Clean Air

| May 28, 2001

Pushing an air filter past its useful service life is a bad business decision. A dirty or plugged air filter restricts the flow of air to your engine, upsetting the air to fuel ratio. Diesel fuel cannot burn completely, resulting in a loss of engine performance and fuel economy.
Unburned fuel also contaminates the lube oil, reducing its effectiveness and service life.

Even worse trouble can occur through carelessness while replacing a filter element. If the filter does not seal completely or the media is punctured, dirt can get into the engine. There, it mixes with oil and causes damage to cylinder walls, rings, valves and other internal engine parts. The engine will lose power, burn oil, and, eventually, need a complete overhaul. According to Baldwin Filters, a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty filters, an engine can be ruined in as few as 500 miles without proper air filtration.

High-efficiency, dry-type air filters made with pleated, cellulose (paper) filter media, are standard on today’s engines. They require less service and are much more efficient than the old oil-bath filters, says Baldwin, which offers more than 1,200 different heavy-duty air filters. Different cellulose formulations, resins and chemical additives produce filter elements for specific applications. Air filters become more efficient at filtering out contaminants after a layer of dirt has built up on the outer surface of the filter media.

Filter manufacturers use various methods to restrict the movement of the pleated media for improved performance, extended element life and increased dust-holding capacity. Baldwin uses a proprietary PermaPleat construction to maintain the pleat spacing and to prevent bunching of the pleats. Air filters manufactured by Luber-finer feature dimples or “pleat-locks” along the edge of the filter media to stabilize the pleats.

Air filters for diesel engines are available in several styles. A radial seal design features molded polyurethane or rubber ends that function like o-rings to make a positive seal in the filter housing. Radial seal filters make installation easy because they do not involve changing gaskets. Conventional types using heavy-duty primary and secondary filter elements typically have metal ends and gaskets for sealing. Conventional housings can be adapted to use radial seal filters.

Since the amount of dirt suspended in the air varies from place to place and season to season, service intervals for air filters also vary. Driving in extremely dusty conditions or taking in excessive exhaust soot can quickly plug up a filter. Symptoms that an air filter is clogged include:

Engine starts losing power

Fuel consumption goes up

Black exhaust smoke seen

Filter manufacturers and engine makers recommend using a restriction gauge that monitors the condition of the air filter and indicates when to change it. These gauges show how much life a filter element has left by measuring the amount of vacuum created when air is drawn through the filter. When all of the filter’s capacity has been used, the indicator shows a complete vacuum. The gauges can be mounted directly on the air intake system, on the firewall of the engine compartment or in the dash. The Filter Minder restriction gauge from Engineered Products is available with a dash warning light.

Adding a turbocharger to a naturally aspirated engine may require changes to the intake ducting, Baldwin observes, since more free-flowing clean air is needed by turbocharged engines. The induction system should provide enough intake capacity to meet engine requirements for airflow, avoiding sharp bends and constrictive ducting. It should be installed in a clean location, away from exhaust flow, road grime and water splash.

Servicing Air Filters
Baldwin recommends that you follow these procedures when replacing the air filter element on your truck:

Turn off engine before removing filter

Wipe off top cover, then remove and inspect gasket. The gasket is an important seal and should be replaced annually.

Lift out element carefully to avoid dropping dirt into the engine’s air intake.

Use a clean, moist cloth to wipe up any dirt in the housing.

Inspect housing sealing surfaces for irregularities caused by dents or corrosion.

Install new filter element and reassemble in reverse order.
Warped housing lids should be replaced to ensure a complete seal. Check air duct joints to make sure they are tight because dirt can find its way into the engine through leaky ducts.

Old air filters reveal a lot, and they should be inspected carefully before disposal, notes Baldwin. Black, oily soot indicates that the air intake is located too close to the exhaust and should be moved. Rust on the filter’s metal parts indicates that water is being drawn in with air. Check the location of the intake and make sure the water-venting ports in the air induction system are clean and free of obstruction, says Baldwin.

