Dread-thread: Open Air Filters - The Saab Link Forums

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Old 01-18-2008, 09:29 AM   #1
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Red face Dread-thread: Open Air Filters

On another, rather large forum, there is a thread that is quite HOT about their opinions against some published data about open air filters being an engine killer.

While the data (most likely published by AC Delco) seems to support the fact that the exposed element filters are less efficient for a number of reasons, the popularity is extremely healthy. I am also a recent owner of the GS intake option, so the particular thread was of great intrest to me.

My impression was that the European Saabists tend to take the stance of Saab-purists, and the 'mericun bunch goes with "to each his own". While I don't think that our cars would suffer the same risks as some race-cars with very tight tolerances and expensive parts do, I would like to keep my Viggen on the road as long as possible, like most of us here do.

Has anyone experienced any catastrophical breakdowns due to the extended use of an open element (ie. K&N, AEM, BMC, ITG...), here? I assume that most of us here drive on realtively good roads (no dunes or Pikes peak...).

... sadly, towards the end of the said thread, it became a cock-fight of words and pride; not a pretty sight
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:56 AM   #2
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I’ve had my Saab up Pikes Peak a few times, gets very dust and turns my Saab brown. I’ve been using a cone filter for 5 years now. The outside looks pretty dirty and I have cleaned it a few times. But the inside of it looks brand new. I think the biggest question is what is getting through? A piece of dust a few microns wide is not going to do any damage, where as a grain of sand could cause some problems, but it would take a hole in the filter to get sand through it.

Did the other thread mention the micron filtration size difference between open air and paper filters? If the difference is, say, between 5 and 10 microns there is not much of an argument there, where as if the difference is between 10 and 100 microns.
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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I think it's all opinon.


You cannot compare race engines, to "real life".
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:49 PM   #4
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I think it would be pretty hard to pin down engine failure specifically to poor filtration. I don't think I have every seen anything that would even indicate poor filtration in any of the engines I have torn down.

THe thing that most people forget is that as a filter gets dirty, it filters BETTER!!! Those little holes in the filter clog, and let smaller and smaller particles through till nothing can flow through. So for performance aspects, it is bad, but from a filtration stand, good!

In other words, in order to specifically attribute engine failure to a filter, one would have to be religious in cleaning it weekly, almost daily to even get a filter to perform poorly. That, or just run no filter at all and see where that gets you. My guess, even without a filter it would be a very long time under most normal conditions before damage occured. The oil would pick up most of the dirt, and be filtered out, or settle to the bottom of the pan.

just my 2 cents I guess.

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Old 01-18-2008, 01:08 PM   #5
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I wont go into the race applications, but the Oil Analysis over at BITOG have shown how poorly KN filters filter.

Does/Can this cause an engine failure ? Maybe, but doubtful for day to day driving. But personally when people have proven our intakes are good up to 400hp(stock) then why wouldnt I want the cleanest oil I can get. I had a KN panel filter on my saab until I read many articles and UOA's and decided to change back to a paper filter. I also had a oil analysis done which showed high silicon (dirt) with the KN filter, and then low silicon with a paper air filter. I feel absolutly no difference between the 2, and feel betteer knowing my oil will stay cleaner.

Like others have said, to each his/her own.
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:27 PM   #6
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Well, in my experience with the c900, the PO had put an open air element in the thing right behind the intercooler. Naturally it ran like crap on a hot day when I first got it.

So I put the airbox back in it and it ran great.

The point is, I just don't understand the open air element, "CAI" when in fact, the factory box IS a CAI -- it isolates the underhood engine heat from the intake.

Now others may argue that a CAI or open air element is more efficent, less restrictive. In fact, in the c900s, you'll find many owners plasma cutting the false inner fender wall to stick the pipe through and put the element between the inner and outter fender wall, therefore creating a new airbox to the sacrifice of placement for cruise control pump, ignition module and charcoal canister among other things.

And yet the factory box's snorkle actually pulls air from the same exact location.

I would THINK Saab would have engineered the car to make best use of the intake system -- especially with models like your Viggen -- to get the best performance. So I guess after experimenting and observing over the years (driving Saabs for 27 years...), I've come to the conclusion that Saab really did know what they were doing.

Unless you're building a 500 hp monster, I say leave it alone.

But that's just my opinion.
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Saab9-3se View Post
I wont go into the race applications, but the Oil Analysis over at BITOG have shown how poorly KN filters filter.

Good thing I have a J & R Filter! Haha...I personally believe that it is preference. I have seem some dyno sheets where an open air filter actually made a small difference(1 or 2 hp). I have an open air filter for the sound though. I love the WHOOSH!
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:28 PM   #8
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I just wish I would get the same sound.

Do they make an OEM style paper filter in the cone shape, such that I can still use the GS open air system but with OEM style filter?
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:15 PM   #9
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GM has had a recent problem with MAF failures in many of their vehicles. Some TSB's that they put out have you look for an aftermarket air filter as the first step of a driveability diagnosis.

AC Delco is essentially GM and it would not surprise me if GM used AC Delco to put out data supporting it's stance that aftermarket filters kill their MAFs, not just crappy product in the first place.

We've had several GM vehicles with failed MAF sensors and none of them have had aftermarket air filters. Hmmmmmm....

I've heard that notion that filter oil slowly kills off MAF sensors because it coats the hot wire with fine particles. Whether this is true or not, I don't know.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saab9-3se View Post
Maybe, but doubtful for day to day driving. But personally when people have proven our intakes are good up to 400hp(stock) then why wouldnt I want the cleanest oil I can get.

