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#3133083 - 09/23/13 06:31 AM The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic
chad8 Offline


Registered: 08/26/09
Posts: 1247
Loc: michigan
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/eating...n-ohio-1261517/

Eating crow, Fram oil filters, and my visit to Fram's R&D facility in Dayton Ohio
The subject of oil filters, like conventional vs. synthetic oil, is an emotional subject for many. I have to admit that over the past 10-15 years, I was caught up in the oil filter debates and formed some very strong opinionsÖ particularly about Framís oil filters. Based on what I had seen posted on the Internet, I became a fairly vocal anti-Fram oil filter type individual.

Personally, I had settled on AC-Delco and Purolatorís oil filters and they are what I had been running in all my vehicles. I was comfortable for many years with my opinion that AC-Delco, Purolator, Wix, etc. oil filters were good and that Fram was bad.

Much to my personal embarrassment, I recently learned that I have been wrong about Framís oil filters.

Through a friendship formed over several years with Jay Buckley, Technical Manager and Trainer for Autolite, a sister company to Fram, I was one of ten ďjournalistsĒ (their word, not mine) invited to tour Framís Research and Development facilities in Dayton Ohio.

We were to be the first-ever outsiders to be granted access, much less be given a full in-depth tour with presentations by Framís top engineers and staff. The other nine members of my group were primarily made up of automotive magazine editors, with a university petroleum educator (a VERY impressive individual) in the group as well.

I was half-expecting a sales job on why Fram was so great. I did not get one.

Instead, we were introduced to Gary Bilski, Framís Chief Filtration Engineer who was to be our host and leader for the dayís tour of their R&D facility. Gary had spent the majority of his career with Fram and it soon became clear he is a true expert on oil (and air) filtration. Gary turned out to be no salesman there to turn us around on Framís filters. He is an engineer by education and doesnít have a sales bone in his body.
We began the day in a conference room with introductions, an informal discussion on current filtration technology, and what we would be seeing. I came prepared to ask some very tough questions, complete with URL addresses and printouts of the various anti-Fram information I had bookmarked over the years.
It turned out I neednít have bothered bringing my own ammunition. Framís engineers soon got to all that and began showing us on a large overhead display the same exact web pages and anti-Fram reports I was going to ask them about.
I was shocked Gary Bilski brought that one up so soon in our meeting; it was a [censored] video that could not have been a tougher subject for them to have to address. Gary and several others from Fram spoke after the video was over and basically said the video was true and it was a very embarrassing one for them. What? Wow! Fram actually admitted what that video showed was factual and they were all greatly embarrassed over it. It was a tough one for them.
Then Gary further explained the video had to be showing an oil filter manufactured more than five years ago because such a filter could not make it past their current vastly improved Quality Control program. What is different now vs. before five years ago? Fram installed a series of computerized ďmachine visionĒ systems throughout their manufacturing facility. Their new machine vision systems now visually inspect every single filter throughout the manufacturing process for any variances and reject any with problems. If you know how machine vision systems work, youíll understand they are highly effective at picking up on any abnormalities, even those barely perceptible to the human eye. So that type of problem, the non-secured filtration material, as well other manufacturing problems. will no longer make it past their significantly improved Quality Control system.
We watched and discussed other videos and it soon became clear that the others simply werenít true. For example, one showed a really ugly sludge issue that was hysterically blamed on the Fram oil filter but it didnít take a genius to realize the oil just hadnít been changed in years.
One early subject we brought up was Framís use of cardboard end caps. Gary (again, their Chief Engineer) was prepared and covered that subject thoroughly. He explained how the pleated filtration material, which is flexible, is glued to the caps and that the added flex of the end caps prevents the pleated filtration material from pulling loose. Hereís a good example that adds credence to Garyís explanationÖ think flexible control arms vs. non-flexible control arms that are well known to tear control arm mounts away from what they are welded to. They use cardboard end caps for the Extra Guard and Tough Guard simply because it holds better than if it were to be glued to inflexible metal end caps.
Fram does use steel end caps on the Extended Guard oil filter but get away with that because the pleated filtration material used inside the Extended Guard is reinforced with a metal screen. That type of filter is designed for those who donít change their filter as frequently as most of us here do. What you gain in filtration life, you lose in filtration efficiency thoughÖ the Extended Guard has a 97% filtration efficiency vs. a 99% filtration efficiency with their Tough Guard filter. Their lowest-cost Extra Guard has a 95% filtration efficiency rating.
How do they come up with that Efficiency rating? By adding very precise amounts of specific sizes (measured in microns) of laboratory-quality ďdirtĒ (media) to the oil and then measuring what is left in the oil after the filtration process. The test equipment I saw gave direct readouts of the oil filterís efficiency. You could actually see the various efficiencies of the filters being tested on lab equipment like below.

