Every 200 hours or yearly. Filters

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by DJL50, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. DJL50

    DJL50 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I own a Toro ZTR. Since it is for home use I do not put a lot of hours on it. With the lack of rain last summer I only have 64 hours in 1 1/2 years. The owners manual says to replace the air filter every 200 hours or yearly. My question is why every year? I believe in keeping my mower in good service but that seems like overkill in my case. an air filter should last 200 hours of use no matter of the time involved. The filter looks new.
  2. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

    If it looks new you are fine, however they are cheap enough that they should be changed out as often as needed. Most commercial LCO's will put about 200 hours or more on the machine each year hence the recommendation from toro. If it is still new looking...keep going with the same filter but I would change it at 100 hours no matter what just to keep it in great shape.
  3. AmsoilPower

    AmsoilPower LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 938

    Sometimes paper filters deteriorate over time, forming holes in the filter. You know what happens to the engine when that happens.....:cry:

    One thing to keep in mind.......You may have had the filter only a year, but how long did the dealer have it sitting in the back room or out on a fully lit display 24/7. The paper can become very brittle with continuous light for a couple years. If the filter looks kinda like a bright white, it is probably ok. If the paper looks old, get rid of it!!!!!
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Look, if it breaks don't come to me lol but I have 100 hours on my Everride and it's 1.5 years old, as for the air filter all I do is check it and maybe bang it out to see if it got dust in it.

    Run it so long you think it's gtg, but it does go against the recommendations.
    But that's what I do.
  5. jkingrph

    jkingrph LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    I purchased a Scag Wildcat early summer of '06. At about 5 hours I changed engine oil and filter, also hydro oil and filter. Changed Hydro filter and oil again at about 40 hours. Engine oil gets changed every 25. It's overkill, but I paid so much I want this thing to last. Oil and filters are cheap insurance. It's always worked on other equipment.
  6. treemonkey

    treemonkey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    I have been maintaining ag. and lawn equipment at my workplace for over 20 years. Big tractors, compact tractors, JD Gator, and Exmark ZTR. I have wrestled with this maintenance interval question many times and decided to "split the difference" on many items. Like you, I only put a fraction of hours on our stuff compared to commercial operators. Usually 100 to 120 hrs. on the tractors, 100 on the Gator, and only about 75 on the Exmark.

    The big tractors get annual oil/filter changes 'cause the manual states 250 +/-. The compact tractor get 2 times a year oil/filter because it only holds 2.5 quarts...ridiculous for a 25hp tractor that runs hard.

    Diesel fuel filters every year due to fuel problems in the past...probably overkill.

    Air filters???? I called Exmark recently on this and they confirmed my practices. It's very subjective because one operator may be working in relatively dustless conditions and another in dust bowl conditions. Tapping/blowing elements to clean them can be risky...a small hole created could destroy your engine. I avoid it and I avoid opening/removing my filters alot...it's just a chance to introduce dirt to your engine,IMO. In a dark room, hold a new filter up to a bright light to see how much light penetrates. Compare that to a used filter. If I see very little or no light thru the element, I replace them. Filter restriction devices can offer objective help and many will argue that a partially clogged element filters more "finely". Others argue that at some point, power and fuel consumption will suffer with a clogged filter.

    The time/paper degradation argument is somewhat valid, I think. I chose two years as the maximum for my equipment. One has to weigh the risk/benefit....risk a $20 filter on a $10,000 piece of equipment?

    From experience, I go with 2 year changes on the big tractors (1 year/xxx hrs. in the book). They run fairly clean and even the JD dealer concurs. No problems and I think they could go 3 years (I,m chicken).

    MY compact tractor runs dirty and the air filter is replaced annually at 100 hours+/-.

    My Exmark looks fairly clean after one season and 80 hours. A factory rep. said 2 years is o.k. (book says annual/200hrs.)

    Again, it is very subjective. I split the diffference....2 years, but still under the hours recommendation.

    If you feel uneasy, save yourself some grief and just change it and know you spent a few dollars extra on a several thousand dollar machine. Also, if you know a reputable dealer/mechanic, take a questionable filter to them to see if they they think 2 years is o.k..

    Again, both John Deere and Exmark agreed with my 2 year/under book hours recommendation. I have some good mechanics that I have developed a good rapor with in my area.

    Good Luck!
  7. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    I agree with most....sometimes time is as hard on parts as actual use....if it has 2 seasons on it I would replace it


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