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Filter out excess costs

Proper maintenance is essential when it comes to equipment life.

A damaged air-filter or improper service will pass contaminants that cause wear in the engine. Many customers are not always aware of good filtration maintenance and service. Through over-servicing their filters, they inadvertently reduce their equipment life.

Optimise your uptime through effective filter maintenance
Optimise your uptime through effective filter-maintenance

Some 85% of equipment and engine failures occur due to contamination. By utilising the tips given below, you can not only reduce downtime but also reduce component repair and replacement, as well as fluid replacement and disposal costs. These servicing tips are provided as a best practice guide. They are not, however, intended to replace or supersede the service instructions supplied by your engine or vehicle manufacturer.

Do not clean, rather replace it

Heavy-duty air filtration manufacturers do not recommend any type of cleaning process to be used on their products. Once an air-filter has been cleaned or washed, the Donaldson filter-warranty is no longer valid. The dirt holding capacity of a filter is reduced by 20-40% with each cleaning attempt, and there is also the real risk of dirt reaching the clean side of the filter if cleaning is attempted.

Don’t remove an air-filter for inspection

Removing and replacing the same air-filter just for inspection can do more harm than good. Ridges of dirt on the gasket sealing surface can drop on the clean filter side when the gasket is released. Stick with the regular maintenance schedule, or if you service by restriction, believe the gauge or restriction indicator. Get a new indicator if you do not trust your current one.

Never rap an air-filter to clean it

Rapping hard enough to knock off dust damages the filter and destroys your engine protection. Deeply embedded dirt is never released by tapping. It is always safer to keep operating until you can change to a new filter.

Never judge the filter’s life by sight

A dirty looking filter may still have plenty of life left. On the other hand, a clean looking filter can also be deceiving as carbon contamination may not be visible to the naked eye. You cannot see the dirt that is embedded deep within the filter paper. Your best option for lowest filter maintenance costs and best engine protection is to monitor air-filter life with a restriction indicator. It is a smart, low-cost investment.

A Donaldson air-filter, properly serviced and maintained, will not only enhance the service life of your equipment, but also optimise your uptime.
A Donaldson air-filter, properly serviced and maintained, will not only enhance the service life of your equipment but also optimise your uptime.

Never substitute by sight

Filters may look almost identical, but even a fraction of a difference in size, a mere millimetre, can prevent a good seal or affect airflow. Selecting a filter by size may give you the wrong media area and grade, therefore affecting the service life and filter-efficiency.

Don’t ignore worn or damaged gaskets

If your air cleaner has a damaged cover gasket, replace it with a new one. Always check to be sure that no piece of the old gasket remains in the housing and that the gasket is not worn. If your filter model calls for a new gasket with each use, never reuse the old one.

Don’t use a damaged or bunched filter

Never install a dented or punctured filter as it cannot protect properly against contamination. A dent can make a firm seal impossible or can indicate damaged media. A filter with bunched pleats depletes engine power, costing fuel and money.

Never leave an air cleaner open

Your open air cleaner is a direct entry to the engine. Keep it protected during filter changes. Contaminants smaller than we can see will cause damage to a diesel engine. If the housing is not going to be reassembled immediately, cover the opening. The only way to be sure nothing has entered the housing, is to make sure nothing can get in.

Replace missing or damaged parts

Check to ensure that there is no damage to the air cleaner housing that could cause a leak. Replace any missing or damaged Vacuator Valves and air cleaner fasteners. Never attempt to repair a damaged filter.

Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa