WAAAAaayyyy back when I first became aware of diesel engines, I started
asking questions from those experienced in diesel operation and
maintenance. The earliest tidbit of info I received was, that for
maximum life and freedom from failures, the absolutely BEST thing you
can do for a diesel engine, is KEEP THE FILTERS CLEAN!
And of course, use GOOD quality filters as part of that treatment.
One such approach to better filtering, as related to engine oil, is use
of an efficient high quality bypass oil filter. There are many good
brand choices out there, and bypass oil filtration is pretty common on
many diesel engine types, including commercial 18-wheel trucks.
Here's what I use:
That filter does NOT replace the existing stock fuel filter, it simply
provides a separate additional filter down at lower particle sizes that
the stock full-flow filter misses.
I first started using the Frantz brand of bypass filters back in the
late 50's , on the Chevy small block engine in the truck I had at that
time - in fact, that's my ORIGINAL Frantz base and clamp from that
first filter from the 50's seen in the above picture - I still use the
original outer canister as well, and rotate it in use with the one seen
here. I'm no stranger to bypass oil filtering, so figure I'm as
qualified as any to give a rundown on what they are, and what they can
do. And yeah, especially in those earlier years, I heard all the usual
misinformed comments from critical guys related to use of TP or paper
towels as a filtering material - "Toilet paper belongs in the bathroom,
not an engine!" and "Hell, that TP will just all fall apart when the
oil hits it, and end up down in the pan, or WORSE!"
Bypass oil filtration involves diverting a very small percentage of the
engine's oil flow from the lube system, and running it thru a
high-density filter cartridge at a low flow rate to provide filtration
of impurities and contamination down at particle sizes FAR smaller than
a stock full-flow filter is capable of.
Here's a pic of the flow restriction in one of my Frantz filters:
YUP - that little 1/8 diameter hole is where all the oil flows thru on the way to the filter cartridge.
The diverted flow is quite small, and poses no risk to overall lube
flow and pressure. A stock oil filter is typically adequate in
filtering down in the 10-20 micron range - but a bypass filter like the
Frantz pictured above will take out stuff down in the SUB
Why is that significant? Because wear particles larger than 2-3 microns
are capable of bridging the usual layer thickness of oil film in rings
and bearings, and causing accellerated engine wear - and obviously, the
stock filters are pretty useless down at those particle sizes.
A filter like the Frantz uses a toilet paper cartridge as the filter
material, and a new TP cartridge loaded in the filter canister ready to
install, looks like THIS:
The bypass oil flow must pass LENGTHWISE thru that entire compressed
roll of TP before being returned to the engine - believe me, it gets
VERY well filtered by the time it comes out the other end!
Frantz sells their own brand of excellent specially produced TP
replacement cartridges - but I've always used a good off-the-shelf
brand selected for it's quality and tightly wound characteristics that
guarantee best filtering qualities:
These Scott rolls cost about 80 cents a roll - not too hard on the wallet!
I usually swap in a new TP cartridge replacement every 3000 miles or so
- or typically 1-2 changes for every oil change - and that also
requires adding a quart of new oil to make up for what's absorbed by
the old/new TP cartridge.
Here's a shot of the newly removed old TP cartridge showing separate
components, and how little oil loss and mess are commonly experienced:
There are a few mods seen to my filter - I'll explain them later if
desired - meanwhile, here's a pic of the old TP cartridge removed from
And NO, no "TP falling apart into the pan and engine"!
One nice feature of this setup, is the ability to actually SEE any of
the larger captured particles on the top surface of the cartridge -
there SHOULD be VERY few evident on a NEW, unseated engine, declining
over 20,000 miles or so, until NONE are visible once the engine is
fully broken in.
SO, how's the Frantz bypass installed? The lead pic showed mine
attached with it's bracket to the battery hold-down bolt on the
passenger side of the engine bay - the high pressure supply hose to the
Frantz picks off from the normally plugged port on top of the stock oil
filter housing - do ya suppose Cummins had a bypass filter in mind when
they thoughtfully provided that port?
The oil return FROM the Frantz on my engine goes to a neat Amsoil
supplied swivel fitting installed on the oil fill cap on the valve
cover - this allows easy normal use of that cap, and also provides a
convenient point to capture sample oil for oil analysis if desired:
So how is a new TP cartridge installed? On a Frantz provided roll, it's
simply inserted into the canister - it's all ready to go as supplied.
On the Scotts TP I use, the outer layers of the roll must be peeled off
to get the roll down to a size that provides a tight fit into the
THEN, with application of a little force and a twisting motion, the new cartridge is seated into the housing:
All done, and the new cartridge is ready for installation on the base
section - the whole operation from removal of the old cartridge to
reinstallation typically takes less than 15 minutes and RARELY is there
even a DROP of waste oil to be cleaned up outside the filter itself!
SO - how effectively does the Frantz clean the oil? Here's a pic of my dipstick at about 5000 miles on the Delo 400 I use:
And here's an oil analysis on that same oil:
That was on my '91 truck at over 113,000 miles on the engine, and
here's an analysis on the '02 at 42,000 miles, on oil with *20,000*
miles on it:
NOW, let's address the concerns and old wives tales about use of TP as a filtering agent:
1. NO, the TP does NOT "fall apart" and all end up down in the oil pan
and plugging oil galleries - paper normally is QUITE stable when
exposed to oil - sometimes is even STRONGER oiled than it is dry! Ever
notice what the stock filters are made of in our trucks? P-A-P-E-R!
Different structure, but PAPER just the same! AND , did you notice in
the oil analysis posted earlier, the extremely LOW Insoluables numbers?
That refers to stuff like soot and any OTHER contaminent - INCLUDING
2. "Toilet paper belongs in the outhouse
!". OK, if you
believe that, one of these TP and paper towel bypass filters is NOT for
you - no problem, I don't sell them, and haven't the least to gain as
to whether you use one or not - this thread is PURELY for information -
not a sales pitch!
3. "Use of a bypass fIlter will void your warranty!"
haven't had the SLIGHTEST issue with my local dealerships with mine on
about 6 different vehicles, including the last 2 Dodges - in fact, I
usually get a big
from the service guys when they see that filter - BUT all dealerships
are NOT the same, if you have concerns, ask your dealer, or DON'T USE
one of these filters!
4. "Too much trouble and expense to change out the TP cartridge!"
Well, if a 80 cent filter, and a $1.75 quart of oil and 15 minutes is
too much, you probably won't like this filter - but for me and other
users, the VASTLY cleaner oil is well worth the small extra effort and
expense - YMMV!
For extra, independent reading on use of bypass filtering, try this:
In a thread over on TDR similar to this, enough interest was generated
that a group buy ended up with nearly 100 units bought immediately and
in later followups - as I said, *I* have no financial interest in who
does or does NOT want what a bypass filter provides - but if you ARE
interested, contact www.wefilterit.com
and ask for Deborah Harley - if you mention you were sent by Gary
Davidson in Canyon City Oregon in regards to a group price for a
filter, I'm pretty sure she will still honor the earlier special
pricing, but I can't speak for her or guarantee a thing!
SO, have I taken earlier advice as to using good filtering on my engine to extend it's lifespan? Judge for yourself:
Some might laugh at that BHAF, the Frantz oil bypass and the Frantz
fuel filter over on the right side as "overkill" - but it seems to me
that after spending the $$$ we do to increase performance and add
potential wear to the increasingly stressed engine the FEW extra
dollars seen in mine to RESTORE some of that lifespan is hardly money
wasted! Barring something well out of the ordinary, I feel this engine
will still be going strong long after *I* am no longer around to use it
- and THAT'S OK too!