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#17763 - 07/17/03 10:54 PM Clogged Air Intake
Hutch66 Offline
new member

Registered: 10/12/02
Posts: 148
Loc: Virginia, USA
I just saw on the news a small piece about a volcano dome collapsing, (didn't catch where it was) which of course sent tons of ash spilling onto the local town. As I saw a guy wiping what looked to be about 4-5 inches (10-13cm) of ash off his car, it reminded me of the dust that enveloped NYC after the WTC towers came down. I also wondered what could be done to make a car run in such conditions if he had to get out of town in a hurry. I doubt he would have made it very far before the air intake was completely clogged.

Now, we doni't have many volcanoes here in VA, or tall buildings for that matter, and driving out would probably be a poor choice in either event, but is there a way to keep the air intake from clogging under these conditions to at least make it an option?

Any ideas?


#17764 - 07/17/03 11:59 PM Re: Clogged Air Intake
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...

It's doable, but as a practical matter for most modern cars - even trucks - it would not be a trivial job. And if the airborne stuff is that prevalent, seeing where you are going is a serious problem. Afterwards, driving thru the stuff on the roads, the same or worse air intake problem presents itself, depending on where your air intake is located. A simple snorkle kit works fairly well in those sorts of dusty conditions if you are not following too closely behind another vehicle. Duct tape and some 4" PVC (smaller diameter OK if we're talking < 5 liter engine)... BUT you'll have to mess up some sheetmetal.

A cyclonic air "filter" ahead of your OEM intake and filter would greatly extend the useful life of your filter if you can find one small enough to function at your engine's airflow.

Look at some of the intake and filter set-ups on serious construction equipment like big Cat bulldozers.

HTH spark some ideas for you.


#17765 - 07/18/03 02:03 AM Re: Clogged Air Intake
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2810
K&N make replacement air filters that are soaked in special oil and you wash them and resoak them in oil every few thousand miles instead of throwing them away like paper filers. Some of the cone ones have a extra cloth cover that you can install cover it with for dusty environemnts such as off road. So carry some water for washing and the oil ro soak it in in your spares kit. A lot of newer vihicles are coming with passenger compartment air filters as well. My wife's car it was a $500 dealer option so we skipped it and I went to the service department and bought the $20 filter and put it in myself <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#17766 - 07/18/03 05:22 AM Re: Clogged Air Intake
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
All true, as you wrote. However, I understood the question to be truly extreme conditions. I have driven commercial and military wheeled vehicles thru volcanic "dust" finer than talcum powder and several inches deep on two separate continents and no system that uses a filter alone can handle that for very long. That same fine abrasive dust raises hobb with supposedly "sealed" lubricated moving parts as well. I've also logged more than 30,000 miles (so far) on extremely dusty erm, "secondary roads" (not your average gravel county lane - REALLY dusty roads). Larger, more robust vehicles (larger parts) have withstood more abuse than small trucks and SUV type vehicles in those environments in my experiences. It's not just the air induction system that takes abuse in those conditions, eh?

K&N filters and intake kits cover a lot of applications, but nothing I am aware of for those kinds of conditions. There are ready-made snorkle kits available for some smaller SUVs and trucks - IIRC, ARB may be one supplier - and they help get the intake above a significant amount of the dust. Other installations accomplish the job almost as well by routing the intake to inside the passenger cab, although those have more utility in intensely muddy environments (and deep snow, FWIW - I've had to remove snow from clogged intakes many times, as well as clear it out of the radiator to relieve an overheating engine).

The OEM air intake system and OEM filter elements on many of the newer full-size US trucks are pretty good - much better than the old style paper doughnut on the carburator. The old metal-mesh oil soaked OEM "heavy duty" filters were pretty lousy at filtering; their main advantage was that they did not clog up readily. Of course, those engines didn't last long between overhauls by current standards - properly maintained modern V-8s and V-10s will go at least 5 times farther (maybe more) before an overhaul than those old guys would. Ditto for the smaller engines, for the most part, although there are usually other drivetrain parts that give up the ghost before the engine on the smaller vehicles.

Still, I agree that replacing OEM air filters with a K&N kit is money really well spent, even for vehicles that never leave the paved road - if you keep the vehicle longer than the payments.

A workable alternative for dust is to carry a spare OEM filter and with on-board air one may keep things running by swapping them out and blowing out the OEM filter - not a great solution, but it works. Bad dust is like water, though - if you drive in it, you need to do a LOT of maintenance and re-lubrication of everything (especially including engine oil and filter) ASAP when you get out of those conditions.

Fortunately for me, I pretty much stay on pavement or gravel these days. New vehicles are too darned expensive nowadays...



#17767 - 07/18/03 03:07 PM Re: Clogged Air Intake
Hutch66 Offline
new member

Registered: 10/12/02
Posts: 148
Loc: Virginia, USA
The original question was more out of curiosity than anything else. I"m still a relative new-comer to off road driving, but everything I've done so far involves alot more mud than dust. I do carry a spare filter when I know I'm going off road ahead of time. I've looked at the K&N filters a couple times, and now I'll probalby look at them again. AyersTG, you mentioned that you think the K&N replacement is a good investment, were you refering to just changing the filter or replacing the whole intake system? (it's for a '98 Wrangler if it makes a difference)

Thank you both for your help.


#17768 - 07/18/03 06:04 PM Re: Clogged Air Intake
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...

It depends. Do you have the 4 banger or the 6? (2.5 liter or 4.0 liter) You have more factory options if it's the 4.0liter engine (a good Jeep engine, BTW). If it's the 2.5 liter, your only choice is a replacement for the OEM filter; induction system stays stock - with K&N parts. You can fabricate anything you like... as long as there are no emission controls on your factory induction system and as long as there are no specific state laws against modifications to factory induction systems on street-legal vehicles.

If you have the 4.0 liter, K&N also sells thier "FIPK" (Fuel injection performance kit, IIIRC), so you could either simply replace the OEM filter OR replace the factory induction system and OEM filter. If you use the FPIK, you'll see a small horsepower increase - maybe about 7-8 hp - but the throttle response will FEEL better (hard to accurately measure how much). It will also make more noise than the factory induction system when you put your foot in it - a surprising amount of induction noise; it's not loud, but it's very noticable and some find it annoying (doesn't bother me).

You can gain more HP at useful RPMs with your own modification to the factory setup - anybody can do it - but those are beyond the scope here - search the Jeep forums out there; I've seen lots of well-documented (pictures) how-to articles - at least on the 4.0 L engine. If you can't get an exact hit on the Wrangler, look at the Cherokee/Grand Cherokee forums - just stick to your engine and the rest is minor details.

If it were me... I would build my own induction system with snorkle, swirl section with dirt-dropout, new filter box, K&N filter, greatly improved flow to manifold, and MAYBE a spacer. And it would be water-tight enough to ford with. My snorkle opening would be different than the conventional type sold by ARB and others. But I don't have a Wrangler to tinker with - YMMV.

Anyway, the FPIK works really well - I just am not crazy about it. If you spend the $ now for a K&N filter, you can decide later to modify the induction system (or not).

HTH, but it's your money and your Wrangler.


#17769 - 07/21/03 01:57 PM Re: Clogged Air Intake

When Mt. St. Helens exploded in Washington state (some 20 years ago, was it?), there was a lot of ash piling up in nearby communities. I recall news reports at that time saying that some locals had used women's nylon stockings to cover their air intakes to keep their vehicles running.

I think this was also mentioned in news reports in connection with military vehicles in the dusty desert conditions of the first Gulf War.

I don't know if this works, but it is interesting.


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