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Another Soapbox Rant #5433092 05/19/20 08:40 AM
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Gebo Online Content OP
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With all respect to all who read this, I am simply asking a question. Most of you know my penchant for OEM parts (my definition of OEM is "items purchased from a legit auto dealer") so please try and forget that for now.

When you are replacing maintenance parts, say air filters, how can you visually inspect an air filter and say it is just as good or better than an OEM?

On RA, there are 13 different choices for my 4Runner ranging from $2.86 to $15.58. There are 12 choices for my GX ranging from $3.60 to $17.10.
They can't all be the same, can they? Before my OEM days, I had purchased many parts from many places and all the air filters I purchased
looked about the same. Some had stiffer filter material, some had fluffier material, some had different color frames, etc. I even used one of those
oiled filters til I saw my throttle body and MAF sensor coated in oil.

How do we judge air filters? How do we know which one is better for our vehicles?
How can we look at metal and rubber components on our parts and determine this metal is better than that? Or just as good as?

Every HVAC guy that comes to my house tells me to use those cheap $1 filters in my furnace. Seriously, I just can't do it.

Maybe this is just a rant....Maybe in the real life world we live in, there are no "correct" answers.


'98 LEX LS400 310K
'02 4Runner 250K
'05 Lex LS430 90K
'07 Lex GX470 75K

Shell Gas and Truck 5w-30
Amsoil OE 10w-30
Toyota ATF's and Coolant
Amsoil Gear Oil and Grease
Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433105 05/19/20 08:55 AM
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ARCOgraphite Offline
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I like power so I run low efficiency filters. Cheap STP.

On the Nissan and the Subaru I've found the high efficient filters REALLY throttle the engine back.

I noticed that by doing back to back WOT runs ( after I installed a new filter and power was WAY down).
_____________________

I would just go by what the reputable filter manufacturer state in thier marketing material.

___________

If In your house, tables and horizontal surfaces require dusting to frequently, go a step up.

BUT! You want to keep the efficiency of the FILTER as low as you can
to keep the HVAC CFM as high as it can be.

Like your HVAC guy said.

- Ken


Last edited by ARCOgraphite; 05/19/20 08:56 AM.

2019 VW Jetta S 6MT OCI#2 7378mi-MOTUL Specific VW508.00+VW Service Filter; '17 Subaru Crosstrek CVT OC#9 70254mi-Rotella
Gas Truck 5W20 + Fram Ultra 7317 Filter
Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433110 05/19/20 09:01 AM
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jeepman3071 Offline
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I used to buy OEM parts above everything else, and I still do in some cases, but my new philosophy is "buy what is the best quality for the price". In some cases OEM is better (like sensors), but they use suppliers, and things like Mopar oil filters are made by Purolator, so an aftermarket like a Fram Ultra is a better made filter for the price. When it comes down to it, you just have to do your research on products. When buying parts on RA I've never seen in person, I tend to stick with the "better" or "heavy duty" version of whatever it is. Obviously the $3 filter is likely to be cheaper made than the $15 one, but I also find with RockAuto that sometimes the most expensive brands aren't worth the money. The $15 filter might not be any better than the mid-range $8 filter.

As for air filters/oil filters, I try to buy brands that I know will have quality. For air filters: Wix, Fram, Mann, etc. Buy the mid-grade product, or a product listed somewhere near the top of their category, and move on with life. I avoid cheap parts, but I also don't stress about an $8 filter vs. a $12 filter. Reality is that since we are BITOG'ers, we take care of our vehicles, and they will likely meet their demise from being hit by someone else or other outside factors than engine problems or neglect.


1998 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4.0L/5MT (157k) - PHM 10w30, Wix 51085
2009 BMW 328i N51 (61k) - Liqui Moly 5w40, MANN HU816X
Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433114 05/19/20 09:05 AM
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BMWTurboDzl Offline
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Well you don't know just like you don't know that a specific genuine part from the dealer is guaranteed to meet the requirements of the automaker. It's an assumption. In fact what you're buying with a dealer part is a higher probability that it fits and performs as required by the automaker.


“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

435i
Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433116 05/19/20 09:11 AM
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JHZR2 Offline
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All items will have variability. Unless stringently specified and held to a license there's always a question. For filters, its pleats, media quality/efficiency, and to some extent seal selection will be differences. The reality is, how much does it matter, within reason? Maybe not that much. Maybe some. Maybe there's a difference betwen lasting 185k miles and 200k miles.

