Hardware Report: Oil filters

Dec. 7, 2016
New oil formulations may also help extend filter life

Even the least expensive maintenance parts can have a large impact on a fleet’s bottom line, something that can certainly be the case when it comes to oil filters designed to ensure protection against engine wear and to lower costs associated with more efficient operation. Choosing filters is even more critical when considering changes in oil specs and engine designs to meet new emissions and fuel economy standards.

“With the latest emissions regulations, some engine manufacturers are choosing to control lube oil contamination at finer levels than ever before,” says Veli Kalayci, director of engine liquid products at Donaldson. “That is leading to the development of new synthetic lube filter media and new filter packaging configurations. We’re constantly developing filter solutions to help enhance engine protection and lower the total cost of ownership for fleets.”

PC-11 oils have not caused engine manufacturers or oil suppliers to put any new or specific requirements on filters, according to Roma Fatima, lube product line manager at Cummins Filtration. “If anything, PC-11 oils may help improve oil filter life because they promise better oxidation stability, shear stability, resistance to aeration, and greater overall durability at higher operating temperatures,” he states. “Filter life is directly related to oil life, and anything that helps oil last longer should help the filter last longer, too.”

Following engine manufacturer recommendations related to oil viscosity will help realize better performance from both oil and filters, Fatima says. This year, he notes, Cummins Filtration refined its Fleetguard LF14000NN lube filter to meet the needs of new and future engine platforms.

“The LF14000NN is capable of longer service intervals, which help fleets reduce costs over the course of an engine’s life . . . a  lamination process pairs our NanoNet and StrataPore media together to create a single filter element,” Fatima states. “The media combination balances the need to protect the engine from larger damaging particles and removes finer particles through oil recirculation.”

The combination media design, Fatima explains further, lowers the flow restriction created at the filter during cold starts as well as when oil viscosity increases due to oxidation or when there is higher contamination due to extended service intervals. “It’s designed to optimize service life by allowing the latest generation of diesel engines to operate more efficiently with less parasitic power loss, which can lead to better fuel economy and lower emissions,” he adds.

Donaldson is constantly “tweaking the formula” to its range of engine lube oil filters for heavy-duty on-road diesel engines, says Kalayci. Donaldson Blue lube filters are designed to provide higher levels of efficiency and engine protection without having to sacrifice filter life or increase flow restriction, he notes.

“Donaldson Blue lube filters have this no trade-off functionality because they use fully synthetic Synteq media, which balances efficiency, capacity and restriction,” Kalayci states. “That includes removing more than 90% of contaminants that are 10 microns or larger, compared to 50% or less for typical cellulose media filters.”

Donald Chilton, director of product management at WIX Filters, says WIX continues to dedicate time and energy on research for new oil filters. The company’s Spin-Flow filter element technology is designed to ensure contaminant dispersal and low flow restriction. As part of the company’s filter design is a coil spring with specially rounded ends to prevent can and element damage. This “kicked-and-tucked” spring reduces the possibility of bypass, keeps the filter element seated against the base plate, and prevents unfiltered fuel from going to the injectors.

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