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Thread: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

  1. #1
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Post OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    I came across this article today on why OEM air filters are actually better than aftermarket oiled air filters such as K&N, and I thought I'd share it. It's a bit long but there's some good information and some actual data to back it up. If you want you can skip right to the graphs to get the general idea of the tests.

    It was originally posted on HERE

    For decades, the aftermarket hot rod, racing and tuning communities have relied on oiled-media filters to free up that extra few horsepower. In fact, it’s often one of the FIRST modifications many automotive enthusiasts do to their car. K&N filters, to their credit, is generally known to be the top name in oiled filters, and they do a great job of building a quality product. However, it’s always important to evaluate the claims and see exactly what you’re getting for your money.



    This report shows, with empirical data and sound reasoning, why OEM filters perform better in a variety of areas.

    Special thanks to Arlen Spicer and all others involved in making this information available.

    A note from the author:
    The reason I started this crusade was that I was seeing people spend a lot of money on aftermarket filters based on the word of a salesperson or based on the misleading, incomplete or outright deceiving information printed on boxes and in sales literature. Gentlemen and Ladies, marketing and the lure of profit is VERY POWERFUL! It is amazing how many people believe that better airflow = more power! Unless you have modifications out the wazoo, a more porous filter will just dirty your oil! Some will say, I have used aftermarket brand X for XXX # years with no problems. The PROBLEM is you spent a chunk of change on a product that not only DID NOT increase your horsepower, but also let in a lot of dirt while doing it! Now how much is a lot? ANY MORE THAN NECESSARY is TOO MUCH!

    Others are persuaded by the claims of aftermarket manufacturers that their filters filter dirt “better than any other filter on the market.” Sounds very enticing. To small timers like you and me, spending $1500 to test a filter sounds like a lot. But if you were a filter manufacturer and you believed your filter could filter dirt better than any other media on the market, wouldn’t you want to prove it? Guess what. Test your filter vs. the OE paper. It will cost you $3000 and for that price you will have the data that you can use in your advertisements. Your investment will be returned a thousand fold! EASIER than shooting fish in a barrel! So why don’t these manufacturers do this? Hmmm? Probably not because they would feel guilty about taking more market share.

    Now I am not saying that ALL aftermarket filters are useless. A paper filter does not do well if directly wetted or muddy. It may collapse. This is why many off-road filters are foam. It is a compromise between filtering efficiency and protection from a collapsed filter. Now how many of our vehicles collapse their filters from mud and water?

    However, if a filter is using “better airflow” as their marketing tool, remember this….Does it flow better? At very high airflow volumes, probably. BUT, our engines CAN’T flow that much air unless super-modified, so what is the point? The stock filter will flow MORE THAN ENOUGH AIR to give you ALL THE HORSEPOWER the engine has to give. And this remains true until the filter is dirty enough to be recognizeable. At that point performance will decline somewhat. Replace the filter and get on with it.

    Hopefully the results of this test will do 2 things. Shed some light on the misleading marketing claims of some aftermarket manufacturers and/or give us new insight on products already on the market that are superior to our OE filter.

    SCOPE:
    This report presents the results of an ISO 5011 test of several air filters designed for the GM Duramax Diesel. The test was independently performed under controlled conditions using a $285,000 machine at Testand Corp of Rhode Island (manufacturer of the machine).

    Arlen Spicer, a GM Duramax Diesel owner/enthusiast organized the test. Testand offered to perform the tests at no charge. (These tests typically cost approx $1700.00 per filter). Ken (and employee of Testand), a Diesel enthusiast and owner of a Ford Power Stroke Diesel, shared Arlen’s interest in performing an accurate unbiased test of different types and brands of diesel engine air filters.

    The filters used in the test were purchased retail and donated by Arlen and other individual Duramax Diesel owners. The detailed reports from the test have been compiled and are presented in the following pages. The final pages of this report present the behind the test.

    ISO 5011 Test:
    The ISO 5011 Standard (formerly SAE J726) defines a precise filter test using precision measurements under controlled conditions. Temperature & humidity of the test dust and air used in the test are strictly monitored and controlled. As Arlen learned in attempting his own tests, there are many variables that can adversely affect filter test results. A small temperature change or a small change in humidity can cause the mass of a paper filter to change by several grams.

    To obtain an accurate measure of filter efficiency, it’s critical to know the EXACT amount of test dust being fed into the filter during the test. By following the ISO 5011 standard, a filter tested in Germany can be compared directly compared to another filter tested 5 years later in Rhode Island. The ISO 5011 filter test data for each filter is contained in two test reports; Capacity-Efficiency and Flow Restriction.

