What's new in: Oil filters

Nov. 1, 2007
Built to handle '07 environment Oil filter manufacturers have made a number of adjustments in recent years to meet the challenges of the new, cleaner and hotter running engines. So far, fleet feedback indicates today's lube filters are performing well in this environment. But, as Keith Bechtum, product specialist, Liquid Filtration Group, Donaldson Co., points out, there really aren't enough '07 engines

Built to handle '07 environment

Oil filter manufacturers have made a number of adjustments in recent years to meet the challenges of the new, cleaner and hotter running engines. So far, fleet feedback indicates today's lube filters are performing well in this environment.

But, as Keith Bechtum, product specialist, Liquid Filtration Group, Donaldson Co., points out, there really aren't enough '07 engines out there yet in fleet operation or for a long enough time to make a final assessment. “While the jury's still out, what we do know from working with the engine manufacturers is that they are not bringing oil drain intervals back.”

Bechtum reports that things like the newer CI-4 and CJ-4 oils and ultra-low-sulfur diesel, which actually decreases acid generation, appear to be a tradeoff, allowing fleets to maintain or even increase their drain intervals.

The key for trucking companies as they incorporate '07 engines into their fleet, notes Donaldson's product manager of liquid filtration, Matt Stein, “is to start looking at oil analysis on a somewhat regular basis to know where they stand.” He says Donaldson's Endurance oil filters use synthetic media and other upgraded materials to deal with hotter engine oils.

The Endurance Plus filter introduced by Donaldson a couple of years ago guarantees fleets double their oil drain intervals up to 60,000 miles. A key feature is built-in additive replenishment technology that Donaldson says makes them ideally suited for the EGR engine environment, where oil additives are more rapidly depleted.

Paul Bandoly, manager of technical services and customer training for Wix Filters, says two things have happened in the spin-on oil filter business to meet today's needs: adjustments to the gaskets and to the type of media used in the filters.

“In the last 1-1/2 years, we've done a lot of gasket compound and gasket geometry changes to address some of the emerging issues,” he reports. “For example, the chemistry of standard nitral compound has been updated to make the gaskets more resilient and less susceptible to compression set, which occurs faster and more severely in a higher heat setting. In some cases, we've actually updated the physical shape of the gaskets as well to ensure a good seal.”

The second major trend Bandoly points to is a shift to higher synthetic fiber content. “The new engines are flowing more oil and running cleaner, so higher synthetic content media has become necessary in order for the filters to capture more soot and contaminants, while still holding up long enough and providing adequate capacity to give fleets the service life they need.”

As for serviceability of the filter, Bandoly says installation is still the key. Fleets are strongly encouraged to follow the instructions on the filter to avoid problems arising from over- or under-tightening a filter. “Every major brand filter comes with instructions. Follow them,” he advises.

David Cline, oil filtration product manager for Racor Div. of Parker Hannifin, says that as carriers have started using '07 engines “we've been asking ourselves how oil filters would be affected by higher levels of soot and other contaminants in the oil, and at what type of media we should be looking into to capture it.”

Another issue Cline points to is the higher up-front cost new emission regulations are putting on equipment. Add to that the unknown factor over whether or not a fleet can still get the oil change intervals they have had in the past. “That's where the concerns are going to be for fleets and what we can do as filter manufacturers for them.”

Champion Laboratories' marketing communications director Averi Goodman says, “When the '07 engines were being developed, we worked closely with the manufacturers to create filter products that work efficiently within the design parameters. Luber-finer lube filters are constructed with high lubricity gaskets to retain shape and seal during extended contact with high temperature oil and hotter engine temperatures.”

The issue of setting or extending oil change intervals, Goodman says, depends on many variables best determined by regular oil analysis. “A good program,” she adds, “becomes a historical storyboard for each piece of equipment or engine's life that will reduce downtime and maintenance costs for fleet owners.”

The newest lube filter addition to the Luber-finer line is the Imperial XL (Extended Lube), a high efficiency, high capacity filter designed for high-dust on/off-road applications.

At Cummins Filtration, John Clevenger, director of product management, says two Fleetguard oil filter products are available from the company to meet today's fleet needs. The Venturi product line consists of a full-flow synthetic filter with a stacked-disc bypass section design to remove not only inorganic contaminants like dirt and wear metals, but also organics like sludge, which account for over 80% of contaminant in the oil system.

Venturi filters use Fleetguard's StrataPore synthetic media, which Clevenger notes has been specifically designed not to plug from sludge. “Organic materials not only plug off filters, but as a wear agent it causes engine wear six to seven times that of clean oil. So it's important to take that out. We believe this to be our advantage in terms of design. The filter has massive amounts — 300 grams — of organic holding capacity.”

The second product line from Fleetguard is the Centriguard centrifuge, which uses Spiro-Tec patented technology to help improve filter efficiency by increasing centrifugal force to remove more soot from the oil. Centrifugal filtration, Clevenger explains, is very beneficial in certain duty-cycles that tend to produce more soot, such as city buses.

Spinner II Products Division's Glenn Griffith, national sales manager, notes that the consequences of more soot in the oil pump — a byproduct of the hotter running engines with their improved exhaust emissions — is a substantial shortening of the life of the oil. “High speed centrifuges,” he states, “are the only proven way to remove soot from diesel oil. This helps reduce oil oxidation and allows for safely extending oil drain intervals without employing additional oil reservoirs to increase sump size.”

Griffith says Spinner II has increased the size of the dirt-holding capacity in its oil centrifuges to combat increased soot in the oil. Also, “through the use of proprietary fluid dynamic software, we were able to re-design our centrifuge to increase the efficiency by 37%,” he reports.









Champion Laboratories





About the Author

Deborah Mcguffie-Schyhol

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