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Thread: Removing the Air Filter

  1. #1
    Van Fan pastadog's Avatar
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    Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Please can somebody do a write up..... As it would help me(NOOB) and many others down the road!

    I have been able to pull it up to see I have a brand new paper filter in there but would like to replace that restrictive pile if there is any other solutions out there! Gas mileage is HORRIBLE! - However I did just install a Denso o2 sensor in two days ago, the old one I assume the old one was bad given it had become lodged and stuck in its hole having to be knocked into the exhaust and then removed from the cat. Guy at the exhaust shop says he has never seen that happen before! Also, as he was down there noticed that one of my exhaust bolts was snapped off in the head. Could that be effecting my mileage that much?

    Thanks friends!

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    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    I don't believe the pleated paper filters are that restrictive. I know there are better flowing filters out there, but the 4y doesn't require that much air flow. I think you can get a K&N pleated that fits in the same box, but not sure what (if any) flow improvements there would be. Keep in mind, all air must go through the MAF anyhow and that's only going to allow so many CFM.

    I do agree these vans have about the worst filter placement of any vehicle I've ever worked on and it's a PITA to replace elements. Due to that, it's one of those areas I only service at the recommended 30k mile intervals. Other than being a PITA to access and change, I don't view these as being a problem worthy of spending any time or money on.

    Having the very back exhaust stud break off is very common on these vans. Another thing that's common is having your exhaust manifold crack on the #4 down tube. Here is a thread where I have addressed these issues. It's conceivable that exhaust leaks ahead of the o2 sensor can adversely affect gas mileage, but if you think about it, the concentrations of o2 at the sensor should be the same even if there is a leak.........unless it's severe. In which case it would be very loud and annoying to drive.

    Having a bad o2 sensor is arguably the single highest cause for poor mpg's, so give it some time to see how the new sensor affects things. Also, if you haven't already done so, check the codes. Tim

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    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Additional thoughts: Just because you looked in there and saw a clean filter doesn't mean much. Keep in mind if you're simply peeking in there you are viewing the "clean" side of the filter (the output side). It's the bottom side of the filter that gets ugly, so if you don't know the last time it was changed, then you'll need to "dive in" and get that thing out of there. As far as I know, there is no easy way to do it. I use a long screwdriver to undo the latches and to unhook the bottom parts when they hang-up as you try to remove. If your air hose is old and brittle, chances are it will crack during the process (so have a spare on hand). I wish I had a better way, but cursing and knuckle busting is the only way I know . Tim

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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    The easiest way to change the air filter is to get a 3Y van. Still a bit of a PITA, but it blows me away just how much more difficult the 4Y is with all that electronic timing "stuff" on top of the airbox lid.

    Seriously, the best tips I can give are (1) allow an hour or more for the project, because if you're in a time crunch and try to hurry, it WILL end up taking you an hour and (2) use a K&N filter so you don't have to choose between getting in there more often or possibly kissing off a bit of mpg. Exactly how to best access the filter box clips (and keep them from flopping down and in the way during reinstallation) depends on the size of your arms and hands, and raw finger/grip strength, and quirks of that van's airbox clips. In my experience, there just is no single good way.

    I consistently see 1-2 mpg improvement from a new air filter (K&N replacing old paper filter) along with a slight but discernible increase in power, and +/- 2 mpg improvement from a new O2 sensor. FWIW.

    Gwen
    1985 5-speed window cargo van set up for llama haulin'; 345K ("Trustyvan")
    1989 4WD 5-speed DLX; 410K and an odd sense of humor ("Skylervan")

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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Wow, outstanding response time from Tim and Gwen !!!

    Just to clear it up I do have the O so hated 3y in the beast I call my van. I was basically just wondering what process you guys went through like, take off air hose then unscrew map sensor or pull out your samurai sword and start slashing . Everytime I try to start all I end wanting to do is start punching myself in the face or just yank out the stick holding the engine lid up while under it!

    Anyways, so with that new o2 sensor in, what should and when should I expect it to start showing it's rewards? Will it hand me a trophy because I wouldn't be surprised if it did due to me finding new cool things about this van almost EVERY day!

    Let's keep these vans alive and the way to do that is KEEP this site up and running! How can I donate some cash, it might only be a little bit because it is the holiday season but I would love to help out!

