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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The check valve (anti drain back valve) issue is supposedly based on the oil galleys slowly draining down and filling with air. Again supposedly the air then gets into the lifters as you start the car causing an air lock. I really don't know whether this is true or not. If you let the engine sit long enough the oil will drain down no matter if there is a check valve present or not, as an anti drain back valve will have no affect on oil dripping from the bearing and other internal joints. You are correct, the filter itself being installed fairly close to vertical can not it self drain down. I would agree that a lifter sitting on its side would have a harder time purging air than one sitting closer to the vertical. Which brands of filters do not have check valves? Every one I have cut open has had one. Do some work better than others? Very likely, but I really don't have any idea. It should seem obvious that saving 2 bucks on a brand X oil filter at a discount store may not be a good deal, but having to order a Super Y filter through the mail seems extreme.

A lot of oil issues are based on old mechanic's tales, and apply much better to Model T's or to filter less Beetles than to anything more modern.


j_dirge wrote:
Randy in Maine wrote:
In my opinion.....
2) Horizontally opposed engines (including my subuaru outback from hell) like oil filters that have a check valve in them to keep oil in the lifters.

Maybe they do. I'm not questioning if the engine runs better with one filter vs another. What I am trying to get at is the "check valve" issue.

1. Are people using "check valve" and "anti-syphon valve" interchangeably? (just to claify)

and
2. What affect can either type of valve have in the case of a clankity lifter if:
a. the filter sits below the standing oil level line and
b. it is mounted at an angle upside down such that it remains completely full of oil when the vehicle sits, with engine not running.

It seems that the source of clankity lifter is likely (as ValleyHappy posted)
that the lifter is hindered by debri and/or wear.. and that condition is exacerbated when the engine sits for a period of time and the oil settles away from the surfaces of the lifter. It seems this could be worsened if the oil is not clean and some debris is left sitting on surfaces after the oil settles away.

I'm just not seeing how the check valve could improve that.. there is ALWAYS a full filter of oil there on a 2.1. No?

Am not looking for a fight.. I am just trying to understand the mechanics of this problem.. a noisy lifter just can't be a good thing.
It sounds freakin horrid!
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will fess up and say I don't know the answer.

I am just an aircooled guy but the oil filter on a type 4 is very similar the way it is mounted. I have always (with the exception of once Twisted Evil ) used a Mahle/Mann and never had an issue with the hydros.

I have to order them from Bus Depot (which always takes 2 weeks to get here) and I ran out, went to the FLAPS, bought theirs, and the lifters rapped.

When the Mahles came in the mail, changed it out and the rapping went away. IHave always used them since.

I don't know if that proves anything or not.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh boy, now I'm asking for it!

What I think that proves, Randy, is that the Mann/Mahle filter everyone is so fond of presents less resistance to flow, especially when the oil is cold and thick so pressure is high, than a different filter. The thing about filtration, as a general rule, is that good filtration, meaning interception of a wide range of particle sizes in this case, means more resistance to flow of the fluid being filtered. It's just an unavoidable aspect of fluid physics. So, if that's true, the filter that passes more oil is not as good at filtering the fluid than one that restricts flow.

Easy, right? But wait a minute. There's another feature in most automotive oil filters called a bypass valve. It's built right in. It is there so at very high fluid pressures, it will progressively open and allow some of the pressure to bypass the filter medium in order to control maximum fluid pressure inside the filter casing. Without this feature, it is not uncommon at all to rupture the thin-walled casings when cold oil pressure is very high.

Thankfully you don't see this happen much because almost every filter sold these days has a built-in bypass valve. This is different than an anti-backflow or anti-draindown or check valve, a bunch of different names for the same thing. Some filters have that, and some don't. It's easy to see if it does, though; it will be a visible rubber-like disc just below the ring of inlet ports around the top of the filter.

So, is the filter that passes more oil earlier a crummy filter, meaning its pore size is bigger than another's and therefore it will not be ultimately as effective at removing smaller particles from the oil, or is it that it has a bypass valve set to open at a lower pressure?

Oh, so many variables! My head is starting to hurt!

Without cutting open some sample filters and measuring pore size, bypass valve spring pressure and total orifice profile, and probably several other factors I'm missing here, you really would never know what's going on.

There are some sites online where they have done that sort of thing. Mostly they are just looking at average pore size, and whether the filter has a check valve or not, because as I said, most all the commercially available filters have a bypass valve. But the bypass valves aren't created equal.

