Lifelong oil filtergreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread
I have been wanting to write about this for three years. I have known about it for 35 years. I bought my first one about 33 years ago. But the item went out of production -- I thought -- a decade ago. It was invented by my friend Skipper K. Yee, but he sold the rights to it years ago. He lost track of it. Last week, I located it by using the search engine with the unforgettable name: dogpile. Alta Vista doesn't have a listing.
It's a Frantz oil filter. You have to buy one for your generator. You should buy one for every internal combustion engine that you expect to run in 2000 and beyond, Y2K or not. It's a bypass filter for most vehicles, but it's a primary one for engines without filters. I put one on my 1956 VW bug in 1968. That was the only filter it had.
Here I will get into trouble. I am about to tell you something that you will not believe. You will resist accepting it. But here goes: motor oil does not wear out; it just gets dirty. This means that if you keep it clean, you never have to change your oil.
A Frantz unit removes everything in the oil larger than three microns. It removes all water, so acid cannot form in the oil. If you stick one on a diesel engine, it keeps water and crud out of the fuel that reaches the engine.
It keeps oil continuously clean. In other words, there is no build-up of crud as you go from an oil change to, say, 5,000 miles. Metal shavings never get into the oil for more than one trip through the engine. Then they are trapped and held in the filter element.
Here, I reprint a report that I first published in REMNANT REVIEW on Feb. 20, 1987.
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Over twenty years ago, I bought my first Frantz oil filter. I have had them (or a technical equivalent) on my cars ever since.
Why a Frantz? Because when it comes to cars, I am both lazy and cheap. I am also forgetful about car maintenance. I forget to have my oil changed. So I bought a filter that literally does away with oil changes. It filters so well that the oil never needs changing. Oil doesn't break down if it doesn't get dirty, contrary to the old husbands' tale. With a Frantz (or a Motor Guard, or a Harvard), it doesn't.
Why not? Because the Frantz uses an incredibly efficient filter device. It removes metal shavings, water (and therefore acid, since without water, your engine can't form acids), and carbon. What is this miracle filter? Toilet paper. That's right. Every 3,000 miles, or once a month, you remove the old, oily roll from the Frantz (cold engine, please), stick in a new roll, and put the top half of the filter canister back on. (I have also used the Motor Guard units, too, and they are easier to work with, since they have a threaded top that screws on and off easily, but my test was made with a Frantz. Frantz engineers believe their design is safer for the engine -- less likelihood of leaking oil. I'm not competent to judge.) Add one quart of oil to replace what was in the discarded roll, and drive in peace.
My auto mechanic was always skeptical about the Frantz. He had repaired diesel trucks in the past, and he was convinced that by-pass filters like the Frantz were high-risk items. I kept praising the idea of toilet paper filters, but he was hard to convince.
Finally, my legendary 1972 Toyota Corolla gave up the ghost. The steering was soggy, the front end shook between 36 and 40 miles per hour, and it just wasn't worth salvaging. But I wanted to see how the engine had fared with the Frantz. I had him tear down the engine and give me a report.
The engine had 130,000 miles on it. But because of a design defect in that year's Corolla engine, it had blown up three times in the first 27,000 miles. Finally, I found an honest Toyota dealer who admitted that the problem was the engine. At 27,000 miles, the dealer rebuilt the engine, even though it was beyond the warranty expiration mileage. He told me I would never have a problem with it again. He was correct. I never did.
I had just installed a Frantz. That was in 1974. So the engine was broken in with the Frantz on it. This meant that no metal shavings got into the engine during the critical breaking-in period. So from the "new" engine until 130,000 miles -- a total of 103,000 miles -- I changed the oil four times. One change was by mistake; my mechanic changed it, not knowing that I was running a test. I am convinced that I never needed to change the oil once. From 1977 until 1983, 1 never changed it. I used a standard 10-40 weight oil. Here is the report from the mechanic-owner of Robert's Service Center:
Gary's Toyota had all the battle scars of a 15 year old compact that had seen the salt of the Snowbelt, the sun of the South, and the destruction that four youngsters with all the trimmings could offer. Like your car, you say? Well, the engine had never been touched. I had worked on everything else -- the carb, the alternator, muffler, brakes, etc. -- but not the engine. Gary asked me to take the engine out of the car and dismantle it, even though the engine was still operative. I checked all the critical engine parts for wear against factory specifications.
The results were remarkable. No sludge was found nor any build-up of oil that had broken down; no bearing surfaces were etched or scarred; no significant wear on the engine block occurred; and no particulate matter in the oil pump pickup screen was found. In fact, the only noteworthy wear was the top compression ring on all of the pistons. The end gap was between .015 and .020, and the spec was .008. All bearing clearances were within specs. (Factory specifications -- G.N.) The camshaft lobes were not pitted and showed little wear. The crankshaft journals were smooth and measured to factory specs. The oil pump driveshaft and rotor were within the specs for clearance (.010 and .006). We simply could have put a new set of rings on the pistons and reassembled the engine, using all the old bearings and oil pump, and placed them back in service.
In short, the Frantz works. Its effectiveness was proven to us and the practicality cannot be argued. It was paid for shortly after its installation and is easy to service. The hoses and fittings never leaked or caused -any clearance problems. (I had installed a new set of hoses in 1977 -- G.N.) Sounds too farfetched? Believe it, it's true. As a professional mechanic who is skeptical of "here today -- gone tomorrow" gimmicks, I'm sold. . . .
P.S. I called the junk man and he came to haul the Toyota off and all its boxes of parts. I thought the car was history. Later, I heard he had put it all back together and was using it out at his place. Same engine and parts - new gaskets! Remarkable!
Maintenance is crucial. As my mechanic remarked privately, there is one major problem with the Frantz -- or rather with the owners. People know they are supposed to change the oil in their cars at least every 6,000 miles, and preferably every 3,000. So, when they take the car in for the oil and filter change, they have the mechanic make regular maintenance checks. These add years to the life of the car. They pay for themselves. But with a Frantz or Motor Guard, anyone can "change his oil," since he doesn't have to change anything but the toilet paper. It takes five minutes. No oil to drain, no turkey roasting pan to put under the car while you're draining it, no outraged wife yelling about this specialized use of the turkey pan. It's so easy that you are tempted to forget that clean oil is only part of the car's maintenance program.
Frantz also has a filter for diesel fuel, to keep the fuel lines free of junk. They discovered this use for their filters during the good old days when the Mexican government was subsidizing diesel fuel. An American along the border could drive down and fill up at 20 cents a gallon, instead of paying $1.20 in the U.S. But the Mexican fuel was very often dirty. Smart diesel car owners started installing the Frantz oil filters in their cars' fuel lines. Frantz later made the product available specifically for this purpose. There is another problem with the toilet paper filters. The paper companies have long abandoned the 500 double-ply rolls that were common a decade ago. They now give you about 350 sheets wrapped loosely. The "soft squeeze" television ads were designed to make buyers think they were getting a good deal when in fact they were being short-sheeted. I buy the commercial rolls that are sold to hotels. The hotels insist on full rolls in order to reduce the turnover (rollover?) and therefore reduce maid time. You can buy these in boxes of 50 or 100. Or you can pay a premium price and buy them in smaller units from Frantz.
The big advantage to these filters is that you can forget to change them and it really doesn't hurt anything. By keeping the oil permanently clean, there is never any build-up of gunk in the oil. Oil gets dirty with normal filters. If you graph this build-up, it increases until you change the oil, and then it drops down to near zero again. With the toilet paper filters, the graph stays flat constantly -- no gunk, no metal shavings, ever. That's why the engine never gets scarred.
There is one other problem: your local mechanic will probably bad-mouth the product. You may get scared off. I had mine installed by a Frantz dealer. It took first-hand inspection by my innately skeptical mechanic to change his mind, and it took 13 years and 113,000 miles for me to bring in the evidence. The president of Motor Guard had so many bad experiences with people getting scared off by the local mechanic and returning the now used filter units to the company that he actually discouraged me from mentioning the product. I called him about six years ago, and he asked me not to promote it. He had moved into other more profitable product lines, and preferred to sell these units only to car fleets, trucking fleets, and other similar bulk order users with their own mechanics. In 1986, Motor Guard sold the distribution rights to a private entrepreneur. [It has long since disappeared from the market -- 1999.]
It should be obvious why normal retail outlets have no incentive to sell such products to you. The car manufacturers want you to trade in the car every few years. Why double the life of the engine? The oil companies want you to change your car's oil. The auto repairmen want you to have the engine rebuilt. Nobody wants to get sued, and having recommended an odd-ball device for the engine is a good way to get sued if anything even vaguely related to the engine goes wrong. . . .
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Buy a case of 60 rolls of Marathon TP at Sam's Club for $25. That's 42 cents per roll. At 5,000 miles per roll, that's 300,000 miles of driving. But you can probably get 10,000 miles per roll.
A Frantz costs $165. If you pay $17 per oil change, ten missed changes will pay for it. That's 60,000 miles. You'll also double the life of the engine if you install it on a new engine.