So for example, let's say they pour exactly 100 grams of 10 micron laboratory grade media into the oil to be filtered. After the test is complete, they measure how much of the 100 grams of the lab media is left. If 99 grams have been filtered out, the filter is said to have 99% efficiency.
Nitrile is not as desirable to use in this job as silicone is but keep in mind Fram only use Nitrile in their entry-level lowest cost Extra Guard filter. Nitrile only starts to harden at around 258 degrees so for most conditions, it is ok. However, silicone is good to at least 400 degrees. For that reason, I personally would stick with an oil filter that uses a silicone anti-drainback valve. With Fram, that includes the Tough Guard, Extended Guard, and High Mileage filters.But just so you know, I learned that even their nitrile anti-drain back valves are tested to over one million cycles.
It was very interesting to note that Framís Tough Guard filter, which has a 99% filtration efficiency, was actually outperforming and out-filtering some far more expensive filters from Framís competitors. The R&D facility had a large assortment of the competitionís filters there being tested. Fram continually compares their filters against the competition which is very smart.

One of the more interesting series of tests were pressure tests that show how well the filter can contain the pressures oil filters can be subjected to. This particular piece of test equipment continually ups the oil pressure until the oil filter ruptures. We saw several cycles of tests and as I recall, the filters were withstanding 340+ psi of pressure before they blew out.
The below test apparatus was a pressure cycling machine that continually and repeatedly cycles the oil pressure 0-300+ psi over one million times. Each location has a digital readout over the top of each filter and I could see they were already over the million cycle mark. The pressure cycles made the filter cans swell in and outÖ spooky appearing, kind of like a row of beating hearts.



Oil pressures vary widely on our vehicles. It isnít unusual to see 0-125 psi spikes, especially on cold days when the oilís viscosity is thick. Other testing systems cycle the oil filters from -60 to >300f degrees.

There are a whole lot of various lab testing systems scattered throughout the facility and I honestly donít know what many of them do, we didnít have time to stop to watch each one of them work or have their functions explained.

What was my final conclusion? As stated early above, that I had been wrong about Fram. It was, frankly, embarrassing since I had been so anti-Fram oil filter for so many yearsÖ as some here still are. After having seen first-hand all the testing they put their filters through, the efficiencies of their filters vs. some very expensive oil filters, I changed my mind about Fram. It was a good lesson that serves to reinforce the fact that not everything we read on the Internet is true or at least is greatly exaggerated.

I fully expect a few to accuse me of having sold out to Fram after my visit. Thatís ok, I have seen first-hand what no one else here or anyone else outside of Fram has seen before. Again, my group of ten was the first outside group to have ever been invited to tour their R&D facility.

I too was anti-Fram and it wasnít easy to do so but I have been turned around. I have to eat crow for a few others as well. Mrblaine has been telling me the same thing for years, that Framís filters are fine and that the internet claims are either false or grossly exaggerated. Blaine, you were right.

In closing, I did something 4 weeks ago that would have been unthinkable to me only a few months ago. My wifeís pride and joy, her Lexus LS-430, needed an oil change. It got its usual 5 quarts of 5W-30 Valvoline engine oil but this time, I installed a Fram Tough Guard oil filter. That crow I ate at the cash register that day while buying the Fram oil filter wasnít the best I have tasted over the years. That isnít to say Iíll only run Fram oil filters from now on but I will say I will happily run their Tough Guard oil filter in any of my vehicles.

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#3133092 - 09/23/13 06:38 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
d00df00d Offline


Registered: 10/20/05
Posts: 8805
Loc: PA
Looks like you forgot to mention that those words aren't yours.

It's a good post. Just remember to give credit to the real author, or else you look like you're trying to win points by pretending you wrote it.
_________________________
2011 Mazda RX-8 R3
Castrol GTX 5w-20

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#3133093 - 09/23/13 06:43 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
edwardh1 Offline


Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1512
Loc: Coastal South Carolina
is the ultra a tough guard?

