Jump to content

'41 oil bath air filter


valk
 Share

Recommended Posts

Just wondering if there is an acceptable conversion from the stock oil bath cleaner to an air filter element of some sort. Curiously, my air filter had oil but no brillo pad-like copper element in it so I will have to source this stuff if I can't find an alternative. Is there a way to eliminate the oil bath? I know these work great but there is a lot to be said for the ease of an air filter element if one works...

Peter

Edited by valk
spelling! (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, valk said:

Just wondering if there is an exceptable conversion from the stock oil bath cleaner to an air filter element of some sort. Curiously, my air filter had oil but no brillo pad-like copper element in it so I will have to source this stuff if I can't find an alternative. Is there a way to eliminate the oil bath? I know these work great but there is a lot to be said for the ease of an air filter element if one works...

Peter

Another thread on using a paper element in an old Buick air cleaner

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/305951-oil-bath-air-cleaner-40-buick/

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, valk said:

Just wondering if there is an exceptable conversion from the stock oil bath cleaner to an air filter element of some sort. Curiously, my air filter had oil but no brillo pad-like copper element in it so I will have to source this stuff if I can't find an alternative. Is there a way to eliminate the oil bath? I know these work great but there is a lot to be said for the ease of an air filter element if one works...

Peter

I removed the decayed element from my 41 twin carb century which was not metallic but more like a natural material. I bought a roll of 3/8 inch thick air filtration material for motorcycles that was wide enough to stack up inside the filter can. I think I made 3 or four circles. Did not use any oil as the washable element does not require it. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Filter media like we use on AC systems at work is a composite material but is impregnated with some light sticky crap to catch dust.  We use it to filter entire buildings so it should work in an air cleaner

I would not recommend using an AC element I looked at them and decided against it. For one I do not believe they are designed for the fine particle filtration and high velocity air flow from the small surface area an air cleaner can provides. Also I do not think they are up to the high heat and volatile crankcase gasses. I would stick to elements for automotive/ motorcycle use. You also might consider using an off the shelf filter but that will take some measuring and looking through your parts store filter box's. Of course the best would be a K&N which are designed to be oiled with their special fluid.  I bought what I needed off of ebay in motorcycle parts. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is this a solution in search of a problem? The oil bath is extremely effective, particularly given the improved conditions and moderate driving that our cars receive today. You can get new copper mesh filter elements at your local hardware store--they're pot scrubbers. Pull them apart slightly and stuff them in the housing. The oil is the important part anyway.

 

I've seen cars retrofitted with paper elements and it always looks weird because you can't use the original air snorkel and have to allow air in at the bottom for a paper element to work correctly. That means inhaling hot under-hood air instead of clean, cold air from up front and have int funneled through to the air cleaner assembly. I was actually looking through my parts yesterday getting ready for projects on the Limited and seeing what parts I have and realized I have a modified dual carb air cleaner set up with a paper element. Looks weird and needed some cutting to fit properly. I doubt it works very well with all the leaks around the perimeter and as I said, the original intake would have to be blocked off. I still don't think it would work very well and the person who modified this one seems to not understand how the air flows through one of these filter units--it looks set up to inhale around the lower perimeter of the center canister, but once the air is inside it has to get out somehow to the "wings" of the filter to get to the carbs. I can't imagine it works better than the original design and is probably quite a bit worse, both in terms of cleaning and flow.

 

I tired to find a part number on that air filter but it is completely bereft of markings or manufacturer insignias. Here are some photos:

 

20191230_151458.thumb.jpg.e0b69072fb5d89a6e123346f946cd225.jpg

 

20191230_151604.thumb.jpg.9801a86dc793006fd07640d031aaf649.jpg

 

20191230_151622.thumb.jpg.1ade3d301bb45d9cf22eae096ddd28f9.jpg

 

20191230_151645.thumb.jpg.aa5fa956505f90fae919c97d4c1dfa82.jpg

 

20191230_151647.thumb.jpg.e68617f572929df40cc4d045e9dbb453.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

I'm reviving this thread because I recently checked the oil bath air cleaner on my '41 (dual carb set up) for the first time since I bought the car five years ago, and found that it had no oil in it.  So I put in a pint, as per the owner's manual.  This morning, on my first drive since adding the oil (which also happened to be my shake-down cruise after finishing my core plug replacement project) I came home to find my engine smoking from oil spilled onto the exhaust manifold.  For a moment I freaked out and thought something had gone terribly wrong (new valve cover gasket leaking?).  Then I remembered about the air cleaner.  So this is just a long-winded way of saying that my air cleaner turned out to have a pretty bad leak in it.

 

I found this thread as well as another one started by Mike @kingrudy

 

 

I understand what Matt is saying in both threads about "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," but my situation is a bit different because it IS broke!  I could find and repair the leak and continue with oil.  But I'm wondering about figuring out a way to use a paper filter of some kind.  I agree with what Matt says about the set ups for conversion of a dual carb air cleaner that he shows -- they look funky and don't pick up fresh air.  But if I correctly understand what @Lawrence Helfand is saying about his conversion, it sounds as though he was able to just use his existing filter housing and stuff it with the material he mentions.  Lawrence, can you enlighten me about this?

 

I would also be interested about any other experiences people have had with this issue since last posts in these two threads.  Thanks in advance, as always!