    Thanks friends! Over and out.... Pssht

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    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    No Samurai swords, just cursing and thrashing around in there for a while. It would probably be easier to do with the intake tube off, but getting that off is a PITA too. So I always just try to be patient, unhook all the latches, then carefully lift while constantly rechecking the latches. Once it's open I usually have a block of wood or something to jam in there to hold things in place long enough to pull the old filter out and put the new one in.

    After that it's just the reverse of what you did to open, but now you need to check the little hook parts of the latches one at a time to make sure they are not getting stuck between the 2 halves. BTW, I've never done one on a 3y, I've only done the dreaded 4y's, so consider yourself lucky. Tim

    PS: There is a PayPal link to donate at the bottom of every page and a nice big one with Visa / MasterCard logos in the middle right of the library page. Every little bit helps, so thanks in advance for any contributions. FWIW, we've pre-paid for hosting and domain stuff for 3 years and we plan on being around for a very long time. Tim

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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    ...It would probably be easier to do with the intake tube off, but getting that off is a PITA too...Tim
    I've done them both ways, but I prefer pulling the intake now. I have all my rubber and plastic pretty well conditioned with CRC Silicon spray now, though. I keep a can in my toolbox and spray everything I see when I'm under the hood. I even sprayed the under dash duct-work inside and out. When I get a "new" van and encounter the hoses that won't budge, I lift the edge with a 90 degree pic and hit it with silicon, wait a minute and move the pic around and repeat as necessary. I can even get lines off the nylon/plastic fittings without breaking anything.
    -Jim

  8. #8
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    After that it's just the reverse of what you did to open, but now you need to check the little hook parts of the latches one at a time to make sure they are not getting stuck between the 2 halves. BTW, I've never done one on a 3y, I've only done the dreaded 4y's, so consider yourself lucky. Tim

    I believe mine 3y is the same as your 4y..... from what I have seen in the junkyards at least..

  9. #9
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Quote Originally Posted by llamavan View Post
    The easiest way to change the air filter is to get a 3Y van. Still a bit of a PITA, but it blows me away just how much more difficult the 4Y is with all that electronic timing "stuff" on top of the airbox lid.

    Seriously, the best tips I can give are (1) allow an hour or more for the project, because if you're in a time crunch and try to hurry, it WILL end up taking you an hour and (2) use a K&N filter so you don't have to choose between getting in there more often or possibly kissing off a bit of mpg. Exactly how to best access the filter box clips (and keep them from flopping down and in the way during reinstallation) depends on the size of your arms and hands, and raw finger/grip strength, and quirks of that van's airbox clips. In my experience, there just is no single good way.

    I consistently see 1-2 mpg improvement from a new air filter (K&N replacing old paper filter) along with a slight but discernible increase in power, and +/- 2 mpg improvement from a new O2 sensor. FWIW.

    Gwen
    I hear what you say about an hours time! I installed a new filter awhile back and had to remove all the wires and such, afterwards I had no noticable improvements mpg wise and i was lacking horsepower and response. I discovered a previous owner had snipped the O2 wire and when i had a new exhaust put on also discovered the catalytic converter was 80% clogged. Now with new filter,O2, and exhaust i have my mpgs and hps back!

  10. #10
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    What filter are you running?

  11. #11
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    went with a purolator from the auto parts store to keep the price down.
    bought earlier this year:
    air filter
    fuel filter
    pcv valve
    spark plugs
    spark plug wires
    distributor cap & rotor
    brake rotors
    brake pads
    shocks
    wheel cylinders
    rear brake shoes
    R12 to R134A kit for A/C
    radiator hoses
    etc....the list goes on.
    Last edited by IronhideVA; 12-20-2010 at 04:36 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Puralator? Sounds intense .... I think i'm gonna go with the ever so popular K&N..

  13. #13
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Quote Originally Posted by pastadog View Post
    Just to clear it up I do have the O so hated 3y in the beast I call my van. I was basically just wondering what process you guys went through like, take off air hose then unscrew map sensor or pull out your samurai sword and start slashing .
    No hatred of 3Y vans here that's the bulk of my runners AND parts vans. Love 'em.