Metallurgy is a bigger challenge. "Made to" designs which copy original parts is another big challenge. Sometimes aftermarket parts have improvements. Usually theyre about the same or maybe pulled a bit of cost out of them.

OP, your HVAC guy probably has one of two opinions:
1) something in there is better than nothing or an old dirty one
2) performance is better with higher flow, lower filtration filters

If the evaporator can be readily accessed and cleaned, Id see no reason to use anything but the cheaper filters, assuming that youre not seeing excessive dust in the ducts and in the house, and allergies arent an issue.

Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433122 05/19/20 09:16 AM
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Kira Offline
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Plus, Gebo, your's wasn't a rant as much as it was a question. A well fleshed out question at that.

Is weight a usable comparison criteria for filters?

My first Hastings oil filter; an old style 115A (a hugey used in Ford V8's) for my '77 Celica was heavier than others by far.
That baby had a sheet metal removal nut welded on.

Maybe weighing air filters is one data point to throw into the mix.

Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433132 05/19/20 09:31 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by Gebo


When you are replacing maintenance parts, say air filters, how can you visually inspect an air filter and say it is just as good or better than an OEM?

How do we judge air filters? How do we know which one is better for our vehicles?
How can we look at metal and rubber components on our parts and determine this metal is better than that? Or just as good as?

Every HVAC guy that comes to my house tells me to use those cheap $1 filters in my furnace. Seriously, I just can't do it.

Maybe this is just a rant....Maybe in the real life world we live in, there are no "correct" answers.


Listen to an engineer who specializes in all types of filtration and has had input in many of these much "vaunted" ISO standards and other tests. I'll tell you the simple facts as I don't have a dog in the "best air filter" fight and will leave the bickering arguing specifications they don't fully comprehend ( especially the purpose, weaknesses, limitations and conditions) and a science they don't understand to any significant degree.

Listen to your HVAC guy, he is correct for 99% of all applications.

You (the individual) cant "look" at anything other than an obvious defect in manufacturing. Engineering analysis of filters requires lots of equipment and careful controls to get the right answers to the right questions.

Then what's right "for you" is another level of qualifier and highly conditional.

So, as a guideline for selection, here is what you need to do ( without investing tons of time and money in testing) Everything is a partial trade off with benefits and liabilities.

1- decide what performance characteristics mean most ( and least) to you in terms of aspiration performance. (HP, cleaner air, whatever)

2- decide what level of benefit ( or liability) you are willing to accept? ( is that little extra silica in size and volume really damaging my engine with my oil selection and change frequency?)

3- go with it and ignore all the controversy argued by the masses.

4- don't be afraid to experiment as new things come along.

Now if you have a high degree of knowledge of the science of filtration, engineering & design and a fully equipped lab at your disposal, contact me and I may have some projects for you but for the average guy, that's the best route.

There are too many areas of a filter (internal and external to the filter) and the specific filtration process that have to be considered and analyzed certain ways under certain conditions for this to be generic. Its a very involved science and field.

Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433137 05/19/20 09:36 AM
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CT8 Offline
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Usually a major brand would be a good choice.


2015 F150 2.7
2018 F350 6.2
Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Kira] #5433144 05/19/20 09:42 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by Kira


Is weight a usable comparison criteria for filters?

Maybe weighing air filters is one data point to throw into the mix.


Actually, in the actual field- its the most important test because it tells you retention as a volume under actual conditions in a given time or circumstance ( we did that a lot after sandstorms in Afghanistan and Iraq determining PM frequencies and analysis on vehicles on march and generators)

Then sending it off will tell me things like particle size, distribution, efficiency deviation and so forth.

On a regular auto filter, that may not give much useful data as I would imagine it would be a fraction of a gram but worth a shot.

Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: ARCOgraphite] #5433154 05/19/20 09:49 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,626
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Gebo Online Content OP
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Originally Posted by ARCOgraphite
I like power so I run low efficiency filters. Cheap STP.

On the Nissan and the Subaru I've found the high efficient filters REALLY throttle the engine back.

I noticed that by doing back to back WOT runs ( after I installed a new filter and power was WAY down).
_____________________

I would just go by what the reputable filter manufacturer state in thier marketing material.

___________

If In your house, tables and horizontal surfaces require dusting to frequently, go a step up.

BUT! You want to keep the efficiency of the FILTER as low as you can
to keep the HVAC CFM as high as it can be.

