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Oil filter comparisons

General technical discussion and troubleshooting
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MountainManJoe
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Oil filter comparisons

Post by MountainManJoe »

There's plenty of pictures of gutted oil filters on the net, and sensational videos claiming this brand of filter is better than another. But they are bullsh*t. They invariably discuss the intricacies of the materials, manufacturing and construction, and I think it's all irrelevant. Unless my filter falls off, explodes, implodes or leaks, I don't care if it has this spring or the other, paper or plastic, silicone or rubber. I'm interested in what actually matters, and the oil filter has one main job: Filter the oil.



There is only one reliable way to judge the performance of an oil filter, and that is to analyze the contamination of motor oil in a real car, under real world conditions. I have yet to see such an analysis. However, I did find an interesting website from 2011 that did an excellent job. In that study, fresh oil was mixed with microscopic aluminum particles of known size and composition. The heated oil was forced through discs of filter media at pressures used in car engines. Then the leftover contamination in the oil was weighed, and the filter elements were photographed and graded. The 31 oil filter brands were then ranked by how well they filtered.


Oil Filter Comparison Study - GM Truck Central

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Re: Oil filter comparisons

Post by MountainManJoe »

I was doing an oil+filter change, so I opened up the old filter. (ACDelco PF48e installed at GM dealership).

The ACDelco was one of the worst performers in the filter study. It earned an 'F'. This is a photo of the PF48e filter material itself (left) and the collected particles that made it through the filter. (right)
pf1218_30um.jpeg


There's nothing too exciting about the guts. The filter element was bonded fibre wrapped around a plastic core (cage looking thing), and capped with paper. They claim that it's so that metal doesn't come in contact with the clean oil side of the filter. The engine is metal so that makes no sense to me. And judging from the filtration performance, it's going to let metal junk through anyway. I think it's also so they can reuse the core when the filters are recycled (GM calls them e-cores. The 'e' in PF48e is supposed to stand for eco)
P9023938.jpeg

The filter element is roughly 102 square inches (657 sq. cm). I didn't see any metal particles visible to the naked eye embedded in the media. Both sides looked the same to me.
P9023939.jpeg

I did not replace my oil filter with another OEM because of the poor filtration. It came in 2nd to last overall in a face-off with 30 other filters. They are not inexpensive either.

I replaced it with a NAPA filter ....
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Re: Oil filter comparisons

Post by MountainManJoe »

I used up another filter since I switched to NAPA and here is a look at it.


In the study, the NAPA filter got a decent 'C+' in filtering, and ranked 6th overall. In the same class as some premium high priced filters.


The NAPA filter lets through visibly less particulates (compare the paper discs on the right)

NAPA:
21060_30um.jpeg
Delco:
Image

Here it is torn down:

The filter element is your standard cellulose fibre, but in this case capped with metal, not paper.
It has a surface area of 104 sq. inches (668 sq. cm). Nearly the same as the Delco.
IMG_0937.jpeg

The core is metal too, and you can see a spring inside
IMG_0938.jpeg
The spring operates this valve. I guess this is a high pressure bypass in the event the filter gets completed plugged up. The Delco didn't have this.
IMG_0939.jpeg
I removed the filter element, squeezed out the oil in a vice, and passed a paper wrapped magnet over the filter. No significant metal was found.

I bought this ProSelect oil filter for $4. (NSF 27060). In bulk you can buy them for $3. NAPA is conveniently located 2 min from home.
It filters a lot better than the Delco one, and costs less, so I would say that is better value for my money. I will switch to using these filter for now.

Astrophysics
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Re: Oil filter comparisons

Post by Astrophysics »

Hi MMJ,
Very good info on oil filters.
I have been using WIX brand in my 2003 Astro AWD since 2006. It has 125,000 Mike now.

Thank you for your excellent report.

AP

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Re: Oil filter comparisons

Post by Bret Schmerker »

I've had oil filters stuck on previous machinery; first used K&N® on a Ford E350 with a V8-351 Windsor. I found the HP-2001 satisfactory for the Chevrolet/GM Turbo-Fire 262 V6, and the welded-in 1" hex permits removal with box wrench or socket.
1997 GMC M11006 (Safari SLE, 2WD, V6-4300/4L60-E/7.625" 3.73:1 open)
Acquired Jul 2018 / In service Sep 2018 - present
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