    I remove the air hose. If the air filter truly needs changing, it's a really good time to clean the throttle body anyway, which in turn will also improve mpg to some extent (how much depends on how bad it was when it was cleaned, but can be as much as 2 mpg). I don't remove anything else but the clips; with patience, there's just enough clearance to get the old out and the new in.


    Quote Originally Posted by pastadog View Post
    Anyways, so with that new o2 sensor in, what should and when should I expect it to start showing it's rewards? Will it hand me a trophy because I wouldn't be surprised if it did due to me finding new cool things about this van almost EVERY day!
    I've not found a lag time improvement will be on the next tank of gas (I keep pretty tight records on mine). The trophy for paying attention to your vans' needs is that your van will treat you very well, endeavoring (and usually succeeding) to break down only in your driveway and not in the middle of nowhere. That having been said, ANY used van is going to be a money pit for awhile. Between lack of know-how and a preference to spend money on "fun things" instead, people who aren't head-over-heels nuts about the vans rarely keep them up; that's even more true of vehicles they're planning to sell, when any and all maintenance is seen as less money now with no return (in money or driving time) later.

    Gwen
    1985 5-speed window cargo van set up for llama haulin'; 345K ("Trustyvan")
    1989 4WD 5-speed DLX; 410K and an odd sense of humor ("Skylervan")

  14. #14
    Van Fan pastadog's Avatar
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Quote Originally Posted by llamavan View Post


    I remove the air hose. If the air filter truly needs changing, it's a really good time to clean the throttle body anyway, which in turn will also improve mpg to some extent (how much depends on how bad it was when it was cleaned, but can be as much as 2 mpg). I don't remove anything else but the clips; with patience, there's just enough clearance to get the old out and the new in.




    Gwen
    Good idea on cleaning the throttle body and air hose! Thanks!

  15. #15
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Quote Originally Posted by pastadog View Post
    Good idea on cleaning the throttle body and air hose! Thanks!
    Great, im glad im not the only one who did this, one more check off the list!

  16. #16
    Van Fan pastadog's Avatar
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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Quote Originally Posted by IronhideVA View Post
    Great, im glad im not the only one who did this, one more check off the list!
    So what cleaner did you fellas use to clean the throttle body and hose?

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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    IMO any cleaners made for this purpose are okay. I don't have any brand loyalties, I just usually grab whatever's on sale. Just make sure it's for throttle bodies or carburetors and you should be fine. Tim

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    Re: Write up on the easiest ways you have found to change the Air Filter!!

    Sweet! Thanks Tim

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    Removing the Air Filter

    Hello guys,

    OK first of all I know my dignity is shot to hell asking this question I'll work on that this spring and summer! I checked to see if there was anything in the 1,000 page pdf manual for my van, and all they had was about half a page dedicated to the air filter. They act like this is as ez as taking it off a 80s Corolla. lol There was NOTHING on getting this thing off and replaced! Blow compressed air or just replace air filter. That was it!

    I'm having problems getting that silver thing off in the pic. I managed to get that duct off, thinking I could fake the rest, but aint happening. Any tips on how to get thing off and replaced?

    At this point I'll go the extra steps to make sure things are in good working order. I'll work at getting things cleaned up too.

    Thanks for any and all help in this matter.

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  20. #20
    Administrator llamavan's Avatar
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    Re: Removing the Air Filter

    Don't bother with "the silver thing" you don't need to remove it.

    Air filter box only needs to be opened enough to slide the filter out (although you do need to remove the air intake hose, as you have already done). There are four clips on the lid (well, four from stock they have a habit of being lost or removed). Unclip. Squirrel the lid up. Scoot the old filter out and work the new one in. Be sure it is seated properly (hard to do 'cuz ya can't see). Put the lid back on. Put the clips back on (they have a habit of preventing you from seating the lid, too). Sounds fast. ISN'T!!! Allow an hour, no kidding! Easier on a 3Y van, FWIW. Also easier if you have super-skinny hands and strong skinny fingers.

    If you weren't considering a K&N "lifetime" filter before, you sure will be now. Guess what my vans have.

    Gwen

    PS no dignity problems or judgments from me the only stupid question is the one that should have been asked and wasn't.
    1985 5-speed window cargo van set up for llama haulin'; 345K ("Trustyvan")
    1989 4WD 5-speed DLX; 410K and an odd sense of humor ("Skylervan")

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