Like your HVAC guy said.

- Ken




I like how you mentioned the dust accumulation in a house. Makes good sense. Gonna do an experiment.


'98 LEX LS400 310K
'02 4Runner 250K
'05 Lex LS430 90K
'07 Lex GX470 75K

Shell Gas and Truck 5w-30
Amsoil OE 10w-30
Toyota ATF's and Coolant
Amsoil Gear Oil and Grease
Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433170 05/19/20 10:00 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,626
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Gebo Online Content OP
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Let me clarify my "rant." I'm not questioning anyone's parts. I'm not saying one is better than the other.


I'm just wondering how do WE know what we are buying? For the most part, we just
have to trust the mfr is manufacturing a "quality" part. On the other hand, a well trained
mechanic may see certain items fail more frequently than we do and have greater insight
as to the quality but we (I am in the "we") make our decisions on price, weight, feel, looks,
he said, bitog forum, YouTube, Daddy says, etc.

Do we really know what we are buying? I guess in the grand scheme of things as long as
we are comfortable with our decisions, it probably ain't gonna matter a whole lot.


'98 LEX LS400 310K
'02 4Runner 250K
'05 Lex LS430 90K
'07 Lex GX470 75K

Shell Gas and Truck 5w-30
Amsoil OE 10w-30
Toyota ATF's and Coolant
Amsoil Gear Oil and Grease
Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433176 05/19/20 10:08 AM
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AJB0009 Offline
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For air filters in particular, there was a good Project Farm YouTube video a couple months ago where he did some very interesting testing.


13 Toyota Corolla S 1.8; Valvoline FS HM 0W20, OEM filter
12 Ford Fusion 2.5; Castrol EDGE 5W30, CQ Blue 85348
06 Toyota Tacoma 2.7; M1 HM 5W30, Wix XP
04 Ford Explorer 4.0; MC SB 5W30, MC FL820-S
Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433245 05/19/20 11:32 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by Gebo
Let me clarify my "rant." I'm not questioning anyone's parts. I'm not saying one is better than the other.


I'm just wondering how do WE know what we are buying? For the most part, we just
have to trust the mfr is manufacturing a "quality" part. On the other hand, a well trained
mechanic may see certain items fail more frequently than we do and have greater insight
as to the quality but we (I am in the "we") make our decisions on price, weight, feel, looks,
he said, bitog forum, YouTube, Daddy says, etc.

Do we really know what we are buying? I guess in the grand scheme of things as long as
we are comfortable with our decisions, it probably ain't gonna matter a whole lot.


You have a truly relevant and wholly legitimate question that deserves a direct answer but that answer is elusive because its conditional, has "degrees of correctness" and the standards ( even when followed diligently) are based on standardized laboratory tests that are ONLY APPLICABLE if your specific application falls within the test parameter.

I catch it from both sides and the most ornery are those who spout ISO and all that as if the result actually means something just because its a "target to be met" that some process engineer can check off ( which it does and in terms of a standard test all competing items can be measured against, it works great) HOWEVER, that ISO test may NOT be relevant to the situation you brought us to resolve so then come custom tests. Many times those will contradict the ISO versions and findings but that's normal and expected when you are testing specific products against specific conditions.

That's why your mechanic ( assuming he is qualified, vendor neutral and motivated to give you the best service possible) and his recommendation should be considered as high or higher than all the market claims. ( and get a 2nd opinion)

Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: AJB0009] #5433247 05/19/20 11:34 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by AJB0009
For air filters in particular, there was a good Project Farm YouTube video a couple months ago where he did some very interesting testing.


Not the word I would use, much closer to misleading and close to dancing around fundamentally and fatally flawed at every level.

Re: Another Soapbox Rant [Re: Gebo] #5433412 05/19/20 02:45 PM
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ZeeOSix Offline
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Most OEM filters work fine, but most OEM oil filters don't usually live in the upper efficiency scale than many aftermarket oil filters (as an example). I buy oil and air filters based on their respective ISO efficiency test ratings, and the air filters need to have an ISO efficiency with a fine dust test spec.

Beware of parts on RockAuto ... can be hit or miss.

Originally Posted by Gebo
Every HVAC guy that comes to my house tells me to use those cheap $1 filters in my furnace. Seriously, I just can't do it.


I run furnace filters that are around MERV 10 which is about 3/4 up the furnace filter efficiency scale. Change it once a year and have never had any issues for 20+ years.

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