Bypass Oil Filter
By Lewis Haehl
Just about everyone is aware of the importance of changing their oil. You would have to be deaf, blind, or live under a very large rock to not notice all of the advertisements on television and in
print for “quick” oil-change establishments.
The TDR writers routinely point out the many benefits of changing one’s engine oil. Changing your engine’s oil is probably the single most important thing you can do to promote longevity and
driveability from your Turbo Diesel.
Modern oil filters are very efficient and recent technologies and new filtration media have advanced oil filtration to a level unheard of a few decades ago. Unless there is a major engine failure,
filter clogging is unheard of. But, remember, you often get what you pay for. Do you want to protect your premium engine with a $5.00 filter? Maybe a more expensive OEM (Original Equipment
Manufacturer) filter from Fleetguard would be a wiser use of your money?
Using quality oil and filters, at or before the recommended service interval, should be one of the primary goals of every Turbo Diesel owner. But, what if we want to do more? For those who want to go
the extra miles, there is always something you can add to take your truck to the next level. When it comes to oil maintenance, one way to do this is to add a bypass oil filter to your lubrication
system. One such device is offered by a TDR advertiser, Gulf Coast Filters of Oklahoma.
The premise behind a bypass filter is clear from its name. “Bypass” some of the oil from the main oil galleries and send it to the bypass filter for micro filtration. The bypass filter takes a very
small amount of oil at low pressures and filters the oil more completely than can be accomplished by the OEM-type oil filter. This by-passed oil flow does not compromise the regular lubrication and
filtration systems, which continue to function while the bypass filter does its magic.
Bypassing The System
First of all, oil doesn’t really wear out; it just becomes contaminated, and its additives become depleted. Many of these contaminants are caught by the factory filter, but those smaller than what the
stock oil filter can catch are allowed to circulate through your engine. These contaminants are suspended in the oil’s detergent and are removed when you change your oil. But, what if you could
prevent many of these contaminants from living in your engine oil?
Bypass filtration is not a new technology, nor is it uncommon. A partial list of Gulf Coast’s customers confirms that there are many who have a lot more invested in their machinery than the average
Turbo Diesel owner, and they are using Gulf Coast Filters’ filtration technology. Shell Offshore Inc., Marine Transportation Inc., Scott Paper Co., the U.S. Army National Guard of fourteen
states, several U.S. Air Force bases, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard all use Gulf Coast’s products.
Gulf Coast Filters say that over 80% of the normal wear generated within an engine is attributed to the contamination that conventional oil filters miss. That is because 95% of the contamination
generated within the engine is from contaminants that are 10 microns or smaller. These small particles can be very destructive.
Bypassing You In Slow Motion
To filter these small abrasives from engine oil, the rate of flow has to be reduced. Gulf Coast Filter’s Model O-1 Bypass Oil Filter cleans the bypassed oil at a rate of only one-half gallon of oil
per minute. At this slow rate the Gulf Coast bypass oil filter provides excellent control of particles from 1-10 microns. In addition, the filter removes moisture down to 40 parts-per-million (PPM),
and it can extend your factory oil-filter-change interval up to five times.
Never Change Your Oil Again?
After installing their system, Gulf Coast is confident that their filtration will keep your oil so clean that you will never have to change your oil again! Of course, regular oil-analysis is an
important part of any extended oil-drain procedure, and I recommend oil analysis even if you don’t extend your oil change intervals.
Gulf Coast recommends that you change your Gulf Coast Filter every 10,000 miles and your factory oil filter about every 25,000 miles! The Gulf Coast Model O-1 Filter adds approximately six quarts of
oil to your Turbo Diesel’s lubrication system. That is a lot of extra oil!
Although Gulf Coast doesn’t refer to their filter change an oil change, the fact remains that when you replace their filter and add the make-up oil, about 6-quarts, you are adding lots of fresh oil to
Where’s The Proof?
I admit that I am skeptical and prefer for someone else to take the initial leap-of-faith to prove a product new to me. The literature I received from Gulf Coast Filters gave me such an example.
In 1990, 18-wheeler Owner-Operator Randy Rogers from Gallatin, Tennessee purchased a new Peterbilt tractor powered by a 425-hp Detroit Diesel engine. At 19,000 miles the break-in oil was drained. At
27,000 miles a Gulf Coast Filter Model O-2 bypass Oil Filter was added to the engine; the oil was not changed at this time but was reused.
Every 10,000 miles the Gulf Coast bypass filter was changed and make-up oil was added. (These big Diesels use many more gallons of oil than does a Turbo Diesel). Every 50,000 miles the three factory
filters were changed. No routine oil changes were performed, just bypass filter changes and oil-level topping. At 250,649 miles, the oil pan developed a leak, and a Peterbilt dealership in Nashville,
TN, replaced the pan gasket under warranty. During this repair the oil was drained and new oil was added.
At 500,000 miles the oil was drained for an engine inspection, which was attended by U.S. Air Force officials from Elgin AFB, Florida, and engineers from Shell Oil Company, and Don Culpepper,
vice-president of sales and marketing for Gulf Coast Filters. This inspection consisted of rod and main bearings, the crankshaft, the cleanliness of the block, and inspection for cleanliness and the
condition of the head. The results of this inspection were amazing.
The oil pan was very clean, and the oil pump didn’t show any signs of wear. The block was extremely clean. Main bearings 2-6 were removed and inspected; all were in excellent condition. Even the tin
overlays were still intact, and a micrometer indicated there was no measurable wear on the bearings. The upper half of the rod bearings still had their tin overlays intact and showed only normal
break-in wear. The 500,000-mile crankshaft looked new.
The valve cover was removed, and the mechanics doing the work were amazed. The technicians indicated that the vent screen is normally full of sludge and medium to heavy deposits on the inside of the
valve cover are common on engines that have a Jake-Brake. The head on this engine was exceptionally clean to the point that one could read the writing on the Jake-Brake data plates.
The engine was put back together, and the used oil was put back in the engine. No parts were replaced! Fast-forward a few years and that same Diesel engine has now logged over one-million miles, with
only two complete oil changes! Wow.
While the above test is not on a turbo Diesel, it is on a heavy-duty Diesel engine, and provides a very nice example of the Gulf Coast bypass-filter’s capabilities. The simplicity of the design
makes this a very interesting product. If you are checking into bypass filtration, the Gulf Coast Filter deserves a closer look.
Gulf Coast Filters of Oklahoma
John R. Birdsell,