek:) - simply because you run the risk of not getting the filter properly seated in the housing and allowing dirty air to get thru ....... that's just an opinion though ..... :smilewink:

If you want to get some additional data on air filtration, the life of air filters, the need to change them, and how these type of restriction gauges work, then go here:

http://www.filterminder.com/

.... and read the pages linked on the sidebar of the page. While this company doesn't make the restriction gauge that comes on the Sprinter, they do make the ones that Dodge offers on RAM's with the Cummins Turbo Diesel (I have one on my '05 RAM 3500 CTD :smilewink:)

contractor
09-04-2008, 01:51 AM
The gauge does work on my vehicle - I checked it by applying a vacuum directly to the gauge itself, using a vacuum cleaner and rag to form a seal (which is slightly different than applying a vacuum to the air filter housing) As I recall, I was able to get the gauge to advance the restriction indicator (so that red on the dial showed) without even creating that tight of seal with the rag. Would have been better (or a little more scientific) if I had actually used a vacuum pump with a gauge ......
I'm not sure how you can conclude the "gage works" by use of a vacuum cleaner. That DOES NOT simulate your engine. The water column lift can be close to 100 inches ... do you know what the lift is from an engine. You really need to test the filter and various clogged conditions with the engine running. You need a digital manometer to quantify changes in the vacuum.


In my opinion, one probably runs more of a risk of letting dirt get by the filter by changing the filter every 10K miles - than by letting it go for 50K miles (arbitrary numbers, just pulled out of the air .... or some darker place :eek:) - simply because you run the risk of not getting the filter properly seated in the housing and allowing dirty air to get thru ....... that's just an opinion though

I really have trouble with this statement when you are from Ohio (I thought maybe California). Do they sand your roads or just use salt? I changed my filter at 20K and was mortified at all the garbage on the filter and in the housing. I needed the shopvac to suck out at least a pound of dirt. I agree you can cause more harm if you do not carefully clean the housing and seal areas when doing maintenance. I wish you had a pic to share of your marathon filter.

rlent
09-04-2008, 05:09 AM
I'm not sure how you can conclude the "gage works" by use of a vacuum cleaner.
The statement "The gauge does work on my vehicle" was meant only to indicate that the gauge was functional in that it would advance on some amount of vacuum.

That DOES NOT simulate your engine. The water column lift can be close to 100 inches ... do you know what the lift is from an engine.
Well, if memory serves me I think it is typically around 30 inches peak (on a normally aspirated gas engine) .... I'd guess it might be similar on a diesel ..... dunno ...... it's been awhile since I hooked up a vacuum gauge :laughing:

You really need to test the filter and various clogged conditions with the engine running. You need a digital manometer to quantify changes in the vacuum.
Well, actually ........ no .... I really don't (on either count) .... apparently you may, however ....... :tongue:

Look, I wasn't particularly looking to hold out my results and limited testing as some sort of rigorously controlled scientific test - merely one man's observations.

In fact, I did point out that it would have been better had I tested it by using a vacuum pump and gauge - that would have been the accurate way to measure the restriction. Of course, to actually have it be meaningful, one would have to know what the manufacturer would consider to be acceptable limit of restriction - or know where a particular level of restriction would begin to significantly impact performance or fuel economy.

I really have trouble with this statement when you are from Ohio (I thought maybe California).
That's the problem with preconcieved notions - they often lead one down the wrong path ..... to an equally wrong conclusion. :bash:

Do they sand your roads or just use salt?
My roads ? You mean the roads I drive on ? ........ yeah, "they" sure do ......

Again, you have assumed that because I am "from Ohio" that fact has some bearing on the roads I travel with this vehicle. In fact, I run expedited freight with this vehicle ...... anywhere in the lower 48 and Canada ....... that's pretty much anywhere from Bradenton, FL to Cozad, NE, to Baltimore, MD to Laredo, TX to Dubuque, IA, to Magog, QC (a tad north of where you live) to Memphis, TN ...... just to name a few of the places I've been to in the last 18 months or so. The vehicle actually sees very few road miles in the Buckeye state.

So yeah - you name it as far as road conditions go, and I've probably seen it ...... with this vehicle and that air filter. In actual fact, I spent a good deal of time this past winter up north in your neck of the woods ......

I changed my filter at 20K and was mortified at all the garbage on the filter and in the housing.
Yeah ...... but didja pull out that digital manometer and check whether or not your air filter is OVERLY RESTRICTED and whether or not it was FLOWING within acceptable limits ? :lol:

Visual observation of a filtering device tells one absolutely NOTHING about the current state of functionality of the device and whether the device is overly restricted.

I needed the shopvac to suck out at least a pound of dirt.
That only tells you that your air filter was working - and not that it wasn't flowing within acceptable parameters.