I share jdirge's opinion that the filter, as mounted with the open end upwards, is not going to have its oil load siphoned off as oil drains back thru the pump gears and into the sump. The check valves are very important for the many inline and vee-block engines that have their filters mounted sideways to the block; those will drain down completely at rest without a check valve.

Wildthings is right that the oil is going to also drain out of the bearing clearances and be replaced by air eventually. If there were a siphon pull on the filter, as mounted, the air being introduced at the bearings would break the siphon anyway. Gravity pulling oil out of the filter's inlet ports would not be able to drain that filter once air was drawn into the main galley and introduced at the filter exit (the center pipe). The oil levels inside the filter between inlet and outlet would equalise at that point, and any siphon flow would cease, leaving the filter still mostly full.

jdirge is also dead on that the lifters are at least half-immersed in oil when at rest (not immediately, but within a very short time). Try removing a pushrod tube on level ground with the oil level topped up and you will know that the level is about midway up the lifters.

But that's actually a moot point, because here's what's happening when a lifter leaks down at rest. The lifter contains a trapped quantity of oil. The oil is held in a small internal chamber, closed off by a movable piston within the lifter body on top, and a tiny ball-checkvalve in the center of this piston. No matter where the engine comes to rest, at least two or three lifters will end up parked on top of or on the slope of a cam lobe, holding their valves open. Those valves' springs will exert a steady force on the lifter. Over time, that force will slowly squeeze the trapped oil out of the chamber. Either it will escape out the check valve if it doesn't seal completely, or it will bleed out the tolerance between the piston and the bore in the lifter body. There are no "seals" to speak of; oil is held within the lifter by the very close tolerances between all metal parts.

So the lifters that are under valve spring pressure at rest, due to the accident of ending up atop a cam lobe when the engine stopped, will have their oil slowly squeezed out of them until the spring pressure is alleviated or you restart the motor, whichever comes first. The lifters don't become "airbound" as they sit, as there is no opportunity for air to enter the lifter. The volume of the internal chamber is being gradually reduced as the oil seeps out, but it would have to expand for air to take the oil's place. The effective length of those lifters is now shorter than the ones that came to rest on the cam's base circle.

So, when the engine is restarted, some of the lifters will have smaller effective lengths than others, and the oiling system has to replace the oil lost from them in order to take up the excessive lash in those lifters' valvetrains. The clattering you hear is those shorter lifters being struck by the cam lobe as it comes around, because the valvetrain isn't able to keep the lifter in constant contact with the cam lobe, because the lifter is effectively too short.

It is right after startup that there is an opportunity for air to get into a "flat" lifter. It's not being forced in by oil pressure, as air would be purged out the lifter bores in the case by the oncoming flow of oil when it arrives. Without oil flowing into the lifter bore in the case, there would be no pressure to force air into a lifter anyway. What can happen is that the internal spring that pushes the lifter's piston outward might actually pull some air into the lifter when the inertial effect briefly opens the tiny ball-check valve, since the shorter lifter doesn't have pressure on both ends of it as it should. But air is compressible while oil is not, so the net effect of this would be the engine valve not being opened as far when it opens, while the air would re-expand to extend the lifter and actually take up some of the physical lash that is the source of the clattering. Eventually, the lifter will admit oil bit by bit (it is only able to admit or reject a tiny quantity of oil on each valve cycle), thereby displacing any air within, until it has filled enough to take up all the lash in its valvetrain. At that point, the valvetrain is normalised and the lifters go about doing their job of minutely adjusting their effective length to keep all the lash out of the valvetrain.

So, which oil is best? Depends.

A heavier oil will be thicker when cold and will ooze out of the lifter more slowly at rest.

A lighter oil will be thinner when cold and able to work its way into a flat lifter more quickly, without having to wait as long for it to warm up and thin out.

Adding MMO or ATF (one is as good as another), mixes extra detergent with the motor oil in a lightweight carrier so it will get into the small, tightly-fitted internal parts of the lifter and loosen and dissolve varnishes and tiny debris that may be lodging in the tight internal tolerances, especially the ball-check valve. The main reason those products are effective is just their cleaning action, and their ability to deliver the detergent to where it will work. They can help a lifter that is dirty but in good condition return to operating normally. They can't compensate for physical wear. Only a new lifter is going to help then.
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Last edited by tencentlife on Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
Oh boy, now I'm asking for it!


