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Adia's Daddy
2004 Honda Element
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3,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, after spending almost a week stewing over which filter to get for my Civic (yes, i obssess over things like that for my car to have the best :p) i finally picked up one of the Toyo Roki S2K filters (PN 15400-PCX-004) from the dealership yesterday:





Ive been reading alot lately about this JDM filter and the HAMP being similar if not made by the same company. Also, I have read quite a few sites showing filter tests done to various brands including the HAMP and Honda.

When i picked up my filter yesterday, the techs at the dealership were joking with me how I am the only person they know of who bought a $38CDN S2000 filter and dont own an S2K. I explained to them about how I have been reading alot about the new small Honda filters being made by Honeywell. As well, many people have had seating concerns with the filter itself as it stops completely when mated to the block (the older larger style filters like mine above allow you to keep tightening once the o-ring has made contact).

Before I left the dealership the guys let me take a few of the used discarded filters with me to do some testing. Since the older large Civic ones will get harder and harder to come by as the new ones are phased in, i pulled up my sleevesaand rooted thru the filter bin to bring home two large and two small filters. As well, I plan to cut open my FRAM X2 filter on my car now when i do my oil change and the guys are saving me the filter from the next S2K change they do.

I know this will not be a scientific experiment of any sort as im simply cutting the filters open to see what is inside. however, after the information I have been reading about the inferior construction of the generic Honda filters (both large and small), I am very curious to find out for myself.

the S2K filter is supposed to have the best construction of them all and from what ive read the HAMP green filter (the one used on the Spoon cars) is the same. Now, having the income and expenses that I do I cannot afford to buy a brand new HAMP filter and cut it open at the moment but I do plan to see for myself if this is true as well. At $25CDN a pop for the HAMPs, it will have to wait.

I'll post back with results and pics when I have them
 

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don't know if this helps you steve or not but here it is:

 

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Adia's Daddy
2004 Honda Element
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3,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
thanks tyler.

i cut the filters i had open open yesterday. for some reason my digi cam was being tempermental and some of the pics weren't focused properly (even tho it was in macro mode).

LEFT: Older (large) style OEM Honda Canada filter, RIGHT: New OEM Honda Canada filter


OEM Honda Canada filter (older large design)


OEM Honda Canada filter **NEW SMALL DESIGN** (Made by Honeywell)


FRAM X2



Steve-O's comments:

Well, seeing as how I'm not a scientific expert in oil filtration or an engineer in fluid dynamics and physics, I will give you my raw, street-level consumer analysis of my findings. Let me start by commenting/attacking each filter individually. Lets leave the best for last and start with the newest member of the Honda filter family

OEM SMALL HONDA FILTER
When I was told that Honda had gone to this new smaller filter i was taken back. Seeing as how I have always put the same size filter only my Civic since i bought it brand new in '95 i found it strange that Honda would make this change across the board to what seemed to me like a very puny filter. Word from a friend who used to do co-op at Honda House in town here said the Insight filter is even smaller than this one.

The new small filter is made by Honeywell (the same company as you will discover who is responsible in the construction of FRAM filters) and bears a very strong resemblance to the old design larger OEM Honda filter. Overall, the construction of the filter APPEARS to be enough to pass standard, however the fact that the endcaps of BOTH filters are made from cardboard and GLUED to the filter media does not sit lightly with me. I'm sure that Honda had their filters made to their specs, but i'd sleep alot easier at night knowing the filter on my Honda WASNT made with cardboard in it. As well, the filter media doesn't seem to be the most uniform or the strongest as it appear to be warped in spots. Now, I'm not expecting a mass-produced item to be of perfect construction every time (working in a factory brought me to this realization very quickly), but this filter was a RANDOM pick out of a bucket full of used ones on their way to the recycling depot and the conincidence that its filter media is uneven might say something to the rest of them. But then again as i said I'm not an expert and that is just my opinion. Also worth noting is the fact that the release valve metal base itself seats/is sealed by and against the cardboard endcaps. Doesn't take a genius to figure out that this probably isn't the most airtight seal you will find in a part that endures oil pressures of a high-revving engine but again, thats just my opinion.

The anti-drainback valve appears to made of silicone rubber and although IMO seems to be very thin, it was intact and undamaged which leads me to believe that it does it's job as required.

The release valve uses a metal base with metal spring and plastic poppet. From reading up on this on other sites, this plastic poppet will pass tests and is sufficient however is not up to par with metal poppets which can be found on other higher end filters (see link below for examples). As well, the plastic poppets on all three of these filters seat against the metal base ONLY and have no sort of rubber seal to ensure leakage. A slight warp or crack in the plastic and leaks can occur.

LARGE SIZE OEM HONDA FILTER
When I purchased my Honda new back in 1995, these filters were the norm for all. Before I started working on my Honda myself, the parts desk would have 20 of these lined up for oil changes by the door where the techs would come in, grab one with a crush washer and proceed to do the oil change. As far as I know, most all Hondas used this generic filter and it was universal for most all of them. Now the change has been made to the smaller one but the idea has remained the same as the small ones are used and will fit on most all Hondas as well. Basically this filter very closely resembles the construction of it's new smaller cousin. With the exception of size and resulting filter media surface area, the elements of the filter reamin the same. Same orange flexible drainback valve, same metal base/metal spring/plastic poppet release valve design. Also, the release valve has the same metal to cardboard seal as the smaller one. I would be hard pressed to argue that the claims I've read of this filter being made by FRAM as well are not true. I love my Honda and everything about it but to see the construction of these two filters has left me with some curiosity as to the quality of the US/Canadian-made Honda parts. I guess it's true what they say...Japan keeps the best for themselves.

