Paper or foam air filters??

Submitted: Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 17:26
ThreadID: 20349 Views:2129 Replies:9 FollowUps:10
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There is often debate about the performance or otherwise of foam air filters compared to paper OEM filters, and I came across these test results which you might find interesting.

http://home.usadatanet.net/~jbplock/ISO5011/SPICER.htm

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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 17:29

Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 17:29
I'll stick with paper ones..
tried foam and paper myself :)

Thats probably the only way to get 100% results..
AnswerID: 97894

Reply By: Black Jack - Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 17:49

Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 17:49
I run a K&N filter and was saddened by how poorly it performed in the tests. I was quite happy with the K&N until now. (ignorance is bliss) But then the same guy who imports Hiclone imports K&N filters. Why am I not surprised that the claims did not up to the advertising??
AnswerID: 97900

Follow Up By: BenSpoon - Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 19:38

Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 19:38
Im on a finer filter now, and im on the same level-

I guess we'd better clean em up well then flog them off to the next blissfully ignorant bloke. On that note- anyone want to buy some hyclones?
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Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 19:04

Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 19:04
I have never noticed a difference either way in performance on Petrol or diesel motors with Unifilters.

That's not why I use them.

I use them because they cost $10 more than the cheapo third party paper filter and last the life time of the vehicle.

How often do you change your paper filter?
How much off road work do you do?
DO YOU REALLY THINK YOUR PAPER FILTER OUT PERFORMS A CLEAN UNI FILTER AFTER 15K OF OFF ROAD WORK??

Yeah right. I'll buy a couple of cartons of bleep with the money I save every service thank you.
AnswerID: 97915

Follow Up By: Member - Russell S - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 09:06

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 09:06
I just put the info there because I thought some might find it interesting. It appears they have..... I have no opinion either way, and am happy that you're happy with foam. As for your other comments, I'll give them the answer they deserve - none.....
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 12:40

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 12:40
Thanks for your objective response Russel. You seem to have your back up or somthing, it was not a personal attack on you mate. Why do they deserve no answer? What, do you think?.. there is no merit in what I said? Do have some proof otherwise? Do you disagree?
If you have somthing constructive to say about the issue, let' hear it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Russell S - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 14:19

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 14:19
Apologies, perhaps bad choice of words. My point is that your initial response indicates that you want a debate on the subject, and I didn't, thus no need for a response.

However, since we're now having the discussion.....
I use Toyota paper filters, the ones for the factory turbo, since I have an aftermarket turbo and they fit in the housing. I haven't considered using the foam filters, because I haven't been sure of their effectiveness, which is more important for the engine than the dollar difference (IMO). The detail provided in the link, and some of the posts here, has not influenced me towards the foam filter, rather away from it. There are so many different types of foam filter, all claiming different things. The performance and longevity you get depends so much on how you use them and keep them maintained. The right one, used the right way, probably does a reasonable job, but so does paper. I happen to think paper is better, and I'm willing to accept any cost penalty over foam. I think it's really a personal preference issue, at the end of the day.

I change the paper filter as often as it needs it, and take advantage of the washability of the Toyota items to maximise life. How often depends on the conditions, where I am in the convoy, how far back I sit etc etc. I have no interest in sitting in someone else's dust cloud any more than I have to, so I don't.

How much off road work? I've been doing it actively for the last 15 years, all over the country, lots of different vehicles, sand islands, high country, desert etc. I grew up in western Queensland farming area where the only bitumen roads were in town. I think I have a reasonable background in the dust area, but there's lots of people out there who would claim more, rightly or wrongly....

Would a clean paper filter work better than a clean foam filter after 15K of off road work? Absolutely! - because objective tests like the one in the link demonstrate convincingly that good paper elements do a better job of dust extraction than foam filters. I might have cleaned it and replaced it a number of times, but that's a cost issue, not a performance one. Both systems require maintenance and replacement - you have to clean and reoil your foam filter, and eventually replace the foam element. I have to clean and replace the paper element. Would I have spent more? Of course, but that's my choice to go with that system.

If I was racing, or had some other specific application, a foam filter might make sense, but it doesn't.

Like I say, at the end of the day we all do what we think is right in terms of cost and performance. I fitted a DTS turbo, you might fit something else. I got Koni shocks, you might prefer OME. I use paper filters, you prefer K&N....
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 16:50

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 16:50
Russel, all valid points. I rote my origional reply in a hurry so perhaps my point was not made very clear.

If I were to use genuine toyota paper filters (have been quoted $95) I would certainally not be changing them every 5,000kms.
However using the foam filter I clean it every 5,000kms as it only takes 10 minutes to do(and its free). I'll even do it sooner if I think it's necessary.

