Questions about oiling the air filter - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Questions about oiling the air filter

So I did my 7500 mile service yesterday...changed the spark plugs and cleaned the air filter.

Everything went well, although I did panic when I lost the air filter screw in the air filter housing. I got it out okay.

It's kind of a pain to clean the air filter. I used gasoline, despite their recommendation for a high flashpoint solvent. I assume their recommendation is related to safety.

A piece of advice...gasoline leaks through zip-loc bags. Don't use them with solvents.

A few questions on oiling the air filter...

First, why do we oil the air filter? What purpose does this serve?

Secondly, why does the Service Manual specify a particular type of SAE 30 oil? I had some Valvoline SAE 30 oil, but it wasn't the spec they listed. So I just oiled my filter with the same Rotella 5w40 syn that I use for oil changes. Is this a problem? I figured that if the oil is used in the engine, it can't hurt to be in the air filter.

Last edited by Toad Rider; 03-01-2010 at 01:55 PM.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 02:48 PM
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Foam, by itself, isn't a very good particulate filter. It'll catch the big bugs, but lots of particulate will still get by. When you oil it, it becomes a much better filter, as you probably noticed when cleaning it...

You don't have to use that particular oil. There are lots of options. It may be too late now, but for the next service you may want to consider this:

http://www.notoil.com/

The advantages over regular oil should be obvious, especially in the fact that since it and the cleaner are bio degradable, you can flush it down the drain.


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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post
Foam, by itself, isn't a very good particulate filter. It'll catch the big bugs, but lots of particulate will still get by. When you oil it, it becomes a much better filter, as you probably noticed when cleaning it...

You don't have to use that particular oil. There are lots of options. It may be too late now, but for the next service you may want to consider this:

http://www.notoil.com/

The advantages over regular oil should be obvious, especially in the fact that since it and the cleaner are bio degradable, you can flush it down the drain.


Gustavo
Other sites say that motor oil may not be 'tacky' enough. It washes off the filter too quickly. I think I'll buy some of the aerosol filter oil and spray it in the intake while the bike is running. Not perfect, but better than letting the air filter dry out.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 03:32 PM
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Other sites say that motor oil may not be 'tacky' enough. It washes off the filter too quickly. I think I'll buy some of the aerosol filter oil and spray it in the intake while the bike is running. Not perfect, but better than letting the air filter dry out.
K&N has a kit cleaner and oil.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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K&N has a kit cleaner and oil.
I'll check it out. The gasoline did a great job cleaning the filter, it was just nasty to use.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by turn8a View Post
K&N has a kit cleaner and oil.
Are you talking about the stock filter?
I cleaned mine last year using the K&N kit... I guess youre not supposed to...
as after a few hundred miles, my bike would bog down and die, basically chock dead from no air.
The dealer replaced the filter for me for free, and told me that the stock filters are not meant to be cleaned...
hmmm, can anyone clear this up?


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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by amir_zwara View Post
Are you talking about the stock filter?
I cleaned mine last year using the K&N kit... I guess youre not supposed to...
as after a few hundred miles, my bike would bog down and die, basically chock dead from no air.
The dealer replaced the filter for me for free, and told me that the stock filters are not meant to be cleaned...
hmmm, can anyone clear this up?
The owner and service manual specifies cleaning the stock filter every 7500 miles. Maybe the K&N kit is where you went wrong.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by amir_zwara View Post
Are you talking about the stock filter?
I cleaned mine last year using the K&N kit... I guess youre not supposed to...
as after a few hundred miles, my bike would bog down and die, basically chock dead from no air.
The dealer replaced the filter for me for free, and told me that the stock filters are not meant to be cleaned...
hmmm, can anyone clear this up?
How much oil did you put on the filter ? I have not cleaned the versys filter yet. But I never had a problem with any other filter that I have cleaned .I usually just put a light coat of oil on the filter and than clean any of the excess oil off . But thanks for the heads up .

Last edited by turn8a; 03-01-2010 at 05:30 PM.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by amir_zwara View Post
Are you talking about the stock filter?
I cleaned mine last year using the K&N kit... I guess youre not supposed to...
as after a few hundred miles, my bike would bog down and die, basically chock dead from no air.
The dealer replaced the filter for me for free, and told me that the stock filters are not meant to be cleaned...
hmmm, can anyone clear this up?
I can't believe what some dealers tell bike owners. Maybe they're trying to get you to spring for a new filter, which isn't cheap, but for crying out loud, it says in the shop manual that the filter can be cleaned and furthermore how to do it. Is there no one in that shop with any technical knowledge, Amir?

Oh, and the problem isn't with the K&N kit, I've used the same one for years. You don't need to saturate the filter with oil, just a light coating.

Last edited by Mt. Versuvius; 03-01-2010 at 05:42 PM.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 07:00 PM
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Amir_zwara had in fact over-oiled his air filter, as was then pointed out by a Kawasaki dealer who provided him with exceptional service:

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Originally Posted by amir_zwara View Post
Got it going again...
it was actually a overoiled air filter...
my bad!

though, i did learn from the experience.
and I have to say the guys at Edge Kawasaki in El Paso, TX are just great.

my warranty had expired, but they diagnosed it for free anyways...
we found it was the filter, they didnt have one in stock...
so they took one out of their own showroom bike and replaced it into mine, for free!
they even took me and the girlfriend out to lunch while they had the mechanics doing the work.
I am very very pleased with this dealership. thnks to George (the parts manager) and Justin (the mechanic) for the great experience.
The OEM air filter is originally oiled with SAE 30W engine oil, but air filter specific oil is more tacky, water resistant and is less prone to imigration or drying out... Pull the air filter element out of its frame to clean and dry. Spray entire filter surface lightly, then work oil in by hand squishing all the filter. Squeeze it in clean rag to absorb excess oil if any.

