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Old 05-21-2010, 12:31 AM   #1
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Big diesel air filters

This may cause some interesting discussion …it has on another forum where I was taken to task for having never changed the air filter on my 8.3L Cummins…

My ’03 rig has an Apr ’02 mfg date. The original tires had Feb ’02 dates so I presume the Cummins engine also is an ’02 model. So, the air filter on my engine was going on 8 yrs and 60k miles. The filter gauge read about mid level. My owner manual refers to the gauge and says simply "replace the filter when necessary." Several service places over the years, including a Cummins location just a month ago, have always told me "don't mess with it as long as the gauge reads good." Several owners on another list shared warnings they have received from Cummins techs at rallies that the filter element could deteriorate after 3-4 years, and then come apart and trash the turbo/engine/etc. Since I had time to order a new filter and get it here and installed before we depart the area, and could spare the $$, I decided to go ahead and replace the (some would say) "perfectly good"/(others would say) "over due and very risky" filter on my engine and report back on the condition of the original filter I replaced.

I found the filter listed at most places online at anywhere from $95 to $120. I ordered the filter from Spartan chassis online for $75 plus $15 shipping. I replaced the filter late this afternoon. The old filter was dirty on the inlet side, but not terribly so. It looked pretty much like new on the outlet side. Even after rubbing and pulling on the paper element with my fingers, I found no evidence of any kind of deterioration. In thinking about what MIGHT cause deterioration to the "water resistant" filter element, the only thing I could think of is a lot of excessive humidity ...perhaps that PLUS a lot of sitting around rather than being used might be the combination. If/when someone sees an air filter that has deteriorated and started coming apart, I would be interested in how old it is, and how much the vehicle has been used in that time period.

If interested, you can see more of my thoughts, and pictures of the old filter element, on my webpage at Cummins 8.3L 350hp
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Several owners on another list shared warnings they have received from Cummins techs at rallies that the filter element could deteriorate after 3-4 years, and then come apart and trash the turbo/engine/etc.
Spartan told me the same thing, and my filter indicator is still normal.

I don't recall anyone posting that their filter came apart and I think it's somewhat of a sales issue.

My original filter is almost 4 years old and I'm going to replace it this summer as preventative maintenance.
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:41 AM   #3
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Like AF Chap, I finally had mine replaced at 73000 miles and about 5 years of service. While there was no indication of real need, I just felt it was time. In my case, the coach was being used pretty much constantly, but in mostly drier weather since we were home based in California (southern) at the time. We have spent much more time in wetter weather since then.
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:43 AM   #4
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Interestingly enough, my coach is 35 months old with 24837 miles. I was having the oil, filters,etc change yesterday getting prepared for the travel season. I use a mobile rv lube service and asked him about changing my filter on a 325 HP Cummins. His suggestion was the indicator is not reading very high but lets check it. When he removed it the wax that holds the filter pleats together had broken in several places, actually many places on the inside or outlet to the turbo side. The filter looked clean. He suggested to replace it because as those pieces of wax start to break loose some could be sucked up to the turbo. $110 installed vs who knows how much for turbo damage. Over reaction on my part, maybe. Piece of mind is worth $110 to me.
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:13 AM   #5
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Hi AFChap,
After 3 years the glue and paper the filter is made of start to break down. Is is like a cancer, a slow deterioration of the components the filter is made of. I replaced the air filter last year (4 years). My gage just started to rise. The filter looked fine. Being that my coach travels the Interstate highway system, from one CG to the next the filter may need to be replaced on a time basis instead of waiting for the gage.
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Old 05-22-2010, 12:29 PM   #6
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In 2003 I attended a Farr Filter seminar at the Spartan Homecoming rally. It was taught by an engineer who designs the filters, a sales rep and a technician. There were about 20 attendees in the seminar and we all got to ask questions. When the seminar ended I talked to the engineer another 15 minutes and I think it was one of the best seminars I have ever attended.

They explained how the filter are made and that they will not disintegrate. They test them by submerging them in water for weeks and then drying them in the sun, spraying them with salt water and oil, and abusing them every way possible. They said their filter will hold up under all those conditions.