Chris, I have to say that I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to explain all of the things that you do. The information that you provide is invaluable and always goes at least one step (usually more) beyond the average explination.

Thanks!!!
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ValleyHappy
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause
Thanks
Mabye our gracious moderator could throw this thread under the oil/oil filter sticky....just for tencents post. Pretty much sums it up...
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago Mann filters for a T4 engine did not have a bypass valve, IIRC. Are they still the same today?

Have no idea about the Mann filters for a WBX. Bypass or no bypass?

Does the WBX oil pressure relief system require a filter with an internal bypass valve?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
Oh boy, now I'm asking for it!
So, which oil is best? Depends.

Thanks for the detailed explanation.. by far the most thorough I've seen on the subject. And it reflects my experience with my own WBXer. I am going to try an additive (after I replace the rear exhaust manifold).

What's the word on Rislone?

Any other specific detergent additive recommendations? (besides MMO, and ATF)
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justcairns
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 1984 vanagon gl, when I had noisy lifters, my mechanic told me before I changed my oil again, to add 1 qt of transmission fluid and drive it about 100 miles then change the oil and filter.

I did this and haven't had any more rattling lifters.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My magic is to put some Marvel Mystery Oil in. It is a high detergent thin oil that washs the lifters out. Then I run it warm and drain the oil. I had to do this a few times in the last years. Now, as soon a I hear a slight tick, I know I need to add the Marvel and go change the oil. Not a big deal.

The automatic trans fluid is a thin oil that washes them out., too.

My 83 year old dad, "The Master," told me to do this. He says dirt is the root cause of ticking lifters. It works for me.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, MMO or ATF, doesn't matter which, I say. Both are basically a very light oil with heavy detergent concentrations, among other things.

Makes you wonder if the "Mystery" in MMO is how they can charge more than for ATF!

I read some interesting stuff awhile back about hydro lifters that really helped me understand the internal dynamics of them. Wish I had the link to share. It was about how some American hydro lifter types were actually designed to accomplish an early form of variable valve lift.

Basically, oil is taken in via the ball valve when more oil will fit inside the lifter. This is done during a brief rotational period of the cam where the lifter is beginning to accelerate away from the cam centerline by the gradual startup ramp that is the essential feature of hydro grinds. The lack of that startup ramp is why hydros won't work on a standard-grind cam. The lifter is just beginning to accelerate outward, but lift isn't enough yet that it is loaded by the valvespring counterforce. At the same time, the lifter's acceleration causes the little ball's inertia to compress the tiny spring that holds it closed, opening the valve that allows oil to flow into the trapped oil chamber. That's the filling phase of the process. If there is any lash in that valvetrain, oil can flow in during this brief period to take up some of the slack. Over several rotations, it will bit by bit fill the lifter until all the lash is gone.

At the same time, the piston that defines the trapped oil chamber within the lifter is sealed only by it's close fit inside the lifter's internal bore. So, during the actual lift phase, some oil is constantly leaking out around this clearance. This is primarily how oil leaks out of a lifter that is parked under tension, even if its ball valve closes tightly.

So by playing with the piston-to-bore clearance, they could set the rate of leakdown so that at low revs, there was enough time during a valve cycle for some of the oil to leak out, which effectively lifted the valve less. That oil was replaced at the beginning of the next cycle. At higher revs, there was less time for oil to leak out, so the valve was held open more. Voila! Variable valve lift in a primitive form.

Quote:
What's the word on Rislone?


I couldn't say. I've never been one to use oil additives. The only exception is the brief use of ATF to clean some suspect system, which I only do prior to a scheduled oil change, and very rarely at that. Mixing ATF in will thin the base oil, and the excessive detergent will alter the pH balance of it, so I prefer not to use products like that routinely, but only specifically for their fast cleaning effect. Detergents are good at cleaning, but too much detergent actually strips the oil film from areas like bearing clearances where the oil film must be stable to keep moving parts from coming into direct contact. When the film breaks down, the ZDDP anti-scuff additive goes to work. It is there as a second-line protection against film breakdown, but gets depleted when it has to work. If you go on with that, there is no longer any ZDDP to provide anti-scuff protection, and bearing and cam/lifter surface damage is going to follow.

Quote:
Years ago Mann filters for a T4 engine did not have a bypass valve, IIRC. Are they still the same today?

Have no idea about the Mann filters for a WBX. Bypass or no bypass?