Every 5,000 miles, you pull out the old roll, put in a new one, and add a quart of oil to replace the oil you just tossed out that was inside the used roll.
I always liked to show skeptics this trick. I would pull out the dip stick and wipe the oil on a piece of Kleenex. Then I would hold up the sheet, so that the sky was behind it. The oil spot was almost colorless: not a smidgen of residue.
Skipper Yee used to go through regular certification by the FAA to get his units onto private propeller-driven planes. This was an advertising stunt more than anything. If it was approved by the FAA (which it was), then it was safe for your car (which it was).
I have located a man who manufactures the Frantz units, but with slight improvements. His name is George Walker. His Website is:
If you mention my name when you buy, you will receive the following as a bonus: 8 feet of replacement hose, two extra seals, a 10mm fitting for foreign cars, and free freight in the lower 48 states.
He sells the Frantz units in sets of six for $135 each, or $810. I need a dozen: four generators, two for the diesel tractor, several cars, the lawn mower, the log splitter, and two for the diesel truck. I want these engines to last.
If chemical plants explode or shut down in 2000, then oil, diesel, and gasoline will get very expensive. I will not be doing a lot of driving. But if I have the filters, I can keep going, since I have a lot of fuel stored.
If we get merely a recession/depression, I will cut my costs by eliminating all oil changes. I will drive the vehicles a lot longer on a quart of oil: 5,000+ miles per quart.
When you change your oil before installing the Frantz, replace it with Shell Rotella-T. This is the best nonsynthetic oil you can buy. You can buy it at Wal-Mart. Buy it by the case. But skip on one quart. Instead, add a quart of this amazing product: Rislone Engine Treatment. This product solved my engine's clicking lifter problem as soon as I added it. You can buy it at any auto parts store. Buy a case. Then add one-quarter Rislone and three-quarters Rotella-T when you replace the roll.
Now, to set the record straight, the following are myths: (1) the toilet paper shreds and gets into engines; (2) some engineering outfit tested motor oil and says it breaks down. If the toilet paper (damp with oil) shredded, it would get filtered out after one trip through. There is no verified example of a Frantz filter's roll ever shredding. As for the anonymous report on worn-out oil, ask to see the report. It never existed. I tried to find it years ago. I wrote to the outfits I was told had produced it. They knew nothing about it.
The main problem is getting it installed. Your mechanic may warn you that it's bad. After all, he doesn't sell them. Also, in small engine compartments, there may be no easy way to fit it in. But for generators, lawn mowers, tractors, etc., space is not a problem. If it's an internal combustion engine, it needs one of these units.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is from Gary North's site today.
-- BB (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 13, 1999
Anybody else out there have any experience with these?
-- Greybear (email@example.com), July 14, 1999.
i've used this before, they work super. been around forever, just no one knows about them.
actually, we just ordered 7 (for friends) for some new vehicles and a new diesel generator thats starting up. they can also be used to filter diesel fuel, but these need a larger 'out' orifice.
-- lou (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 14, 1999.
My understanding is that oil also picks up dissolved materials and that these may not be filtered out by any kind of filter. Also, oil can be damaged by overheating, and although this is not a filter related problem, it still can be a problem. The additives in oil also wear out, until you may have the equivelant of an old straight weight oil with no additives in it in your crankcase, after many thousands of miles. Oil turning black in use is often an indication that it is picking up lots of dissolved material, not that it is wearing out. I would think that adding some fresh oil regularly would refresh the additive level in the crankcase, though. I'd like to hear more about this from someone who knows more about lubricating oils. (By the way, it's been a long time since I've owned a car with less than 100,000 miles on it. I usually can't afford to buy one that new! And then we usually drive them another 100,000 or until the body rusts off.)
-- Jim (email@example.com), July 14, 1999.
Just to let you know that there are others out here like you:
My main vehicle (a 1992 Ford Van) has 189,000 miles and out car (a 1991 Honda civic) has 173,000. Expecting to get a lot more out of both!
-- Greybear (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 14, 1999.
Not that I'm an expert in this subject matter, but from what I recall, the lubricating factor of an oil is a function of its viscosity which breaks down over time regardless of how clean the oil is. That is one reason why auto manufacturers say to change the oil every 3,000 miles OR every six months.
The aforementioned testimonials aside, I for one, do not wish to risk my engines on such a filter. Not that I have any proof from a scientific standpoint, but anything that sounds too good to be true, usually is.
-- David Bowerman (email@example.com), July 14, 1999.