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Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open #4078731 04/24/16 11:27 PM
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Oro_O Offline OP
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This MC FL-400s was on our 2002 Lexus ES300 for 5 months/5,600 miles. It was filled with PP 10w30. It would leak down over time, though I could find no cause for it on dissection.

Immediately upon installing it, I noticed that if it sat for more than 36 hours, it would rattle on start up for about 2 seconds. Since the car usually never sits more than 12 hours, and it was winter, I did not make a huge rush to change it as I should have. I noticed it start to happen after 24 hours sitting idle, so I went and got a new filter. I put on a Supertech to finish out 2k more on the OCI. The car was also idle for some repairs for two/three weeks (deer strike), so I it was not in use once it was happening after draining down in a 24 hour interval.

I cut it open to find out why, and found nothing obviously wrong.

Date code: 910121523, purchased last November. Appears to be 10/12/15 date.
Miles used: 5,600
Time used: 5 months
Oil: PP 10w-30
Engine: Toyota 1MZ-FE

The media looks good, and there was nothing obviously wrong with the ADBV. There was no deformity or any irregularity on the inside of the baseplate (forgot to picture it). The leaf spring fell out before I noted orientation, but it appears from interior wear marks that the leaf ends were oriented upward as in other filters I've seen.

Before I cut it open, I blocked the fill hole and held it upright. It would consistently drizzle out one of the inlet holes. The mounting on this engine is roughly horizontal. That must have been oriented towards the bottom half after installation, allowing it to leak down.

The only thing I can come up with is that the spring tension just wasn't enough to hold the valve firmly. The spring is relatively flat and low-tension vs. many others I've seen. The last photo is a comparison to a spring from a Fram PH3387a I cut open at the same time. That's not apples to apples, of course, and it doesn't appear different from other 400 springs I found pictures of by searching.









Wear marks in can and on filter end cap show orientation was thus:


Spring wear marks in side can; blue is my underlining them to highlight.


Fram spring on left, MC FL-400s on right:

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: Oro_O] #4078732 04/24/16 11:30 PM
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Kool1 Offline
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Thanks for the information. Very interesting!!!

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: Oro_O] #4078742 04/24/16 11:56 PM
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KingCake Offline
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This is the kind of problem you run into when running oil filters meant for different engines.

The FL400s is almost exclusively mounted pointing down or 45 degrees downward.

Your engine mounts it with base pointing down.

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: Oro_O] #4078743 04/24/16 11:57 PM
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ZeeOSix Offline
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Originally Posted By: Oro_O
The only thing I can come up with is that the spring tension just wasn't enough to hold the valve firmly.


I think as long as there is enough spring tension to all the hold the guts from rattling, that the ADBV should seal OK around the center tube area. I always shake the filter pretty good before I buy them, and after I remove them to see if anything is loose inside.

Filter looks decent over-all.

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: KingCake] #4078766 04/25/16 01:10 AM
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Oro_O Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: KingCake
This is the kind of problem you run into when running oil filters meant for different engines.

The FL400s is almost exclusively mounted pointing down or 45 degrees downward.

Your engine mounts it with base pointing down.


I could possibly accept that reasoning, BUT: this filter is widely used and spec'd for similar/the same mounting orientations. I know how it's oriented on an F-150, but it's used for more than just that.

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: Oro_O] #4078807 04/25/16 04:42 AM
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dlundblad Offline
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Good looking filter. Too bad it leaked though.


03 Jeep WJ 4.0 202k Edge 10w40 HM Fram XG16
02 Volvo S60 2.4T 186k M1 0w40 Mahle OX149D
97 Chevy Blazer 4.3 158k M1 EP 10w30 Supertech ST3980 (Ecore)

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: KingCake] #4079168 04/25/16 12:43 PM
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zzyzzx Online Sleepy
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Originally Posted By: KingCake

The FL400s is almost exclusively mounted pointing down or 45 degrees downward.

Your engine mounts it with base pointing down.


It's sideways on a Ford Escort:

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: Oro_O] #4079315 04/25/16 03:15 PM
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goodtimes Offline
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Maybe try assembling the filter on the baseplate and pressing together to see the fit of the adbv as installed. Maybe a part of the lip is not sealing to the base. I have found that case in filters, even one had the adbv tilted on the end cap neck, so it would be open all the time. That was a Purolator made Bosch.

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: Oro_O] #4079334 04/25/16 03:44 PM
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WellOiled Offline
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One of the things I have noticed while dissecting filters with metal end caps is that sometimes the caps are not always parallel. If the ADBV does not meet squarely with the base plate, then this might be the reason.

