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Show Parts for Model:

Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n)

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Author  [Modern View]

03-25-2011 15:30:15

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Been debating about converting my 2n from oil batch to a dry filter. My oil batch has the pipe that runs up through the hood an has the glass jar pre-cleaner on it. Has any one done this? If so what did you use? Any reason not to? This is not a show tractor, just one I use occasionally around my property.


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03-26-2011 12:54:44

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to WSMM, 03-25-2011 15:30:15  
my 960 has a K&N on the end of the intake tube. It nestles up in there good and looks like the original oil bath is still in use.

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03-26-2011 12:17:01

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to WSMM, 03-25-2011 15:30:15  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

I'm hard-headed & a tad old school so I still like the oil bath but you could probably find something similar to this to fit the MS carb.

There's cheaper one's out there than K&N though.

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03-26-2011 16:28:07

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to jon, 03-26-2011 12:17:01  
The K&N filter would be the last filter I would use on a tractor, they are very poor air filters when it comes to removing dust, (the main reason to have a air filter on a tractor) the fact that they are oil soaked would may for a messy filter in sort order in the dust a tractor operates in, they need to be serviced every 25 hrs or much less in dusty conditions. K7N's are a low restriction high air flow filter which means poor filtration.

How well do K&N air filters work?

by Eric Bryant (RSS feed) on Sep 7th 2005 at 9:00AM

K&N air filter

The question posed in the title of this post is one that I've seen debated on the 'net since discovering car-related email lists. Fortunately, a Duramax owner tired of the lack of scientific evidence pursued a path of testing that eventually ended with a lab performing the ISO 5011 procedure on a number of replacement air filters. The result was one that many might have concluded on their own - for a given size, a filter's ability to trap dust is inversely proportional to its flow rate. If keeping dust from your engine is the goal, a paper filter such as an AC Delco will provide far superior filtering performance, but you'll pay a price in airflow. If WOT performance is most important, the K&N filter used in this test provided about 50% less restriction to airflow, with the 1.6" of H20 difference in air pressure drop at 350 CFM making for a minimal difference (~0.5%) in power at this flow rate. The K&N and UNI filters were far less efficient at trapping dust, and note that they lose their flow advantage after filtering about 180 grams of dust. There's also the economics of washable cotton filters, with a K&N providing a savings of about $285 over 250,000 miles. All of my vehicles currently run K&N filters, but this test has me re-thinking the use of them on daily drivers. Pity that the test didn't include Donaldson filters.

GB in MN

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03-26-2011 12:04:41

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to lonestarjeff, 03-25-2011 15:30:15  

The best filters are oiled-paper or oiled-foam. If you really want to clean the intake-air on your N-Ford.... yet keep it "ORIGINAL" looking.... then modify it INTERNALLY by installing a piece of oiled-FOAM in there. YOu can use a large piece of Briggs and Stratton element, lightly oiled. Be certain to Pop-rivet a large coarse screen (1/4" hardware cloth would work) t o prevent the foam being sucked into the intake tubes toward the carb.

When it's time to service it (about every 25 operating hours) simply wash it out in solvent, re-oil it, squeeze out the excess..and reinstall it. :P

Cheap AND Effective.
This post was edited by gahorN at 12:06:26 03/26/11 2 times.

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03-26-2011 08:49:02

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to Billybuck, 03-25-2011 15:30:15  
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Most everything today is paper simply because it is easier to service. Big Caterpillar construction equipment that operates in the worst possible conditions use multiple paper elements. A cyclone pre-cleaner is standard on some models and can be added as an option on others. Caterpillar touts the the pre-cleaner as a cost-effective way to extend the life of the pricey paper elements - particularly in abnormally harsh environements like quarries.

There is no real debate on one aspect however - the oil bath cleaner is cheaper to maintain and messier to service :!:

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03-26-2011 07:06:13

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to sfurn52, 03-25-2011 15:30:15  
Well, I can't say that I've ever seen any non-advertising related scientific information comparing the quality of filtration of oil bath vs paper, but I sure have seen a lot of opinions. I can offer a few factual advantages to some:

1) The simpler filter container of the paper type cost the manufacturer less to install than the more complex oil bath.

