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Thread: Check your fuel filter!

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    Registered User ZCurves's Avatar
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    Default Check your fuel filter!

    So in the process of converting to a custom fuel rail and changing out injectors, I was changing my fuel filter. When I got the filter loose it was rattling around and I am thinking crap, this might be the culprit of some of the fuel issues that I have been having for fricken forever. So I cut it open only to find out a small Chump-Azz filter that had come loose from the fitting. I believe that this was a Fram, but I am not certain. What pisses me off is that I don't go cheap on this kind of stuff - it is worth it to spend the $$ on good filters. Every one of you is familiar with the Z's fist size filter and you might think that surely it is stuffed full of pleated filter paper giving you full protection AND of course it is not going to come apart causing a blockage to flow. Check out the pics to appreciate my anger!! The first pic shows the cheap paper element and the exit to the Fuel Rail (red arrow) that was undoubtedly being intermittently blocked. The second pic shows that even the bottom plate of the cheap paper element came loose. The adhesive that they used completely failed. So what is the purpose of this rant? Well I think it would be a good exercise to have a couple members of the forum split open a few different filters to help identify which one(s) to avoid and of course get a list of truly high quality filters. But before you comment - split open a filter to make sure you weren't duped as I was.

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    Andrew (ZCurves)
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    1978 280Z (stock) TomoHawk's Avatar
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    Do the same with your oil filter to see was was coming out of the engine too.
    Drive Responsibly.
    enjoy classic Rock music.

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    yikes! i wonder if it was a casualty to ethanol? in the motorcycle world we've been dealing with all kinds of material and adhesive failures due to adverse reactions with ethanol. fuel lines turning gooey and popping off fuel pumps (they are submerged in the tank) fuel tanks made of plastic (the same plastic used for decades for tanks) warping and deforming to the point where they no longer fit on the mounting hardware, fuel pump screens turning brittle and disintegrating...
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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    No ID marks at all on the outside? I'm going to go cut up an old filter right now if I can find it.

    Edit - couldn't find it...
    Last edited by Zed Head; 09-07-2014 at 07:35 PM.
    1976 280Z, with some minor modifications

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    Yep TomoHawk, that one is next!
    Last edited by ZCurves; 09-07-2014 at 08:18 PM.
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    Registered User ZCurves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rossiz View Post
    yikes! i wonder if it was a casualty to ethanol?...
    I sure hope not! Those are problems none of us need.
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    Registered User Stanley's Avatar
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    RobbMc Performance Products - Fuel Filters

    I got the large 100 micron for carbs (by the tank). 40 micron for F.I. after the pump. Seems like overkill but figure I won't have to clean it very often. Nice price compared to K&N etc. Hefty filters.

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    Registered User EuroDat's Avatar
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    I still have the one I changed when I had water in my fuel at the beginning of the summer. Its an original Nissan or at least it came from Nissan in a cardboard box with their name on it. Can't remember seeing any Nissan part numbers on it, so they could be sourcing them elsewhere these days.

    Ill cut it open tonight and see whats in it.
    Chas.
    Chas
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    Registered User siteunseen's Avatar
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    What a sham! It's like a pufferfish.

    I am using a Fram cannister filter like that on my D21 pick-up. My Z's is a Wix.
    Last edited by siteunseen; 09-08-2014 at 03:00 AM.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
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    tip of the iceberg.....fake mainland china crap is now getting into jets.... it is a dangerous world.

    Business model: It looks like a fuel filter, feels like a fuel filter.... but ain't a fuel filter suckas.

    oh yeah...Wall Street are luv'n the upcoming alibaba IPO so more crap to come.

    Buyer beware when the >4 layers of amorphous supply chains are all trained in fak'n, lie'n , & cutt'n corners.
    There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EuroDat View Post
    I still have the one I changed when I had water in my fuel at the beginning of the summer. Its an original Nissan or at least it came from Nissan in a cardboard box with their name on it. Can't remember seeing any Nissan part numbers on it, so they could be sourcing them elsewhere these days.

    Ill cut it open tonight and see whats in it.
    Chas.

    It will be interesting to see what's inside. Surely Nissan would be the premium. Fingers crossed. Try to post pics.
    Andrew (ZCurves)
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    One thing that I had going for me is that when I restored the Z, I placed a clear Fram fuel filter between the tank and the Fuel Pump. I had the tank 'Sloshed' and coated, but I wanted to make sure that nothing would contaminate all the new components down line. This is probably why the Cheap-Azz filter in the pic is relatively clean. Can you imagine the mayhem if there had been a bunch of particulate in the system?? I encourage everyone to install a clear filter right off the tank.
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    A tiny, itsy-bitsy ray of optimism for Blue: There was a time, really long ago, that cheap crap came from Japan. Can China ever manufacture fine products like Japan has done for many decades now? There may be some chance, although I have my doubts whether it's in their culture.