I agree you can cause more harm if you do not carefully clean the housing and seal areas when doing maintenance.
Yup - you're right :thumbup: - and it's not just failing to clean the housing and seal areas - the real danger lies in failing to get the replacement filter installed properly to the point where there is a positive seal .... and then driving 10K, 25K, or 50K miles with it like that. :eek: That has the potential to really screw up the engine - where as any small amount of dust that you might miss when replacing the element would be insignificant in comparision.

I wish you had a pic to share of your marathon filter.
The picture of my air filter when I pulled it was posted at the around the time I changed it out (within several days) in Aztek's thread "Anyone wanna make a dirt castle!?"

You can see it here:

Anyone wanna make a dirt castle!? (http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4018&page=2)

More and more businesses and vehicle manufacturers are moving away from "Periodic Maintenance" and moving to "Conditions Based Maintenance" (PM vs CBM) - the reasons are both economic and environmental. Changing something when you don't really need to is wasteful and doesn't really provide a benefit ..... except maybe some peace of mind ...... YMMV (.... mine didn't ..... if it had, I would have replaced the air filter :smilewink:)

rlent
09-04-2008, 05:21 AM
I could not seem to find a source to purchase the filter-minder device; seems they are looking for dealers not end-users. Before I tried e-mailing them, do you know of a product source?
Mine came on my RAM from the factory but apparently you can buy them direct according to a thread I found on another site having to do with tractors and industrial equipment that I used to frequent alot. There are a number of other sources for them mentioned as well (including NAPA):

FilterMinder (http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/customization/59906-filterminder.html)

rlent
09-04-2008, 06:03 AM
Thanks for the info and comments.
You're welcome.

As with the ASSYST (sp ???) and oil changes I plan to believe the OEM filter gauge that I have.
Yeah, I'd say that it's probably an area that they got right more or less.

I do need to admit that I have already pulled the air filter out, inspected it, blew it off with 100 psi air and re-installed.
Only thing I'd say is make sure you hold that 100 psi blowgun well back from the filter :shifty: ya don't wanna rip or puncture it.

Personally, I don't think I'd go much over 30 psi from at least 6" away ....... if that don't take it off, it's probably stuck on there pretty good. And make sure you only blow from the clean out towards the dirty side (afterall, you don't want to be blowing dirt further into the filter :smilewink:)

I pulled mine @ around 70K and vacuumed the foam on the top of the element - since the foam is glued on to the dirty side of the filter it would sorta prevent the dust from being blown off the paper .....

I have a little Kubota tractor ..... about 30 hp ....... naturally aspirated diesel .... the air filter on it is slightly larger than a can of coke in diameter and about half again as long. When I'm doing dirt work with it, and it's dry out, it gets reeaally dirty ..... just caked in dust ..... in pretty short order (a couple of days or less) Kubota says to blow the filter from the inside out with low pressure air (mebbe 5 or 10 psi ? ... don't recall and the manual is up in the shed) ....... and then wash it by immersing it in soapy water (dish soap) and agitating it. It's just paper media .......:bounce: (.... the little Kubota cost as much as the Sprinter did ..... :wtf:)


As you mentioned, my guess is that I probably sent more dirt on to the engine by disturbing the filter seals and knocking any build-up loose than if I would have left well enough alone.
Yup ....... I ended up cleaning out the bottom of my housing with a wet rag after I vacuumed it.

Don't worry - when the filter gets dirty enough to be a problem (performance-wise), you'll know it. :smirk:

Most likely you'll catch it well before that if you check the filter restriction gauge occassionally.

Years of "change it at this time" indoctrination is a hard habit to break.
Heheheh ..... tell me about it :D: ...... my father was a mechanic, started in '29 with his own service station, buying gas for 9/gal and selling it for 11/gal (he loved to tell that story) ..... was in motor pool maintenance in WW II ..... later got out of wrenching and sold parts ..... had a small chain of auto parts stores (6 retail and a warehouse) ...... we were a direct warehouse distributor for Fram, Champion Sparkplugs, and Valvoline Motor Oil. I starting working there at age 11 ..... grew up in it ..... and eventually took it over and ran it ..... 3K miles on the oil and filter, 10K on the air filter ....... sold alot of air filters ....... probably 50% to 75% of 'em weren't really needed.

Why have tools like ASSYST and the filter gauge if you're not going to use them?
Does seem kinda pointless don't it ? :D:

There was actually a time when I thought there was no need to buy a calculator from Texas Instruments as long as my slide rule wasn't worn out. Uh....don't ask me to use the slip stick efficiently anymore, that is also ancient history.
LOL !!!! :thumbup:

KL2BE
09-04-2008, 06:19 AM
Mine came on my RAM from the factory but apparently you can buy them direct according to a thread I found on another site having to do with tractors and industrial equipment that I used to frequent alot. There are a number of other sources for them mentioned as well (including NAPA):

FilterMinder (http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/customization/59906-filterminder.html)

Thanks :bow:.
BTW, how cool is it to have found a Tractor Forum :thumbup:. Added it to my bookmarks :rad: ; just disapointed to see that "Devildog" is already taken as a username :rant:. Might use his Avitar though if it is not copyrighted :D:.