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#3133102 - 09/23/13 07:01 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: d00df00d]
chad8 Offline


Registered: 08/26/09
Posts: 1247
Loc: michigan
Originally Posted By: d00df00d
Looks like you forgot to mention that those words aren't yours.

It's a good post. Just remember to give credit to the real author, or else you look like you're trying to win points by pretending you wrote it.


Heck no they aren't mine. I'm illiterate.

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#3133107 - 09/23/13 07:10 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: d00df00d]
Tegger Offline


Registered: 03/20/06
Posts: 1312
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: d00df00d
Looks like you forgot to mention that those words aren't yours.

It's a good post. Just remember to give credit to the real author, or else you look like you're trying to win points by pretending you wrote it.

A surprising number of people don't understand how to quote others' work properly.

I'll never get invited to a FRAM lab, probably at least partially because I've never been on the silly anti-FRAM bandwagon.
_________________________
1991 Acura Integra - 414,467 miles - Mobil 1 5W-30, Honda OEM filter - **SOLD**
2013 Toyota RAV4 - 9,000 miles - Toyota 0W-20, Toyota filter

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#3133128 - 09/23/13 07:34 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
sayjac Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 7488
Loc: The Old North State
Been posted here a couple times previously.

As for the orange can specifically, I think if one reads this board regularly they will find that the point most often mentioned by the majority is cost for construction in comparison to other comparable tier filters. Agree or disagree, it's not an unreasonable consideration imo.

Otoh, the Fram Ultra is quite popular and regularly praised here, including many in the previously mentioned group.

But that aside, having personally met some of the folks mentioned in the link and others not, I can attest to them being a first class group of folks.

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#3133135 - 09/23/13 07:41 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
Jim Allen Offline


Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 4477
Loc: NW Ohio
At least two of us here at BITOG have been to the Fram test lab recently based on invitations from Jay Buckley, myself and Sayjac. It's in Perrysburg,near Toledo, not Dayton, by the way.

Tegger: When Jay made the invitation, it was more or less open. I think they really wanted to hit up the doubters but if you had responded when Jay made the invite, you could have gone I think. I certainly wasn't a doubter or a hater but I learned a tremendous amount by going.

Sayjac makes a good point above. There are people who irrationally hate the orange can for whatever ephemeral reasons they have but can't articulate. Others incorrectly assume the fiber endcaps make them bad. Some, like Sayjac mentioned, compare the bottom end orange cans with other filters and find you can get a better filter for less. Doesn't make them "bad" just not the best deal.


Edited by Jim Allen (09/23/13 07:46 AM)
_________________________
Jim Allen
Keepin' the Good Old Days of Four Wheeling Alive

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#3133164 - 09/23/13 08:27 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: sayjac]
David1 Offline


Registered: 06/17/13
Posts: 498
Loc: USA, FLA
Originally Posted By: sayjac
Been posted here a couple times previously.

As for the orange can specifically, I think if one reads this board regularly they will find that the point most often mentioned by the majority is cost for construction in comparison to other comparable tier filters. Agree or disagree, it's not an unreasonable consideration imo.

Otoh, the Fram Ultra is quite popular and regularly praised here, including many in the previously mentioned group.

But that aside, having personally met some of the folks mentioned in the link and others not, I can attest to them being a first class group of folks.



Yea I have seen that post some place else.
_________________________
2002 Honda Accord V6 3.0 Automatic Trans 183000 Miles
Valvoline Maxx Life 5W30
FRAM ULTRA OR FRAM TOUGH GUARD Or HONDA Filtech A01s

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#3133166 - 09/23/13 08:29 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
danthaman1980 Offline


Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 604
Loc: SE Wisconsin
I've been 'guilty' of 'bashing' Fram in the past as well... but only due to my negative personal experiences with Fram filters from the late 1990s (mostly due to insufficient can thickness). I believe those were quality issues that they have now fixed, so I'm sure Fram filters are just fine these days.

In fact - this past weekend, I installed a Fram oil filter for the first time in over 10 years. A Fram Ultra - on my girlfriend's Grand Am V6. Those Fram Ultras are built like tanks - in this case, literally so... the diameter of the Fram Ultra is slightly greater than the diameter of the Quaker State (Purolator clone) that it replaced... so while the QS just barely fits between the oil pan and cross-member - the Fram Ultra does not. So I had to drop the filter down onto the cross member from the top side, then go back underneath to screw the filter into place.