No, it's one person, and it's treated like it's carved in granite or something. I personally would like to see more tests.




That "good for 400hp" statement is my saab tuning pet peeve. The people who champion it, (while being very knowledgeable and helpful to the community), act like you are an idiot.
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:09 PM   #11
 
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Vigge's testing is pretty valid for T7 and makes a great case that the stock filter isn't the restriction in that setup.

He hasn't tested T5, so he hasn't really made any assertions for that setup.

The filtration info is based on a pretty thorough series of tests with something like 12 different filters, but the testing was done on trucks, IIRC.

That test was pretty interesting and made a strong case that the K+N filters ACTUALLY DID allow more air through, at least for a while, but they also allowed more dirt through. Oddly enough, they eventually clogged faster and became restrictive much quicker than the paper filters they were tested against.

That's what pushed me to clean the filter twice as often as the manufacturer recommends and to change my oil pretty frequently.
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:36 PM   #12
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Ok, that makes sense.


Wouldn't you be more likely to drive a truck in dusty conditons?

That may have some effect on the testing...
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:25 PM   #13
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I get back from work, and the click in to find that the thread has blossomed with all sorts of colors...

Perhaps a Pre-filter would reduce the chances of premature clogging (to a level of inefficiency) of a "cone" type filter.

As far as silicon content of the oil goes, it would be interesting to see what amount of silicon will cause damage to a passenger vehicle. Does elevated levels of silicon degrade the viscosity of oil? Also, what size particulates begin to pose a threat to a motor and pumps? Referring to abrasive properties, of course.

From the general "feel" of the information here, it seems either is okay. My c900t that I drove for 13 years had no issues with heat, running with a K&N filter.

Oh, except for ONE trip down to Portland during 100+ temps. The motor itself was heat-soaked, and the motor ran like an unkept NA motor. The AC eventually gave up all of the freon, too. Can't really blame the filter, but it probably COULD have sucked in cooler air with the OEM "trash-can" filter housing. ...maybe it was the freon in the intake that caused the drop in performance??? nah.

This thread is turning out to be MUCH more mature and informative than the hot thread "over there", where it was a contest of who knew how much.
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
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We've had several GM vehicles with failed MAF sensors and none of them have had aftermarket air filters. Hmmmmmm....
My stock airbox and filter were the filthiest things I had ever, ever seen. I have to clean my filter at some point but I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as the six-month-old stock filter was.
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:49 PM   #15
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My stock airbox and filter were the filthiest things I had ever, ever seen.
I agree with guru. When I installed the GS filter setup, and I opened the stock airbox, there were a few bits of fallen leaves and a good amount of traction sand. Pretty frightening to see what could flow by the filter.

...then again, my Viggen does not have the underbody plastic covers installed yet. Should be better after I finally get around to installing them.
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Old 01-19-2008, 12:58 AM   #16
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I'm talking dead leaves, dead insects, gritty sand, and a layer at least an inch thick of packed dust (hyperbole of course). Which is nice because, y'know, the filter is doing its job. But looking inside the duct, there was PLENTY of dust. It wasn't really doing as well as it should have.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:11 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=Route246;387682]I get back from work, and the click in to find that the thread has blossomed with all sorts of colors...

Perhaps a Pre-filter would reduce the chances of premature clogging (to a level of inefficiency) of a "cone" type filter.

As far as silicon content of the oil goes, it would be interesting to see what amount of silicon will cause damage to a passenger vehicle. Does elevated levels of silicon degrade the viscosity of oil? Also, what size particulates begin to pose a threat to a motor and pumps? Referring to abrasive properties, of course.

[QUOTE]

Thats a good question, I do not know how much silicon it takes to cause engine damage. Ill have to ask the guys over at BITOG. All i know from reading many UOA's is that whenever high silicon is noticed, people jump on it like crazy (check your air filter for leaks etc..) This is how I discovered the KN was not doing a good job for me.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:28 AM   #18
 
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Thats a good question, I do not know how much silicon it takes to cause engine damage. Ill have to ask the guys over at BITOG. All i know from reading many UOA's is that whenever high silicon is noticed, people jump on it like crazy (check your air filter for leaks etc..) This is how I discovered the KN was not doing a good job for me.

High silicon and a 3,000 mile oil change interval is vastly different than high silicon and a 10,000-mile oil change interval.
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:09 AM   #19
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I've heard that notion that filter oil slowly kills off MAF sensors because it coats the hot wire with fine particles. Whether this is true or not, I don't know.
Talking intakes with my indie once, he saw a car (make unknown, but he does saab/ovlovs) with cracked pistons, attributed to an oily MAF, attributed to an open filter. Rare, but something to think about.
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:33 AM   #20
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My stock airbox and filter were the filthiest things I had ever, ever seen. I have to clean my filter at some point but I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as the six-month-old stock filter was.
3 out of 4 air filters I replace at work require me to clean out the airbox. Whether it's a rodent infestation (the ones with live rodents are the worst) or just piled up sand and junk, air boxes get dirty.

Quote:
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Talking intakes with my indie once, he saw a car (make unknown, but he does saab/ovlovs) with cracked pistons, attributed to an oily MAF, attributed to an open filter. Rare, but something to think about.
My boss doesn't like them because he's seen an engine failure similar to the one you described and it was also attributed to an oil-soaked MAF.

There's a fine line you need to walk when oiling the filter and if you don't know how to do it properly, just don't. I had a POS lowered N/A Jetta in with a failed MAF sensor. We later learned that this is the 3rd MAF in 10,000 miles to bite the dust. The intake tube post-filter had oil sitting in it.
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