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Old 08-29-2009, 08:13 PM   #1
kenkennings
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Default K&N air filter.

Would it be worth it to buy one for my next air filter change? how much of a performace gain will i notice?

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Old 08-29-2009, 08:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

you talking about a cone filter or one that goes into the airbox?

if the airbox, no idea. if it's a cone, using it with the intake may net you 1-2 more HP.

either way, both can be cleaned out and reused, so..

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Old 08-29-2009, 10:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

I put a K&N in my 1999 sl and noticed an increase in power right away

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Old 08-30-2009, 08:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

It depends on whether you intend to keep the car for as long as you can, or if you want to experiment with it. You may get a small (read that almost imperceptible) increase in performance, but you are giving up filtering ability in order to allow for increased air flow. This will increase wear on your engine over time. Save your money. It's really not worth it.

I tried one for about a year a couple years ago. Didn't see any increase in performance, and once I realized that I was putting the long-term health of my engine in jeopardy I got rid of it. I am now running an AC/Delco filter that a got a good deal on through Rock Auto. The car runs as well as ever. No decrease in performance, and I am getting an avg of about 37 mpg (close to 45 mpg highway), driving over hilly terrain. Not bad for a 9 year old car with over 128,000 miles.

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Old 08-30-2009, 09:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

Filtering tests indicate the K&N, while allowing more air to pass through (of use at the highest end of engine performance) it also allows more dust and sand fines to pass through, which leads to more rapid engine wear.

While this is of value on the track where the last bit of top end performance is needed, and engine are rebuilt frequently, it is at best of questionable benefit for a daily driver or legal street use.

You pays your money and takes your choices.

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Old 08-30-2009, 09:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

None? I can't feel any difference in when I use my stock O.E. filter and when the K&N is installed. If you're not doing any other work to increase internal efficiencies, the potential of drawing more air in doesn't amount to
a hill of beans... . It's when you combine it with a header, remapped ECM, etc., then you can utilize the potential greater flow.

I use the K&N filters for reasons of cost and efficiency. I guess I could claim it's "greener" using one filter for the life of the vehicle instead of purchasing new ones, if I wanted to.

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Old 08-30-2009, 05:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenkennings View Post
Would it be worth it to buy one for my next air filter change? how much of a performace gain will i notice?
Try taking some data.
Perhaps 40 to 60 mph in one gear to avoid shifting variability.
Do it with the paper filter and then remove the element completely.
Try 3 runs with each configuration and average the data.
My guess is you won't see any difference.

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Old 08-30-2009, 07:43 PM   #8
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Wrench Re: K&N air filter.

I second DonP.

I ran a K&N for a while on my old truck. With a regular filter the air intake throat and throttle body venturis were clean. With the K&N there was a patina of dirt everywhere AFTER the filter in the airstream.

I took very close up photos of the K&N filter pad with backlighting and posted them on this forum some time ago. Pinholes everywhere, some of them quite large.

I am not personally impressed with them for street use. Remember that they were originally designed for off-road use on engines that get rebuilt fairly often. Keeping out rocks, twigs and sand during a race is quite another thing from keeping out fine particles that will wear things out over the course of thousands of miles of street driving.

Oh, and I felt no verifiable difference in performance with the K&N nor did I see any increases in gas mileage, short or long term (I keep very careful records on all our vehicles and my driving patterns are pretty constant).

So no K&N or similar filters for my SC2, but to each their own.

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Old 08-30-2009, 07:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

If you are desirous of a high flow, low pressure drop filter that also removes the most amount of airborne crud then use oiled foam. It does filter better than the stock paper. So it is a real upgrade.

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Old 09-07-2009, 05:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

It seems like i get too much fuel in my engine and thats why i wanted to increase air into the engine to match the increase in fuel. Does a cone filter and setup allow more dirt and harmful particles into the engine more than the paper filter? Im using a fram air filter from walmart.

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Old 09-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

K&N is expensive. You could buy a whole cart load of paper filters for that $$$.
As for horsepower increase, it would mostly be at the upper end of the rev range. How much driving do you do there?

However, I did put a K&N in my Honda Shadow because in 2 air filter changes it was paid for. The paper filters were very expensive and a Honda-only part. Yes you have to oil and clean the K&N regularly. Yes you can see that it is a coarser mesh. That is why you have to oil it.
No, I didn't notice any performance increase.

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Old 09-07-2009, 02:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
K&N is expensive. You could buy a whole cart load of paper filters for that $$$.
however, because K&N filters are reuseable, you could buy one K&N filter and it'll pay for itself, especially since they have a 1,000,000 mile warranty!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
However, I did put a K&N in my Honda Shadow because in 2 air filter changes it was paid for. The paper filters were very expensive and a Honda-only part. Yes you have to oil and clean the K&N regularly. Yes you can see that it is a coarser mesh. That is why you have to oil it.
No, I didn't notice any performance increase.
I always thought you have to clean and oil the K&N filters every 15k miles or so, unless you drive in dusty areas.

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Old 09-07-2009, 05:05 PM   #13
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Wrench Re: K&N air filter.

Of course they have a million mile warranty. What's to fail? It is cotton batting between metal screens.

