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Cleaning your air filters and saving $$$$$$$$ !

16848 Views 19 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Vlad
I recently took off my air filters and they were filthy. Replacement air filters are also a bit pricey. I am going to walk you through some very easy steps here that will allow you to keep your air filters clean and also save yourself some money. I have done this "fix" twice now and have had some very good results. I have not had to buy new filters and have not had to replace with foam either. So here goes: needs........
1. an old 11"x14" baking pan (or use one of the wifes if you can get away with it. I couldn't and didn't.)
2. 1 gallon oderless mineral spirits
3. 1 gallon laquer thinner
4. 1 quart of Foam Filter Oil. I used Bel Rey.
5. A couple of the cheap 1 and a half inch china bristle brush's.

Remove your filters. Place 1 filter in the pan with the metal side facing you and pour the mineral spirits over the metal grating. The pan will be about one quarter full of the mineral spirits, and let soak for a few minutes. Remove filter and take the brush and brush the element side to remove loose and embedded debris. Set filter down flat and let the excess mineral spirits dribble out. If you have an air compressor blow out the excess from the metal grate side. Repeat with the other filter.

Pour out the spirits in an old gallon milk jug and cap off. The debris will settle on the bottom and you can re-use the spirits on top one more time. It takes about a quarter of a gallon of spirits and Laquer thinner to do this each time. Dispose of these materials properly.

Repeat the above with the filters but now use the Laquer thinner. This gets out all the oil based junk in the filter. Put the excess Laquer thinner in a different jug. Dispose of this properly. You do not want to re-use the Laquer thinner.

Blow out the filters from the metal side with an air compressor and let them dry. Drying is pretty quick after you have done the Laquer thinner rinse.

Pour a small amount of the Foam Filter oil into a platic container and lightly coat the element side of the filter with the other china bristle brush.

Install the filters.

You can clean your filters at least 4 times with the above mentioned materials. The Foam oil will probably last the life of the scooter.

If you have any questions regarding this I will be more than happy to answer them. I can keep my filters clean now and I am not afraid of the cost of a new filter. If you look at these filters you will notice how well they are manufatured. Very durable. And these filters seem to get dirty very quickly,

I hope this helps.

Be safe,
Rufus :wink:
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Outstanding explanation of how to save some money if you want to clean your filters more often. I know that during the dry season in Houston it gets very dusty and I'd like to be able to clean my filters more often.

Thanks! :thumbright:
With all due respect, how can you (we) be sure the filtering ability is not altered at all after being subjected to all these chemicals/scrubbing???

Just curious
Altho i've mentioned that the Air filter system has a good deal of overcapacity, curiosity got the best of me, so at 6200mi. I pulled the filters and cleaned them, using this well explained method.

First, the outside of the filters were jet black, coated with an oily layer that air would not have dislodged.

Even so, this does not mean that the filters were clogged. Using the rule of thumb of shining a flashlight thru the filter, I noted that they were possibly 50% clogged. I guess I'll have to retract my previous comments [elsewhere], saying not to bother cleaning the filter. While 50% capacity does not indicate an emergency, a nice clean filter at 90-100% is far better, I'm sure.

I let the gunk settle in the mineral spirit, then poured it thru a filter back into the gallon. The lacquer thinner was expensive at $13.95/gal, but this setup should allow for 10 or more cleanings from a gallon of each liquid. A possible substitute for lacquer thinner might be a spray can of brake cleaner. All liquids/sprays [per instructions] should always be applied from the clean/wire side of the filter out towards the dirty side.

I'm going to use a spray filter oil, that most motorcycle shops carry. This will be sprayed onto the filter from the non/wire side.

While the air intake boxes are off, spray some degreaser/cleaner inside and rinse off under the faucet.

I'm happy to have spent an hour and saved $40 on filters ! Thanks, Rufus, for a great suggestion and a good how-to...
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I've done the foam mod. The foam was 12 bucks and once you've done the mod all you need to clean the foam is soap and water. Do the foam mod and save yourself the money and hassle of chemicals.
The cleaning process went well - I used K&N spray paper filter oil, available at the dealer, or at any auto parts store.

Actually, you may find K&N's recharge kit, which uses a water based cleaner for their, or our filters. This would make the whole cleaning process that much simpler, and avoid the need to dispose of flammable liquids. $12.95 for the recharge kit.
sanford12 said:
I've done the foam mod. The foam was 12 bucks and once you've done the mod all you need to clean the foam is soap and water. Do the foam mod and save yourself the money and hassle of chemicals.
What do you mean by the "foam mod?' Please explain. Thanks.
I believe this is the link- FOAM MOD
Sounds great, but I can't find the foam anywhere. Everyone is acting like I'm nuts when asking for it. Any leads? :(
I just did a check of my air filters last night and they were dirty as all hell. I've only got 3200 miles on my Majesty. I guess everyone is right about how quickly these things get dirty.

Just so I am clear, we can use the K&N air filter recharge kit to clean our paper filters without any problems?

