2018 - Acceptable Oil Filter Brands?

Discussion in 'N2 Paddock Section' started by JakeSizzle, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. JakeSizzle

    JakeSizzle New Member

    So from last season to this season I purchased a used already-built track bike (2007 ZX6R). The bike is ready to go! However, it has a K&N oil filter. Is N2 allowing these to be run this year or has there been an official ban of these filters for trackday use with N2?

    I plan to be at Summit Main this coming sunday so I need to put on a new filter ASAP if they don't allow K&N.

    Thanks for the valuable feedback
  2. Dave561

    Dave561 Control Rider

    Not sure if officially banned but I wouldn’t personally take the chance. They’re relatively cheap and there’s been too many reported failures for me to trust them
    HondaGalToo likes this.
  3. HondaGalToo

    HondaGalToo Control Rider

    Agree with Dave. You don't want to be "that guy"!
  4. D-Zum

    D-Zum Alex's Dad

    It sucks too because those K&N filters are a nice design with that pre-drilled safety wire nut on the top of the filter.
    That aspect of their product is a great feature. Wish the OEM's did that, too.
  5. chrisplm

    chrisplm Chris Control Rider

    I've had issues with K&Ns (that were safety wired) leaking around the O-ring seal on my bikes, and I've had them come completely loose on my cars. That being said, I haven't heard of any official bans yet either, but I won't use them on anything anymore.
  6. wmhjr

    wmhjr Grandpa Control Rider Director

    Years ago, K&N used to be a quality oil filter. They are no longer quality or reliable. there are at least two failure modes that I'm aware of concerning their oil filters. Poor quality material and welding can allow voids and cracks in the metal around the "nut", resulting in leaks (whether you used the nut to tighten or not). Seals have also reportedly failed as Chris mentioned.

    Coincidentally, when K&N was "quality", they were contract manufactured by HiFlo. The issues started several years ago when K&N moved their manufacturing to a cheaper, low quality provider. HiFlo still manufactures some OEM filters, as well as their own line of filters. HiFlo has the "RC" or "Racing" line of filters which also have a nut welded to the filter - similar in appearance to K&N. However, they are not the same units, and I've yet to be able to find a single instance of a reported failure of a HiFlo filter. Unfortunately, because they look similar, there is at least one track (MidOhio) that IMHO over-reacted and just banned all K&N and HiFlo filters. There are still misguided people out there thinking they're the same filters. They are not.
  7. chrisplm

    chrisplm Chris Control Rider

    I have had good luck so far with the HiFlo Filtro filters, both the Race, and regular versions.
  8. Slitherin

    Slitherin Control Rider Director

    I know the event in question is already past but I would personally never run a bike I had just bought without changing the oil before riding on the track. The few bucks it takes to change the oil is nothing compared to the piece of mind the oil pan isn't full of chocolate milk......Everything I buy gets a fresh fluid change so if something goes wrong, I can only blame myself. And banned or not banned, I would not put a K&N filter on my bike knowing the issues that have been popping up.
  9. fowlplayracing

    fowlplayracing Steve Control Rider

    This very issue came up in tech Sunday morning. After a discussion the decision was made NOT to allow the bike fitted with a K&N filter to pass inspection. Cudos to Allen Miles (CR) for his kind gesture of giving the member a stock filter so he could participate.
  10. bmart

    bmart Control Rider

    Nice job Allen Miles (CR)! I'm not sure that we've been instructed to look for the K&N specifically, but I will from now on.

    I've been using Yamaha, Bosch, and Mobil1 filters on all of the bikes and cars for many years without any issues. Track bikes go 1.5k miles between changes and the street bikes are on 8k and 3.3k intervals, per the manufacturer.
  11. vinny337

    vinny337 Vin is in...Beastmode! Control Rider

    OEM filters that is all. So far I only know of 1 organization that has banned K&N filters.
  12. jimmyz63

    jimmyz63 New Member

    So according to Steve and bmart, they will not pass K&N filters. I'll trash my remaining K&N filters, but there needs to be consistency at tech or some riders are going to get screwed. If N2 has a problem with them, then publish that fact.
  13. Menotomy

    Menotomy Blue Flag Expert

    Was about the post the same. I just use OEM with a hose clamp safety wired to a hard part.
    vinny337 likes this.
  14. mdhokie

    mdhokie New Member

    I need to know if this is going to be an official thing. I have used nothing but these K&N filters for the last 9 years, on both my street and track bike, and have never had a problem. I currently have one on my bike. I really don't want to lose $70 worth of Motul 300V oil to change a filter which is working fine, and I have verified is not one of the recalled manufacture dates.
  15. wmhjr

    wmhjr Grandpa Control Rider Director

    I can't answer as to if - or when - this becomes an "official thing". Here's what I can say. I really don't care how long somebody has used one of these filters without an issue. There are clear, documented, factual data sets of K&N filters failing in multiple ways WELL OUTSIDE of the recalled manufactured dates, and WELL BEYOND the part number that K&N included in the recall. At this point, IMHO if you're going to be on the track, recognizing trends and making sound decisions that could impact not only yourself - but everyone else on the track including those even in different groups than you are in is a key part of this sport. You can change that filter without losing all of your oil if you're fast and prepared. Your hands are going to get a little oily, but I'd be way more than willing to bet that you could change out that filter without draining the oil, and only losing maybe less than half a quart of oil.