You could probably easily make one for yourself if you really wanted to. Buy rolls of medical gauze padding and metal window screen. Spray the assembly with ATF and you're pretty much in business.

But if you read the really fine print that warranty only covers their product as I recall.

After a million miles with their filter you'll probably be on your fourth or fifth engine overhaul due to excessive cylinder and piston wear. But that's not warrantied by K&N that I am aware of, or if it is I'd like to see someone actually collect on it.

In the case of MikeNW's Honda there may well be an economic incentive to buy one. But in the case of Saturns where you can almost buy filters from guys on street corners wearing trenchcoats (and certainly from WallyWorld) at reasonable prices, where's the justification? [Hey buddy, yeah you, wanna buy an air filter? Wink Wink.]

Just change them periodically and don't worry about it.

Notice too that MikeNW said he did not see an increase in performance. Nor did I, nor have a lot of others. So why do it? If your engine is running too rich, that is most likely not going to solve it. The O2 sensor and PCM will simply adapt to the new conditions they see and you'll be right back where you started from.

The oiled cotton pad cone filters are no different than the K&N OEM-style replacement filters in regards to dirt passage. Oh, and if you saturate them to the point where the little pinholes close up with oil, they become restrictive until the oil drys out or gets sucked in. Then they leak dirt again.

Maybe the "dry" cone filters might be better, I have no personal experience with them so I cannot say. Perhaps someone else can share their impressions of them.

There IS an alternative though that does not allow your engine to ingest dirt while providing for greater air flow. Simply locate a larger air box and filter from another car. Relocate the battery to the trunk as others have done and cram in the largest air box (with traditional filter element of course) that you can find in a junkyard into the open space it left behind. Your vehicle front-rear weight balance will improve in the bargain.

I suggest looking at diesel vehicles as they consume LOTS of air (they have no throttle plates at all, so they run at the gas engine equivalent of wide open throttle all the time). Their air filters must pass huge quantities of air under all conditions without allowing dirt through.

FWIW.

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Old 09-07-2009, 06:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

Diesels use an oil bath air filter or a huge 2 stage paper filter that costs as much as a used Saturn. The closest thing to a wet oil bath air filter that will fit under the hood is an open cell foam filter. They do work and are as non restrictive as the K&N.

A paper filter is a compromise on the efficiency and the pressure drop at rated air flow.

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Old 09-07-2009, 07:19 PM   #15
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Happy Re: K&N air filter.

Well, yes and no.

I was not actually referring to diesels as in Peterbuilts, Freightliners or Macks (which do appear to have oil bath filters). I was thinking more of recent and current vintage GMC, Ford and Chrysler pickup trucks or older vintage Mercedes diesels. Automotive style stuff.

We have owned three diesel cars and a diesel tractor, none of which employed oil bath filters. All used/use paper pleated elements that are encased in housings that would fit quite nicely just about where the Saturn S battery normally sits.

The tractor does however use an oiled foam prefilter that surrounds the cylindrical paper element. And in addition it also has a very fine internal screen that fits inside the paper element. So it actually has three filter elements, the last of which seems merely to keep debris large enough to jam up the engine out and probably also to prevent collapse of the paper element no matter how clogged it gets.

The tractor's air cleaner is a cylinder about 9" in diameter and 18" in length. The entry and exit are both round flanges. There is a smooth wall rubber coupling between the exit of the filter housing and the engine intake manifold inlet. It would not be a good candidate for this application though because the replacement filter elements are not all that readily available (Massey Ferguson).

Try and get one from a diesel pickup truck or something like that, or a 70's vintage GM diesel car, there should be a whole lot of thiem in junkyards rusting away. Or just one from an older car that had a huge engine.

It's all about filter area and minimizing the differential pressure across the element. The more of the first, the less of the second generally.

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Old 09-07-2009, 07:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

I have a drop in K&N if you want it. I will clean it and re-oil for you if you want. $10 plus the cost to ship it Priority. Let me know. I had it in my wife's car then we traded it in for the Vue. I will have to find it though, it's packed up somewhere.

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Old 09-07-2009, 07:34 PM   #17
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

DIYguy, do you have access to any micron ratings for K&N vs paper filters? Do you have access to data about wear comparisons of engines when intake air is filtered to varied micron ratings? I get a sense that you have decided your own preference, and now are trying to push that preference on others. If it's based on some hard data, so be it, but it feels more based on theory and hearsay instead.

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Old 09-07-2009, 07:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

Interesting read over at GasSavers.org;

http://www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=11149

"I think I've found out why people have FE gains with their CAIs...
If you think about it, a lot of people's CAI kits are really WAI..."

WAI= warm air intakes

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Old 09-07-2009, 07:53 PM   #19
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

Be very wary of the automotive diesel filters. They were all specified to a price point and size. the Ford Powerstroke filters are quite good though.

The screen in the tractor filter is a flame arrestor and excess oil filter collapse feature.

Somewhere I did see a actual flow/pressure drop test of several different filter media. Did not save the link though. Amsoil comments on the K&N. As far as wear it is 5 micron (5E-6mtr.) and greater, same as oil.

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Old 09-07-2009, 08:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: K&N air filter.

Here are the results of some independent testing on teh 3 common types of IC engine air filters. This is only a summary.

http://www.ibmwr.org/otech/airfilter.html

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