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Did you waste your money on K&N?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by jakeslim, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. jakeslim

    jakeslim 1/2 ton status

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  2. RootBreaker

    RootBreaker 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Well I can speak to experience on this one...
    do you believe in everything you read?

    I have a 1996 camaro, 1996 gmc jimmy 4 door, 78 chevy pickup

    now ABC was going out of business.. bought out by autozone...
    I bought 3 - k&n's for $35 TOTAL

    now...
    1996 camaro went from 19MPG to 23-26 (19 was the best I ever saw in driving the car from 3miles to 140,000 miles.. yeah im original owner.. tried stock filter, ac delco, typically used fram) now my k& n is tried and proven

    1996 jimmy being a 4 door I was told got worse gas mileage than a 2 door... hense our 15MPG on a 100% stock jimmy 4door... put that k&n and we do not see under 19MPG and sometimes, more than sometimes get 21-24 on PURE highway @ 70-80mph... we have driven this vehicle from 45,000 miles to 110,000 miles... frequents 300mile 1 way trip to upstate NY.... k&n proven here


    1878 chevy pickup... finally got her on the road.. she still aint dialed in... carb is still out of adjustment.... once I pass inspection I am going to fill er up and drive to work and back to the gas station.... 48 miles one way....1/2 highway and 1/2 back roads... I used to get 12-14mpg but more than just k&n play on this one...... so it will never be known if k&n prevailes here but as shown above... I expect it to.... also maybe for craps and giggles... I wll buy a stock filter and try that test to work to see the difference...


    anyway that is my opinion... [;-P>

    truck @ 12-14mpg
    [​IMG]


    mpg now... unknown....
    [​IMG]
     
  3. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I've seen quite a few people say the same thing supporting K&N. I've also seen people make those claims about TB spacers, "tornados", fuel line magnets and other products. But I've never seen it backed up by any objective test. EVERY objective test I've seen by any other source invariably shows no significant improvements, and usually worse performance in some categories (like bypass particulate for foam filters). That includes the above referenced test along with magazines and the like. I've also seen side-by-side mileage tests and dyno results with NO appreciable changes in performance when comparing like to like (new to new and so on). Often times the reported gains (although clearly not in your stated gains) are simply the effect of replacing an old used filter with a new one, and a clean Delco would have produced the same results.

    And yes I do believe what I read in that article. I was following along on TDP while the test was going on. Those numbers were provided by a solid, reputable, and unbelievably accurate lab that stakes their reputation and business on providing accurate data for tests like this. The manufacturers were all asked to provided contradictory evidence, if they could. To my knowledge, not one manufacturer has provided any data to contradict the tests in that article. If the article were false, I don't believe K&N, UNI or others would allow that miss-information to be spread for long, do you? If it were unfounded, I would expect at the very least a lawyer's letter to the hosting sites insisting on it being removed.

    Frankly, I agree completely with the statement that most of the K&N (and similar) purchases are misguided and driven by marketing hype. IMO, based on every piece of objective information I've ever seen, is that foam elements have their place, but that place is not increased power (in the typical application) or fuel mileage. It does well in wet environments, and if used/cleaned properly, may eventually save money in some cases (but not likely given initial cost, cost of quality oil, and the time/trouble invested in cleaning and disposing of waste). But unless you use it in wet environments, I wouldn't run foam. I am replacing my DMax UNI filter with a Delco (should have already) and all my off-road trucks that run in a desert environment run paper only…
     
  4. 85mudblazin

    85mudblazin 1/2 ton status

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    There is a huge difference between a filter that will filter good and then there are the ones that are just made for more hp and MPG such as K&N. The K&N have less filtering properties which means they flow more thus increasing HP and MPG but they dont filter worth crap, I know some will say the love them and all that but this is just my experience, I would rather sacrafice a few hp to save my engine from egtting a bunch of junk in side of it. My .02
    -Chris
     
  5. joez

    joez 1/2 ton status

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    BadDog, very well put. Hype is all that drives these products.
     
  6. jakeslim

    jakeslim 1/2 ton status

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    The article is accurate. When I wash my truck, it seems to run better....power of the mind. Anyways, I have a foam filter but will change to the ACdelco also very soon. I want my engine to last a very long time.
     
  7. Poohbair

    Poohbair 1/2 ton status

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    ... screw the HP or Mileage claims... I can tell you for a FACT that my K&N is a lifesaver over a paper filter when they get wet...
     
  8. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    :screwy: IIRC K & N filters do filter quite well. I have one in my blazer and didn't notice a difference really. But then again I accidently drove without a filter for a day and didn't feel any difference in power or at the pump. I mainly chose the reusable K&N so I didn't have to buy a new filter all the time. Out on the ranch it gets extremely dusty when we are working ground and I have to clean it every month during planting season.
     
  9. TrcksR4ME

    TrcksR4ME 1/2 ton status

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    I would have to agree that the fact that you can wash and reuse a K&N filter is reason enough (for me) to use it. I got mine back in 1998, first thing I ever got for my truck, and its one of the few things still on there from over the years. I know when I have taken mine off after it being very dirty and dusty that the inside of the filter still looked clean. :dunno: I never really believed all the HP hype of them, but they seem to work fine as filters and like said by Poohbair they don't soak up the water :grin:
     
  10. TrcksR4ME

    TrcksR4ME 1/2 ton status

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    I also like this graph...

    [​IMG]

    I like how they make it look like a huge difference between the lowest score and the highest score, even though its only a few percent :rolleyes:
     
  11. BAJA_BLAZER

    BAJA_BLAZER 1/2 ton status Author

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    Honest

    Well said BadDog.

    I used to get 30,000 miles out of a set of tires but after I put in a K&N filter I got 40,000 miles out of a set. Honest!
     
