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All About Oil Filters

2760 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  TMarchand
I am not a lubrication, filtering, chemical or mechanical engineer. I have a degree in engineering, but I studied electrical engineering. I now study physics. You may feel free to question my abilities to gather facts and draw conclusions in the area of oils and filters. In any case, this is a write up of what I learned in about 30 hours of research on this topic. If your eyes glaze over in science classes and you simply wish there were someone with a science background and no financial interest in oils and filters who would do all the leg work for you, I'm your guy. My only interest is having my motorcycle run forever, never break, and be easy to maintain.

Oil Filters come basically in three qualities. Very good, with excellent filtration; normal; and really incredibly bad. This last category, really incredibly bad, should obviously be avoided. Accordingly, never use a Fram, Pennzoil, Penske, Castrol, or Quaker State oil filter in any motor you like. All of these filters are made by Fram. The filter element itself is a normal paper element, and probably no better or worse than anyone else's paper element. However, the end caps on the filter element are made of cardboard in these filters. There are numerous stories of these cardboard end caps getting saturated with oil and coming apart, putting little cardboard fragments directly into the oil flow into your engine bearings. As they say in GhostBusters, this "would be bad." Personally, I don't consider cardboard a suitable material for my engine internals. In the interests of fairness, below I reproduce a letter from Fram to me.

An interesting question is, do oil filters really do anything useful at all? Of course, conventional wisdom is your bike would simply die a horrible death in about 3 minutes without a filter. But, we've all had the experience of making the first oil change on a new engine: the oil comes out looking like oil-colored metal flake paint. Here's the interesting question: why didn't the filter catch all those flakes? If the OEM filter is so great, how come it visibly didn't clean the oil of this very obnoxious crud? I can only think of two possibilities: either the filter let the metal flakes through, which is quite disconcerting, or the filter became completely clogged up in the first 20 miles or so, and I was running with the bypass valve activated ever since - effectively running without any oil filter at all. This is my motivation in searching for better filters. Also I consider it my duty as an American male to supply ammunition for women to say "If you treated me half as well as you treat that stupid motorcycle, we'd never have any problems!"

The single most interesting piece of information I could give in this article is filtering efficiency versus particle size for all the popular filters. I don't have it. You can get this information for any other filter you wish to buy, but most automotive oil filter companies simply don't release this information. So we're going to have to make our decisions with insufficient data.

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Great post Grizzlywizard!!! I know this is an old post, but I could not help but at my .2c here.

Yes, stay away from Fram filters. I have read were one fell apart on a diesel truck and caused a lot of damage.

AMSOIL Ea Motorcycle Oil Filters provide filtering efficiency of 98.7 percent at 15 microns, outperforming the best cellulose/synthetic blend media on the market. For maximum engine protection, AMSOIL recommends changing the EaOM every time you change oil.

Ea Motorcycle Oil Filters feature a specially constructed silicone anti-drainback valve and a nitrile sealing gasket to go along with the full-synthetic Ea nanofiber media. The anti-drainback valve provides excellent protection during startup and remains flexible in all temperatures, and the nitrile sealing gasket resists chemical breakdown, providing excellent durability and ensuring long filter life. AMSOIL Ea Motorcycle Oil Filters are fluted for easy removal from the motorcycle and are available in a chrome-plated alternative to the normal black filters.

If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to ask and I will get you the answer.
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