Clean Auxiliary Air Filters With CareBy Dennis Bourgoin, National Service Manager for Kubota
Many customers firmly believe that if their air cleaner looks dirty, it must be letting dirt into their engine, thus reducing its life span. Actually, this is the opposite of what is really happening. It's very important NOT to clean air filters too often.
As long as the air flow is not restricted past the recommended level, that's actually better for the engine. This is because up to the point of intake restriction, a used filter cleans even more efficiently than a brand new one. On Kubota's V1902-B, there is a red marker which falls into a sight tube (as shown in the drawing) when the maximum air flow restriction is reached. If you clean your filter prior to the time when the marker shows, then you may be doing more harm than good to your engine. The marker becomes visible only when the air flow is becoming restricted. Check your Owner's Manuals for other models.
Every time the air cleaner is removed, no matter how carefully, a little dirt is shaken into the air cleaner body itself. Then, especially if the person servicing neglects to clean this area with a damp rag before re-installing the filter, this dirt is pulled down into the engine the next time it's started. You might think, "What's a few particles of dirt?" but it takes only 3 to 4 grams (about a teaspoonful) to irretrievably harm an engine. We find that the number one reason for engine failure due to dirt is usually because the air cleaner was over-serviced, and care was not taken to totally remove any residual dirt left in the air cleaner body.
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