    Capacity and Efficiency:
    The Capacity and Efficiency test report presents the test results of feeding an initially clean filter with PTI Course Test Dust (dirt) at a constant rate and airflow. The course test dust has a specific distribution of particle sizes ranging from less than 2.5 microns to greater than 80 microns (see table below).

    Every filter is initially tested at 350 CFM and the Initial Restriction or differential pressure across the filter is recorded in IN-H20 (Inches of Water). The filter is then tested by feeding test dust at a nominal rate of 9.8 grams per minute with a constant airflow of 350 CFM. The test is continued until the flow restriction exceeds the Initial Restriction + 10 IN-H20.

    At this point the test is terminated and the amount of dust passed through the filter (Accumulative Gain) is measured. Dirt passing through the filter is captured in the Test Station’s Post Filter. The exact amount of dirt passed is determined by measuring the before and after weight of the Post Filter.
    Similarly, the amount of dirt retained by the Filter under test – Accumulative Capacity – is measured by taking the difference between the before and after weights of the Filter. From these results the overall % Efficiency of the filter is calculated. This test also indicates how long a Filter will last before replacement is required (or cleaning for reusable filters).

    Flow Restriction:
    This report presents flow restriction of a clean filter resulting from an increasing airflow. The differential pressure restriction across the filter is reported in inches of water (IN H2O) versus Air Flow in cubic feet per minute CFM.

    Data from these reports has been compiled and presented in the following bar graphs, plots and data tables.

    Filtering Efficiency:
    Filtering efficiency is a measure of the filter’s overall ability to capture dirt.



    Accumulative Capacity:

    “Accumulative Capacity” is a measure of dirt holding/loading capacity before reaching the maximum restriction limit.

    Initial Restriction + 10 IN-H20.



    Accumulative Gain:
    “Accumulative Gain” is the total amount of dirt that passed through the filter during the test.

    (Note: The Purolator was reported to have a seal malfunction during the test and passed more dirt than it would have with a good seal.)

    Initial Restriction:
    Initial Restriction is the Filter under test’s resistance to flow at 350 CFM.



    Dirt Passed Versus Total Test Time:

    This graph shows each the duration of each filter’s test versus dirt passed (Accumulative Gain).

    (Note: The Purolator was reported to have a seal malfunction during the test and passed more dirt than it would have with a good seal.)

    In the chart above it’s important to note the different test durations for each filter. The AC Delco filter test ran for 60 minutes before exceeding the restriction limit while the AMSOIL and K&N tests each ran for 20 and 24 minutes respectively before reaching max restriction.

    In 60 minutes the AC Filter accumulated 574gms of dirt and passed only 0.4gms. After only 24 minutes the K&N had accumulated 221gms of dirt but passed 7.0gms.

    Compared to the AC, the K&N “plugged up” nearly 3 times faster, passed 18 times more dirt and captured 37% less dirt. See the data tables for a complete summary of these comparisons.

    Dust Loading:
    The dust loading curves show graphically how each filter responded to a constant 9.8 gms/min dust flow before reaching the maximum restriction limit.



    It’s interesting to note the shape of these Dust Loading Curves. The AC and Baldwin filters each had near linear responses until reaching maximum restriction. Restriction for these filters increased at a constant rate versus the 9.8 gms/min dust feed rate.

    The other filters, most notably the oiled reusable types, had an exponential loading response before reaching maximum restriction. These filters had a lower initial restriction, but they became exponentially more restrictive under a constant flow of dirt.

    This runs counter to the “myth” that oiled media filters actually “work better” as they get dirtier.

    Also notice the length of the curves as it shows the relative test time for each filter (time to max restriction).

    Restriction to Flow:The Restriction to Flow curves graphically show how each “clean” filter responded to a steadily increasing flow of air up to 350 CFM.



    The Flow Restriction response curves for each filter have the same basic shape. However, note how the AC Filter, which passed the smallest amount of dirt and had the highest dirt capacity and efficiency, also had the highest relative restriction to flow. The less efficient filters correspondingly had less restriction to flow.

    This illustrates the apparent trade-offs between optimizing a filter for dirt capturing ability and maximum airflow.
    Last edited by MarcGSR; 01-14-2016 at 07:46 PM. Reason: title edit
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

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    Administrator test MarcGSR's Avatar
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    Re: Why OEM Air Filters are Better - Interesting Article with Data

    Nice article. What people need to keep in mind is that highest flow doesn't translate to best protection. The performance benefit of the highest flowing filter vs the least should be negligible. I'd rather have the peace of mind on a daily driver by opting for better protection vs absolute best flow. Otherwise, I'd throw caution to the wind and run a mesh screen or no filter! I've always run AEM Dry Flow filters which, unfortunately, aren't part of this test but I trust they are as good or better then OEM filter media. I hope, haha.

