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Air Filters for Seaplanes.

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Air Filters for Seaplanes.

Unread postby Float Pilot » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:37 pm

Those of us who are seaplane drivers have a different set of needs when it comes to Engine Air Filters.

1. We need take-off power. LOTS AND LOTS OF IT!!
2. We need to keep the lake bugs out of the carb.
3. We need to keep splashing water out of the carb as much as possible.

Rocks and dust are not as big an issue on lakes.

On my old PA-11 Cub, there was originally a Bracket Foam insert air filter. Nice for rocks and dust but it had a hard time breathing when wet and even when dry it had a hard time sucking enough air into the little C-90 engine.

So I removed the Bracket and installed a metal mesh K and N type. It was REALLY old and I could never read the makers mark. I cleaned the metal mesh in a pal of solvent every few weeks to remove the bugs and tree pollen. Then I sprayed it with filter oil and reinstalled it. It worked fine for 9 years and is still working for the new owner as far as I know. It really made a noticeable difference in my take-off and climb performance while on floats.

I have (had) a foam bracket on my new C-172 and went out and bought a Challenger filter. It appears to be basically a K&N style with metal mesh. Although the mounting hardware is not as solid as my old K&N on the Cub nor even the mounting hardware on the C-172s Bracket system. In fact bit does not work, so today I am basically mounting it with stainless #10x32 pitch machine screws going into floating riv-nut plates. The Challenger filter has an STC... I wonder why since it is a PMA part.

There is another type of filter with gets very good reviews and I wish I had looked at it first. The Donaldson synthetic mesh filter. Donaldson claims to have the greatest amount of air-flow. And they are washable like the metal mesh. ( at about half the cost) I have not seen their mounting hardware.

What are other opinions ???
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Re: Air Filters for Seaplanes.

Unread postby Tim McCormack » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:33 pm

Have you noticed any improvement on the 172 with the washable air filter. Almost everyone uses the Brackett, I think.
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Re: Air Filters for Seaplanes.

Unread postby KlausNW » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:19 am

I have acquired a number of form 337 field approvals allowing the total elimination of any type of air filter element. Instead I make a heavy duty mesh screen (1/8" wire) to keep the big things like birds out of the carburetor. The filter elements are to prevent dust from getting into the small carburetor ports and cylinders rings. If you don't expose your seaplane to dusty lakes then you really don't need a filter.

The first commercially operated floatplane I removed the filter element from was about 5 engines ago and every engine made TBO with normal compression and power. I don't know anyone who has ever used an air filter element in a float Beaver. I'm sure some people do I just don't know any of them.
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Re: Air Filters for Seaplanes.

Unread postby RKittine » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:35 am

Looking at my Brackett, I can see that a metal mesh would certainly improve the airflow. Guess it would be easy enough, albeit not legal, to make an adapter to put wire mesh over the outside.
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Re: Air Filters for Seaplanes.

Unread postby Tim McCormack » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:28 am

There's a wire mesh already built into the Brackett. All we need to do is take out the foam, if there is any performance to be gained from doing it. We shouldn't even have to worry about "legality" since it's already apart of the "approved" filter. But I wonder if there is any noticeable improvement. :?: :?:
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Re: Air Filters for Seaplanes.

Unread postby KlausNW » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:48 pm

Here is a Kenmore Air STC for Cessna 172, 180 and 185's. As you can see it dates back to 1976.

http://www.kenmoreairharbor.com/uploads/9/6/8/3/9683162/sa271nw_ref.pdf

One option is to put the element back in before an Annual. I don't think you will see any power improvement but you won't have a power loss due to water in the element restricting flow.
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