Certainly not the filter's fault - but unfortunately it will keep me from using this type of filter in the future. I'll probably let this filter stay in place for 2 OCIs, though.
_________________________
2003 Chevy Silverado 1500 5.3 LS Quadrasteer ~211,000 miles; PU SM 5W-30/Fram Ultra

2014 Mazda6 Sport 2.5 Skyactiv ~10,000 miles; Mazda w/Moly 0W-20

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#3133202 - 09/23/13 09:08 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
RF Overlord Offline


Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 2920
Loc: Cape Cod, MA
Way back before joining BITOG, I used to think the FRAM orange can was the end-all/be-all of filters. No logical reason, probably just from their advertising.

After joining, I swung 180į and decided the OCOD was junk. It's only recently that I have have come back the other way, slightly. There's nothing specifically wrong or bad about the OCOD, it's just priced a little high.

I do agree that the Ultra appears to be a top-notch filter, but I have to wonder who in FRAM's marketing department thought the DoubleGuard and the High Mileage filters were a good idea?
_________________________
Supercharged '03 Mercury Marauder - Trilogy Motorsports #61
PP 5W-30 / MC FL820S

Y2K Grand Marquis GS - daily driver
M1 5W-30 / MC FL820S

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#3133225 - 09/23/13 09:34 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
RISUPERCREWMAN Offline


Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 614
Loc: RHODE ISLAND
Its a well established fact that Fram's Orange Can of Death has trashed many a engine! I'll stick to my trusty Motorcraft FL-820-S in my Ford Modular V8's thank you!
_________________________
2012 Ram Express 5.7 HEMI 2wd short bed 23k miles
2012 Harley Davidson FLHX Vivid Black 10K
2011 Ford Crown Victoria 55K miles Stainless works duals

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#3133234 - 09/23/13 09:40 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
DemoFly Offline


Registered: 06/03/12
Posts: 557
Loc: Seattle
Silver can goooood

Orange can baaaaaaad.
_________________________
1996 Grand Cherokee Limited
Mobil 1.

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#3133238 - 09/23/13 09:43 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: RISUPERCREWMAN]
davglt Offline


Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 29
Loc: kansas
everyone to their own opinion but please name ONE engine that has been trashed due to a failure on the part of a Fram filter and show that failure is more common then say on another brand,
I just can't seem to find any FACTS to back that up
I find no "established" facts to support that claim
I have a 1976 Dodge that has spend its whole life on Fram filters, I use others as well on my Audi and Honda but Fram by itself is not a bad filter

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#3133240 - 09/23/13 09:44 AM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: RISUPERCREWMAN]
kschachn Offline


Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1890
Loc: Upper Midwest
It is? Where did you see the well established fact that it has trashed many an engine?

Originally Posted By: RISUPERCREWMAN
Its a well established fact that Fram's Orange Can of Death has trashed many a engine! I'll stick to my trusty Motorcraft FL-820-S in my Ford Modular V8's thank you!
_________________________
1994 BMW 530i, 181K
1996 Honda Accord, 191K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 294K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 216K

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#3133678 - 09/23/13 05:39 PM Re: The real deal - FRAM from their test lab with pic [Re: chad8]
Russ300H Offline


Registered: 04/09/05
Posts: 479
Loc: Massachusetts
Sorry, I just don't buy the glued end cap explanation. Anything that flexes for a number of cycles is going to tear at some point. I'll buy their improved quality control statement and feel comfortable using one for a short OCI, but I am not convinced the reason for the paper end caps is not cost (ie: Profit). The tests prove they can get away with it. Their better filters use metal end caps and almost ALL competitors use metal.

That said: I switched my Chevy to PP and installed a new FRAM ultra as part of the package with no hesitation. I plan on running it through the winter with an expected OCI of about 10K. My daughter uses the Durango for short trips and lately, I have been using the NexGen MaxLife with the FRAM High Mileage (purchased from Summit for $1.50) for an interval of about 3~4K miles. I have had very good results with that combination. Next time I buy a filter solo, I really can't say what I will buy. Maybe stick with my previous PureOne for shorter OCI and Mobil 1 for longer I will not automatically exclude the FRAM Ultra, but still refuse to buy any Fram with glued endcaps.(unless it is $1.50)


Edited by Russ300H (09/23/13 05:40 PM)
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BOSTON STRONG! GO RED SOX!
00 Durango R/T 5.9 145K
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