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    Senior Member test Snidd's Avatar
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    Re: Why OEM Air Filters are Better - Interesting Article with Data

    very Interesting! cant say iam fan of the bulky oem air box(s)... but it deff makes since to keep that air clean as possible.

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    Re: Why OEM Air Filters are Better - Interesting Article with Data

    nice demonstration of the trade-off between flow and filtration, despite the [debatable] misleading title. thanks for posting.
    70 nova 4 speed lsx

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    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Why OEM Air Filters are Better - Interesting Article with Data

    Quote Originally Posted by Snidd View Post
    very Interesting! cant say iam fan of the bulky oem air box(s)... but it deff makes since to keep that air clean as possible.
    I'm not sure about other cars but I know BMW incorporates a cold air intake for their airboxes which is why I would never put an aftermarket CAI or short ram on my cars. On the M3 it would take air from the front fog light area and the grilles and on the 540 it takes air from the front lower grille.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4speed View Post
    despite the [debatable] misleading title. thanks for posting.
    I just used a shorten version of the title from the article, I can always change it if you have a suggestion?
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    Made a quick title edit, should be good now. It's true that 'best' can be subjective. Great article again.

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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    I was mainly referring to the article title itself. Like Marc said, 'better' or 'best' is fairly subjective in this situation. The data speaks for itself, however.
    70 nova 4 speed lsx

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    Senior Member test exist's Avatar
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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    From what I gathered by skimming the article - high flow cone filters are less restrictive and flow better than stock - but also allow more particles to flow through them which has the potential of damaging your engine over time.

    I've never argued the fact that oem filters protect better - but there is a lot of info out there from people claiming they flow better as well, which - based on this article - isn't true.

    Plus cone filters sound cooler, so ...

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    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    Quote Originally Posted by exist View Post
    From what I gathered by skimming the article - high flow cone filters are less restrictive and flow better than stock - but also allow more particles to flow through them which has the potential of damaging your engine over time.
    And the cone/oiled filters get dirty a lot faster than paper filters, which ends up making them more restrictive than the paper filter anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by exist View Post
    Plus cone filters sound cooler, so ...
    Only if they're attached to a turbo...
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

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    Senior Member test Ferd's Avatar
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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    This is why I'll never use a filter other than OEM or similar.
    1997 BMW 740iL Arctic Silver Metallic, Decatted - "Silver Bullet"
    SHE AIN'T PRETTY, BUT SHE'S FAST. (FOR A STREET CAR ANYWAY).



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    Senior Member test Mitsubaru's Avatar
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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    I think if you want to get better air flow and have better protection for your engine, keep the aftermarket but don't skimp out on quality engine oil and quality oil filter. After all, no filter will filter out all impurities.

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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsubaru View Post
    I think if you want to get better air flow and have better protection for your engine, keep the aftermarket but don't skimp out on quality engine oil and quality oil filter. After all, no filter will filter out all impurities.
    oil filter is a totally different discussion
    70 nova 4 speed lsx

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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    Not really. Impurities from the air intake get trapped into the engine oil and then the oil filter filters out the impurities, depending on the size of course.

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    Senior Member test exist's Avatar
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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how you're getting oil into your cylinders..

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    Senior Member test Mitsubaru's Avatar
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    Re: OEM Air Filter Performance vs Aftermarket - Interesting Article with Data

    Quote Originally Posted by exist View Post
    I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how you're getting oil into your cylinders..
    http://www.carcarenewsservice.org/ar...-filters-blame

    - - - Updated - - -

    Take from this link http://grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_back_basics/
    "If a filter is damaged or not properly installed, dirty air will enter the combustion chamber. This dirty air will result in abrasion or wear of internal engine components, especially piston rings and cylinder walls. Symptoms of a “dusted” engine are excessive oil consumption, due to worn piston rings (blue smoke); low power; and difficult starting, due to decreased compression."

    So, if a less restrictive air filter allows more impurities in the combustion chamber, there's a good chance of it entering the engine. But, if you have great oil and a great oil filter, it should even out...IMO





    - - - Updated - - -

    And there's this as well.. a little goofy but good nonetheless.
    http://www.ennyman.com/syn-dirt.html

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