TECH: AIR FIL­TERS

The most com­monly pur­chased af­ter­mar­ket air fil­ter de­signs, how they’re made and how ef­fec­tive each fil­ter is when it comes to balanc­ing the rate of fil­tra­tion with der­e­stricted air­flow…

Performance Vauxhall - - CONTENTS -

The most com­monly pur­chased af­ter­mar­ket air fil­ter de­signs, how they’re made and how ef­fec­tive each fil­ter is when it comes to balanc­ing the rate of fil­tra­tion with high lev­els of der­e­stricted air­flow.

An air fil­ter is al­ways the first up­grade made when en­thu­si­asts look to im­prove their car’s per­for­mance, but this key al­ter­ation is quickly over­shad­owed by more ex­otic mod­i­fi­ca­tions. This is un­fair – the hum­ble air fil­ter is a cru­cial com­po­nent in the quest for in­creased horse­power. More­over, an en­gine with­out an air fil­ter in place will most likely de­stroy it­self through the in­hala­tion of dirt and de­bris. In the worst-case sce­nario, your Vauxhall’s beat­ing heart would shot blast it­self to death from the in­side out. Sheesh!

By its na­ture, a fil­ter in­tro­duces a re­stric­tion of some sort, mean­ing that choos­ing the right air fil­ter can be tricky. The key be­hind de­liv­er­ing un­in­hib­ited air­flow suited to a spe­cific ap­pli­ca­tion is to reach the per­fect com­pro­mise be­tween lev­els of fil­tra­tion, air­flow and in­take air tem­per­a­ture. Ad­di­tion­ally, the re­sult­ing air fil­ter needs to fit in what­ever space is avail­able to ac­com­mo­date it in a car’s en­gine bay.

As a rule of thumb, a fil­ter with higher fil­tra­tion prop­er­ties will flow less air. In other words, you’ll need a larger fil­ter to flow the same vol­ume of air as one with lower fil­tra­tion prop­er­ties. The tem­per­a­ture of the in­take air is just as im­por­tant; hot air is less dense than cold air, mean­ing there’s more oxy­gen avail­able for com­bus­tion in cold air. This is why tem­per­a­ture plays such an im­por­tant role when it comes to in­duc­tion and achiev­ing big bhp, and why a rolling road op­er­a­tor has to make cal­cu­la­tions which con­sider the ef­fects of volatile am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture be­fore he or she is able to pro­vide you with ac­cu­rate power fig­ures af­ter your car has en­joyed a ses­sion on the dyno.

There are many types of air fil­ter avail­able for you to choose from. A va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als can be used de­pend­ing on the de­sired fil­tra­tion rate and in­tended ap­pli­ca­tion. In this ar­ti­cle, we take a closer look at the most pop­u­lar de­signs, ex­am­in­ing how each of them is made and how they work.

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