Clean Air

| May 28, 2001

Pushing an air filter past its useful service life is a bad business decision. A dirty or plugged air filter restricts the flow of air to your engine, upsetting the air to fuel ratio. Diesel fuel cannot burn completely, resulting in a loss of engine performance and fuel economy.
Unburned fuel also contaminates the lube oil, reducing its effectiveness and service life.

Even worse trouble can occur through carelessness while replacing a filter element. If the filter does not seal completely or the media is punctured, dirt can get into the engine. There, it mixes with oil and causes damage to cylinder walls, rings, valves and other internal engine parts. The engine will lose power, burn oil, and, eventually, need a complete overhaul. According to Baldwin Filters, a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty filters, an engine can be ruined in as few as 500 miles without proper air filtration.

High-efficiency, dry-type air filters made with pleated, cellulose (paper) filter media, are standard on today’s engines. They require less service and are much more efficient than the old oil-bath filters, says Baldwin, which offers more than 1,200 different heavy-duty air filters. Different cellulose formulations, resins and chemical additives produce filter elements for specific applications. Air filters become more efficient at filtering out contaminants after a layer of dirt has built up on the outer surface of the filter media.

Filter manufacturers use various methods to restrict the movement of the pleated media for improved performance, extended element life and increased dust-holding capacity. Baldwin uses a proprietary PermaPleat construction to maintain the pleat spacing and to prevent bunching of the pleats. Air filters manufactured by Luber-finer feature dimples or “pleat-locks” along the edge of the filter media to stabilize the pleats.

Air filters for diesel engines are available in several styles. A radial seal design features molded polyurethane or rubber ends that function like o-rings to make a positive seal in the filter housing. Radial seal filters make installation easy because they do not involve changing gaskets. Conventional types using heavy-duty primary and secondary filter elements typically have metal ends and gaskets for sealing. Conventional housings can be adapted to use radial seal filters.

Since the amount of dirt suspended in the air varies from place to place and season to season, service intervals for air filters also vary. Driving in extremely dusty conditions or taking in excessive exhaust soot can quickly plug up a filter. Symptoms that an air filter is clogged include:

Engine starts losing power

Fuel consumption goes up

Black exhaust smoke seen

Filter manufacturers and engine makers recommend using a restriction gauge that monitors the condition of the air filter and indicates when to change it. These gauges show how much life a filter element has left by measuring the amount of vacuum created when air is drawn through the filter. When all of the filter’s capacity has been used, the indicator shows a complete vacuum. The gauges can be mounted directly on the air intake system, on the firewall of the engine compartment or in the dash. The Filter Minder restriction gauge from Engineered Products is available with a dash warning light.

Adding a turbocharger to a naturally aspirated engine may require changes to the intake ducting, Baldwin observes, since more free-flowing clean air is needed by turbocharged engines. The induction system should provide enough intake capacity to meet engine requirements for airflow, avoiding sharp bends and constrictive ducting. It should be installed in a clean location, away from exhaust flow, road grime and water splash.

Servicing Air Filters
Baldwin recommends that you follow these procedures when replacing the air filter element on your truck:

Turn off engine before removing filter

Wipe off top cover, then remove and inspect gasket. The gasket is an important seal and should be replaced annually.

Lift out element carefully to avoid dropping dirt into the engine’s air intake.

Use a clean, moist cloth to wipe up any dirt in the housing.

Inspect housing sealing surfaces for irregularities caused by dents or corrosion.

Install new filter element and reassemble in reverse order.
Warped housing lids should be replaced to ensure a complete seal. Check air duct joints to make sure they are tight because dirt can find its way into the engine through leaky ducts.

Old air filters reveal a lot, and they should be inspected carefully before disposal, notes Baldwin. Black, oily soot indicates that the air intake is located too close to the exhaust and should be moved. Rust on the filter’s metal parts indicates that water is being drawn in with air. Check the location of the intake and make sure the water-venting ports in the air induction system are clean and free of obstruction, says Baldwin.

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