Why do so many people fail air cleaner class? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 19, 7:47 PM Thread Starter
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Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

I am looking on Craigslist and someone selling a 440 Charger and the air cleaner is dirty and maybe 8 inches x 2 inches high and flat so no curved airflow into carb straight 90 degrees. I remember the Engine Masters had some air cleaner test that showed big power drops on something like this.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 19, 7:52 PM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

Thatís because it was the only air cleaner they could get for $5 at the swapmeet. There are more than a few people that run a small diameter air cleaner so they can show off more of their engine, in those cases what they are showing off is often nothing special.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 19, 9:20 PM
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Seems like this little 8 and 10” air cleaners were very popular back in the 1970s / early 1980s. Could be because they were cheap, or could be because the wanted to show off that brand new $99 3310 Holley they ordered fro PAW from the Car Craft magazine ad.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 19, 9:37 PM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew540 View Post
I am looking on Craigslist and someone selling a 440 Charger and the air cleaner is dirty and maybe 8 inches x 2 inches high and flat so no curved airflow into carb straight 90 degrees. I remember the Engine Masters had some air cleaner test that showed big power drops on something like this.
They must have missed that episode or their wasn't enough room for the salad bowl air cleaner that was the top performer!
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 19, 12:29 AM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

There's a class?
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 19, 7:41 AM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

In my youth, the thing to do was put on "Polish Headers" by flipping the air filter lid. It would still seal on the filter, but leave it open all the way around, and dip down in the middle. Like a free "warm air intake". Probably lost power, especially on hot days, but sounded cooler!
Then your dad could tell because it would make an imprint on the hood insulation, fun times.
My experience with that was on a 1975 Impala with 350 2bbl.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 19, 8:38 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

I talked to a friend who has a 440 and the factory element is like 12.5 x 2.5+ inches so this one is like 60% of the factory one. Back in the 1970s I bought a car and it had real small triangle one. I remember did not like look went out and bought a Moroso drop base one 14 x 3 that they had come out with in the late 1970s. Yes, I should have done the salad bowl. I just saw a test (Hot Rod network) on a 550 hp 454 and they did the test on the 14x3 and some other including a final test with a 9x2 flat top similar (but still bigger) to one like I saw - it was 35 hp and 30 tq down from the 14 x 3.

Last edited by Lew540; Mar 2nd, 19 at 8:56 AM. Reason: adding stuff
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 19, 11:09 AM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

There is a reason the Corvette 3X2 oem air cleaner is chicken wire and foam. How do we get 750 cfm thru 2" ? Never mind the tripower can flow up to 1125 cfm. Never in stock figuration. And when you size a proper air filter and need 3.125" MIN to get 950+ cfm, you realize why the GM engineers ran chicken wire and coarse foam on their no hood clearance 2".

Which begs the question, how much CFM do y'all think a 14X3" flows? The typical setup? https://www.knfilters.com/dynocharts/E-1650.pdf

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 19, 1:57 PM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

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Originally Posted by davewho1 View Post
There's a class?
Evidently there is a need

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Originally Posted by 427L88 View Post
There is a reason the Corvette 3X2 oem air cleaner is chicken wire and foam. How do we get 750 cfm thru 2" ? Never mind the tripower can flow up to 1125 cfm. Never in stock figuration. And when you size a proper air filter and need 3.125" MIN to get 950+ cfm, you realize why the GM engineers ran chicken wire and coarse foam on their no hood clearance 2".

Which begs the question, how much CFM do y'all think a 14X3" flows? The typical setup? https://www.knfilters.com/dynocharts/E-1650.pdf
I remember seeing in an old late-60's Hot Rod mag a large oval air cleaner (not unlike the aftermarket Shelby type) for the triple-carb 427s that claimed a significant improvement over the stock triangular style. May have been an exaggeration. If flow is what you seek, ditch the hood & run triple velocity stacks
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 19, 3:12 PM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew540 View Post
I am looking on Craigslist and someone selling a 440 Charger and the air cleaner is dirty and maybe 8 inches x 2 inches high and flat so no curved airflow into carb straight 90 degrees. I remember the Engine Masters had some air cleaner test that showed big power drops on something like this.
On Craigslist? And it has an air filter on it? No way. Whenever i look at cars on CL, none of them have air cleaners on them. but they all "run great."
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 19, 7:47 PM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

Dirty is not a good thing but many of the old cars had small air filters.


Not all 14x3 filters flow the same.I used to stack 2 of that size in the Fram brand on my 72 cutlas S.
If I used only 1 it would be way down on power almost like you pulled 2 spark plug wires..huge difference.

My Uncle came to town and just shook his head at the orange filters and said go get a WIX in the same size just 1 of them.

I did just that ansd it was just as quick as 2 of the others stacked.

I tried a K&N 20+ years ago that was used but cleaned and oiled ..Pulled it from my buddies 455 Olds we swapped air filters just to do some testing and the K&N killed my power. Never ran another one.
Not only that reason but the fact no air cleaner ran just the same as running with the WIX.

And the fact that all my friends that were running K&N would have a lot of crunchy dirt on the choke and other areas that should have been filtered.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 19, 10:12 PM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer4x4 View Post
In my youth, the thing to do was put on "Polish Headers" by flipping the air filter lid. It would still seal on the filter, but leave it open all the way around, and dip down in the middle. Like a free "warm air intake". Probably lost power, especially on hot days, but sounded cooler!
Then your dad could tell because it would make an imprint on the hood insulation, fun times.
My experience with that was on a 1975 Impala with 350 2bbl.

I saw one of these air cleaner mods while working as a tech at a Pontiac dealer in 1972. The son did this to moms 72 Firebird and slammed the hood. On start up there was a knocking noise. The hood cracked the air horn on the two barrel carb and the piece got in to the cylinder.

I donít remember how extensive the fix was but the engine did come apart. Itís good to check the clearance if trying this.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 19, 3:03 AM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer4x4 View Post
In my youth, the thing to do was put on "Polish Headers" by flipping the air filter lid. It would still seal on the filter, but leave it open all the way around, and dip down in the middle. Like a free "warm air intake". Probably lost power, especially on hot days, but sounded cooler!
Then your dad could tell because it would make an imprint on the hood insulation, fun times.
My experience with that was on a 1975 Impala with 350 2bbl.
I did this on my '78 Blazer (Mom's actually)Ö factory 400 small block, stock with headers... the Q-jet would ROAR when the secondaries opened... No clearance issues... Unlock the front hubs, shift the T-case into "4Lo", and that thing was pretty quick (factory 3.73 gears)... up to about 45 MPH... What a blast...


My buddy copied me, with his parents Cadillac Seville (350 Q-jet) Took his mom a while to find out, but when she did, she wasn't too happy...

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 19, 7:38 AM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

Jeff, everyone knows the best filters are high qual clean paper, not cotton guaze. Plus the cottons lose it after many cleanings.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 19, 10:52 AM
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Re: Why do so many people fail air cleaner class?

Sometimes you're stuck using whatever will fit under the hood. Was struggling for every 1/8" in added hood clearance when I installed the Weiand Single plane on the 540". Dropbase (IIRC was 1.5") was deepest I could find. Had the core shimmed up about 3/8", just enough to barely notice the variance in the door gaps. Had to run a K&N E3742 14" x 2.81" height which gained another 3/16". Air Cleaner lid still just barely hit the hood. I had even thought about shimming the body up 3/8"-1/2" (fyi, car had new body mounts) just for a little more clearance at both the rear tires and hood clearance. If were ever to do it again, I'd just get a cowl hood, gain the 2-1/2" and be done with it.
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