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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My 2017 Ram 1500 with the 5.7L Hemi engine was due for an air filter change. I do not like K&N air filters and have learned the hard way that paper, panel, OEM style air filters provide the best filtration and protection for your engine.

OEM or Wix filters have always been my top brands for filters but Fram and Purolator have been great also. For me, I have always had better luck with OEM and Wix and have found them to be superior quality in most applications.

In this comparison, I compared the OEM filter, a Napa gold (which is made by wix) and a Fram Ultra air filter. All the filters are the companies' highest rated, stock replacement air filters so the comparison should be fair. I did check out the Purolator Pure1 air filter but eliminated it early on as it felt very flimsy and had no glue beads holding the pleats like you will see that the competition does. The wire mesh backing is about the same on all the filters, with the Napa Gold seeming to have the thickest, strongest mesh, the Mopar being about equal and the Fram being the most flexible.

First up is the Mopar OEM Filter. Yes it is dirty and that is why I changed it. Keep in mind that these pictures are after I tapped the excess dirt off and gave it a light cleaning with an old pain brush. Either way, you can tell it is a qaulity unit. It has 106 pleats, 3 beads of glue holding the pleats and everything about the filter feels like quality. It is made in Mexico. If you like OEM filters for your engine, use this one with confidence.
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Next up we have the Napa Gold 2725. I have been a big fan of Wix or Napa Gold filters because they always seem to have consistent quality and good features for the price and this filter is no exception. The overall fit and finish is excellent and it had the most pleats at 121 evenly spaced pleats. The only downside I could find to this filter that it is made in China. Wix has been slowly moving more and more of their production off shore and I am disappointed but in this case, the quality is not lacking at all.
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Nicely spaced pleates:

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Finally, we have the Fram Ultra. Fram air filters have always been decent and I have used them in the past. Fram filters are easily available at Wal-mart which is handy. This filter was overall OK in fit and finish, not terribly impressive. The are only 95 pleats and they are not evenly spaced. Also, the glue job and gasket alignment are not as good as the other two filters either. This filter is made in Mexico, like the OEM. While this filter certainly isn't "bad" it is not as good as the other two compared here.

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Sloppy glue and Gasket:
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Here are some pictures of all 3 of these filters together.

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Notice the sloppy pleats and gasket on the Fram, middle filter with gray gasket:

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Conclusion- I have confidence that all of these filters will do their job and keep your engine protected. You will notice that the Mopar filter has the shortest media pleats but I am not sure that makes a real difference. My pick out of this bunch is the Napa Gold. The thing that really stood out about this filter is the pleating. The pleats are larger, thicker and higher quantity than the OEM and the fram filters plus the wire mesh, gasket and glue job are all nearly perfect also. The only thing more I could ask would be that it was made in the U.S.A. but Oh well. Nowadays, We very rarely get to have our cake and eat it too. If it isn't already apparent, the Napa gold filter is the one I ended up installing. I hope you found this helpful, Tell me what you think!
 

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Nice. Thanks for the good write-up. :smileup:
 

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Thanks for the filter review. I've been using the Mopar filters on my current truck, but was considering getting the K&N drop in panel filter. Can you tell me why you are against using this filter? I've been using K&N filters and intakes on other vehicles for decades without any problems, and I'm curious to know why you don't like them.
 

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The oiled cotton gauze ones flow a litte better, but not enough to really make a difference, and at the expense of filtration compared to a paper filter
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the filter review. I've been using the Mopar filters on my current truck, but was considering getting the K&N drop in panel filter. Can you tell me why you are against using this filter? I've been using K&N filters and intakes on other vehicles for decades without any problems, and I'm curious to know why you don't like them.
I used to be a fan of K&N products, before I attended tech school for automotive repair and then learned more on my own after that. K&N filters are pretty much debunked once you learn what U.O.A.'s and Dyno Tests are.

U.O.A. stands for Used Oil Analysis. It is where you catch a sample of your old motor oil as it is being changed and send it to a lab for analysis. The lab looks at several characteristics of the old oil, one being the silicon content. The silicon content basically is how much dirt made it into your engine via the vacuum and air intake system. A low silicon content means that your air filter did a good job at keeping dirt out and a high silicon content means the filter did not filter well and allowed dirt in. A high silicon content could also mean a vacuum leak is allowing unfiltered air to be sucked into the engine but that almost always throws a check engine light.

In my own U.O.A.'s as well as almost everyone else brave enough to post their results, changing to a K&N air filter ALWAYS makes the silicon content of the used motor oil go up. K&N Filters DO flow a bit better but they DO allow a bit more dirt into the engine. in other words, If you do not care about the slight increase in dirt getting into your engine, go for it. The increase in silicon content doesn't mean much in the short term but for long term engine longevity, you want as low a silicon content as possible.

The next point that debunks k&N filters is dyno testing. Lots of people have their vehicles dyno tested after making various changes to their engines and installing k&N cold air or panel filters are a popular one. Those tests usually show about 1 horsepower increase at the rear wheels when a k&N panel air filter is installed and maybe a 3 to 4 hp increase with a k&N cold air intake. An extra 1 to 5 horsepower at the rear wheels means absolutely nothing and you will never be able to feel or measure a difference driving the vehicle. Plus or minus 1 to 10 horsepower is considered the margin of error on most dyno equipment...

