Cleaning K&N air filter?

SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
edited June 2014 in Custom Fabrication
How do you clean the air filter properly? I've heard stories about doing this incorrectly and causing damage to some part (MAF??)

Jstas...and others, maybe you could help me figure this out :)

Thanks!
Post edited by Serendipity on
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Comments

  • phuzphuz Posts: 2,413
    edited June 2008
    Use the K&N cleaning kit, and make sure you let it dry completely and don't put too much oil on.

    Instructions in the kit should walk you through it.
  • JstasJstas Posts: 13,451
    edited June 2008
    It's hard to do it incorrectly. But some people put way too much oil on the filter and it ends up covering the mass air meter sensor wire. When that happens, it doesn't work right and the vehicle behaves erratically or just shuts down.

    Get a cleaning kit, use the solvent/cleaner liberally. Wash it off with a low pressure stream of water and let it dry completely like what was said. When applying the oil, hold the can far enough away so that the fine spray hits the filter element rather than a stream. Put just enough oil on so that the filter gauze starts to turn pink and let it soak in. Come back 10-15 minutes later and give it a quick light coat again and that should be all the oil the element needs. It should be a medium pink. If the element is bright red like the color of the oil, there's way too much. Clean it again and start over.

    Then install and enjoy.
  • SlowcarIXSlowcarIX Posts: 887
    edited June 2008
    the cotton gauze(filter media) in between the metal screen is easily displaced - do not jet it with too much pressure.
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,553
    edited June 2008
    I've put simple-green in a bucket, filled with warm water, and swirled the filter in it. After doing a few buckets of cleaning solution, I ran a few buckets of fresh water to rinse the filter. Left to air dry and I had a fantastically clean filter.
  • SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
    edited June 2008
    Jstas wrote: »
    It's hard to do it incorrectly. But some people put way too much oil on the filter and it ends up covering the mass air meter sensor wire. When that happens, it doesn't work right and the vehicle behaves erratically or just shuts down.

    Get a cleaning kit, use the solvent/cleaner liberally. Wash it off with a low pressure stream of water and let it dry completely like what was said. When applying the oil, hold the can far enough away so that the fine spray hits the filter element rather than a stream. Put just enough oil on so that the filter gauze starts to turn pink and let it soak in. Come back 10-15 minutes later and give it a quick light coat again and that should be all the oil the element needs. It should be a medium pink. If the element is bright red like the color of the oil, there's way too much. Clean it again and start over.

    Then install and enjoy.

    Wow...thanks, that was very informative! It turned out to be very easy and I didn't use too much oil at all. Now I understand why over-oiling the filter causes problems with the MAF sensor.

    Also, how oftern should the filter be cleaned/oiled? I guess the filter should be cleaned something like every other oil change? Or am I wrong on this?
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,712
    edited June 2008
    Unless you put a lot of miles on the car, I clean mine once a year.

    As a precaution, I clean my MAF a few hundred miles after re-oiling my filter. MAF cleaner is available from your local auto parts store.
  • SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
    edited June 2008
    Face wrote: »
    Unless you put a lot of miles on the car, I clean mine once a year.

    As a precaution, I clean my MAF a few hundred miles after re-oiling my filter. MAF cleaner is available from your local auto parts store.

    Thanks. 7000 miles/year = 2.5 oil changes, so every third oil change then?

    BTW, Did you get my email?
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,712
    edited June 2008
    appadv wrote: »
    BTW, Did you get my email?
    Yes, this thread just reminded me of it. I'll get back to you in a few.
  • JstasJstas Posts: 13,451
    edited June 2008
    zingo wrote: »
    I've put simple-green in a bucket, filled with warm water, and swirled the filter in it. After doing a few buckets of cleaning solution, I ran a few buckets of fresh water to rinse the filter. Left to air dry and I had a fantastically clean filter.

    The cleaning kits cost 7-8 bucks and are more effective and guaranteed not to degrade the filter in any way. Simple Green is an enzyme based cleaner that can damage some rubbers and plastics and probably thee gauze in the filter element too.

    I bought my K&N filter 7 years ago now and got a cleaning kit at the same time. I have one, maybe two more cleanings left in the kit before I have to buy a new one.

    At $32 for the filter and $8 for the cleaning kit, $40 over 7 years comes out to about $5.75 a year. I clean the filter 3, sometimes 4 times a year. One bottle of Simple Green is $6.25. The cleaning kit is not only more effective but more economical. Don't waste money and time doing it the wrong way.
  • SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
    edited June 2008
    I have the cleaning kit and it was only $8. It seems like it will last a long time, as I did not have to use much oil to get the job done.

    So you can clean the filter more often then? I was originally thinking every other oil change but 3-4 times a year is fine and won't harm the filter?
  • TNRabbitTNRabbit Posts: 2,220
    edited June 2008
    www.bobistheoilguy.com

    Check this site; he does a comparison of K&N style to OEM paper media. Interesting results--you may end up tossing your K&N....
  • SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
    edited June 2008
    TNRabbit wrote: »
    www.bobistheoilguy.com

    Check this site; he does a comparison of K&N style to OEM paper media. Interesting results--you may end up tossing your K&N....

    Hmm...never knew that.

    It was a good read, but confirmed my initial impressions: higher filtration = less flow, and vice versa.
  • demaplesdemaples Posts: 304
    edited June 2008
    Used them for years in my dirt stock cars. The best thing since sliced bread.
  • hypertrophyhypertrophy Posts: 10
    edited June 2008
    A big issue would be allowing the filter to COMPLETELY dry before you oil it. You should also allow plenty of time to dry after oiling, before you place it back onto your vehicle.