2) Service folks save time changing/cleaning.

3) It costs $62 for the dual paper elements in my MF275 vs 1/2 quart of oil for the 'N' and this provides a life-of-tractor stream of revenue for the dealer.

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03-26-2011 18:27:06

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to JMOR, 03-26-2011 07:06:13  
ditto that'' it's about time and money.

a paper filter is a fast change and a good markup item. quart of oil can be changed by a farmer..

some of our older cat equpment from the 60's still has oil bath filters. at the price of the dual elements they 'upgraded to, some totaling over 100$.. it's easy to see why they changed... following the dollar trail..

i think it's also important to not that many antiques still running today are oil bath.. that has to say somethine.. .. it's at least a 'GOOD' filtration system or they wouldn't have survived...


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03-26-2011 19:31:24

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to soundguy, 03-26-2011 18:27:06  
Not trying to start anything but engines can be availability are far more important to lifespan than an air filter system. It would be interesting to know the difference in overhaul intervals between the same engine with oil bath and paper element filters.


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03-26-2011 19:44:28

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to oldtanker, 03-26-2011 19:31:24  
data probably skewed since the oil bath filter on most of these probably never got serviced when it needed to. I've bought tractors missing the oil cup.. or dry.. or full of water. thus running no fitler.. etc.

can't make an apples to apples comparison vs a paper element, which by definition gets more efficient as it plugs up...


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Ultradog MN

03-26-2011 07:30:27

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to JMOR, 03-26-2011 07:06:13  
There was a thread/debate/argument over on Tractor Talk a year or two ago about oil vs paper. Lots of opinions, some bs. Someone there posted a link to a study that was pretty conclusive about the two types. Wish I could find the thread.
Anyway, the study concluded that the paper filter filtered out finer particles and was generally healthier for the engine than oil bath.
They addressed the lack of maintenance issue which again put the paper as better.
As for the cost issue I think it is cheaper to have a fleet of engines with paper filters and change them once in a while than pay the labor for a guy to go around servicing oil baths all the time.
I still wouldn't put a paper filter on an N though. Mostly for asthetic reasons. Oil bath IS sufficient. But not better.

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Bruce (VA)

03-25-2011 15:55:15

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to WSMM, 03-25-2011 15:30:15  
There is one major reason not to do that: the oil bath filter, when properly maintained, is much more efficient that a paper media filter in the conditions the tractor was designed to operate in.

Once you get it clean, dump the dirt out of the pre-cleaner as needed, change the oil in the cup once a year.....unless you work it 20 or 30 hours a week!

If you want to remove it, clean the media & put it back, just ask for info on doing that. A couple of hours work, maybe replace the media & it will out perform any paper filter you could get.

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Ultradog MN

03-26-2011 00:20:39

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to Bruce (VA), 03-25-2011 15:55:15  
Bruce your information is incorrect. Paper filters have been used almost exclusively on farm machinery since the 1970s because they are a superior filtration meduim. And that is to say nothing about the old oil bath filters that were rarely serviced as recommended by manufacturers.
Personally I would not convert an N to a paper filter. If only because you would likely have some cobbled on looking business that was prone to getting wet or damaged. Leave your filter alone and just service it regularly.

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Jubilee85 (VA)

03-26-2011 11:58:45

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to Ultradog MN, 03-26-2011 00:20:39  

I would have thought that the oil bath would be more effective...but this cut and paste from the net does make sense....

(not my words - but he does a good job 'splain' it)