Oh, while I am thinking about it, just how much do the stock Majesty air filters cost?
The idiot that designed the location of the air filter on my Virago is as it again. Why in the world did they place three of the screws that you need to remove in such hard to get to places? I never did get the one on the right side off. Yamaha does this just for danged meanness.
First and foremost is thanks to Rufus for the walk-thru on air cleaners.

When I took the air filters out this morning I was shocked also to find how dirty these things acctually get.

Now I should be slapped on the wrist for waiting untill 7000 miles to do this particular service, but like Larry Newman said the airboxes are oversized and now I have a pretty good idea of how far I can go between cleanings.

Most of the materials needed to do this service I had in the garage allready, just needed lacqquer thinner and a pan of some sort (which ended up being a paint roller pan). Agreed that the lacquer is quite expensive @ 13.98gal, but I have a lot more cleanings now too. I opted for a full quart of mineral spirits just to keep things simple. It's just unreal how well mineral spirits will disolve that nasty grime. After each step I blew out the filter with an air compressor. Sure does look nice when done..

Also like Larry I used a spray on foam filter (Maxima Fab-1) and am pretty pleased with the results. A little hesitation in idle upon start-up, but clears up after a second.

Overall I'm really pleased with the final results and will continue to clean using this method.
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My concern about this jerry rigged air filter mod is that you are getting higher airflow at the cost of poorer filtering.

Does anybody know for a fact how good that aftermarket foam cleans the air going into the engine?
waterinthefuel said:
My concern about this jerry rigged air filter mod is that you are getting higher airflow at the cost of poorer filtering.
Numerous people have completed the modification with no il-effects to their engine. Rufus' original posting was in May of 2006 and several people had started doing this before he posted his "How-To".

waterinthefuel said:
Does anybody know for a fact how good that aftermarket foam cleans the air going into the engine?
In my younger days I was a "gear head" and tricked out my 302 V-8 with two Holley 650 double-pumpers (amongst other mods). I used the high performance foam filter material for the air filters on the carbs. Even in the (usually) dusty summers in Houston, I found the foam filters performed better than the paper ones and were much easier to maintain.

I am currently doing the filter-wash method that Rufus explained and plan to do the foam mod later. :wink:
Foam is frequently the material of choice for dirt bikes, and just think of the filtration they would need!

The manual states the oil should be replaced every 5,000 kms (3,125 miles) but the service intervals are 6.000 kms (4,000 miles). What sort of madness is this? :shock: While I am sure I could learn to change the oil (this site has an excellent guide), I really just want to take in in for a service and have everything done. One visit every 5,000kms and another every 6,000kms means double the service visits. Or reducing the service visits to 5,000 means more frequest servicing which is less that the competition.

Do most owners have the oil change done at the regular 6,000km visits?

A recharge kit will work for 2, maybe 3 "cleanings". I tend to "oversaturate", the pleats.

The only problem with the recharge kit is the time waiting for the pleats to dry(?).

I'm not really sure what "dry", means in this case.

Does it mean "Bone", dry? If so, the plats would take a day or so in the direct sun to dry.

The directions also say to dry "naturally".(?)

Does anyone have relatively quick ways to dry the pleats(air filter)?
Thanks to wadboy73 for pointing me to this thread on cleaning filters.

At about 800 miles I got curious and pulled my left air filter and variator filter. They were only slightly dirty, so tapped and blew out the dirt. When I blew the air filter, some of the dirt seemed to be in oil suspension. It was good to read here that others have concluded that the stock filter is also oiled.

I think I'll just clean/oil mine at 5000 mile or so intervals until the filters seem unable to take another cleaning. In looking up MSDS sheets on commercial filter cleaners, I found that many are simply detergents. I'll probably try cleaning mine with a strong oil-cutting detergent, and use solvents if/as necessary afterwards.

As for the oiling, paper filters should wick the oil resulting in a rather uniform spreading of oil over time, even if it's initially uneven.

Does anyone know how much oil to use?
Just cleaned my filters with an orange spray cleaner and had very good results and I mean my filters were very,very ugly. Tapped off the worst of the dirt, sprayed on the cleaner and washed it off with warm H2O from a garden hose and shook out the excess and put in sun to dry. Look like new. Treated with filter oil and back in. Total work time less then 15 minutes. I don't think any less clean than cleaning with mineral spirts and acetone but more time. Cost of Blue Coral Orange Cleaner 4bucks and don't have to worry about fire or a visit from the meth cops tracking down odor or an acetone purchase.
abobotek said:
It was good to read here that others have concluded that the stock filter is also oiled.
In the interest of future readers of this old thread - stock air filters are not oiled. The oil we find on used filters comes from the crankcase breeder hose and is more/less normal (albeit not very desirable) result of operation. It does not mean that the filters came pre-oiled. Deliberately oiling a filter that was not designed to be used with oil will significantly change it's filtering properties and can produce very undesirable effects.

The merits of cleaning of stock paper/fiber filters are open for discussion. As for me, I wash/clean reusable and replace the disposable.
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