    Everything is well covered with the posts above.
  • SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
    edited June 2008
    A big issue would be allowing the filter to COMPLETELY dry before you oil it. You should also allow plenty of time to dry after oiling, before you place it back onto your vehicle.

    Everything is well covered with the posts above.

    Good advice, I did make sure that it was dry - it sat under the sun for a while so that it was completely dry.
  • jacob.simpsonjacob.simpson Posts: 486
    edited August 2008
    Need suggestion on a K&N filter for a 200cc Motorbike
  • SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
    edited August 2008
    Need suggestion on a K&N filter for a 200cc Motorbike

    www.knfilters.com

    You can search on the website, that's how I found mine!
  • bigaudiofanaticbigaudiofanatic Posts: 4,422
    edited August 2008
    I love my dew dry flow one from aem soak it in water take it out let it dry put it back in done deal.
  • Max~PowerMax~Power Posts: 15
    edited August 2008
    appadv wrote: »
    Hmm...never knew that.

    It was a good read, but confirmed my initial impressions: higher filtration = less flow, and vice versa.

    This is also true with your home A/C, cheap blue 99 cent filter gets better air flow ftw

    thread starter: go to Advance auto parts and grab the K and N cleaning kit (Always in stock) and read the instrucs....

    This reminded me to clean mine, thanks
  • ViperZViperZ Posts: 2,039
    edited August 2008
    Cleaned my K&N air filter for the first time a couple of weeks ago. What a pain! First, you have to wash it, then you may need to wash it again. Then you have to wait for it to dry. Then you have to spray the oil into it and wait until it soaks. Then you have to spray oil again (to make sure that pink color on the other side is uniform, etc.), then wait again for it to dry.

    After paying all this money for the filter and the cleaning kit, where is the advantage over buying a single-use filter every time you need a new one?

    I respect K&N for making excellent oil filters (over FRAM and other garbage), but man, that air filter is a pain.
  • SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
    edited August 2008
    The advantage? It seems to improve fuel economy, at least that's been my experience with the filter. YMMV.
  • NotaSuvNotaSuv Posts: 2,354
    edited August 2008
    ViperZ wrote: »
    Cleaned my K&N air filter for the first time a couple of weeks ago. What a pain! First, you have to wash it, then you may need to wash it again. Then you have to wait for it to dry. Then you have to spray the oil into it and wait until it soaks. Then you have to spray oil again (to make sure that pink color on the other side is uniform, etc.), then wait again for it to dry.

    After paying all this money for the filter and the cleaning kit, where is the advantage over buying a single-use filter every time you need a new one?

    I respect K&N for making excellent oil filters (over FRAM and other garbage), but man, that air filter is a pain.

    ???????? Really......have been using K&N filters forever never found it to be a PITA at all......but then again I'm one of those anal people who use Q tips for cleaning the smallest of places that are never seen :)
  • ViperZViperZ Posts: 2,039
    edited August 2008
    NotaSuv wrote: »
    ???????? Really......have been using K&N filters forever never found it to be a PITA at all......but then again I'm one of those anal people who use Q tips for cleaning the smallest of places that are never seen :)

    If you have over an hour to clean and dry the *car air filter*, then you definitely should have no problems with this one ;). Personally, I feel that I am stuck with one, since I already bought it and it's expensive, but I wouldn't recommend getting a reusable air filter.
  • Jeff BeairdJeff Beaird Posts: 217
    edited August 2008
    ViperZ wrote: »
    If you have over an hour to clean and dry the *car air filter*, then you definitely should have no problems with this one
    Clean it with this stuff: http://www.greased-lightning.com/products/Products.aspx?ProductId=1
    We used to race Go Karts on a dirt oval. I cleaned 6 filters a week, spray this stuff on wait 2-5 minutes and rinse off with a garden hose or in the sink if the wife is not home.;) Make sure the filter is dry and second DON'T put too much oil on..!!!!! Lightly spray it and let it soak in... wait, wait,... wait... OK now look at it and see if needs some more oil. Good Boy...:p
  • ViperZViperZ Posts: 2,039
    edited August 2008
    Jeff, I don't like the 'wait wait wait' part =P
  • wizzywizzy Banned Posts: 877
    edited September 2008
    I always use the squeeze bottle to re-oil and not the spray can aerosol type sprayer.

    K&N lists how much oil the filter should hold when you re-oil it. The squeeze bottle shows you how much oil is in the bottle so you get a real good idea if you applied the right amount.

    Also, don't clean it too often. The filter filters much worse when it's freshly cleaned and oiled. The initial build up of dust & grime is part of the overall filtering - so if you keep it super clean you're not doing your car any favor.

    W
  • ben62670ben62670 Posts: 16,077
    edited September 2008
    Read the directions DF!
  • SerendipitySerendipity Posts: 6,982
    edited May 2009
    ViperZ wrote: »
    If you have over an hour to clean and dry the *car air filter*, then you definitely should have no problems with this one ;). Personally, I feel that I am stuck with one, since I already bought it and it's expensive, but I wouldn't recommend getting a reusable air filter.

    An hour? I just did this today in 5-10 minutes tops. Just clean it with the cleaning fluid, rinse the filter out, and add a little bit of oil.
  • suregaisuregai Posts: 1
    edited June 2009
    Soaking a K&N in soap and water isnt the best way to clean it. It wont damage the filter doing that, but theres a better way to clean it. Pick up a K&N filter cleaning kit, and itll tell you that you want to run water through the filter from the inside to the outside so the dirt thats in the filter gets forced back out by the flowing water, rather that driving it further into the filter by running water over the outside. So by that explanation of how to get it clean, you can see why dropping the filter in a sink of soap and water isnt the best way to do it, it would get some dirt out, but also push some dirt further into the filter.
  • kickkick Posts: 10
    edited September 2013
    Does the k&n really improve fuel economy?
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