Air Filter - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Put a new K & N air filter in my bike today. Then I ran into someone who said I should of used a stock filter , in that it will filter better. Anyone have any thoughts on this. It may be my imagination but my bike seems to run better with the K & N.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 03:25 PM
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Probably your imagination

Actually, when I put a K&N in my (totally stock v6) Camaro, I did notice a difference in off-idle response... instead of a grunt and a little squeak from the tires, I could actually get them to break loose occasionally.

Mind you, this was from a stock, very nasty air filter to the K&N.

The criticism is from theoil K&N uses to trap fine particles. In order to reduce air restriction, another method has to be used to filter down to the particle size a paper/fiber filter will filter to. So K&N uses a more open (synthetic) mesh filter and coats it in oil, which brings its filtering capability to (near) paper/fiber.

So what's the problem? The oil can cause issues with MAF sensors, particularly the Karman Vortex type, where the vortex former can become misshapen and alter the pattern of the resonance... usually resulting in a lean mixture.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:00 PM
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I dont know if there is a performance advantage to the K&n.The important thing is having a filter and the K&N will last as long as you own the bike, wash recharge and ride sounds good to me. Happy trails Tang

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:13 PM
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The nice thing about a filter that doesn't filter is that it no longer needs to impede the flow of air to your engine so it runs better.

That's the only nice thing about it.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:16 PM
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The only advantage that a K& N filter will have is in pasing another car or in accelerating, other than that, in just crusing, you will find no difference.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:21 PM
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K&N oil filters are 1930's/40's technology. There are many tests results of different type/brand of air filters on the internet. K&N is near last in all these tests. The reason they seem to work better is they don't restrict anything. And that includes particles and dirt..

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:37 PM
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Not to mention the oil migrates away from the fibers, and it's minimal filtration capabilities diminish quite rapidly, as that oil leaves the building. I've pulled them out with absolutely no oil on them, but oil all around the housing, and inlet to carbs/injection. And, the inlets would be blackish. I wouldn't recommend them to anybody, especially 1500/1800 owners. Those critters are much too difficult to get to, hence little maintenance is done to them. They need re-oiled very frequently. And, the hotter the weather the faster the oil migrates.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:51 PM
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One of my previous bikes (an 83 Nighthawk 550) had been modified by the PO and had what I believe were 650 carbs on it.The engine had been "enhanced".The original air box didn't fit anymore and so the PO put K&N filters on it that fit directly on the carb intakes.

K&N are advertised to only need cleaning every 50,000 miles.

This bike only had 36,000 miles on it total and I am guessing that only the last 10,000 miles had the modification.

When I bought the bikethe filters were falling apart. Little pieces of filter material must have been getting sucked into thecarbs because there were gaps in the filter. There was no way those filters were good for 50,000 miles.I don't know how much better they would have lasted if they had been inside an air box, but being exposed to the weather, they didn't hold up at all.

Unfortunately, due to the modification, I couldn't go back to astock filter, so when I bought replacements, the parts person told me: "Don't clean them too often, as they will filter better as they get dirty." So my question was, Does that mean they filter worse when they are clean?? Why would I want a filter that ever filters poorly? (he couldn't answer that one.)

Later on, I was at an autoparts store that had a K&N display. The object of the display was that it had two clear plexiglas compartments with fans, and ping pong balls that floated when the fans were on. On the side with the K&N filter, the ping pong ball floated higher than on the side with a stock type filter. The demonstration being that the K&N filter lets more air through.

Well hello..... that's because there are big holes in the filter material. It's basically a cotton gauze like material. If you can see daylight through the filter, then dirt can get through the filter. They rely on the oil to hold the dirt. That's great if the dirt particle actually touches the oil. But if it happens to pass through the center of the gap and not touch anything, then the oil can't exactly do it's job. So that's why it filters better when it's dirty, it's relying on the dirt build up to do the filtering.

And if it filters better when it gets dirty, I guess that means when it's dirty it can't let asmuch air flow through so you lose that big performance advantage you had. Back to the original point, You can either have the better performance, or you can protect your engine, but you can't do both at the same time.

Bottomline,if you are racing, you need every little bit of power you can get. But you are probablyalready overhauling your engine on a regular basis. So the K&N filter is the way to go to get the extra power.

If you aren't racing, the power improvement is not worth it.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 05:14 PM
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The K&N should not hurt your bike. We put a K&N on my 1100 back in '81 and left dad's with the stock filter. Both bikes still run just fine (Identical bikes).

As for performance improvements..... We saw none. They always averaged about the same mileage. If anything his got 1/2 mpg better (even when we switched bikes). Drag racing the two bikes ... almost always a tie unless one of us screwed up (usually me). Major loads made no difference as we pulled matching trailers and loads with the same bikes.

This is why today his still has a stock filter and mine still has the K&N .... it made no measurable difference.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 07:22 PM
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Had a KN in my Dodge truck. Before I switched, the air tunnel ( between the air box and the throttle body ) was spotless. About 6 months after switching, I pulled the filter out to clean it and noticed a dusty/dirty air tunnel. Right then I tossed the KN and went back to the paper filters.
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