    Another ray of hope: There was a time, not quite as far back, that the US and Canada actually made stuff -- good stuff. And I think we could do it again in a heartbeat. My little (almost-antique) Saturn SL-2 is a shining example of the brief resurgence of US quality manufacturing.

    I wonder whether the solution to this fuel filter issue is to place a clear filter after the main filter, so that (1) you can see what's going on, and (2) if the main filter ever craps out, you'll see a big pile of debris in the clear filter. I installed one of these long ago between the tank and pump:

    http://www.autozone.com/autozone/acc...er=294531_0_0_

    It seems to flow well enough and hold up well enough. I don't know whether it can hold up to EFI pressures, though. Incidentally, it's built so that you can screw it apart, clear the filter, and reassemble. I think it's constructed of polycarbonate. Thoughts?
    Last edited by FastWoman; 09-08-2014 at 06:52 AM.
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    Maybe better, if this one is really made of glass (seems to be), then for an investment of $65 or so, with a bit of fuel rail modding, you could have one inline with each injector -- function + bling.

    Amazon.com: Bikers Choice Clear-View Glass Fuel Filters - Fits 5/16in. I.D. Hose 71424: Automotive

    Part of the appeal of this one is that the fittings are actually made of metal, vs. the plastic screw-in fittings for the other one. The hazard is that it might leak, hence engine fire potential.
    Last edited by FastWoman; 09-08-2014 at 07:09 AM.
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

    2001 BMW Z3 Roadster 3.0i soft/hard top (sold)
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    I have used both Nissan & Paraut filters. Very high quality, made in japan, and they appear to be the same filter.

    I get the Paraut's from Autopartswarehouse.com, about $16 currently.

    Just replaced the filter a month ago, didn't keep it or I would cut it open.

    Also use Paraut's water pump, high quality & finish, cast impeller (no stamped steel on these babies).
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    1977 280z 06/77

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    Like everything else, it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. It's the new "normal" everybody is using now days.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    The instructions for those ten dollar glass filters say "not for fuel injection". For carbed systems they're good for diagnosing a dirty fuel tank. I don't want them permanently though. For one thing, there are six places they can leak: 2 hose clamps, 2 screw-in hose barbs, and 2 O-rings. I was checking out all the air bubbles in it (inline before the mechanical fuel pump), when I removed the filter and put a length of clear yellow Tygon in it's place most of the bubbles disappeared.

    Maybe the ethanol was eating the O-rings.

    They flow OK though. I have a good fuel pressure gauge, the pressure only went up about .1 psi when I removed the glass filter.

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    This is just a water cooler gripe session with no brand names or at least a memory of where it came from. "Maybe it's a Fram" isn't good enough. If he paid a cheap-ass price for a cheap-ass filter, who cares where it came from. Value received matches value paid.

    Now if he paid good money through a reputable supply chain, like Autozone or O'Reilly's, then griping about counterfeits or the general decline of part quality is reasonable. But with no idea of where it came from, it's just complaining about a tummy ache.
    1976 280Z, with some minor modifications

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    That's a good warning about alibaba. Counterfeiting is a huge problem. That's why eBay is a "buyer beware" place to get products.

    But still, this path is well-worn. Much more productive to show where it was purchased so people can avoid the same fate. Otherwise, it's just buy two and use one after cutting the other open to verify quality.

    The first post, boiled down, is just "I cut open an unknown filter and found that it was of poor quality". That's all that's there.
    1976 280Z, with some minor modifications

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    Registered User ZCurves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zed Head View Post
    This is just a water cooler gripe session with no brand names or at least a memory of where it came from. "Maybe it's a Fram" isn't good enough. If he paid a cheap-ass price for a cheap-ass filter, who cares where it came from. Value received matches value paid.

    Now if he paid good money through a reputable supply chain, like Autozone or O'Reilly's, then griping about counterfeits or the general decline of part quality is reasonable. But with no idea of where it came from, it's just complaining about a tummy ache.
    The latter part of your response is the point of the post -- including the discomfort.
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    I get it. I just hate to see the old generalities thrown out there. They don't get anybody anywhere.

    Did you take a good look at the outside of the filter? Most manufacturers print some sort of ID marks on their products. It might be faint but it may still be there. Even just a part number will usually bring up a brand name on the internet.
    1976 280Z, with some minor modifications

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zed Head View Post
    I get it. I just hate to see the old generalities thrown out there. They don't get anybody anywhere.

