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Oil Bath Air Cleaner

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  • Engine: Oil Bath Air Cleaner

    I think too much and don't know enough, so I ask: in filling an oil bath air cleaner should I use a 10 or 5wt multigrade to fill that? Completely different demand on that oil than in then engine, does it really matter that much?
    Also, is it okay to use in the engine after a short period of time? Recycle it, so to speak.

  • #2
    Under no circumstances should oil from the air filter be used in the engine. It is OK, however to reverse the process use oil from the engine in the filter. The recommended oil was non-detergent 30 wt. Air passes through a chamber where it makes a U turn, the carried dirt, being heavier, keeps going straight and is stuck in the oil. You don't want this in your crankcase.

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    • #3
      Use a single weight (30) not a multiweight (like 5W30 or 10W30) oil.

      I second the opinion not to use the used air cleaner oil in anything else. It will be full of dirt - that is its function.
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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      • #4
        I'm still wondering if he's gonna "fill" it. Just enough to get dirt to stick would be OK. No more than an inch or it may cause a mess.
        Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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        • #5
          I've always used either SAE 40 or SAE 50 when I can find it in oil bath air filters as the heavier oils don't have a tendency to slosh around in the bottom of the air cleaner causing excess oil to be drawn up through the filter element and into the engine. Bud

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          • #6
            In the years since oil bath filters were the norm...lots of science has accumulated in the process of improving filter media, and the economics of filter production. I have a few pieces of equipment with their original oil bath filters. All of them have a "fill line" as an indicator for how much oil to use. Even so...I think the best way to get good filtration, is to remove the oil bath filter, clean it good, place it on a shelf, and install an equivalent air flow capable dry element on the engine.

            While oil baths are probably OK, (even those having a some kind of "media/mesh" pre-filter)...they are not measured in "micron" particulate restriction as dry media filtration material. Rather, most depend on centrifugal force, and gravity to precipitate grit and grime out of the air and into the oil. Besides, dry filters are more compact, lighter, and, because they have no heat retaining fluid...they cool quicker, lessening the time your carburetor will spend percolating gas, after shutting off the engine on a hot day.

            Oh...and for those of you who have ever accidentally tilted one of those filters when handling one, and filled your shoe with spilled oil, the dry filter is way less messy.
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975

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            • #7
              the dry filter is way less messy.

              You got that right, John.

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              • #8
                dry filters start at $10. Oil in the bath @ maybe $1.00. If my truck didn't have an oil filter, I wouldn't give a second thought on getting one. Some of this thinking is like accessories on vehicles. Overkill. Like the cheapie pickup with all the available accessories on it.... including the monogrammed hanging scrotum treatment...! (CASO need not apply)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jackb View Post
                  dry filters start at $10. Oil in the bath @ maybe $1.00. If my truck didn't have an oil filter, I wouldn't give a second thought on getting one. Some of this thinking is like accessories on vehicles. Overkill. Like the cheapie pickup with all the available accessories on it.... including the monogrammed hanging scrotum treatment...! (CASO need not apply)
                  I'm keeping the oil bath air cleaner for pretty much this reason. If I was doing a complete engine rebuild and restoration, I would seriously consider changing the air cleaner. I'd also be doing several other things to the truck as well. This is a resurrection, not a restoration, so for now at least, I'm keeping the air cleaner that's on the truck. I hear what you said John and don't disagree though and I will NOT be putting on one of those teeny little softball sized air cleaners when I do install a paper filter.
                  Last edited by LeoH; 10-31-2015, 09:00 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by warrlaw1 View Post
                    I'm still wondering if he's gonna "fill" it. Just enough to get dirt to stick would be OK. No more than an inch or it may cause a mess.
                    Thank you for politely thinking out loud, I actually think that was thoughtful. No worries, I did see the fill line inside the air cleaner and I have had Volkswagens before, but it's been 40 some years since I messed[sic] with those.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom B View Post
                      Under no circumstances should oil from the air filter be used in the engine. It is OK, however to reverse the process use oil from the engine in the filter. The recommended oil was non-detergent 30 wt. Air passes through a chamber where it makes a U turn, the carried dirt, being heavier, keeps going straight and is stuck in the oil. You don't want this in your crankcase.
                      thanks for the clarification. I was thinking about those facts, but I figured that 'back in the day', there were likely resource recycling things that were done when it came to used engine oil. The more I think about it, getting a quart of straight 30wt should last long enough, the oil used is so small, when I think about changing the air cleaner oil, I'll just wait until I'm doing an engine oil change and just dump the air cleaner oil in with the engine oil when I recycle that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jackb View Post
                        including the monogrammed hanging scrotum treatment...! (CASO need not apply)
                        I was thinking of making a bumper sticker or lettering something on the back of this truck (a '52 2R17A) to the effect of, "Driving this truck means I don't need to add hangy down things to show I've got 'em" but I think the less vulgar statement, "That's not a truck, THIS is a truck!" and count on enough people having seen the movie Crocodile Dundee to get the tone.
                        I also thought, something to the effect of, "AT, PS, PB, AC; and you call yourself a TRUCK?"

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