I have changed air filters in several motorhomes and never saw one coming apart. Usually they are slightly dirty and have many more years of useful life.

But then..... In 2008 we were getting ready to make a trip from the east to out west, to the Canadian Rockies, up the Alaska Highway, down the Cassiar Highway, to Michigan and finally to southern Alabama. That was a rugged trip of 15,000 miles and I decided to completely service the motorhome including replacing the air filter before we hit the road. The motorhome was just under three years old, had 23,000 miles and 521 hours on the engine. It had never been driven in wet or dusty areas.

I removed the filter and found something frightening. There is a hot glue spiral that runs around the filter element and circles it the entire length of the filter. The hot glue had come loose on the rear end and was hanging down several inches and was only a couple of inches from the turbo. Probably within a few miles or weeks the hot glue would have worked its way to the turbo and blown it to bits.

So from now on I will replace the filter every three years just to be safe.
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Old 05-22-2010, 12:44 PM   #7
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I removed the filter and found something frightening. There is a hot glue spiral that runs around the filter element and circles it the entire length of the filter. The hot glue had come loose on the rear end and was hanging down several inches and was only a couple of inches from the turbo. Probably within a few miles or weeks the hot glue would have worked its way to the turbo and blown it to bits.

So from now on I will replace the filter every three years just to be safe.
I saw the same thing on mine and I will continue to replace mine on a three year basis. I don't even want to guess what a turbo rebuild would cost but I bet a fellow could buy a small warehouse full of filters or maybe a big warehouse.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:08 PM   #8
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Engineers (and even worse, salesmen) are always proud of their product.

Stuff can always break and/or break down, even though it is designed otherwise.

Engine rebuilds are always expensive.

And that's all I have to say about that.
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:11 PM   #9
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Just replaced mine since I bought the MH last june and didn't know the condition. I shook it quite a bit and the amount of dirt I got out of it was incredible. Hope it didn't damage anything. No dirt noticed on the outlet side so it did a grat job. Three years sounds good but I think I will replace it again based on miles and conditions. Maybe some inspections. Don't trust the vac gauge.

I just about have all filters replaced. It is a lot cheaper than engine parts.

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Old 05-22-2010, 11:13 PM   #10
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Air filter on 2008 Itasca Latitude 39W DP

I'm trying to figure out where my air filter is on the freightliner chassis. The manual just says that when it is time for replacement the coach should be taken to an Authorized Freightliner Service Center. The only comment that I have seen is that "it is a bear to change!" Has anyone changed theirs on this coach? Where is it located?...under the coach or through an access in the bedroom? Joe
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:30 PM   #11
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Elkhartjim who do you use for Mobil service?
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:17 AM   #12
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azloafer,

Find the air inlet on the coach and follow the ducting to the air filter. Mine was a bear to change the first time but will be a lot easier the second time I do it. Mine has a maintenance compartment accessible from the outside where the air filter, frame fuel filter, and air dryer are located.

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Old 05-23-2010, 11:25 AM   #13
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Elkhartjim who do you use for Mobil service?
This company RV Mobile Lube - Home , and they are great.

I had a concern when one of their new techs serviced my rig and asked them about it. One of the co-owners came out to my house to check and make sure all was done right...it had been. BTW, they encourage you to watch them work and ask questions. How unique is that?
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:34 AM   #14
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I'm trying to figure out where my air filter is on the freightliner chassis. The manual just says that when it is time for replacement the coach should be taken to an Authorized Freightliner Service Center. The only comment that I have seen is that "it is a bear to change!" Has anyone changed theirs on this coach? Where is it located?...under the coach or through an access in the bedroom? Joe
Mine is located in the left rear compartment as is easily changed from there. Loosen two hose clamps and release two band clamps. The hard part is getting the inlet air hose off. FL uses some sort of sticky substance on this hose and it has to be pried
loose. Of course mine was doubly easy to do because I just knelt there watching my lube guy do it.
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