    Did you take a good look at the outside of the filter? Most manufacturers print some sort of ID marks on their products. It might be faint but it may still be there. Even just a part number will usually bring up a brand name on the internet.
    Agreed. I will take another good look and see if I can find a P/N. It did have 'FLOW' stamped in black on the side, we'll see what turns up.
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    I was too late home from work yesterday after celebrating the release of a new product and team building after the loss of four colleges in MH17.
    I found the old filter. It had a "Nissan" sticker, but its no longer readable. More alarming was the rattle it had when you shook it. Something was loose inside. I can't remeber it rattling like that when I removed it, but then I was more concerned with the water I had in the fuel.

    Looks like the element had let go from the metal sections. Certainly wasn't filtering well like that. The filter is two years old.
    Here are the photos of the filter and the contents.

    Chas
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    Chas
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    Woof. So the Nissan filters aren't immune either?

    Wait... Is that a cupcake?

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    I'm so sorry to hear about your four colleagues on MH17, Chas. Anyway, congrats on the product launch -- Keytruda -- for treatment of HIV, I presume?
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

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    I don't know if the filter was original Nissan or they outsource and slap a sticker on it. One thing is for sure, Ill be changing it more often.

    Thank you Sarah. Two were in our department and going on holiday, the other two were external (I didn't know personally) and were on their way to an Aids conference.
    Keytruda is for treatment of skin cancer. Its one of the Anti PD1 therapy drugs. You will find it by googling MK3475. Pembrolizumab - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Chas
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
    I'm so sorry to hear about your four colleagues on MH17, Chas. Anyway, congrats on the product launch -- Keytruda -- for treatment of HIV, I presume?
    I second that! Talk about 'two degrees of separation', very sad. Great News for Keytruda though. I work at a large cancer institute in Houston, I am sure we'll be seeing use of it soon. Melanoma is a terrible form of cancer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EuroDat View Post
    ...Looks like the element had let go from the metal sections. Certainly wasn't filtering well like that. The filter is two years old....Chas
    I am just going to start changing mine every Spring with an OEM filter. Even though I put few miles on the Z every year, there is certainly some causality between ethanol and adhesive/seal failure on fuel system parts.
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    Pretty sure that the Factory Nissan F/F do not have a sticker on them. Information is silk screened on. I'll take a closer look at my BNIB Nissan FF a bit later and post pictures.

    Better yet I'll pull my old FF off and cut it apart to compare. Pretty sure it's OEM Nissan as well.

    Ethanol could certainly be the culprit, especially in concentrations above 10%. All manufacturers usually have warning in the owners manual to avoid ethanol concentrations of more than 10%. Even to this day it will void most manufacturers warranties.

    Only exceptions are Flex Fuel cars which are designed to run on E85. These have specialized components designed to handle the nature of Ethanol.

    Note: BNIB fuel system parts from Nissan, Honda, Ford, GM etc etc have been redesigned over the years to handle up to 10% Ethanol. This includes older models such as the 240Z. However, if you happen to discover a Vintage supply of NOS from Datsun or Nissan, they may not be have the revised materials. Anything in original " Datsun" packaging would certainly NOT be made revised materials.

    ( I was a Datsun/Nissan dealership partsman form 1974 to 1992 )

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    Hi Chickenman,
    Im using genuine Nissan filters to the best of my knowledge, but the Datsun 280Z was not in Europe so the Nissan dealers here may source their fuel filters locally. I would have thought there would be enough 280ZX around in Europe to keep the real thing, but maybe not.
    Chas
    Chas
    5/77 280Z HLS30 403100 with some modifications
    Original colour: 305 Light Blue. The PO changed it to Red

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    I'm kinda lucky here as British Columbia Canada is a hot bed for Datsun 510's and to a lesser extent Z cars. At least three of our major Nissan dealerships have Parts Departments staffed with ex Datsun Racers and they are all still enthusiasts.

    As a result they tend to keep in stock a healthy supply of maintenance parts for our Vintage Datsuns. They also have no hesitation in tracking down obscure parts, be it from the USA, Japan or wherever. It's a really nice community.

    I'm one of the old timers who worked with these guys way back when, in a Galaxy Far,Far Away It's also nice to see that the old guys, who are all Parts Managers and ready to retire, have trained a new group of younger enthusiasts to take over.

    I did a cruise this Summer with a local 510 Club ( The 510 Realm - Index page ) and we stopped off at Local Dealership ( WestCoast Nissan ) on the way. We had half of the Sales department, Service Department and ALL of the Parts department out looking over the cars, chatting and taking pictures. Good Times

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    Anyone try those reusable micro mesh fuel filters? Here is cut'n paste description from the ones they
    use on diesels but I know they make them for efi gasoline also. Paper just seems like a flimsy filter medium.



