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Old 10-31-2012, 07:07 AM   #1
DnJ Malibu
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Default Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

I have a 2010 Malibu LS and I was thinking of replacing the air filter with an aftermarket OE replacement filter (i.e. K&N, AEM, AFE, Airaide). I was wondering if anyone had used one of these and if so what is recommended and results of using them. From what I've read, horsepower increase isn't the reason to put one of these in as much as possible slight MPG increase and less restrictive air flow, plus the fact that they are washable and reusable. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

I would just stay with the stock filter set up. I think if the filter is less restrictive it will cause a slight HP increase but I'm afraid it would also not filter as well. I can't see how a filter can be washable and still retain the fine filtering ability and the time it takes to properly clean and oil a washable filter is not on my agenda. Also consider you can buy around 7 disposable filters for the price of a KnN filter and the disposable filter lasts about 2 years. Fine sand particles in the oil cause a lot of engine wear and the older a disposable filter gets the better it would be at removing finer and finer particles. Just my two cents.

Last edited by Drunken Elvis; 10-31-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

I stick with stock filters, word is KN leaves oily residue down the intake tract which could affect the air sensors, I run FRAM air filters and change it out annualy
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

I've heard all the suggestions that K&N leaves oily residue on the inside of the air tube. I just checked mine with about 28,000 on the filter and 29,000 on the car. No oily stuff anywhere.

As far as maintenance goes, it needs a little work every 50,000 miles, or about every 3-4 years the way I drive, and will outlast the car. About $50 for one air filter versus changing them for $7-$11 dollars every 25,000 miles. If I go 200,000 miles it would cost $28-$44 for paper and require no maintenance, so the K&N costs more.

As far as K&N letting sand through that paper doesn't, paper doesn't breathe like cotton does. When Mount Saint Helens blew her top back in 1980 the only vehicles driving around while the ash was in the air were ones with oil bath air cleaners. They use the same method to trap dirt that our noses do - it's captured by the oil impregnated in the cloth. Then, as the particles collect, the openings get smaller and more convoluted, causing any particles to have to change direction to make it through, something solid particles don't do as easily as air does.

I like the K&N because it makes sense to me.

For a simple dollars-and-sense, bean-counter approach, buy paper. But I feel the cloth filters better, keeping the engine cleaner and breathing better. That is not something bean counters can do well, so the value has to be made by the buyer.

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Old 11-01-2012, 04:20 AM   #5
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

I'll second DD on the K&N being OK.
Over 125k miles on my Yukon with one, no issues. I clean my MAF occasionally on all my vehicles anyway but no issues. '89 S blazer went over 150k before selling with same good results.
My thirsty 2.4 has improved from a 25.3 to 27.3 avg. on the DIC with one. Same mixed driving with the same 2 drivers BTW so it has improved it. It may be even better but my foot is heavier than my wifes.
It seems to peak it's revs quicker in the 5k rpm range, no data to support that just seat of the pants. Same result in my Mustang GT, in that car I had to switch to a minimum fuel of Mid grade or better as the CAI with the K&N made it ping on Reg. fuel when you got on it hard.
Over oiling on servicing the filter will cause issues, but it's a filter for motor-heads, not the mechanically impaired IMO.
"your mileage may vary"........
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

I was considering going with the AEM Dryflow filter, but I wasn't sure if it was more restrictive then the K&N. Everything I have read though shows that the Dryflow filters are less restrictive then the paper replacements. Everything I have seen and read shows that if your car can "breath" better or easier you will get performance and or MPG gains. Has anyone had any experience with the Dry aftermarket OE replacement filters (AEM,AFE,Airaide, or S&B). I have has K&N filters in the past and was happy with them, I just figured if the Dry filters provide the same performance or benefits it would be nice to not have to oil the filter after it's cleaned. Thanks for all of the previous input.

On a side not, I took my 2010 Malibu LS on its first road trip last night and I must say, I was very please with comfort and ride quality. It has almost 41,000 miles on it and runs like a charm.. I even got her up to 100 mph (don't tell my fiance! LOL) and she was very smooth and handled well. I was also impressed with the MPG I got (between 31.5 and 33.7). I spent about 7 hours in it last night and can't complain. I do think though that I will take the advise of others and have the tranny flushed and filter changed before my next road trip.

Input on the Dry style OE replacement filters would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

Cobalts have had problems with the K&N filters, even from people that know how to clean and oil them. The 2.4 n the Malibu is the same as the one in the Cobalts. I know there are some people that have not had problems with the K&N's on the Cobalts or the Malibu's. I have seen some dyno charts of the dry style and they did have a slight increase over OEM. The car that did the dyno was a stock SSNA Cobalt with the 2.4. He also had a K&N and it was very close in numbers to the dry style.
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

2.4,3.6 3.5 all take the same air filter, my 2.4 gets all the air it needs.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

I am using a K&N on my 09 ecotech Malibu. I have put 70,000 miles on the car since I installed the filter. I have cleaned it and reoiled it twice. I have not experiened any oiling of the air intake. To avoid the use of too much oil I use the squeeze bottle not the spray. I put the oil on the "air in" side of the filter and at top of the pleat and allow it to soak in over night. In the morning you can then see where you need to add a little more oil because you will be able to see the color difference. A little oil goes a long way.

I also have my oil analyzed by Blackstone labs in Indiana. The samples have not shown any abnormal levels of silicon. Silicon in the oil is an indicator that your air filter isn't filtering. I run 5-30 Pennzoil full synthetic for 12,000 to 14,000 miles so if the filter wasn't working it would definitely show in the oil.

I cannot say that I got any great increase in MPG or power. What I like is not having to buy a new filter every 25-30,000 miles. I live in an area that can be very dusty at times and filters do not last 50,000 miles as GM suggests. I have averaged 33.25 MPG over the last 37 fill ups.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Aftermarket OE replacement air filters

I used an AEM Dryflow on my Cobalt and loved it. I've used K&N before on motorcycles and other vehicles without issue, but the MAF in the Cobalts seemed to have a lot of issues with the K&N. I'm assuming the Malibu uses the same one since they're both ecotec engines.
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