Air filters - paper vs foam vs K&N types

Submitted: Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 21:35
ThreadID: 24242 Views:18113 Replies:13 FollowUps:14
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This has probably been done to death elsewhere but I spoke to a that diesel mob down Berrima way at the 4x4 show in the weekend. They said stay with paper OEM filters - which surprised the hell out of me. Apparantly foam kills turbos and does not have the surface area and oil type K&N's get blocked.

I am a fan of K&N filters - used foam at one time, but did not find them all that flash. Got to use K&N and found them very good, though I have yet to get into the bulldust with one.

Anyone else's experience?


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Reply By: Member - Cocka - Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 23:12

Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 23:12
Don't know much about the others but K&N have kept me breathing a long time. Just service them according to conditions & like the way you look after the rest of the rig.
Degree of dirt inducted depends on where the intake is located. Normal dirt driving where you pass the occasional vehicle, but stop for a road train & wait for the dust to settle again, wont cause any overdue mess up of the filter.
Also avoid following closely in someone elses dust cloud and you will also avoid filling the interior with that stinkin' dust, but then again it's a part of the outback, isn't it ??
AnswerID: 117822

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 06:50

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 06:50
I use K& N not had a problemto date.
I figure if a top fuel drag car uses them it shouldnt be an issue of breathing.
On the box you get them in the flow rates are much higher than paper.

All the best
AnswerID: 117835

Follow Up By: Member - RockyOne - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 07:51

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 07:51
Hi Eric..If I have my facts rite,you will be the smart one on your tours,out at the front of the convoy.No dust for you,plenty for those behind :-) ..However,as it your duty,you have to introduce your city client/adventurers to dust,which,to many we have met,is a whole new experience..I was running my new rig with the factory paper air-filter element and always found red dust in the housing.Some had come thru the element..Switched to foam/oil type..Never had dust traces since..Hope to travel with you one day.Rgs RockyOne!MPG:5!
FollowupID: 373128

Reply By: D-Jack - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 08:53

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 08:53
Check previous posts - there was a link to a test done on a real expensive machine that proved that paper filters are superior to oiled ones (apart from price) - filtered better, better airflow and a number of other categories - can't find it though. someone else may be able to help

AnswerID: 117853

Follow Up By: Aston - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 10:52

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 10:52
Vis, D-Jack,

Yes D-Jack you are right,
Just remember that no manufacturer endorses the use of an oiled filter in any car especially those that have sensors in the induction system.

As oil mist from the OILED FILTER is deposited on the sensors and impares their function

Click on the link below its a very in formative and a good read
link text

Cheers Aston

FollowupID: 373157

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:26

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:26
Excellent link there Aston. Finally some independent testing on all types of filters and conclusively shows why you should stick with the OEM paper types.

I have previously used an oiled foam on my 80 series thinking I was "doing the right thing", but this test report certainly questions that wisdom. Will certainly be sticking to OEM paper types now.


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FollowupID: 373158

Follow Up By: viz - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 12:06

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 12:06

There goes some closely held beliefs... - out the window!!!

I have been aroun some time, and am not a dummy (well I like to think so - if you talk to my wife you may get a different story ;) - I even have my own workshop etc etc. Did my own servicing for a looooong time (getting too old now). Wish I had seen this report a lot earlier!

Thanks for that Aston

FollowupID: 373163

Reply By: trolute - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 10:38

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 10:38
I think of it this way.

Earth moving equipment works in very nasty dusty environments, and some of the bigger machines are worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars. The manufactorers go to great lenghts to ensure they are well protected, and both CAT and Komatsu (and others probably, but I know of these two for sure) use paper elements.

I race a motocross bike, and we use foam filters in these, but the filter in my 0.450 lt bike is almost the same size as my 4.2 lt patrol, and the foam filters get changed between each race meeting, and when really dusty, between each race. We use them because paper ones would send us broke.

And as for a drag car using K&N, they are in big trouble if they get into the dirt. They are after outright flow thru, and can afford to trade off protection.

I reckon paper elements are the best solution, foam is good is its big enough, but you would need a huge airbox for a car, and K&N I don't really know about, but why would CAT not use them in earth moving equipment if they are better?

Just my thoughts :-)
AnswerID: 117869

Reply By: vitara - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:04

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:04
Hi There Viz, I have just fitted a safari snorkel to my hilux In the fitting instructions they say not to use foam type filters dont know why but there must be a reason, maybe give safari snorkels a call they might be able to give you more info as to why they recomend not to use them. Just a thought. Take Care Vitara
AnswerID: 117873

Reply By: viz - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 12:09

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 12:09
Thanks for all the replies - very informative. I am staying with OEM paper!

AnswerID: 117878

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 14:18

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 14:18
Interesting. As I suggested in earlier posts I use the foam filter for the cost saving rather than a perceived better performance that I didn't think really existed.

However it is intersting to note that the expensive AC Delco far exceeds the Uni filter and the majority of paper filters... How many of you guys are using AC Delco paper filters? Or are you using the Ryco, or other cheap copy... From looking at those figures a uni filter would probally be giving you the same sort of protection as the cheaper paper filters. I don't know about you but with the ammount and kind of k's I do I can't afford to spend $100 every 5k's just on an air filter...

