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Here is Why Engine Oil Filters Are So Fascinating

Photograph: Purolator

On a shelf in my storage sits a very stunning assortment of oil filters, together with these for automobiles I don’t even personal. I’m unsure I’ve a very good rationalization for my obsession, apart from merely that oil filters are stunning contraptions. Right here’s why.

Earlier than you decide me, hear me out on this—oil filters are far cooler than I guess you ever thought. There’s a crap ton of variation between manufacturers on issues like gasket materials, anti drain-back valve materials, media materials, spring kind, end-cap materials, and pleating quantity. I feel I’ve most likely spent 100 hours watching oil filter tear downs (just like the one beneath) on YouTube.

But it surely’s essential stuff! You may’t have small filth particles getting caught between bearing surfaces; that’ll destroy your engine in no-time. The oil filter performs an enormous position in preserving your engine from croaking after, for instance, sand from a leaky air induction system will get into your valuable crankcase.

How Oil Filters Work

Picture: Ken Filter

Your engine’s oil pump pushes oil into the filter—which is sealed to your engine’s oil filter housing with a square-section spherical ring just like the one proven beneath—by way of a lot of radial holes within the filter’s metallic “base plate.” The strain generated by that pump is sufficient to push an anti-drainback valve—which sits simply on the opposite facet of the bottom plate—out of the way in which, at which level oil can enter the filter.

A Purolator PureOne filter: my go-to oil filter.

As soon as within the filter, the oil surrounds a cartridge, which consists of a usually-metal middle tube surrounded by cellulose-based or artificial pleated fibers, sealed off by metallic, plastic or fiber end-caps. As soon as oil has handed by way of the bottom plate holes, by way of the anti drainback valve, and has surrounded the filter factor, it passes by way of the pleated medium, by way of the holes within the middle tube (proven beneath), and again up by way of the exit on the high of the filter.

The 2 most attention-grabbing elements of an oil filter are the anti-drainback valve and the bypass valve. The anti-drainback valve, proven beneath, makes certain the filter traps oil when the engine isn’t operating. It’s basically a nitrile or silicone one-way check-valve that forestalls oil in a filter—notably one which’s mounted sideways or upside-down—from flowing again into the sump. This implies, whenever you come to start out your engine again up, you’ll get immediate oil strain to lubricate your elements (i.e. you received’t threat a “dry begin”).

Photograph: cadzillals6/YouTube

The second attention-grabbing valve is the bypass valve, or launch valve, whose job it’s to permit oil to bypass the filter cartridge, flowing unencumbered by the filtration materials. The purpose, right here, is to make sure that excessive oil filter pressures—like people who would possibly happen if the filter factor has reached its capability (like if it’s been left on a automotive for too lengthy, and has clogged with filth) or if the oil’s viscosity is simply too excessive (particularly in chilly situations)—can open up a valve to permit for enough engine lubrication underneath all situations.

GIF gif: cadzillals6/YouTube 

Additionally inside an oil filter are leaf or coil springs (that’s a leaf spring beneath, whereas the schematic on the high of this part exhibits a coil). These springs merely act to push the cartridge up in opposition to the anti-drainback valve.

gif: cadzillals6/YouTube 

One other essential factor to say is the effectivity ranking that you just see on oil filter containers (just like the one proven beneath). That effectivity ranking is just a measure of the share of ~20-micron filth particles that the filter can seize over a sure length. You may learn extra about that effectivity take a look at, known as ISO 4548-12 (which is 86 minutes in complete and requires each up-stream and down-stream particle counting), take a look at right here.

So these are the technical the explanation why I’m so into oil filters. However there’s additionally a a lot much less scientific justification: I simply suppose they appear incredible. I imply, have a look at this traditional Purolator purple metallic filter; it’s beautiful!

Photograph: Advance Auto Elements

When you’re craving to study extra about how filters work, and the way they’re made, Fram has two nice movies on the subject on YouTube. Right here they’re:

And the sequel:

Absolutely I’ve satisfied you that my oil filter factor isn’t that bizarre? No? Dammit.

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