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Who's running aftermarket air cleaners?

4564 Views 17 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  JuanPolk
It seems I keep switching back and forth to my stock air cleaner and an aftermarket one. The Bronc seems to run better with the open element except in the winter, when it runs rough until it warms up. So then I put the stock one back on, with the heat tube from exhaust manifold hooked up. I just wondered how many others ran open element air cleaners.
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I am thinking about getting the K&N filter, but it would have to sit in the stock air box. '87's and newer can have the FilterCharger, but not the '86 :(

Anyone else have K&Ns?
K&N Filter Charger

I have the K&N Filter Charger unit in my Bronco unit (5.0 Ltr.FI) and I think that this unit is great. I can actually feel the power increace at the wheels. I have the stock air box feeder with the dual air tube ducts. There is a treatment that is used for air ducts to lessen the effects of air friction that is available, but I found that not necessary. I have also a Pontiac Firebird with the V-8 Ram Air Engine that I also had converted to the K&N unit, and it works pretty good in that unit also.
The K&N filter for the Bronco is pretty expensive for what is in essence a filter screen, but considering most of us keep these unit for many years is does pay over time. I believe my filter cost about $35.00 from a local R&S Strauss Auto store. I believe that they are considerably less from an outfit like J.C. Whitney at
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Thanks for replies, guys. I'm glad to hear about the K&N's. I have a paper element on my 78 Bronco (carbed) now, but I am thinking about going to a K&N.

I would also like to go to a K&N on my 92 Mustang, but I have heard that they will gum up the MAF sensor if you overoil them. I guess the trick is to go easy on the oil.

Anyone else have experience with these filters, good or bad?
Thanks, Don
I have a K&N on my 78 Bronco. I put it on after I rebuilt the motor, so I don't know how much of a difference it made. But I think being able to reuse it will pay for itself over time, and make it worth it.
I've got a Amsoil foam filter in the stock airbox. It's a re-useable and oiled like the K&N but instead of being made from gauze it is made from 2 different densities of foam. It's worked out great for me. A few weeks ago I finally got around to cleaning it and it was completely covered in dust and dirt, but the the air passages past the filter were nice and clean. This was following a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which involved over 200 miles of sucking on trail dust.
Here's something you might do that works for me. Flip the lid on your air cleaner and install a longer center bolt into the carb. You may have to flip over the fitting for the small air lines in the top like I have to make it work.
Just a thought!

Thanks for all the replies and tips, guys. Since my original post, I bought a K&N filter off E-BAY and installed it in a 10" open element air cleaner that I had in the garage. I really like it. The Bronc seems to accelerate off of idle better, and overall has a better throttle response.

I'll just wait for colder weather now, and see if if the loss of the heat tube will affect the drivability.

On a side note, I didn't have enought K&N oil to re-oil the filter, so I used ATF fluid. The ATF looks the same (even the same color), and has the same feel and viscosity as the filter oil, and seems to work the same. Did I ruin my new filter, or is this OK?
I really wouldn't do that if I was you. The K&N Filter oil is water soluble meaning it ,and the dirt can be cleaned out with water. The trans. fluid has the opposite effect. At the worst what you should have used is "PAM" the vegetable oil used for cooking, but even that is a stretch. I would not try to dissolve the trans oil (now) since the chemicals that would clean up the oil may destroy the fibers in the filter. I am certain that K&N is being very coy in not telling us if there is a generic replacement for this oil. The cost of a bottle of K&N oil ran me $9.00 from a local auto parts store. I didn't really mind the cost since I have 3 K&N Filters one for each of my vehicles. However I do consider the K&N Filter unit a superior unit for what it does, and the cost is probably a one time purchace. ;)
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Uh Oh.......

Thanks Juan. I didn't know that. I will try to salvage it next weekend. Maybe a little Mean Green detergent will work.....:(
Lone Ranger:
Save some "Mean Green" for me; I may need some soon.

I may have to hope that my air filter will soon have to filter out Anthrax.
I work within three blocks of the World Trade Center in NY and had tried to come back into the city to volunteer for service Friday after the explosions. If you could see this place after dark you would be checking out all of your filters. The dust, and smell is horrible , and many people have taken to wearing dust, and gas masks. I used to think that this was pre-mature considering the clean up efforts, but then this crap came along.
Well that is all man good luck with your unit.
I think it would just be better to go and get the K&N cleaning kit. It usually costs $11 or so and will not harm the element. Other cleaners may, and K&N says not to use anything else. If that's just to make you buy more of their stuff, I don't know but I really don't think I'd personally wanna take the risk of messing up a good thing.

Besides, the kit has enough cleaner and oil to last for three or four cleanings, so youwill not have to go out and get another one everytime you wanna clean the filter.

My 1996 Bronco with 302 has dual pipes with semi-mufflers, homemade throttle body spacer, and the K&N, it burns rubber better! Kicks ass! I raced a 1988 Mustang with HO 302, He couldn't catch up with me until I got to 75! What do you think?
What are the best headers I can buy? Advice please!

It's a FIPK, the 50.00 filter doesn't work at all, it's better to spend 160.00
I've got the JBA shorty headers and they've been working very well. Cost about $320 or so. The nice thing with the JBAs is they have a nice thick flange. A thick flange better distributes heat to keep the gaskets intact. Cheap headers tend to have thin flanges that warp and quickly blow out gaskets. You get what you pay for. Installation wasn't to terribly difficult, just a PITA on the passenger side due to clearance issues. Looking back, it may help the install to remove the fender liner for access. I recommend getting a Matco wheel/tire step for this if you don't already have one as it makes the install so much easier than trying to deal with a step stool. I did it with a friend and including smoke and beer breaks it took us about 6 hours. We could have easily done this is 4 hours if we did things a little different. A big effort saver was blasting the stock exhaust manifold bolts with PB Blaster for three days prior removal. Made the bolts come off super easy.
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I prefer the Edelbrock shorty headers for my 302 FI they are made reasonably well, and I prefer to have them coated. It may worth it to purchase them pre coated if possible. I then "Y" pipe the outputs into a single cat converter to a single 3" pipe back to a single Flowmaster dual output muffler. The outputs are 2.5" mandrel bent pipes to the passenger side rear fender. I didn't like the dual rear pipes because the truck absorbed too much exaust fumes.
I think that this gives the most power at the wheels for most users. I have this setup on my unit. I tried several setups, and did some research and this seems to work well in most full sized bronco's or F-150 Trucks.
dude my 89 bron sucks butt i get beat by everybody i dont know how all urs are so fast mine cant even chirp the tires and i have the 302 efi with 31's but im puttin on a snorkel hood scoop and doin a ram air effect so we will see plus im gonna use 1 or 2 k&n air filters for my snorkle
Mine wasn't always running so good, but I had a lot of time invested in repairs and replacements. The engine was rebuilt by the previous owners with a Jasper 5.0 long block. This is a good engine rebuilder I have heard of their reputation. However by the time that I got the truck it suffered from neglect. I had completely rebuilt the emmission system, fuel delivery, and pcm computer unit. I have replaced all rubber parts ( hoses, belts, e.t.c), fllters. I had thought the same as you about these units, but after doing all of that work it really started to kick in. The emmission system in these trucks must be in good shape to properly operate. You would be surprised as how much performance is lost when the vacuum hose to the MAP sensor is loose. I got tired of checking all of these emissions components, and so I "shot-gunned" the emission system replaceing all of the components. Now the engine works as good as a new engine because all of its systems have been checked, and or updated.
This expense was well worth it since the cost of a new truck would have been intolerable to me then. :s5
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