Foam Air Filter WARNING
Paper or foam?
"Personally if I only had to choose between a regular paper air filter and a foam one I'd choose the paper every time." ~Jim
Fortunately there are OICG (oil-impregnated cotton gauze) air filters that most high-performance applications and even helicopters use, that is my first choice, mainly for the better airflow characteristics.
There have been fit problems with the OICG and foam filters and even some paper filters as to fit on the GM 6.5 and other applications so proper installation and a good sealing filter is key to keeping the dirt out.
There are some rumors about higher silicon levels when oil lab tests are made and the rumors blame this on sand passing through the filters, a filter manufacturer says it's from the oil used on the filters having silicon in it, but I have not seen any data to support either claim and it appears to us that the silicon level myth is just a scam to sway buyers to other filters.
Having run the OICG type filters since 1978 our fonder Jim would know if any sand passed through the filters, and with over 150,000 to 200,000+ miles on many vehicles in that time and various engines disassembled for inspection or modifications and no indications of grit or sand passing through the filters or engines.
Now here is a real WARNING...
If you are considering a foam air filter, here are a few things to think about...
It's not too difficult to imagine the horror you'd feel if a dirty foam filter deteriorated and emptied all the dirty contents, it held for who knows how long, in to your expensive turbocharger and expensive high compression diesel engine. Even if lucky enough not to have it fail completely, just a tear can let a lot of dirt that built up on the filter and other unfiltered air pass. Air like water tends to follow the path of last resistance or least restriction, so the majority of air would enter the hole or tear and rapidly wear away the foam to make a bigger and bigger path, as shown in by the photos below.
Picture is of the under side of a failed lawn mower FOAM air filter. The Commercial version uses a Paper filter!
Picture is of the top side of a failed lawn mower FOAM air filter. The Commercial version uses a Paper filter!
So if someone is trying to sell you a performance air filter, make sure you ask what the media material is, and if it is foam, RUN!
I would seriously question the credibility and actual experience in the automotive business of anyone recommending one of those foam filters for your turbo diesel engine.
Fortunately foam filters are not too popular, and for good reason...
Foam is definitely out, so what
then, Paper only?, or what else?
You may want to consider a Hi-Flow oil impregnated cotton gauze (OICG) type air filters, better flow for better breathing that should result in power and mpg gains.
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