My point was that these tests were conducted with a new paper filter vs a clean foam filter.

I would be interested to see tests conucted on a paper filter that's done 5000kms on the road vs a clean foam filter, if you get my drift.

But your absolutally correct, foam filters are higher maintence than paper but a lot cheaper for what I would consider to be very minimal difference in performance and it's all about personal choice.
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Reply By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 22:14

Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 22:14
I use a Unifilter - I don't mind cleaning it every now and then - I hate giving $ to rip of merchants for grossly overpriced paper filters - the Jack runs just fine on the Uni - plenty of power - smooth as you like. There is as much hype in the market place as we care to read.... "be sceptical" I say.
AnswerID: 97956

Reply By: ianmc - Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 22:36

Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 22:36
I carry a spare oiled foam outer sleeve for my Uni(Ithink) and its a 5 min job to change it over before the lot gets clogged. Saved me lots too, no signs of dust in the inlet either.
AnswerID: 97961

Reply By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 23:06

Friday, Feb 11, 2005 at 23:06
I'm stuffed if I know why when travelling in convoy some feel the need to travel right up ya clacker. Be kind to yourself and the filter by dropping back a bit in dusty conditions. It doesn't matter if you lose sight of the vehicle in front, that's why we have radios.
AnswerID: 97967

Reply By: kesh - Saturday, Feb 12, 2005 at 08:14

Saturday, Feb 12, 2005 at 08:14
I wonder why $500.000 earthmovers dont come fitted new with foam filters?
AnswerID: 97989

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 12:41

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 12:41
Because they probally charge $1000 for a replacment paper one, would you want to miss out on that kind of spare parts revenue??
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Follow Up By: tex1972 - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 20:05

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 20:05
about 120 bucks mate 295000 dollar tractor. while we are stirring the pot with all the adr's on pollution you would have the engineers certificate to go with your foam filter wouldn't you.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 20:12

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 20:12
Yeah just like I have an electicians license to change the retic box over at home, like that's going to happen.
Where's the link to some info on me needing an engineers cert? Never heard of such a requiment. It's not like paying more for parking is it???? It must be one of those stupid NSW regs hey?
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Feb 12, 2005 at 10:44

Saturday, Feb 12, 2005 at 10:44
Russell,

Have used both types, and now use paper, for piece of mind. The Unifilter was fitted to a 60 series, and found faint traces of dust in the duct when using it. Found that the oil would dry out, as our vehicle would sit for weeks, with little use.

Have been using paper since with no dusted engines. Our work vehicles are kept for 3 years, about 120-150K, on them, with little or no oil use between changes. Change filter about every 12 months, and clean it, with air, every 5,000 kms service.

Most of work use is on dirt roads, and often behind mobs of cattle, so there is plenty of dust!

Have seen blokes post on this site, that change their air filters every 10K clicks. Well, its their money, but as they often live in town/city, then they are throwing away good money. IMHO.

Had 6 years operating an elevating scraper, about 18 years ago, and it was interesting to monitor air filters, in varying dust conditions. Worst we ever had was on Brunette Downs, blocked a filter in 4 hours work. Usually the filter wouldn't need cleaning for 200 - 500 hours. Cleaning them daily only lets dust get into the inner element.

Would agree with Kesh, not too many road trains, or earthmovers with Unifilters, or the like.

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AnswerID: 97998

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 12:42

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 12:42
Bob if you read the instructions that came with your uni it tells you that you should turn the filter around and check for dyness if the vehicle has not been used frequently.
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Reply By: kesh - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:54

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:54
Jeff. Whether they charge a grand a filter or 250 bucks, the fact is (1) a foam filter has a very limited surface ie, filtering area compared to a pleated paper unit. (2) on any earthmover working in its own dust, dust filtering isnt in grams, its in kilograms.
Cleaning a foam filter in a bush location (daily) is going to be a messy job and involve a lot of solvent, re oiling etc. Emptying a pre cleaner bowl then blowing out a paper element is dead easy by comparison. And paper filters, looked after have a very long life. The bigger plant operators use ultrasonic cleaning which goes along with oil analysis for lubrication maintenance. These machines dont last 20 plus thousand hours for no reason.
I rest my case.
AnswerID: 98294

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 16:53

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 16:53
Fair points, none of which change the fact that it's cheaper for average joe to use a foam filter and that most of those points you mention have very little do do with a 4wd that's used 75% in town and requires a cup full of turps and a couple of teaspoons of oil every 5000ks.
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