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Camaro V8 LS3 / L99 Engine, Exhaust, and Bolt-Ons Bolt-Ons | Intakes | Exhaust

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Old 11-12-2010, 09:04 AM   #1
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Roto-fab CAI, dry filter vs. oil filter

Roto-fab CAI, dry filter vs. oil filter
We continue to receive many questions about this as we offer our intakes with a dry or oil type filter. Both filters are American made and will last the life of your vehicle, although they do require routine maintenance. Our oil filters are made by S & B filters and our dry filters are made by AFE. We will summarize the maintenance of each as well as the advantages/disadvantages of each.

Oil filter-

With oil type filters the main concern tends to be the possibility of oil entering the air stream and contaminating the MAF sensor. This is a legitimate concern and can happen if the filter is over oiled. Our oil filters do come pre-oiled, so you don't have to worry about oiling for 10K or so.
The first step in maintaining the filter is to clean it thoroughly with the solution provided in a filter service kit. Service kits are available through us or simply buy one at a local parts store. Allow the filter to air dry thoroughly before the oiling process. When it isn't possible to meter the amount of oil being applied to the filter (such as with oil in a spray can) it's better to oil the filter very sparingly leaving some bare areas. Allow this oil to "wick" outward for about 5 minutes, then repeat the process-again oiling sparingly.

Benefits of the oil filter

More power-this filter flows more air which means it makes slightly more power. Strongly recommended with modifications such as heads/cam, S/C, etc.

Less $- with our intake systems, the oil filter is standard and the dry is a $12 option


Dry filter-

Dry filters have no possibility of contaminating the MAF sensor with oil-one less thing to worry about in life! Also, they are a little easier to maintain in that you don't need to have filter oil and a specific cleaning solution. AFE does have service kits available. However, you can give them a quick clean-up with a shop vac or lightly knocking filter against something. The filter can be washed in a cleaning solution such as laundry detergent. Allow the filter to air dry! This is a cotton element and will shrink just like a cotton t-shirt if heat is applied. When this happens, the element can actually pull away from the end cap.

Benefits of the dry filter-

Piece of mind-no concern about oil on the sensor.

Better air flow than the stock air element (although less than oil filters)

Slightly more efficient filtration than the oil filter

Some like the white filter appearance over the traditional maroon

To summarize, if power is everything to you-go with the oil filter. The oil filter gives you the most power at a lower cost. If you want good performance, superior filtration and don't want to worry about the whole oil issue, the dry filter is a better choice for you. I hope this helps you make a more informed decision and thank you for considering our products.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:23 AM   #2
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Thanks for the info, guys. I had fouled up my MAF on a different manufacturers oil filter in my old 02 Z28 years ago. I put waaaay too much oil on it. Since then, I use it sparingly to prevent having to get a new MAF. Oiled filters have worked perfectly since.

...and I used a q-tip and rubbing alcohol to clean off the oil from the MAF. Seemed to work fine for me. BTW, looking forward to getting my custom painted radiator cover and engine cover back. It's going to be sweet!
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:58 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info, guys. I had fouled up my MAF on a different manufacturers oil filter in my old 02 Z28 years ago. I put waaaay too much oil on it. Since then, I use it sparingly to prevent having to get a new MAF. Oiled filters have worked perfectly since.

...and I used a q-tip and rubbing alcohol to clean off the oil from the MAF. Seemed to work fine for me. BTW, looking forward to getting my custom painted radiator cover and engine cover back. It's going to be sweet!
Thanks for posting here. I'm bumping this one because we just had this question again. It's definitely one of our most frequently asked questions.
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Old 12-26-2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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It was my question too. Thank you for the answer! (Search works!)
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:44 AM   #5
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It was my question too. Thank you for the answer! (Search works!)
You aren't alone. We have lots of questions about the differences between the two. Actually, we just had another PM this morning. Remember-if you don't have a preference, the oil version is our standard filter and the dry is an additional $12.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:00 AM   #6
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Good info here. On my old truck i had a K&N oil air filter. Never had a problem with oil contaminating the MAF. So when the time comes oiled filter will be the one for me! I dont mind keeping up the maintenance on them.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:39 AM   #7
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Good info here. On my old truck i had a K&N oil air filter. Never had a problem with oil contaminating the MAF. So when the time comes oiled filter will be the one for me! I dont mind keeping up the maintenance on them.
Like you, most people will never have a problem with the oil type filter, but the ones that have often will never use a dry filter again!

We have several customers that prefer having 2 filters so they can rotate to a clean one and service the dirty one at their own convenience.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:46 AM   #8
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Thats a good idea having two filters. That way you can make sure the one you are cleaning is done right and all the oil you spray on it is..."dry"
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:41 AM   #9
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Thats a good idea having two filters. That way you can make sure the one you are cleaning is done right and all the oil you spray on it is..."dry"
Yes, and I may have stated this previously, but it is worth repeating...
Don't use forced air or heat to dry your filter after washing.

Much like a cotton T-shirt in a dryer, the heat can cause the element to shrink and actually pull away from the ends of the filter. This can result in a gap which would allow unfiltered air to pass through and into your motor.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:52 AM   #10
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Yea i always let my oiled filter air dry at least overnight before reinstalling it.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Roto-fab 1 View Post
Like you, most people will never have a problem with the oil type filter, but the ones that have often will never use a dry filter again!

We have several customers that prefer having 2 filters so they can rotate to a clean one and service the dirty one at their own convenience.
So if you get a 2nd oiled filter do you buy that 2nd pre-oiled filter when you buy the initial kit? I guess my question is if I keep a pre-oiled filter on hand will it keep for 10k miles until I need to swap out and clean the other, or will I have to oil the back-up one again since it has been sitting for 10K?
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:13 AM   #12
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So if you get a 2nd oiled filter do you buy that 2nd pre-oiled filter when you buy the initial kit? I guess my question is if I keep a pre-oiled filter on hand will it keep for 10k miles until I need to swap out and clean the other, or will I have to oil the back-up one again since it has been sitting for 10K?
The oil filters will remain oiled in their sealed plastic bag. We do keep filters in stock, so you can simply order the second filter when you are ready.

Keep in mind there isn't a need for a second filter if you have time to schedule your cleaning while your car is not being driven. For example, if you clean the filter in the evening you can allow it to dry overnight and oil it the next day.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:45 PM   #13
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Sorry to necro an old thread, and I apologize for the dumb question, but how can you tell if you have a filter that requires oil vs. a dry filter?

I have a CAI brand cold air filter on my '12 SS, and I did not do the install. I'm used to old school muscle cars w/ carbs/air filters and as such have no idea what's required here.
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:53 PM   #14
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Sorry to necro an old thread, and I apologize for the dumb question, but how can you tell if you have a filter that requires oil vs. a dry filter?

I have a CAI brand cold air filter on my '12 SS, and I did not do the install. I'm used to old school muscle cars w/ carbs/air filters and as such have no idea what's required here.
Usually the oiled filters are red & the dry ones are white.
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Frank in MD View Post
Sorry to necro an old thread, and I apologize for the dumb question, but how can you tell if you have a filter that requires oil vs. a dry filter?

I have a CAI brand cold air filter on my '12 SS, and I did not do the install. I'm used to old school muscle cars w/ carbs/air filters and as such have no idea what's required here.
It should be an oiled filter. I don't believe CAI offers a dry filter.

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