    How will you feel if you don't change that filter, and it fails - and then you oil up the track causing perhaps a crash as well as more than an hour of track downtime while the maintenance crews try to clean the oil spill as best they can?

    Speaking bluntly - people continuing to say "they've never had a problem" is exactly the same as somebody who's a heavy smoker saying "I never got lung cancer". The track can be a dangerous place. The decisions we all make have a seriously high impact on everyone around us. That's exactly why when we're evaluating people for bumps from N to I, or I to A, decision making and judgement are two of the most important factors that are considered. I see the choice of whether or not to use a K&N filter on the track pretty much the same as the decision of whether or not to make that bad pass and put another rider at risk.

    mdhokie, please take this in the way it's intended. I'm absolutely not trying to give you a hard time. Just trying to give context to a safety issue.
  16. Menotomy

    Menotomy Blue Flag Expert

    If it does become official and you have to remove the filter, you can clean your drain pan really well then just pour the oil back into the engine and top it off with fresh oil. Also, if you only remove the filter and not the drain bolt, then you might lose less oil depending on the location of the filter.

    Someone please jump in and say this is a bad idea if they've seen issues result from reusing relatively new oil, but as far as I know as long as the oil is in "good" condition this is an okay practice in situations like this.
  17. mdhokie

    mdhokie New Member

    Do we have any sources on that? I am quite willing to respond to a clear risk. It wasn't all that clear to me; my impression was that one or two anecdotes caused mass panic. And I also reasoned that if they did a recall, then they figured out what went wrong and corrected the problem.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  18. wmhjr

    wmhjr Grandpa Control Rider Director

    There are more sources than you can shake a stick at. Just do a little searching yourself. There are failures reported as recently as last week. I'm still amazed that people aren't aware of the issue at hand. Here is a short explanation:

    K&N filters used to be (years ago) a quality part. They were at the time manufactured under contract by HiFlo for K&N. A number of years ago (at least 3) K&N - for at least a couple reasons that I'm aware of ceased having HiFlo do their manufacturing, and shifted to a low cost country source for manufacture of said filters - as well as changing material suppliers. Since that time, there are two different known failure modes of the K&N filters.

    1) The seal itself has failed. The seal apparently even when properly torqued (not over torqued) - and not just because the previous O-ring was not removed - fails, resulting in oil being pumped out between the mating surface of the oil filter canister and the engine mount surface.

    2) The welded nut/flange on the top of the filter develops cracks/voids either in the welds, or surrounding the welds between that flange and the canister itself. This happens at times even if the nut is not used at all for actually installing the filter - but is (if used at all) only used to safety wire the filter. This is apparently due to a combination of poor material quality and poor manufacturing process. It is NOT - repeat NOT - a result of people who use the nut to tighten the filter - nor is it due to over-tightening.

    The recalled filters were restricted to a very small date range of only the 204 (both black and chrome) filters. However, you yourself can find tons of examples of other K&N filters failing in one or both of the above mentioned failure modes that are outside of both that manufacture date range or of a different part number (i.e., motorcycle type).

    So the question is: What exactly is it that makes the K&N filter so desirable to you that you choose it rather than an OEM or HiFlo filter? If there is even a small risk of known failure, but the OEM or HiFlo filters have effectively zero known failures, why take the chance on something that on a racetrack could be so significant? The HiFlo racing series of filters have a very similar appearance to the K&N (including the nut) if you really like that feature. Otherwise, a simple hose clamp around the canister accomplishes the same function as well on an OEM filter.
  19. tdelegram

    tdelegram Well-Known Member

    I think Bill did a nice job of highlighting the safety aspects above so I won’t beat that horse. What I will say is why gamble with your motors future, loss of oil pressure will be catostrophic to the motor and if it’s not you will alway question the health of your motor over at worst case $100 bucks for a complete oil change, probably closer to $30 for a filter swap and top off. I personally would empathize with you if the filter failed, but at this point there would be no sympathy as it’s been discussed
  20. mdhokie

    mdhokie New Member

    I did see a number of reported failures on the K&N, but it's hard to tell in any particular case whether it was installed correctly (everybody will always say it was) and whether it was one of the recalled models. I am looking at other filters, evaluating for quality and safety. They probably all work, and probably all of them fail sometimes. I think you are taking a gamble on your engine no matter what you choose, based on reputation and hearsay, since none of us has a full data set of all filter failures by manufacture and model. The best info is on the oil filter cut-apart videos where you can see the design, but that still doesn't tell you whether or not any given seal is likely to blow.

    HiFlo with the safety wire nut appears visually identical to the K&N, so is the problem:
    a) a fundamental design issue, and the HiFlo suffers the same problems and it just hasn't come to light
    b) a material issue and HiFlo uses substantially better materials (how would you know?)
    c) a specific manufacturing defect which was fixed. Just because a part was made in a different country doesn't mean their welding machines are automatically better or worse.
    Substituting HiFlo for K&N seems based only on brand reputation more than any publicly available quality comparison I can find.

    FRAM is also out, as the filter media dissolves and destroys the engine:

    Yamaha OEM (Denso) isn't known for outright failure, but have been pointed out for poor quality:

    I guess the apparent answer is to use the Yamaha/Denso with the gooey cardboard end cap & brittle filter media design, the thought being that at least it fails by putting trash in your engine instead of blowing oil outside the engine.

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