  12. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    RJ, did you read the article? They don't filter well at all. They are terrible actually.

    And you just hit on the other point about power as well. While they do flow a bit better when properly cleaned and oiled, they do not make a difference unless your motor actually *needs* more air than its getting with the paper element. That's why K&N, UNI and others don't actually see any significant gains over paper on the dyno, in track times, or any other objective test. And if the higher flow of a K&N was such a huge deal for most motors, then running with nothing must be even better! And we should run the largest headers and exhaust too! As they say, more is not necessarily better… Like a high-flow foam filter that sacrifices filtering capability for higher flow, a velocity stack does provide more power in some limited cases, but not for anything you are likely to actually use anywhere other than the drag strip.

    As for falling for the hype, I've known (or more accurately, believed) the K&N to be bogus for many years. That is based on experience from my earlier life as a budget drag racer. But I did fall for the UNI based on a "diesel expert" I had grown to respect and trust. Specifically, I bought a UNI for my DMax specifically based on the word and advice of John Kennedy of Kennedy Diesel. One of the "big names" for DMax diesels on all the boards.

    But such is life. I wish I could convince myself that the UNI in my DMax (that is scheduled for removal BEFORE my next trip) and the unopened cleaning kit on my shelf were good investments. But I now firmly believe otherwise and will never run a foam filter again unless I need resilience to water contamination OR I see hard facts supporting superior "real world" (i.e. usable in my application for my engine) performance improvements with acceptable trade-offs.

    I would like to believe that I will never fall for blindly accepting an expert's advice (ANY expert's advice) without doing the background research myself. But the truth of the matter is that at some point we must accept that we don't have time/resources to research everything sufficiently, and we will get taken on some things regardless of our diligence. For instance, before the test that is the basis of the linked article, I don't believe that data has EVER been available. And I certainly can't afford to run it just to choose a filter for my truck. Short of that, we could only read the advertised claims, taken with a grain of salt and trusting in the farce known as "truth in advertising", and factor in the dyno/track tests done by a few magazines. Obviously that failed me in this case. We can only hope to find a comfortable spot somewhere between perfect knowledge and utter gullibility that gives us the best balance in our lives.

    [Edit] Shoot, edited the wrong one. See below for the edit...
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2004
  13. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    96.08 compared to 99.93 (very nearly 100%) is a HUGE difference. When your talking about the amount of particulate that gets through a filter, your talking roughly 392 out of 10000 (almost 4 out of 100) vs about 7 out of 1000 (0.07 out of 100). And the choice of range for the graph is made to emphasize the differences for easy visual comparison. That's the whole point. If they started at zero, it would be difficult to see differences in the graph or (and this is the important point) how much they fall short of the ideal 100%. This is especially true when the graph is displayed at computer resolutions. Any choice other than the one that was made, and that would have any visual value, would have been purely arbitrary and conveyed less information.

    [Edit] To rephrase my point on the validity of the y-axis range chosen for the graph: The point of the graph is not the absolute numbers, but how far they fell short of ideal, the disparity between filters and their relative ranking. In this case, everything but the K&N was near or above 98%. The K&N was around twice or MUCH MORE particulate bypassing the filter as all the other filters in the test. Does that make more sense?
     
  14. four_by_ken

    four_by_ken 1/2 ton status

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    And you paper filters used to look dirty on the inside?!?!?!?!? :eek:




    The only thing I use K&N on is my motorcycle. And that is only because they are the only ones that I could find that make the individual filter pods for each of the 4 carbs. I would like to find an alternative. :thinking:
     
  15. TrcksR4ME

    TrcksR4ME 1/2 ton status

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    No, it was more in response to all the data stating that they don't filter very well. Mine looks awfully clean inside for being so dirty...
     
  16. swissk5

    swissk5 Registered Member

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    don't carbs need more air than diesels?
     
  17. mtn. burb

    mtn. burb 1/2 ton status

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    I have to admit this research article was an eye opener to me. But the fact that an AC Delco product proved to be the most effective product overall does not surprise me at all.

    The marketing of K&N products has been very effective. I am in the occupation of marketing (ie.the business of persuading likely customers to buy my employers product/service, over the other available choices in the marketplace.)

    K&N has succeeded, like all successful companies, to create a value in the mind of many consumers that their product is more performance enhancing, thus providing a bigger benefit to the end user. I believed this too. How many times have you seen a stock vehicle on the road, and if they only have 1 sticker on the vehicle, it's a K&N emblem.

    The test results speak loud and clear.

    The magazines routinely, nary they religously promote installing a K&N or similiar filter by suggesting it is an inexpensive power enhancer because as a big advertiser in the magazine they are paying the journalists salaries! Duh!

    It's AC Delco for me from now on.
     
  18. loafer

    loafer 1/2 ton status

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    K&N's are a waste of money IMO. There is a slight increase in airflow, but at the expense of filtration. And for off-road use, I'll take all the extra filtration I can get, especially on all the dusty dirt roads up here in Maine.
     
  19. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Maybe it's so clean because the dirt goes through it instead of being trapped like you'd hope...

    That's some pretty hard data presented there, and the K&N certainly looks like a poor choice.

    Rene
     
  20. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Diesels are air pigs!!

    No, a diesel needs much more air--in fact,a diesel is like having an open intake with NO carb on it,running wide open all the time,even at idle,it needs 100% of the possible air it can get(and turbo diesels stuff even more down its throat!)--this is why diesels have no vacuum,there are no throttle plates like a carb to restrict the air flow,thats why they need a vacuum pump to run things that normally would use manifold vacuum on a gas motor.....Air filters get dirty REAL fast on diesel,since so much air passes thru in a given amount of time,compared to a gas engine....:crazy:
     

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