Does the WBX oil pressure relief system require a filter with an internal bypass valve?


I haven't done any exhaustive review of what filter has what, but some other folks have. The conclusion I come to after looking at several "workshop studies" found online is that there is no clear winner in the "Best Filter" contest, although there are some clear losers (most of them are Frams or others made at the same plants. Like so many products, filters are made at a handful of plants and then sold under a myriad of brands). What is best depends on what you think makes a filter better, but as an unavoidable physical limitation, a filter of comparable area that filters better is going to flow less. In all of these reviews, they just cut open the filters and examined the innards. So they just compare structure, but no actual testing was done. The reviewers did not have access to the kind of flow-diagnosis and particle-interception measuring equipment (using "standard test dirt"; no kidding!) that would be needed to duplicate the SAE standards studies. Manufacturers do a couple of SAE and ISO-standardised studies, but the results are usually closely guarded. Designs as marketed also change from year to year, as do the plants they are made at. So do your own explorations, and draw your own conclusions, I can't really help here, much as I wish these questions could be put to rest.

There does seem to be a perception around here that the Mann and Mahle offerings are in some way superior to other FLAPS stuff but I don't see anything to support this notion across the board. They seem to be better in some regards and merely mediocre in others. The many reports of peoples' oil warning buzzers and such going away after just switching filters, although seeming to present a preponderance of evidence, are nonetheless anecdotal and often defy logic, and so without some controls on the comparisons they carry little weight with me.

I actually don't care myself, because I use a Trasko depth-bypass filter on my rig, and it has served me well for years. Not cheap, but it does do a great job, and I know exactly how it works. I've mainly spent some time reading up on filters just because the anecdotes can be so puzzling, they pique my curiosity.


A couple informal comparisons I've seen:

http://people.msoe.edu/~yoderw/oilfilterstudy/oilfilterstudy-german.html

http://www.knizefamily.net/minimopar/oilfilters/index.html

If you hunger to explore this issue with others in a targeted forum, Bob is the Oil Guy would be your meat:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=6&page=1

Bon appetit!
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Last edited by tencentlife on Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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wavanagon
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To the OP: I live in Everett and I had the same issues. I switched to Castrol 20-50, w/ the Mahle filters and it's been great. I drive mine everyday.

Tencent - great write up!
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a some Mahle wbx filters in my shop. I just use them for engine break-in since they cost half of a Trasko refill and I will be tossing them after 30 minutes of running. When I get time, I'll cut one open and post pics of the guts of the thing, in particular the bypass valve. In all the pics on those other sites, the actual function of the bypass valve isn't at all clear to me, so naturally I need to know.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great point tc. Of all the oil filter comparison sites I found, they concentrated more on the paper and metal composition. What would you use to cut one open? I'm due for an oil change and I have a small Craftsman 10" bandsaw. Think that would do it?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently it's not that easy. The shell is thin so it collapses and tears easily. I've read that some used a Dremel with an abrasive cutoff wheel, and others a lathe. I might mount one in my lathe and spin the filter while slicing with a Dremel or pneumatic cutoff wheel. We shall see.

I'm going to do it to a new, dry filter, though. Don't need the mess of a used one.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A circular saw with a thin metal cutting blade would slice right through it...no problem. Just secure the filter so it doesn't move and make a single pass with the saw.

- Chester
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually cut open two yesterday, a Mann (tought i had Mahle, but they're Mann) and a slightly-used Fram ToughGaurd. Put them on the lathe. The first I held a hacksaw against the shell and spun it. That took too long. The second I just used a parting tool. Opened it up in a few seconds. The shells are pretty thick.

I'll have some pics and a report later.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

has anbody tried this?
tp://www.bradpennracing.com/
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Amsoil 15-40W HD diesel oil and Mahle filters. 154,000 mile engine that had noisy lifters when I bought it. I let mine sit for 4+ weeks at a time. Fires right up in -10 below to 20F above temps all the time.

We stock it on the shelf in 1 gallon size. Available here >> http://www.roversnorth.com/store/searchadv.aspx?SearchTerm=amsoil&Issubmit=True

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


No more noisy lifters
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ValleyHappy wrote:
This is the type of thread that turns into an oil weight pissing match.
Applause d'oh! Shame on you #Bad Talk
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ZFLEX wrote:
has anbody tried this?
tp://www.bradpennracing.com/

Do a search, this has been discussed. Do it quietly, shhh...
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