    Pure Power fuel filters for Cummins, Duramax, and Power Stroke-equipped trucks and SUVs are cleanable and reusable, ensuring you never have to buy a replacement filter. The reusable, deep-pleated filter media is assembled from dual-woven stainless steel and is simply washed with hot soapy water during the cleaning period. Debris removal and filtering improves as much as 90 percent compared to single-use fuel filters,

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    Paper element or cellulose filters are actually a very good filter medium, both for fuel and lubricants. Manufacturers of everything from Mopeds to Locomotive engines have used them for decades and millions of miles for good reason. They are effective and are cheap to replace.

    Stainless mesh steel filters made for Diesels can catch the bigger stuff, but they can not catch the small micron stuff that can plug Petrol fuel injectors. Orifice size on Petrol injectors is usually much smaller than on Diesel Injectors. You can use a Stainless mesh filter as a pre-filter for fuel and this is their main function ( particularly on Diesel engines ) , but it should always be installed with a paper element or synthetic fiber filter after the SS mesh filter.

    Diesel engines usually have multiple filters in the fuel line, including pre-filters and water filters , because the fuel tends to contain more contaminants than Petrol. This is mainly due to methods of Transportation and storage, in remote places like Logging camps and Mines

    The real problem is quality control with the flood of cheap aftermarket products from off shore. Also, product lines that used to be good ( IE: TRW, SKF, Sealed Power ) our now made Globally and quality control suffers greatly.

    Best advice is to buy your filters from OEM. Got a Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Ford, Chevy, Audi whatever.... buy your filters from the Dealer. You pay more, but OEM filters are usually VERY good quality.

    Edit: You can get small micron ( 10 Micron or less ) high quality SS Fuel Filters for Petrol...but they aren't cheap. You also have to watch the filter area size. Many of these filters are designed for Race engines and require more frequent cleaning than a Paper filter
    Last edited by Chickenman; 11-02-2014 at 01:20 AM.

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    For some reason the " Edit Function " is not working properly and I can't edit my above post.

    Member HR369 mentioned that you can get SS mesh filters for EFI systems as well. Edit: But decent ones are not cheap. Expect to pay $125+ for one of decent quality and capacity.

    BTW.. biggest Hype job and marketing ploy of all time is K&N Air filters. Yes they do make horsepower, and they're really good as a filter on things like ATV's and Motocross bikes. Mainly because they don't fall apart when wet and will filter when covered with mud. And they're great for wringing out that last HP on a Race car.

    But as an actual " FILTER " of small particulate matter, they are terrible. You will never EVER see a Cotton gauze type Air filter on any manufacturers engine...because they can't filter the really fine stuff. Same with oil filters. Paper ( actually a Cellulose fiber ) is a very good FILTER medium.

    Here is an Independent study various air filter mediums. K&N and foam filters turn in very poor performances in actaul filtering capacity.

    Summary of testing:

    Air Filter Study Completed!!!!! - TheDieselPage.com Forums

    Link through Nico.club of actual Test Data :

    K&N Air Filter Review - Debunking the Myths (and why OEM is better)
    Last edited by Chickenman; 11-02-2014 at 01:22 AM.

  36. #36
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    How many microns is a paper filter? They now make
    Stainless mesh 10 micron

  37. #37
    Registered User Chickenman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hr369 View Post
    How many microns is a paper filter? They now make
    Stainless mesh 10 micron
    I couldn't get the Edit function to work in my posts before. Fixed now.

    10 Micron is fine for Petrol EFI, but it is not the only determination. You have to watch the flow rates. Pleated Paper element filters have a high surface area which enables them to filter out very small particles while maintaining proper fluid flow rates. That is something that must be considered when purchasing any filter. Most filter manufactures now use a standard called Beta Ratio Testing: This is a good Tech Article from Baldwin Filters ( One of the largest filter manufacturers in NA ) , Click on the PDF's at the bottom of the page:

    Baldwin Filters | Product Highlights

    Actually SS Fuel Filters ( good ones ) now come in 1 Micron sizes which is more than adequate for Petrol EFI. But decent ones are not cheap. SS meshEFI filters for petrol with adequate filter area is going to cost between $125 to $160. And then there's the question of efficiency rating, IE: if the micron rating is rated " nominal " or " absolute ". It's a big difference as per the article above.

    Canton makes excellent products. but I have no idea of their efficiency rating:

    https://www.cantonracingproducts.com...R-OE-FITTINGS/

    IMHO, there is absolutely nothing wrong with paper element filters. As long as you get quality products..... AND stay away from fuel with Ethanol contents higher than 10%.
    Last edited by Chickenman; 11-02-2014 at 01:51 AM.

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