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To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? #4676464
02/24/18 12:27 PM
02/24/18 12:27 PM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,382
VA
Gebo Offline OP
Gebo  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,382
VA
I have a Honda 20 hp 2 cylinder engine. It has a paper element and a black foam element that is the prefilter. Am I supposed to just wash off the black foam filter to get the junk off/out of it and then reinstall? Or am I to wash, dry and then apply a small amount of oil? IF I am supposed to oil it, does it matter about the oil?


'98 LEX LS400 280K
'00 LEX GS300 195K
'02 4Runner 225K
'05 Lex LS430 85K
'06 Toyota Highlander 145K
'09 Lex IS350 85K
'07 Lex GX470 60K
Amsoil in all engines, transmissions and differentials

Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676477
02/24/18 12:44 PM
02/24/18 12:44 PM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,758
USA
oldhp Offline
oldhp  Offline
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,758
USA
I had a JD lawn tractor that used a foam pre-filter. Every fall I would wash it with Dawn, then give it a small dime size dab of Marvel Mystery Oil. I worked the MMO in until it was all even in the foam. I cleaned it again one more time and then when I put it away for winter. Never had a problem.


2018 RAM 1500 3.6/8 speed.
2017 Jeep Sahara Unlimited 3.6
"U kan't fixe it......if'n it ain't broke."
Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676506
02/24/18 01:07 PM
02/24/18 01:07 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 7,132
Waco, TX
Linctex Offline
Linctex  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 7,132
Waco, TX
A non-detergent 30W mineral oil is best for this, as it will not attack the foam.

Use the oil VERY sparingly - its supposed to be a light film on the pores - NONE of the pores should be filled with oil anywhere!

Massage it until all oil is spread very evenly.


"The evidence demands a verdict".
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Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676510
02/24/18 01:14 PM
02/24/18 01:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,382
VA
Gebo Offline OP
Gebo  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,382
VA
The reason I asked this question was years ago my paper element looked clean but was actually clogged. We are assuming it was from my over oiling. It was suggested that I shouldn't apply oil to a foam prefilter as it may end up releasing some of the oil into the paper element thereby clogging it up. That is the point of my question. From what y'all are saying, it appears we are to apply oil but very, very sparingly. Is this correct?


'98 LEX LS400 280K
'00 LEX GS300 195K
'02 4Runner 225K
'05 Lex LS430 85K
'06 Toyota Highlander 145K
'09 Lex IS350 85K
'07 Lex GX470 60K
Amsoil in all engines, transmissions and differentials

Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676514
02/24/18 01:20 PM
02/24/18 01:20 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 994
PENNSYLVANIA
JeepWJ19 Offline
JeepWJ19  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 994
PENNSYLVANIA
Call the filter manufacturer and ask if it's supposed to be oiled?


2002 Jeep WJ 4.0 | Mobil 1 HM 5w30 |
TG8A | 2.5" lift | 148k miles

Software Engineer :]
Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676528
02/24/18 01:38 PM
02/24/18 01:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,520
New England
gathermewool Offline
gathermewool  Offline
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,520
New England
What does the manual say? My Cub Cadet manual says that the foam pre-filter should NOT be oiled.


'14 Forester XT FA20DIT (Cobb Stage 1)
Edge 0W-40 + FU filter (64,774 miles)
'15 Legacy FB25 (OEM Stage, uh, neg. 7?)
Edge 0W-20 + FU filter (40,803 miles)
Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676609
02/24/18 02:48 PM
02/24/18 02:48 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,909
MIchigan
Warstud Offline
Warstud  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,909
MIchigan
Usually a Pre-Filter is used to capture large particles.... so I would say it probably doesn't require oil.

Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676673
02/24/18 03:38 PM
02/24/18 03:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,750
War Eagle
toneydoc Offline
toneydoc  Offline
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,750
War Eagle
I think I would clean it of all debris, wash it in gentle soap and let dry and then reinstall without oil since you have another filter behind it

It is probably there to collect big grass particles, etc


1994 Jeep 161k Castrol Synblend 10w30
2014 Camry 36k Havoline 5w20
2018 Jeep Cherokee 3k FactFill
2014 HD Ultra 42k Mobil1 15w50
2012 Rav4 39k Mobil 1 0w20
Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676710
02/24/18 04:10 PM
02/24/18 04:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,933
Canada
boraticus Offline
boraticus  Offline
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,933
Canada
With paper filters the foam element isn't supposed to be oiled. Blow both elements out with compressed air, put them back in and go to work.

Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4676811
02/24/18 06:12 PM
02/24/18 06:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,520
New England
gathermewool Offline
gathermewool  Offline
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,520
New England
I've never gotten into blowing out filters with compressed air. Do you blow the dirty side or from the clean side through the filter? If the former, you'll get the large bits out, but likely push fine particulates further into the media. You could also damage the media.

I've always simply vacuumed out filters like this. You'll get most of the junk out a little more gently.


'14 Forester XT FA20DIT (Cobb Stage 1)
Edge 0W-40 + FU filter (64,774 miles)
'15 Legacy FB25 (OEM Stage, uh, neg. 7?)
Edge 0W-20 + FU filter (40,803 miles)
Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: gathermewool] #4676902
02/24/18 07:47 PM
02/24/18 07:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,933
Canada
boraticus Offline
boraticus  Offline
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,933
Canada
Originally Posted By: gathermewool
I've never gotten into blowing out filters with compressed air. Do you blow the dirty side or from the clean side through the filter? If the former, you'll get the large bits out, but likely push fine particulates further into the media. You could also damage the media.

I've always simply vacuumed out filters like this. You'll get most of the junk out a little more gently.


Blow from the clean side to blow the dirt collected on the opposite side off. Been doing it for years. Just don't use 200 lbs. of air pressure. Forty to fifty lbs. is enough to get the job done without damaging the element.

Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: boraticus] #4676981
02/24/18 09:05 PM
02/24/18 09:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,520
New England
gathermewool Offline
gathermewool  Offline
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,520
New England
Originally Posted By: boraticus
Originally Posted By: gathermewool
I've never gotten into blowing out filters with compressed air. Do you blow the dirty side or from the clean side through the filter? If the former, you'll get the large bits out, but likely push fine particulates further into the media. You could also damage the media.

I've always simply vacuumed out filters like this. You'll get most of the junk out a little more gently.


Blow from the clean side to blow the dirt collected on the opposite side off. Been doing it for years. Just don't use 200 lbs. of air pressure. Forty to fifty lbs. is enough to get the job done without damaging the element.


Does a better job than vacuuming with a shop vac and slim accessory?


'14 Forester XT FA20DIT (Cobb Stage 1)
Edge 0W-40 + FU filter (64,774 miles)
'15 Legacy FB25 (OEM Stage, uh, neg. 7?)
Edge 0W-20 + FU filter (40,803 miles)
Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: Gebo] #4677018
02/24/18 09:30 PM
02/24/18 09:30 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 950
South Eastern, CT
AMC Offline
AMC  Offline
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 950
South Eastern, CT
If the pre-filter sits on a mesh frame of some sort, oil it. If the pre-filter sits directly on the paper, do not oil it. The oil can soften the paper and ruin it, which you do not want.

My Kawasaki engine has the same filter setup with a foam pre-filter, sitting in front of a paper main filter. I oil the foam then squeeze out all the excess and re-install. Works great, every time.


18 Honda CR-V - Mobil-1 AFE 0w-20
17 Ram 1500 SLT - Napa Synthetic 5w-20
14 Yamaha Super Tenere - Mobil Delvac 15w-40
Re: To Oil or Not To Oil My Foam Prefilter??? [Re: gathermewool] #4677414
02/25/18 09:37 AM
02/25/18 09:37 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,933
Canada
boraticus Offline
boraticus  Offline
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,933
Canada
Originally Posted By: gathermewool
Originally Posted By: boraticus
Originally Posted By: gathermewool
I've never gotten into blowing out filters with compressed air. Do you blow the dirty side or from the clean side through the filter? If the former, you'll get the large bits out, but likely push fine particulates further into the media. You could also damage the media.

I've always simply vacuumed out filters like this. You'll get most of the junk out a little more gently.


Blow from the clean side to blow the dirt collected on the opposite side off. Been doing it for years. Just don't use 200 lbs. of air pressure. Forty to fifty lbs. is enough to get the job done without damaging the element.


Does a better job than vacuuming with a shop vac and slim accessory?



Beats me.

I've never used a shop vac to clean a paper air filter. Compressed air only. Been doing it for decades.

I doubt there would be much difference provided the shop vac has the power to pull air through the paper to dislodge finer particles.


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