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1930scott

1957 air cleaner

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hi as any one put a paper element air filter in to the standard oil bath air cleaner on a 1957 2bbl carby fitment and if so what element did you use? or can you give me the dimentions and any modifications required?

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Hmmmm, I'll probably have someone tell me I'm wrong, but... It's my understanding that the oil-bath is actually a superior air-cleaner, and that the only reason they stopped using them is that it wasn't cost effective to produce...

Jaybird

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hi as any one put a paper element air filter in to the standard oil bath air cleaner on a 1957 2bbl carby fitment and if so what element did you use? or can you give me the dimentions and any modifications required?

I am not familiar with the '57, but on my '50, the mesh element is removable, much like a paper one. After cleaning it up, I plopped it down on the parts counter and we searched until we found one almost perfect. Stuck it in place of the mesh one and very happy with it.

Ben

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Hmmmm, I'll probably have someone tell me I'm wrong, but... It's my understanding that the oil-bath is actually a superior air-cleaner, and that the only reason they stopped using them is that it wasn't cost effective to produce...

Jaybird

Bingo ! Today's awareness award goes to Jaybird. Yes indeed an oil bath by shear physics alone is better than any paper filter alone. Why? Cause oil has a superior surface tension/adhesion ability than paper to gather particulates. Why do you think the major manufacturers of heavy earth moving equipment still use them? Some oil Fram filters are an adaptation to this principle but use a combination of paper n oil methods. Banks turbos use these same oil impregnated systems as well.

Our 1957 buick air cleaners are specifically designed with special air passages to accomplish this task so it is a complete system. The air is directed by internal baffling over the top of the oil bath. Heavy particulates are circulated in a designed flow fashion to be dispensed along the way and in such a manner that paper alone could never accomplish.

Just because a type of system is not generally used today does not mean it is inferior or out dated. :- )

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Reinforcing Buick Man's comment, I recently bought a Chrysler Slant Six stationary engine for my '62 Valiant. This engine was bolted to a fire pump that was taken out of service. It's about 30 years old and it has an oil bath air cleaner. That says to me it was thought to be a superior solution, in an application where cost was not the primary driver. Incidentally, my Valiant has a paper filter but the oil bath unit is too big for me to use in the car. Dang that stylishly low hood!

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Rob and Buick Man are absolutely correct in their analysis on the effectiveness of the oil bath air cleaner. They can be a little unwieldy when working on your engine / carb, but very good at putting clean air in your fuel delivery system.

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The only issue with an oil bath air filter is- the oil can spill if you tip it over. Otherwise, they are quite effective. Paper is also, although most are either a polyester or a fiberglass. But in a very dirty environment, the oil bath won't plug up fast. it's easier to change the oil than go look for the right size air filter, so I like them from a lazy mans perspective. On a show car, a dry element might not be a bad idea so you don't risk spilling oil. On a modified, the oil bath is big and hides your motor so a small K&N would give you some visual effect and you can clean the element. Sometimes the big goofy oil bath can look really cool and they do cut out intake noise.

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Gentlemen: I am " buick man " ( To be read out loud and in the same tone and manner as Black Sabbath's " Iron Man " ) ...... however I have not earned the right to have capital letters in my name :eek:

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Yep. Kerosene will do it for the most part. May have to let the mesh soak some, depending on how hard it is. In my younger dumber years, I used gasoline. Washed parts in a tank of gas. Lucky.

Ben

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Ben,

Good ol' gas is still the best at cutting that crud....just sayin'...but then in the words of Forrest Gump.." I'm not a smart man.." :)

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Hmmmm, I'll probably have someone tell me I'm wrong, but... It's my understanding that the oil-bath is actually a superior air-cleaner, and that the only reason they stopped using them is that it wasn't cost effective to produce...

Jaybird

Imagine cost was why oil-bath filters went away but given the space in the wire mesh through which air passes in an oil-bath filter it seems evident to me that they would have to permit more dirt to pass through than a paper filter. Currently the SAE test (SAE J726) for air filters show that filter averages remove approximately 40% of particles larger than 1 micron (1/25,000th of an inch) and 80% of particles larger than 2.5 microns. Both measurements are much smaller than opening in the wire mesh so filtration is dependent upon dirt sticking to the oil film. Having said this I still loved the original air filter on each of my '50, 52, 54 (2 of em) and 55 I owned over the years but am guessing airborne dirt getting into engines is why so many cars needed an overhaul at much lower mileages (on average) than do today's engines (I realize oil & oil filters are much improved as well). It would be interesting to see a good measured test on an oil-bath filter but I was not able to find anything (although there is plenty of personal experience/testimony on the net).

Some interesting info at this link - http://www.nicoclub.com/archives/kn-vs-oem-filter.html.