FRAM X2
Of the three filters, this one appears to have better construction in one or two areas but falls short like the others. Right away the metal end caps stand out as being the obvious difference and that left me with a somewhat nice feeling inside because this is the second or third consecutive time I have run this filter on my Civic and I was happy to see a substantial metal element holding the filter media together other than cardboard. However, what did NOT particularly appeal to me was the fact that the filter media seemed to be on the fuzzy side and was easily pulled away with two fingers (almost like pressed cotton batting coming apart). When I pinched the filter media with my fingers, I could pull off some of it and that concerned me greatly. Under high-oil pressure when revving out at 6800rpm (yes, my engine is only a D15B7), a few tiny bits and pieces of this could come off every now and then and take up residence somewhere in my engine. Also not something I liked to see.

The drainback and release valves bore the same characteristics and visual construction as the Honda units. This led me to believe that FRAM uses the same components in all their filters with the exception of the X2 receiving the metal endcap treatment and a subsequent $10 price hike.

One point of note...the silicone gasket/O-ring which seals against the block is noticeably taller and thicker when compared to the Honda units (the O-ring can be seen in the drain pan recess in first pic on or on the site below). When I removed the filter it appeared that this ring had a slight warp to it which may or may not have been a result of use or perhaps due to production flaws. In spite of this and although this o-ring design is very different that what I am used to seeing, i did not and have never experienced any leaks or problems with the few times I have used this filter

OVERALL CONCLUSION
I guess if I had to choose the lesser of the three evils, the FRAM X2 would be first. Pending the outcome of the S2000 filter and possibly a HAMP one in the future when I can afford to cut open a $25+ JDM filter, my final answer will likely change. However for the moment, the FRAM X2 seems to be up to par the most.

All in all, I was disappointed to see that the OEM Honda filters have such meagre construction materials. Although i'm sure these filters were designed to do well for the average Honda driver who drives their car reasonably, obeys posted speed limits and services their vehicle when the book dictates, I still find it disheartening that they would turn to a design which IMO is far inferior to others out there. Then again, when it costs only a fee dollars for an OEM Honda filter, I guess you can't expect it to be much more. Honda does have the reputation for being probably one of or the longest lasting cars on the road and if these filters didn't pass the tests, this wouldn't be so. However, with extended service intervals or excessive use, I can't see these filters being just as good or better than their JDM counterparts. I'm sure that is the reason you can get these filters for $5 a piece ($14 for the FRAM X2) and why the S2000 unit is 7x the price.


Now, before I garner hate mail and posts cursing me to a violent bloody death, bear in mind that these are simply my opinions/obervations made with my own eyes and filtered meticulously through what I consider to be a decently working CPU upstairs. I do consider myself to be somewhat obsessive with my Civic. Yes I am one of those who goes the extra mile and spends infinite hours on the internet and in the stores researching and comparison shopping to get something good, even if it costs more in the end when a lesser priced item will pass standard. I know what I like and what I do not like to see on my Honda and provided the S2K filter is shown to have better construction and design, I will keep these generic Honda filters away from my Civic. Many people have told me me im nuts to spend so much money for an S2000 filter. In their minds that is true, yet after seeing what is inside a generic OEM Honda filter, I feel my money is well spent on the Japanese unit. Maybe it might be a tad overkill but peace of mind does wonders today and sometimes what passes isn't necessarily the best overall.

Any comments, additions or suggestions are welcome. I did this to kill some curosity and maybe answer a few questions along the way. If you have something to share or add, by all means post it up.



P.S. for more filter dissecting pics, see this site which I came across in my search for the perfect filter. This guy has pics of many other filters as well as technical specs for some of them. A very good read http://theoildrop.server101.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000723;p=1
 

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Brokedick Millionaire
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40,252 Posts
I'm not gonna get into the fight, but STP 2808 filter and whatever oil is on sale = my Z6 still lives. Today Exxon 5w30 at .99 from Autozone. Get a Moroso Accusump to deal with the cold start lube blues and have a motor that will last forever.

These best oil and filter are those changed at 3,000 miles.

That being said, Steve-O I do applaud your efforts, yet they are 30 years too late.

Ask grandpa!
 

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Adia's Daddy
2004 Honda Element
Joined
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3,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Oh I know this isn't new info transex. I just figured there might be other people out there who would like to know whats inside a Honda oil filter and such. it might even avoid some newbie "What is the best oil/filter?" threads or others wondering what is inside them :). I'm sure my info has been known for quite some time now however, I still see recent threads on many boards where people are still asking about filters, oil types, etc. so if I answer some questions for someone, then i'm happy.

I've always been a firm believer in you get what you pay for. Obviously your filter/oil combo works for you and i am envious at the money you save but i'm one of those silly fools who sleeps alot easier knowing I am using top quality parts and fluids (even when OEM will suffice). Some might not see my POV but thats fine and i respect that. I guess the way I look at it is this: i pay more than what most people do for an oil change but the difference is I do it myself so with the money i save i am able to buy high-end products whereas everyone who pays someone else to do it will only get OEM standard lest they be charged more (alot more is most cases).

I guess what I should clarify things as my little boredom killer was only meant to inform those who do not know already and not to change or shed light on knowledge which most people know already (I am still learning many things yet hence the reason for my post). If a Wal-Mart Tech 2000 filter and oil works for someone, then i say go for it.

for me, I'll keep running my Mobil 1 5W30 synthetic and S2K filter.

P.S. not trying to be smart or cocky, just being my usual defensive self LOL :p
 
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