I'm going to stick with my uni and clean it after every trip or 5k as I've always done...
AnswerID: 117902

Follow Up By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 18:32

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 18:32
Yep,sticking with my Uni Filter also.One of my mates work in the bush and constantly drives on gravel road,a Rodeo T/D.He was noticeing alot of fine dust on the air inlet behind the air filter(paper) and got his boss to buy a Uni Filter.After installing this the fine dust was gone.Good enough for me.
FollowupID: 373206

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 18:37

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 18:37
The other thing with my uni I noticed is that where the snorkel inlet is in the air box is a round black oil type circle each time I clean it (after city driving). I never had any signs of that when blowing compressed air through my paper filters... It's catching some kind of gunk in their, it's not comming from MY motor as it's straight after the snorkel. Makes you wonder what we're all breathing everyday...
FollowupID: 373207

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 14:25

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 14:25 one of the other blokes said (above)....there go some long-held beliefs, right out the window!!!

I now have a slightly used UniFilter with an extra (spare) outer for sale if anyone wants one (I won't hold my breath!!!)

AnswerID: 117904

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 18:38

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 18:38
At least the Uni's didn't totally flunk like the K&N. The Uni's were about average in most areas, probally the same as the cheap sh%t filters I was buying from Auto1 anyway. I can't afford the $95 for Genuine Toyota each service!!

Even the cheap ones for $60!!!
FollowupID: 373208

Follow Up By: Wazza - (Vic) - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 07:57

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 07:57
Jeff, Toyota air filters are water washable. Last many services.

Just an idea if you want to get rid of yours Roachie, I just sold my K & N on ebay:



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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 12:53

Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 12:53
Well Wazza, that I didn't know, might explain the extremely high price! So are they paper? How do you wash paper? How many times can you wash them?

Toyota Genuine was $96inc GST.
UniFilter was $57inc GST.

I know the Uni will last the life of the surf, how many times can I wash the Toyota one, if it's a half dozen times and it works better it might be worth considering.

I didn't really notice any difference in the paper non-genuine to the Uni, but if the toyota is heaps better and just as reusable...
FollowupID: 373935

Follow Up By: Wazza - (Vic) - Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 23:08

Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 23:08

They are just washed in warm water in a bucket with a bit of agitating for a couple of minutes after giving it a gentle tap on the ground to dislodge the chunks and blowing it out with the compressor first. Not sure if you can use any detergents on them like you can with foam filters. I doubt you can.

I am not sure that they are "paper" as in the wood pulp variety, more a synthectic of some sort. Not really sure though, maybe someone else can shed light.

Might pay to check with Toyota next time you are in there and have a chat about how many times you can wash them and what they are made of.


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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 11:01

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 11:01
"Not sure if you can use any detergents on them like you can with foam filters."

With foam filters you use turps! Not soapy water... You must be thinking of K&N Cotton types for soap...

Yeah fair enough mate, I'll ask them , altough I have my doubts about how helpful toyota are going to be in regards to SAVING money!! LOL But I'll certainly ask em.
FollowupID: 374079

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 23:14

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 23:14
When I bought my GQ (many years ago) a trusted friend and excellent diesel mechanic said I should get rid of the foam filter that it came with because they do not filter adequately. I said what about the rtace cars that all use foam. He said they rebuild the engine after every race, do you want to do that? Ichanged to paper.

I had a problem with the car while in Perth and took it to a diesel fuel injection workshop. Asked what he thought. He said stick with paper, same reason as that stated by my mate.

I took the car to Berrima and he said the same as everyone else.

My GU uses paper and always will.

While on the subject of filters many aftermarket fiter systems don't match original equipment specs. The after market fuel filter on the GQ was 10 micron the OE is 5 micron and that is a big difference, enough to affect warranties. It pays to check before you buy.

AnswerID: 117986

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 02:08

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 02:08
Ive tried paper and foam on my GQ, and I went back to genuine Nissan ones. they are cheap enough, and work.
AnswerID: 117998

Reply By: Diamond (Vic) - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:41

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:41
when the filter in our jack needed replaced i was shocked at the price of a paper filter$80 so i bought a k&n for $100 and keep washing it.
now i can get jack ones for $15 i replaced the k&n with paper.
might be me but i think i used more fuel with the k&n just doing some new figures now.
AnswerID: 118047

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 10:22

Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 10:22
I thought I could smell something, put them shoes back on...
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Reply By: Skinnydog - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 21:38

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 21:38
If you cant afford paper filters how do you put fuel in your car or food on your table?
AnswerID: 118138

Follow Up By: Member - 'Lucy' - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 23:33

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 23:33
FollowupID: 373341

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 11:40

Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 11:40
An extra $100 every three months = $33 per month extra.

I'm sorry if us lowly family's need to scrimp and save to pay the bills, I shall see if I can work some extra overtime to make you all happy.
We have a 7 month old babey and a 7 year old boy hence only one of us is working currently. I'm sure there are many other families that could do with the extra $33 a month.

Personally I'd rather put the $33 in for fuel to go camping then put it into a paper filter... But hey, that's my choice.
FollowupID: 373393

Reply By: Flash - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 14:59

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 14:59
There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

The same goes for tests like the above mentioned ones.
Q>How do you prove it's authenticity?
I could publish a paper that said there were people living on Pluto- proves nothing.

Q>What about a well maintained oiled foam versus a SLIGHTLY clogged paper one. I have conclusively proven which breathes better on the Dyno-both by HP at the wheels and manifold pressure. After all, a paper filter is not new for long, and we will all try and stretch it out a little bit before fitting a new one. (Are you going to replace yours every 5,000 klms or even less on dirt- I'm damn sure I wouldn't) What about the cost of the extra fuel because it's a bit clogged???

Doesn't filter well enough??? Well why do I have two diesels in the family, both extensive dirt work, both run on oiled foam, one with 490,000 klms and the other ONLY 286,000 (barely run in!!)... BOTH in perfect mechanical condition and use no oil.
(BTW- BOTH have always had bypass filters fitted.)

Like I said, lies, damned lies and statistics???? You choose, but be carefull.
AnswerID: 119779

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