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See the 'oil bath' section here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_filter

Oil bath was probably discontinued due to size of the unit and convenience.

Dirty mesh means that it was run with the oil reservoir empty; the oil that is pulled up into the mesh will return to the reservoir with the dirt, but a small amount is pulled into the engine depleting the reservoir over time. I never need to clean the mesh on mine; just add oil if depleted or if a lot of dirt in the reservoir, change it.

I tried K&N on a modern vehicle, but the filtered air left a dirty film on throttle body.:eek:...never have any film inside the carb on my 55's.

Willie

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Oil bath efficiency is due largely to 2 things: 1) the airflow is initally reversed 180* against gravity as it enters and hits the oil in the sump and dumps the majority of the dirt into the pan. The airflow then has to constanly alter as is goes thru the wetted mesh which strips even more dirt. 2) The oil in the sump and on the mesh helps capture and hold the dirt. The majority of the dirt is then washed back down from the mesh into the sump. Each time high velocity sucks oil up onto the mesh and then low velocity and shutdown allows the oil to drain back carrying the dirt with it.

Proper maintenance and oil level is critical to the oil bath's efficiency. Too little oil in the sump will not wet the mesh and allow capture and self-cleaning. Too much oil will allow the oil to be drawn all the way thru the element thereby carrying the dirt with it under high velocity situations. Each oil bath air cleaner is designed for a specific air flow range which dictates that the air filter be matched to the engine size, much the same as paper elements are.

Edited by TexasJohn55 (see edit history)

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See the 'oil bath' section here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_filter

Oil bath was probably discontinued due to size of the unit and convenience.

Dirty mesh means that it was run with the oil reservoir empty; the oil that is pulled up into the mesh will return to the reservoir with the dirt, but a small amount is pulled into the engine depleting the reservoir over time. I never need to clean the mesh on mine; just add oil if depleted or if a lot of dirt in the reservoir, change it.

I tried K&N on a modern vehicle, but the filtered air left a dirty film on throttle body.:eek:...never have any film inside the carb on my 55's.

Willie

Agreed Willie types faster than I do making my post somewhat redundant. ;)

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I agree that an oil bath air cleaner setup may be more efficient than a paper filter. However, I'm pretty sure that this is possible only when the oil bath actually has oil in it!

Last weekend I happened to check the air cleaner oil bath level in my 1957 Roadmaster. To my surprise and dismay, it was dry! :eek: I didn't have any SAE 50 oil on hand, so I filled the oil bath reservoir to the line with 10W-30. I plan to replace the 10W-30 with SAE 50 as soon as I get a chance this weekend.

Since I took delivery of the car in May 2013, I have regularly checked the levels and condition of the engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and coolant; but until last weekend, I had never personally checked the air cleaner oil bath. :mad:

I don't even want to think about how long the oil bath has been dry, or how many miles I've driven the car in that condition. :( I had a mechanic rebuild the carburetor for me late last year, but for all I know, the oil bath may have been dry before then. At least I haven't driven the car very much this year while I've been trying to sort out the brakes.

Is there something in particular that I should do now to mitigate any potentially harmful effects? :confused:

Thanks,

Ike

Edited by therios
Changed "50W" to "SAE 50" (see edit history)

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Is there something in particular that I should do now to mitigate any potentially harmful effects? :confused:

Thanks,

Ike

Change the oil and filter.

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Yep. Kerosene will do it for the most part. May have to let the mesh soak some, depending on how hard it is. In my younger dumber years, I used gasoline. Washed parts in a tank of gas. Lucky.

Ben

FYI...The 1957 Buick Chassis Service Manual states, in capital letters: DO NOT USE KEROSENE

Though, it doesn't explain why.

The text below was copied from the Chassis Service Manual chapter on "Lubricare," under tasks to be performed every 5000 miles:

2. Air Cleaner and Oil Filter Caps. Every

5000 miles (more often under dusty operating

conditions) remove the air cleaner element and

the oil filler caps and wash the filtering ele-

ments in a non-inflammable solvent. DO NOT

USE KEROSENE. Allow elements to drain

until dry. Do not use air blast on filtering ele-

ment. Oil the filler cap elements.

Wash and dry the air cleaner reservoir then

fill to point marked "OIL LEVEL," using one

pint of SAE 50 engine oil. See figure 1-10. Do

not oil the cleaner element because oil will

drain down into reservoir and over-fill it.

Ike

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"...wash the filtering elements in a non-inflammable solvent." Carbon tetrachloride was probably used then (not very nice stuff, but my father who was an aircraft mechanic in the 1950's brought it home as a substitute for gasoline for cleaning). Cleaning chemicals today most similar today would be brake cleaner spray. I use mineral spirits which is slower drying, but still leaves no residue.

Willie

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Kerosene could catch fire on a backfire, thus they want you to be careful with solvents

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