January 4th, 2010 at 4:41 pm It is a myth that oil bath air cleaners are highly effective in removing FINE dust from air—the type of dust that we see hanging in the air and gets sucked into the engine’s inlet. Oil bath air cleaners are about as effective as seining minnows using hog wire fence. How do I explain this without 10 pages of technical formulas and explaniations why fine dust cannot travel rapidly from the center of an air bubble to the spherical surface of an air bubble even under several Gs of inertia force? The air bubble traveling thru oil only contacts the oil at the bubble’s surface. Fine dust away from the surface of the bubble escapes capture in the oil resevoir which amounts to about 90% of the fine dust within the bubble escaping capture. So what does the wire mesh accompolish? Very little. Air traveling past the wire mesh’s surfaces creates a boundary layer which has a similiar affect to having a glove on your hand. When passing thru the wire mesh, only a small percentage of the air’s volume gets used as boundary layer. Most of the dust-filled air passes thru the short length of wire mesh with out contacting any oil on the wire mesh’s surface. If the length of wire mesh was say 20 feet instead of a few inches, a lot of the dust would get trapped. Inside the engine, most of the dust in the air exits thru the exhaust but some of the dust contacts the oil on the cylinder wall. This dust acts like a lapping compound that wears out the sleeve and rings. It eventually shows up as crud inside the engine or as the black color of the oil.

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John (TR)

03-26-2011 01:37:26

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to Ultradog MN, 03-26-2011 00:20:39  
By the time Ford was building the 3 cylinders the oil bath filter was long gone. Oil bath filters were on cars too at one time.

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Ultradog MN

03-26-2011 05:16:24

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to John (TR), 03-26-2011 01:37:26  
Yes. Early in the production of your 2600 they made the switch. Like by June of 76 or so.

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03-25-2011 20:35:33

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to Bruce (VA), 03-25-2011 15:55:15  
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Somehow I question that. I've known a lot of farmers who had older tractors and they just don't get the overhaul interval that the tractors with dry element air cleans do. Even the guys that don't take good care of their equipment get a lot of hours with paper filters. BIL is one. He has an 826 IH that he and his dad got new. He is terrible about taking care of his equipment but he had a little over 10,000 hours on it before an engine overhaul. Yet I'm being told not to expect more than 2k on my N before an overhaul. Granted that's comparing a gas to a diesel but I would think it would go longer considering modern lub being run in the engine. So that means that A. overhaul kits for the N are substandard or B. that the filtering systems as not as good as they could be. I had an ONAN twin air cooled that had a paper air filter on it that ONAN claimed in extreme conditions should run 5K hours between overhauls and that was a gasser.

You can burn me at the stake for being a heretic later but I'm looking at changing my N over to a paper air filter when I go through the engine later this year......along with a 12 volt and IE conversion too!


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John (TR)

03-26-2011 01:36:21

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to oldtanker, 03-25-2011 20:35:33  
Why not modernize, the manufacturers have. My 8n that is my mower is 12 volt with backlit gauges including a temp gauge. A spin on oil filter and EI are in the future. If I could find a decent looking paper filter I'd switch that too

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03-25-2011 15:53:19

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to WSMM, 03-25-2011 15:30:15  
keep the oil bath.. it's a DARN good filter if serviced properly.. especially if it has the optional settling jar..


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36 coupe

03-26-2011 15:43:49

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to soundguy, 03-25-2011 15:53:19  
I have had plenty of clogged paper filters on small engines .Friend decided he wouldnt have a garden any more.He took his rider mower and dragged a bit of chain link fence around making plenty of dust. It didnt take long before the engine stalled,the filter was plugged tight.I can service my oil air cleaner for 1.00worth of oil,In fact I can use the lousy 134 fluid I drained from the hydraulic system in the oil cup.It costs 6 to 8 bucks to put a new filter in my truck.The big paper filters used in tractors and combines cost a lot more than 8 bucks.The air cleaner on my tiller plugged up.It didnt look dirty.I went to see the dealer for a new filter. He tried blowing it out with his air hose.He tried the filter on a tiller like mine.Started the engine ,put the filter on and stalled the engine.I bought two new filters to have a spare.After oil fumes and gas get into the filters the paper fibers swell up.My father in law showed me the troubles paper filter had on lawn mower engines.He started a mower with out the filter.The engine stalled when he put the filter on .The filter was plugged tight.My sawmill has a paper air cleaner with a foam wrapper over it.The makers know that fine dust will plug paper filters fast.

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03-26-2011 15:53:49

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 Re: Converting for oil bath air cleaner (2n) in reply to 36 coupe, 03-26-2011 15:43:49  
i hear ya.. even a cheap fram paper element for my old dodge is 9$ at walmart.

and you are correct.. clean hyd oil from an old draining is just the right weight ( similar to 30w )..


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