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Cannister air filters vs regular dual element filters and engine life!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grassman177, May 15, 2010.

  1. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    I was curious about this via the other thread about the homemade air filter. i know cannisters are better but dont know how much in terms of engine life so here is my deal......................

    we have cannisters on all of our ztrs wether it be the kubota diesels or the 25 kaw on our warriors.

    all the other 17 hp kaw on our standers etc have the regular paper covered with foam stock filters. my experience so far is we dont seem to get that great of hours on those engines b4 starting to have issues especially with oil leaks and rings/valves.

    800 hrs seems to be the pont at which most start at least to have symptoms but none have ever gone over 1100 hrs for us.

    we change oil at 50 hrs, air filters are cleaned as needed or twice a week or so depending on conditions.

    So, my end question is for any of your with walkbehinds or stand on mowers that have cannisters on the 17 or 19hp kaw engines get less trouble and much more life out of your engines with them for the added cost.???

    thanks for sharing your expereinces.:drinkup:
  2. SouthSide Cutter

    SouthSide Cutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,331

    I have the same filter on my Scags, BobCats and WB. Only have to keep one type of filter around. I have never seen the inside filter dirty on any of my equipment. Have a 2001 GrassHopper with a 20hp Kohler and over 2000hrs. Still doesnt use oil. I just think they are the life of the mtr. Plus I run 15-50 Mobil 1 in all my air cooled equipment and also in the hydros, so I only keep 1 type of oil around also.
    I have some of the complete filters extra so if I buy one without I just fab it and then put it back org before selling.
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    A well built air filter is a well built air filter. It's as simple as that. It doesn't matter whether it's in a canister, a mower, a car or a tractor. The differences is how the filter is mounted.

    Kawasaki has some of the worst factory air filter housings I've ever seen. It is a job just to get them to keep dirt out of the engine. I have 4 Kawasaki engines here and only 1 of them has a decent housing and that's only if you're only comparing it to the other 3. They design them so that any larger dirt that does enter the housing is almost guaranteed to get stuck to the oil that is always inside of the housing. The reason the oil is always there is because they vent the crankcase into the housing instead of the intake manifold. Then even if you go to great lengths to get as much dirt out of the housing before you remove the air filter, some dirt always ends up falling into the engine. On the front air filter mounted engines like the early KAIs the seal between the filter and housing is garbage. There is no way to actually keep dirt out of the engine. I put an extra 3/8" layer of foam rubber around mine to get it to seal tight enough to keep dirt out.
  4. I went to buy a new filter for my mower's Donaldson filter housing and the outer element was going to be $40 @ O'Reilly's. I need to do some looking online.
  5. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    so you are saying from the get go the air filters stock from the kai engines are letting dirt get right past the seals. hmmm, anyone else find this to be an issue?

    assuming that is the problem, would having the cannister with proper sealing significantly extend the life of the internal parts of the engine. rings and valve seals are a big issue and that seems like a verfy likely culprit.

    please anymore info and thoughts.
  6. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Yes...absolutly true! The seal is very poor. I have had to breakdown and clean the carb on mine at less than 150 hours from new. The inside of the paper element was perfect...but the dirt around the edges was getting in.
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    On the early flat panel filters it is a huge problem. That's why they changed to the current roundish type filter. Even with the newer filter you have to be very, very careful when you remove it so you don't drop any dirt off of the bottom of the filter down in the carb when you remove it.

    The whole setup of the canister filter virtually eliminates this issue. They mount sideways so it very difficult to drop any dirt down into the carb intake when you remove the filter. They're a much larger capacity filter so you don't have to check them as often. If you use a FilterMinder you can check them once or twice a season. And the newer canister filters have a secondary filter inside of the primary filter just in case some errant dirt does try to get into the carb intake.

    On my 13 hp KAI I check and clean the filter every week. On my canister equipped 28 Kohler I look at the FilterMinder occassionally while the mower is running. If it's in good shape I leave the filter alone and change it once a year. All I really do on my Kohler is open that little rubber dust catcher up once in a while and let what little dirt gets past the turbo precleaner out.

    I ccould easily go for years without removing the air filter from it's housing. The only reason I remove it now is to replace it once every couple of years.
  8. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,253

    I have noticed on mine as well, that the actual filter stays very clean and all the dust and dirt accumulates in the "dustcap" area, which is emptied every so often.
  9. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    interesting, all our 17 hp kai angines have the oval type air filters, but seems like something is going thru to make these engines fail so early imo. maybe in the future we should order them with the cannister and prolong engine life.

    the second part of my original ??? is how much engine life in hours can one expect to be gained from having a cannister filter on instead of stock? 300, 500? longer or no difference?
  10. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    That is hard for me to answer. I can only tell you what I've seen. I can only compare Kawasaki engines to the engines I've had on my Dixie Choppers and it's not even a fair comparision to almost any other mower out there. Dixie Chopper is huge into filtration. I know that my Kohler on my Dixie will easily outlast the Kawasakis I have. But whether it's attributable to the canister, the Turbo Precleaner or the Amsoil bypass oil filter I don't know.

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