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Anyone ever convert an oil bath air cleaner into a filament air cleaner?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Carbs & Chrome, May 20, 2010.

  1. Thinking about doing it - wondered if anyone has.
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,594

    from SIDNEY, NY

    What's it from? I've converted '55-'57 Chevy 283 air cleaners to paper filter; they're quite easy.
  3. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,424

    ems customer service

    i did made a post about it on the hamb
  4. The Shocker
    Joined: Dec 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,540

    The Shocker

    I did with a 50's Caddy/Olds air cleaner .Took about ten minutes .I used a base from a 70's Chevy truck .Used just the top of the Caddy/Olds cleaner for the look.It was totally hidden that i converted it .I was using a 4 barrel Qaudrajet carb so the base went right on with no issues ...
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  5. Yep...........did 2 early 50's Cadillac and Olds oil bath type.

    Used a chrome aftermarket 'Mickey Mouse base to fit a Holly 4bbl and a big old 4"x13" paper filter.
    Worked like GM designed it to be.
  6. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh

    Easy to do. Just depends on what you are looking for. Many repops look like this doing the same thing. Just wanted to use more of what came on the car.

  7. In did a killer, big, 'early '50's Ford aircleaner. Had to cut some crap oout of the inside & rework some inside to get a filter to sit level. I'll post pics Sunday when I get home.

    The Cadillac or later Chevy pieces are easier. Mainly just change the base like mentioned above.

  8. gearhead1952
    Joined: Dec 17, 2006
    Posts: 296

    from Arvada, CO

    I've done it twice on f1 truck oil bath cleaners. On one I used a k&n filter and the other a napa gold paper filter. Cut off the top part of the oil bath and made a plate to cover the filter which gave me something to tighten the lid down onto.
  9. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,917

    need louvers ?

    Did a big ford Y-block air cleaner years ago with a aftermarket 14"drop base and a 4" K&N filter. Also, hole sawed two three inch holes in the face and inserted exhaust tubing into the holes, (approximately 4and 8 o'clock as viewed from the top) and using Flexible ducting made a cool air intake system. Painted the whole thing black wrinkle and it looked absolutely brutal, worked very well too!
  10. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 13,267


    Yup, every one I have come across, except on "correct" restored cars.
  11. mike1951
    Joined: Jul 15, 2007
    Posts: 706

    from Colorado

    Here's my question for all of ya. How restrictive are the old oil bath air cleaners?
    I mean I have one on my 53 Buick with the 263. It's HUGE. If I ditched it for a smaller paper filter would I be helpin or hurting my inline?
  12. turdmagnet
    Joined: May 19, 2008
    Posts: 292


    I would assume switching to a paper filter would increase the restriction - minimal though. The oil baths basically have zero restriction - its just the direction of the flow that causes the separation of the particles into the oil.

    Just my 2 cents
  13. mike1951
    Joined: Jul 15, 2007
    Posts: 706

    from Colorado

    So if this is the case, why are people converting oil bath filters to paper?

  14. Oil bath are cleaner ... wonder why they call it that ... well guess what, I found out a little later when I removed one from my original engine ...(damn, what the ... Ohhhh, OIL bath) and that's exactly what I got .... an oil bath.
  15. turdmagnet
    Joined: May 19, 2008
    Posts: 292


    Efficiency - how well does it clean the air. Paper filters would trap alot more dirt and much smaller dirt particles than the oil bath ever would. When I clean out my oil bath I generally only get large particles (flies). There is a bit of "scum" there but I'm sure a lot of fine dirt is going straight thru.
  16. mike1951
    Joined: Jul 15, 2007
    Posts: 706

    from Colorado

    Ah, ok. I was debating replacing my stock cleaner for something possibly better. I was told by an old mechanic that oil bath was the way to go..

  17. Oil bath air "cleaners" do not remove all of the small stuff that a paper filter will catch. It only takes out the bigger particles that don't go around sharp corners very well.
    The smaller particles that still stay airborne after a sharp turn will still be in the intake air.
    "zig-zag" cleaning only removes the easy stuff.

    Paper filters work best, but do restrict a bit more, so use as big an element as you possibly can.

    Before you decide to do a "compromise" and use a K&N style gauze filter because they advertise low restriction, just remember they also let in the small particles. No matter how much dirt they can show that sticks to the oiled-gauze, there are still large holes that the fine dirt goes right through.
    Tests have shown they (K&N style gauze) let in SEVEN TIMES more dirt than a paper filter.
    I am pretty sure a K&N gauze filter must be better than an oil bath zig-zag "cleaner", but neither one is nearly as good as a paper filter.

    The biggest paper filter you can get is the best way to go if you are concerned about engine life and keeping out the fine grit that quickly chews up the cyl walls and rings.

    If you are willing to sacrifice engine life for a slight "edge" at the track, you can use just about anything.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  18. R Frederick
    Joined: Mar 30, 2009
    Posts: 2,661

    R Frederick
    from illinois

    I did it to my 53. I just welded a sheetmetal ring into the bottom to keep a paper element centered. Found a tall enough element for the lid to seal.
  19. Merc cruzer
    Joined: Feb 26, 2009
    Posts: 261

    Merc cruzer
    from Colorado

    Kept the origional great...this is on my 53" Merc...K&N Filter

    Attached Files:

    FlatJan and bct like this.
  20. "Tests have shown they (K&N style gauze) let in SEVEN TIMES more dirt than a paper filter."

    ...but tests have also shown that K&N filters are just as good as or better than paper with the correct oil on the filter and whatnot....the debate is endless....
  21. Wrong.

    Wishfull thinking is so powerful sometimes.

    No matter how much goo you put on a chain link fence, the little particles that do not touch the goo will pass right on by.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  22. MissFortune
    Joined: Jul 23, 2010
    Posts: 44

    from Lemont, IL

    Trying to decide what I'm going to do with my oil bath...My brother says I should just go paper, but I don't think he realized there may some chopping & welding involved...I think I need to do a little more research on this. Thanks for the tips & info everyone.
  23. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,686

    from Colorado

    I did a '48 Chrysler Town & Country and a '46 Pontiac straight 8 conversions from oil bath to paper using NAPA filters.
  24. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,763

    Member Emeritus


    This was so easy that it's embarrassing. A 10 dollar flea market 14" chrome open street rod air filter bottom and element. I did have to open the bottom hole some for it to fit inside. If it's a smaller diameter look at the repro filters for something that can be adapted to the old housing. Just make sure that the air has to go through the filter element and not around it to enter the engine.
  25. Fordnut40
    Joined: Jul 10, 2009
    Posts: 31


    Do you have the manufacturer & number on that "big ole 4"x13" air filter
  26. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 2,338

    from so-cal

    Did one on my Dads 56 Dodge, Lots of work, biggest pain as being so old there was a lot of gunked up crap in areas that I couldnt get to. wound up splitting the can to clean it all out and rewelding it. Took the top hat to A/Z and went through the filters till one fit and had the right hight.
  27. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 329


    Well? It's been a few years... Is that post coming? LOL

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