 

Neil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Upon further review, as they say in the NFL, I have discovered the source of the leak in my air cleaner.  I did not realize when I first opened it up to add oil that the bottom of the housing actually has two parts.  What I will call the oil reservoir is at the bottom, and stacked on top of it is the housing for the part containing the "brillo pad" filter material.  There is a fiber or cork gasket where these two parts join each other.  When I disassembled my air cleaner looking for the source of the leak, I discovered that this gasket was badly deteriorated with several gaps.  So the air cleaner held oil as long as the car was on a level surface.  But when it was tilted, the oil sloshed into the gap between these two parts and leaked out.  This makes sense because my route this morning out to the beach (Fort Funston) was fairly level.  When I got there, there was no smoke or smell.  But on the way home, I took a different route that took up a steep hill and down the other side.  So that's why oil had leaked all over everything when I got home.  I know this is a fascinating account (haha), but I'm just posting this in the interest of thoroughness in case anyone else has these issues.

 

So ... does anyone know of a source for this gasket?  Probably not.  Given that I will have problems replacing the gasket, I'm still interested in substituting a paper element for the oil bath.  Again, for anyone who has read this far, thanks for your attention!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What type of oil did you use?  Typically the manual specifies SAE 50 oil for the air cleaner.  Using a lighter-weight oil (e.g., SAE 30, or 10W-30) will result in more 'sloshing' and exacerbate any leaks...

Edited by EmTee
typo (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In San Francisco we have a lot of clutch burner hills. 😒 The grades are so steep that even 90 weight oil will slosh. Are there any silicone compounds that are suitable for oil emersion? Despite what I read on the Permatex package, I find form a gasket to show signs of deterioration in less than a year when exposed to petroleum distillates. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the ideas.  On the oil, I plead guilty.  I just put some 30 weight in there because that's what I had.  But Konrad is correct about the hills around here.  There has to be a good seal between those two parts of the housing or it will leak the 50 weight for sure.  I'm a little surprised that others haven't reported this problem.  But I suspect that in at least 50% of the cars out there with oil bath air cleaners these days, the air cleaners are empty the way mine was.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I no longer have an oil bath air cleaner-equipped car, but had several over the years--and never had a spill problem except when fat-fingeredly removing or installing one.  Last one was on my 1939 Cad 75 which spent some miles on SF hills without spilling.  As I recall, the Cad air cleaner had a small lip, generally horizontal, presumably to help retain the liquid contents.  I've also seen air cleaners whose lips had at least begun to tear loose. Suggest you compare a photo of your "bowl" to a photo of another, non-problematic, dual-carb air cleaner to see if you might be missing that anti-spill lip--if indeed one was installed at the factory.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Grimy said:

Suggest you compare a photo of your "bowl" to a photo of another, non-problematic, dual-carb air cleaner to see if you might be missing that anti-spill lip--if indeed one was installed at the factory.

George, I'm pretty confident that my air cleaner is correct.  It's a bit different from the normal kind that sits on top of the carb.  The oil bath part hangs down in between the two carbs.  I don't see how a "lip" would be possible because the bottom piece (what I'm calling the oil reservoir) actually fits up inside a rim in the section above.  Here's a photo (not mine, but mine looks exactly the same).

 

air_cleaner.jpg.1cf24ed653fe335b8b1e067dee30ca07.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could you have inadvertently overfilled the bowl/reservoir?  Sometimes there is an arrow depicting the fill limit on one part of the circumference of the deepest part of the "receptacle."  And I agree with 50-weight, often found as motorcycle oil.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, there is a mark on the inside of the "bowl" that shows the film limit, and no, I did not "overfill" the bowl.  But the problem, as explained above, is that there was no effective seal between the "bowl" and the next "can" in the stack.  I think an O-ring will take care of the problem.  I will report soon on my progress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Next can in the stack"?  Toi khong biet.  (Vietnamese for "I don't understand," a useful phrase 55 yrs ago.)  Wish I'd taken a look when I was at your place a few weeks ago.  I confess I am unfamiliar with your dual carb equipment.

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Grimy said:

"Next can in the stack"?  Toi khong biet.  (Vietnamese for "I don't understand," a useful phrase 55 yrs ago.)  Wish I'd taken a look when I was at your place a few weeks ago.  I confess I am unfamiliar with your dual carb equipment.

Haha -- it's funny that you mention Vietnamese because the "stack" on this air cleaner reminds me of the stack of bamboo steamers that you would find in a Dim Sum restaurant here in the Bay Area.  If you look at the photo I posted above, you will see that each "can" in the stack fits into a flange in the can above it.  Don't worry about it -- I will show you the next time I see you

 

And by the way, I was impressed to hear that none of your cars has an oil bath air cleaner.  Pierce must have been very advanced (okay, what I should say is that Pierce WAS very advanced) to have some other kind of filters in their air cleaners dating back to 1918!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, neil morse said:

Pierce must have been very advanced (okay, what I should say is that Pierce WAS very advanced) to have some other kind of filters in their air cleaners dating back to 1918!

Nothing at all on the 1918 except mesh on two, count em--2, separate air intakes.  The 1925 has a mushroom-shaped cast aluminum hood over air intake to prevent mice and boulders from entering.  The 1930 has a "silencer" which is a can with fine wire mesh to protect against whole dragonflies, but I have K&N oiled wrap hidden under the mesh.  The 1934 and 1936 have the same, oiled mesh but no reservoir, but I replaced the mesh cages with K&N filters for other than judging.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...