If you read k&n's literature about their intakes, they mention 10 to 15 horsepower increases. That measurement would be taken at the engine and not at the rear wheels where it counts. As for k&N's claim of better filtration, they have absolutely zero real world proof of that, plain and simple.

Also remember that modern engines, including our hemi's are, computer controlled so unless you have the E.C.U/P.C.M. tuned for a higher flowing air intake, the computer is not going to allow major changes in engine performance parameters just because you installed a higher flowing air filter. That is just not how it works.

In conclusion, if you really feel that a 1 to 5 horsepower increase, some extra intake noise and some extra dirt making it into your engine is a worth while upgrade, go for it. In reality, the extra intake noise sounds cool and is what makes most people assume is their engine making more power. Sorry for the long post, do more research if you don't believe anything I wrote here. I hope this helps.
 
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I appreciate you taking the time to post that response. I will definitely do more research into this before making my decision. I know it's not a major purchase, but if it can affect longevity I want to know all I can. Longevity is why I was considering the K&N in the first place, and if it can actually reduce engine life it's ridiculous to do. What confuses me is that they claim their filters increase engine life. If they can't prove that, how can they claim that and get away with it? They've been around a long time. I'd expect to hear about lawsuits against them if their filters were a problem. Thanks again for the information. You've given me something to do this weekend . :smileup:
 

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I appreciate you taking the time to post that response. I will definitely do more research into this before making my decision. I know it's not a major purchase, but if it can affect longevity I want to know all I can. Longevity is why I was considering the K&N in the first place, and if it can actually reduce engine life it's ridiculous to do. What confuses me is that they claim their filters increase engine life. If they can't prove that, how can they claim that and get away with it? They've been around a long time. I'd expect to hear about lawsuits against them if their filters were a problem. Thanks again for the information. You've given me something to do this weekend . :smileup:
Its just kind of a spurious claim. How do you prove that an air filter decreased your engines life? How do you prove it increased it?
 

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Its just kind of a spurious claim. How do you prove that an air filter decreased your engines life? How do you prove it increased it?

The claim that it not only filters better, but flows better as well kind of contradict each other. Deep down I knew this, but I guess wanted to believe the claims that K&N (among others) is putting out. I've spent the morning doing a little research from work, and it seems that it comes down to the fact that you can have high air flow, or you can have excellent filtration. But you can't have both. Only different compromises of each. Since there are much better ways to increase performance, I'll stay away from the oil coated cotton filters and stick with paper filters. I'll probably stop at NAPA after work and pick one up today. I like how those are constructed after reading the review above. Thanks for setting me straight guys!
 

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My dad had a K&N panel filter for probably 100,000 miles on his Hemi Ram before I convonced him to go back to paper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Its just kind of a spurious claim. How do you prove that an air filter decreased your engines life? How do you prove it increased it?
You can prove it by tracking the oil pressure and compression readings over the life of the engine. Engines with poorly filtering air intakes systems will lose oil pressure and cylinder compression at a faster rate as they age.

The symptoms of the loss of oil pressure and compression include: Increased oil burning, increased fuel consumption, increased emissions output and decreased power output. Those symptoms can and will develop in a shorter period of time compared to an engine that has a very effective filtration system.

All this being said, will it really make a noticeable difference if you only keep your vehicles 8 to 10 years or even less? Maybe, maybe not. In fact probably not, but why even bother with the whole thing for a 1 to 2 horsepower gain? Just use a well made, properly fitting paper air filter and sacrifice the 2 extra horse power for optimized air filtering effectiveness.

While you are at it, replace your cabin air filter if your truck has one. I swapped mine out for a Napa Gold Enviro-shield. It was well made and fit perfect just like the engine air filter.
 

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I appreciate you taking the time to post that response. I will definitely do more research into this before making my decision. I know it's not a major purchase, but if it can affect longevity I want to know all I can. Longevity is why I was considering the K&N in the first place, and if it can actually reduce engine life it's ridiculous to do. What confuses me is that they claim their filters increase engine life. If they can't prove that, how can they claim that and get away with it? They've been around a long time. I'd expect to hear about lawsuits against them if their filters were a problem. Thanks again for the information. You've given me something to do this weekend . :smileup:
I know this is an old post, but with COVID, I've got time on my hands!
You reduce the resistance to air flow the filter causes AND provide increased filtration when the total area of filtration fabric is increased. As you can see in Taskmaster86's filter pics above, an increase in the number and height of the folds will increase the square inches of filter area, allowing more air to be filtered at less resistance while still maintaining filtration fabric density. I'm not a mechanical engineer, but I doubt there is an increase in cubic feet of air flow, I would think the gain is found in that the engine simply needs to exert less horse power to inhale the same volume of air.
 

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I would lightly respray my k&n every 30k and do a cleaning every 50k or better and my engines lasted over 330k.This truck was totaled.One was still doing good at 217k and I sold the truck.Are they better filters? Maybe,maybe not.I run fram or ac/ delco on my trucks now.I have one k&n with about 500k on it
 
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