I like my Maxima Fab-1 synthetic air filter oil. Their cleaner works well too:
http://www.maximausa.com/products/fi...ilterspray.asp
http://www.maximausa.com/products/cl...tercleaner.asp
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 07:38 PM
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just did mine yesterday, with notoil air filter oil...you saturate it, then squeeze out the excess, then work the whole thing with your fingers to restribute the oil...leave it out for 20 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate, and reinstall. It's cool how the whole filter unsnaps to come apart. the screen was also loose in mine, not attached to the plastic frame as noted in the manual. I also made sure there was some notoil on the foam gasket surrounding the filter.
k&n, i don't know...i serviced my triumph k&n filter yesterday, too, and there was a thin film on dirt on the inside of the throttle bodies....I wasn't impressed. the filter was easy to clean and reoil with the kit, at least.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 07:54 PM
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I'm not sure I'd say the service Amir recieved was exceptional. After all, the dealer told him the stock filter can't be cleaned. What the dealer did for him was nice but it still left him with a false understanding about his filter. I don't know why that makes me mad but it does.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 07:59 PM
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Good points about the plastic frame function and letting the oil carrier dry, Tomla... You're right too about K&N's filter oil being pretty thin and not really better than 30W engine oil.

Rotella's T6 synthetic 5W-40 is just as good as 30W oil by the way, Toad Rider.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mt. Versuvius View Post
I'm not sure I'd say the service Amir recieved was exceptional. After all, the dealer told him the stock filter can't be cleaned. What the dealer did for him was nice but it still left him with a false understanding about his filter. I don't know why that makes me mad but it does.
They originally told him his filter was OVER-oiled, which it was. They also gave him a clean and pre-oiled filter from a new bike... At any rate, the air filter should of course be cleaned and re-oiled periodically, as specified.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 09:35 PM
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Good find Invader.
I guess I had over oiled it.
I was by no means disappointed by the dealer in El Paso. They were exceptional.
I do remember them saying though, that the stock filter was not meant to be reoiled with the K&N kit... But then again, if you guys are doing it, and it's working, then that's that and it works. Just don't use too much oil.
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2010, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Toad Rider View Post
Other sites say that motor oil may not be 'tacky' enough. It washes off the filter too quickly. I think I'll buy some of the aerosol filter oil and spray it in the intake while the bike is running. Not perfect, but better than letting the air filter dry out.
Like I mentioned above, filter specific oil will work "better" than regular motor oil (regardless of weight), but as you noted, Kawasaki recommends SAE 30W oil, so they think motor oil will hold up between the recommended service intervals. If you have doubts about this oil holding up until the next service, I'd recommend you remove the tank and do it properly. Just squirting oil in the air intake is going to result in a large mess upstream in the airbox without any guarantee that it will actually saturate the filter where it might need it.


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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-02-2010, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by amir_zwara View Post
Good find Invader.
I guess I had over oiled it.
I was by no means disappointed by the dealer in El Paso. They were exceptional.
I do remember them saying though, that the stock filter was not meant to be reoiled with the K&N kit... But then again, if you guys are doing it, and it's working, then that's that and it works. Just don't use too much oil.
LOL! Thanks, Amir.
They were right about discouraging use of K&N's weak fabric filter oil. Kawasaki does use and recommend 30W oil as is customary with factory installed foam air filter elements. They are in fact meant to be cleaned and re-oiled to provide fine dust/silicates protection, as noted in owner's and repair manuals.

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Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post
Like I mentioned above, filter specific oil will work "better" than regular motor oil (regardless of weight), but as you noted, Kawasaki recommends SAE 30W oil, so they think motor oil will hold up between the recommended service intervals. If you have doubts about this oil holding up until the next service, I'd recommend you remove the tank and do it properly. Just squirting oil in the air intake is going to result in a large mess upstream in the airbox without any guarantee that it will actually saturate the filter where it might need it.
Absolutely. You're better off removing filter to clean it again and properly apply the prefered purpose-intended tacky air filter oil... Just adding sprayed oil in the inlets will result in the filter being clogged with excess oil, which will also be more easily blown through along with the suspended particulates carried by the thinner engine oil.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-02-2010, 05:16 AM
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I would think that before oiling it some good blasts of compressed air would get the big stuff out?
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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-02-2010, 05:21 AM
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I would think that before oiling it some good blasts of compressed air would get the big stuff out?
You have to be careful .A lot of filters do not recommend using compressed air to help clean the filter.
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-02-2010, 05:57 AM
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You have to be careful .A lot of filters do not recommend using compressed air to help clean the filter.
Good point.
For the OEM filter, used to clean with diesel and oil it with SAE 30 oil.
It needs to be really dry before adding the filter oil.
Using the DNA air filter now and using also SAE 30 oil.

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