Otherwise I am tempted to say this is a Purolator feature. grin2


Mazda 6
Factory fill
Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: KingCake] #4079367 04/25/16 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted By: KingCake
This is the kind of problem you run into when running oil filters meant for different engines.

The FL400s is almost exclusively mounted pointing down or 45 degrees downward.

Your engine mounts it with base pointing down.


King of wrong as usual. I have had the same issue with the 2 of last the 3 Motorcraft 910S for the wife's Focus. That is why there is a Wix filter on there now.


make the inside of your engine oil cap white.
don't use.
Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: WellOiled] #4079369 04/25/16 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted By: WellOiled
Otherwise I am tempted to say this is a Purolator feature. grin2


I have been hesitant to quit buying Motorcraft's that being said Purolator has lost a customer until their quality improves back to previous levels. Before the tear issues I experienced the same leak down issues on a Ford product.

To me this blows the incorrect application theory out of the water.


make the inside of your engine oil cap white.
don't use.
Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: goodtimes] #4079414 04/25/16 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted By: goodtimes
Maybe try assembling the filter on the baseplate and pressing together to see the fit of the adbv as installed.


Yep, I tried that. I just did not describe it or picture it. When I took off the baseplate, the ADBV was situated correctly - not cockeyed or any debris trapped in the lip, etc.

Another thing I did, BEFORE I cut it open, as mentioned above was hold it vertically with the exit plugged. With oil in the can, it would come out of a specific area around the ADBV (marked in blue in the photo below - entrance hole circled). As it leaked down, it leaked down less. I figured I would find debris in the lip or a defect in that area. But I did not.

I did another experiment today, I placed it on a counter and filled the remainder of the base plate with cooking oil. With the weight of the canister sitting on it, it would not leak. But with a full canister of oil above it before I cut it open, it would.

Here are some more photos of the ADBV and baseplate interior. The blue circle is where the oil would drain out. it did not leak with just the small amount of oil I could squirt onto the cut-off base plate.



Blue circled hole is where it drained from in my bench test.


No defects with sealing lip of ADBV:



I recalled this old thread from years back I had found when researching filters a while back. ZeeOSix had cut open a PureOne PL14459 and demonstrated the ADBV lip/seal very well. It's identical on the baseplate but the ADBV is not the same as this (years apart though, mind you). It is a more robust ADBV with inner ribs for reinforcement. He said it held a functionally full can of oil standing vertically for a week:

ZeeOSix PL14459 dissection


I'm commiserating with you guys because I LOVED these filters. Widely available, great value, good/great filtration, intelligent design, quality construction. In fact my other cars I own and service (parents) also have similar - Bosch Premium or PureOne. Mom's chevy mounts vertically, but my SUV sports a PureOne and the mount is horizontal. But it never has dry starts. Those are, however, old blue-can PureOnes I stocked up on during clearance and still have a few more of. So they are several years old. I'll look around for cut-open Bosch and recent PureOnes to see if the ADBV is still more robust between these cousin filters.

Here's another thread from last week where BlueOvalFitter took his FL-400s off his F-150 and it was empty - though it's not clear cut why.

BlueOvalFitter's empty FL-400s from his F-150

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: Oro_O] #4079863 04/26/16 07:55 AM
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There is yet another possibility proposed by DudeNiceRide in this post:

Motorcraft FL-400S empty

Last edited by WellOiled; 04/26/16 07:55 AM.

Mazda 6
Factory fill
Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: Oro_O] #4079879 04/26/16 08:14 AM
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tig1 Offline
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All the more reason cartridge filters are a better way to go.


2007 Ford Fusion 246,000 miles
M1 5-20HM
2017 Ford Fusion 75K
M1 0-20EP
10,000 mile OCIs on both engines
M1 ATF and Valvoline LV
M1 10-30 in all OPE
MC filters

Re: Motorcraft FL-400s that leaked-down Cut Open [Re: WellOiled] #4080144 04/26/16 12:56 PM
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Oro_O Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: WellOiled
There is yet another possibility proposed by DudeNiceRide in this post:

Motorcraft FL-400S empty


Thanks. I had been following that thread, too. That is a distinct possibility. I wonder if Purolator does not weld the baseplate on ALL filters it builds or just some?

I did consider that junction as a failure point when I was looking at it in the garage on Sunday, but figured it must be solid or they'd leak too often. Maybe they actually do.

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