Systems On Our Rigs
How do we know if our oil filtration systems are working properly? Is this important information that we need to know? We all take the time to change our oil every time the manufacturer recommends it, are we getting the biggest bang for our buck? Or, are we just prolonging a popular myth that is costing us money? Is there a way to extend our oil changes to over 20,000 miles?
Before we get too far into this subject, I have to say that the following observations are relating to what I am doing with my Class C Motorhome.
The ideas are conclusions that I have arrived at through research in the area of oil filtration and extended drain intervals (time between oil changes).
This is a subject that each interested Class C Motorhome owner will have to independently research and determine their own conclusions.
I bring this subject to the table because I find it interesting; and while it may potentially save us money and extend the life of our rigs, enhanced oil filtration has to be an individual choice resulting from due diligence and research.
It appears that our engines wear out due oil breakdown typically caused by heat and contamination.
There is not a lot we can do about heat. Our engines are really nothing but a controlled explosion. Using a good synthetic oil will, however, go a long way to control the negative impact of heat on oil.
three separate sources
Our Class C Motorhomes are designed with these two separate filters that achieve the same results by capturing pollutants on two different levels.
Interestingly enough, to have efficient oil filtration, you must first get clean intake air. A good air filter will stop most air-born pollutants from being introduced into the synthetic engine oil. Then oil filtration will remove any additional pollutants that pass through an air filter. In addition, a good oil filtration system will help eliminate worn metal parts thrown off by the 'clashing around' of the engine!
Against Contaminated Oil
Let's talk about the air filter first. When our Class C Motorhomes were delivered from the factory, they came with paper air filters. These types of filters have been around for as long as I can remember. It also seems that as long as I can remember, the general consensus was that they did not work very well.
Granted, in our recent history, the automobile manufacturers have improved the fit tolerances. Therefore, we do not have as much of a problem with the air bypassing the things like the cars we drove back in the 50's. But I guess the air was cleaner back then anyway....
However, paper air filters have inherent problems when it comes to stopping particles from entering your internal combustion engine. You see, in order to allow the proper air flow needed to make your engine breathe properly, they must also allow just about anything else to flow through them.
This is true for a couple of reasons. All paper air filters are thin; and if the filter holes were to be small enough to effectively trap dirt, they would not allow enough air into your motor. All in all, a bad design.
The only way to deal with this situation is to improve the filter's performance or change your oil every 3000 miles or so.
In defense of the various manufacturers, for most of the automobile's history, a 3,000 mile drain interval was a must situation for a variety of reasons. Therefore, increased air filtration would, in most cases, have been at a high expense with futile results.
This would have had a negative outcome on the company’s bottom line. Simply put, oils were not capable of going past a 3,000 miles drain interval, so why make an air filter that would?
If you choose to go with synthetic engine oil, you will probably want to have an improved air filtration system that allows good air flow but will catch and stop all contaminates. If paper air filters don't work, what will? Ideally, we want to be able to catch contaminates that are as small as 5 - 20 microns... dude, that is small. The human hair is 100 microns! But it is these little 5 - 20 micron bits that cause up 60% of the wear on our engines.
There is a solution, and it is not that complex. It appears that the best oil filter is constructed with foam. The logic is there, paper is thin, and foam is thick. Paper is a straight through medium, and foam has many twists and turns.
Airborne particles must obey the law of physics. You know... the one that says, "In the absence of force, a body either is at rest or moves in a straight line with constant speed." In other words, dirt will shoot straight through a piece of paper, but it will get hung up on the twist and turns in piece of foam.
The ironic thing is, the foam can have larger micron sized holes, and therefore allow more air to flow. This is because air is mobile. It allows itself to wrap around obstacles without any major hindrance.
Now, if you were to put a sticky (light oil) substance on the foam material, all the small dirt particles will get stuck. Voilà, clean air comes out the other side... and your engine oil stays clean longer. At least the air will not make it dirty.
Line Of Defense
The oil filter is your next line of defense. Instead of great volumes of air to be cleaned up, we now narrow things down to cleaning dirty oil. This is a good time to mention that the type of oil you use matters. What is the use of filtering an inferior oil that will break down and lose its ability to lubricate after only 3,000 miles or so? So what if your oil stays clean... if it is worn out and no longer doing the job, you will have to change it anyway!
With the advancement of long drain intervals due to the synthetic engine oils that are available in today's market, using the best oil filter available just makes sense. In fact I understand that the Europeans are already inching their way toward 15,000+ mile factory recommend drain intervals. We are a little bit behind the curve in this country. At least in this area.
There are several aspects relating to a micron's size that may not be readily apparent.
Here is the long and the short of it, there is a very wide performance gap when comparing the best oil filters available and the less effective ones that flood the market.
Quality oil and oil filtration systems are available in today's market. I'm thinking that for today's Class C Motorhome owner, there is a good reason to use quality synthetic oils with a quality air and oil filtration system.
There are many brands of synthetic oil available in today's market. Mobil 1 seems to be working for me, but it also appears that AMSOIL can supply you with the products necessary to benefit from a long drain interval. In fact, after studying this topic, I am starting to lean toward the AMSOIL product line. In my opinion, they truly do seem to have the biggest bang for the buck!
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