The Real Story on Oil Filters - Victory Forums - Victory Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Default The Real Story on Oil Filters

This article is from one of my Trade Publications. The Author is a certified Machinery Lubricant Analyst (MLA) Level I and Level II and Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I by the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML).

Early automotive engines didn’t use any kind of filtration for the oil. It wasn’t until a patent was granted to Ernest Sweetland and George Greenhalgh in 1923 for their product the “pure oil later” or “Purolator,” that you could buy an automobile with a full pressure lubrication system.
It would be many years later before a full flow oil filter found on today’s automobiles was incorporated.
The 1940s would bring about filtration systems on mass produced vehicles, and the 1960s made oil filter changes much more convenient with the advent of “spin on” disposable filters. Through the next few decades, advances were made in the internal construction and filter media, making the filters much more efficient. Today, all automotive engines, whether gasoline or diesel, come with filtration designed to improve oil cleanliness and thus extend the life of that engine.
What makes today’s filters better than those of the past is the filter media itself. Early designs incorporated steel wool, wire meshes, metal screens and more to keep the particles from entering the system. The next iteration of the media was in the form of bulk cotton or various woven fabrics, like linen. When disposable filters became popular in the 1960s, cellulose and paper were used to minimize production costs. Although cellulose and paper filters still can be purchased today, a better technology exists: synthetic media.
Today’s filters are made of cellulose or synthetic media encompassed in a steel can. The top of the filter has a threaded center hole with smaller holes surrounding it. Oil will enter through the surrounding holes, pass through the media and exit the threaded center. The can typically screws directly to the engine block and uses an O-ring gasket to prevent leakage. Some filters will also have a drain back valve at the smaller surrounding holes to prevent dirt and debris that is trapped on the face of the media from washing back into the system during depressurization. There is also a pressure relief or bypass valve that allows the oil to bypass the media in the event that it becomes plugged or the pressure differential becomes too high.
A good filter has a strong steel can to withstand the high oil pressure (60-80psi when cold), an anti-drain back valve that works without creating too much back pressure, a pressure relief valve that doesn’t leak below its opening pressure, and a strong element and cap that can withstand the pressure and flow of oil without falling apart.
The element media has to be able to trap small particles, but not restrict the flow too much. Cellulose is used on economy filters. The fibers in the paper act as a mesh to block particles while still allowing the oil to pass through. Some manufacturers add other media, such as cotton, to the cellulose to improve its performance. Also, there is synthetic fiber media for the high-end filters that has smaller passages to trap smaller particles, but can also pass more fluid through because it has more passages, thus increasing the inherent surface area.
There is also media that is a blend of the two. Not only does the type of media play a role in the filters ability to remove debris, but also the construction. Depth filters are usually made of a synthetic material that has a passage size gradient to it. In other words, the deeper into the element the oil goes, the smaller the passages get. This way, large particles are trapped on the surface and small particles get trapped deeper within, allowing the filter to hold more particles before it becomes too restrictive.
So how do you know which ones to buy? A large portion of all passenger car oil filters are sold to do-it-yourself oil changers. Last year, that accounted for 189 million oil filter changes. Cost plays a major role in deciding what oil filter to purchase. The cost of a synthetic depth filter is almost double of that of the cellulose filter. It may only cost a few extra dollars in the beginning, but there have been multiple case studies on the effect of the cleanliness of the oil affecting component life to the tune of three to four times the life extension of the engine. Ask yourself the next time you are standing in front of a store shelf full of engine oil filters … “Is it worth a few extra dollars to me now to save an expensive rebuild down the road?”

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 09:19 AM
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An oil change before the real deal, or your machine, a ratchet Wrench, an oil filter that is easy for you to confirm.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowanatkinson97 View Post
An oil change before the real deal, or your machine, a ratchet Wrench, an oil filter that is easy for you to confirm.
I don't understand what you are saying. Could you please clarify

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 07:25 PM
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Not mentioned is the issue of pressure drop caused by even new cheap filters

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Not mentioned is the issue of pressure drop caused by even new cheap filters
There is also a pressure relief or bypass valve that allows the oil to bypass the media in the event that it becomes plugged or the pressure differential becomes too high.


It is right there..

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 08:14 PM
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i think what kevinx means is that, even under normal operating conditions, less efficient filters cause a larger pressure drop across the element than superior units.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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I guess we will have to wait for clarification from him.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ashmostro View Post
i think what kevinx means is that, even under normal operating conditions, less efficient filters cause a larger pressure drop across the element than superior units.

Exactly what I meant. The media used in cheap filters causes a huge pressure drop. Gauge indicates great pressure since it is before the filter, but can drop more then 20psi after the filter.

Buy good filters!

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinx View Post
Buy good filters!
Which ones are the "good" ones? And, do different oils (syntheic, semi, crude) require different filters?

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2011, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Kevin, you are referring to what is called "pressure differential".

This is one of the reasons I tell people to stay away from the Pure One in a Motorcycle/Powersports application. As even Purolator says this filter should NOT be used in a Powersports application. The Bypass starts to come in 6 PSI higher than OEM recommended and the media is too dense.

Pure One is not a "cheap" filter, but is not designed for the application, Purolator has filters for Powersports in their "ML" line.

Too many people think the same about filters as they do about oil "They are all the same" which, in both cases, couldn't be farther from the truth.

Henry: There is no "Special" filter required for different oil types. If someone tells you that, walk away.

Are there differences in filters? Absolutely. from my stand point, I'd only use a Fram if I was stuck someplace and needed a filter to get home and it was the only thing I could get.

I try to narrow choices to 3, then make a selection. That's for a filter, a steak, or a truck.

AMSOIL EA Series are the best money can buy, my next choice is WIX and then Purolator.

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