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2008-2013 Cadillac CTS Performance Mods Discussion, has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter in Cadillac CTS Second Generation Forum - 2008-2013; Anyone expecting easily noticeable improvements in power or fuel economy for $60 should readjust their perceptions. The impact that these ...
  1. #16
    Getch78 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    Anyone expecting easily noticeable improvements in power or fuel economy for $60 should readjust their perceptions. The impact that these filters will have on vehicles will vary and will, in almost all cases, be almost undetectable to the average driver. However, there is another benefit to the K&N filter over the stock filters that I have not seen mentioned in this thread, and that is its ability to filter out more contaminants out of the air. Cleaner air is going to be better for your engine. The CTS definitely has a well designed air intake as I noticed a very slight improvement with the D3 intake installed, and noticed no difference going back to the stock intake with a K&N filter.

  2. #17
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    Consumer reports did a test on KN filters a while back. They found that a very dirty KN allowed slightly more air through than a paper filter that was just as dirty. But on brand new filters, the paper filter allowed more air through than the K&N.

  3. #18
    MadAmos's Avatar
    MadAmos is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    If you do a little research on the net you will find many opinions on the advantages/ disadvantages of a K&N filter. I saw a test that was performed several years ago with a lab performing the ISO 5011 procedure on a number of replacement air filters. The result was one that many might have concluded on their own - for a given size, a filter's ability to trap dust is inversely proportional to its flow rate. If keeping dust from your engine is the goal, a paper filter such as an AC Delco will provide far superior filtering performance, but you'll pay a price in airflow. If WOT performance is most important, the K&N filter used in this test provided about 50% less restriction to airflow.

    My personal experiences with this bear this test out, in the early 80's I was building engines for a customer that raced a off road truck in the long gone La Rana desert racing series. I quickly noticed that there was a gritty deposit that would always be present inside the throttle body and the cylinder walls had massive vertical scratches. This was using a K&N filter with a foam sock over it. After seeing the damage we experimented with several different filter set ups and found that using paper panel filters in a quick change filter box provided a vast improvement. With the paper filter set up we ran an entire season and when we tore the engine down there were no scratches in the bores and the honeing was still visible, where it had previously been gone.


    This is not intended to be inflammatory and I respect that others may have a different opinion.. For me with a car I expect to last and not consume oil there is no way I would ever consider a K&N style filter. The minor differences in WOT flow are just not worth the risk.

    Amos
    MoFex, MoFex, M5eater and 1 others like this.

  4. #19
    Getch78 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    I take back my previous statement about K&N filters. I must have been drinking their cool aid for a while. After reviewing the results from 3 different independent studies it is clear that K&N filters are overrated, overpriced, and under perform. I would much rather have a more effective filter than a sliver increase in throttle response.

  5. #20
    M5eater's Avatar
    M5eater is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    My input into this discussion;

    the A6 has a K&N, but that was because I got it for the rock-bottom price of $1.67 and the recharge kit was $8 @ napa while on-sale.

    They otherwise bring no advantages to the table. The 'airflow' increase is much less dramatic if you're not chaning the chamber that sucks it up in the first place.

    What you're getting with the K&N drop-in is basicly a $5-10 cost savings versus paper filters over 100K miles of use. You trade off; filtration ability, and with improper use-- MAF sensor oil deposits.

  6. #21
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    MadAmos pretty much hit the nail on the head... Alot of great info in his post. As he pointed out air filters that have excellent filtration performance will obviously restrict airflow, whereas high flow air filters will flow more cfm of air, but in the process let more contaminants through into the motor.

    If you look at aftermarket cold air or short ram style intakes, alot of them (like the D3 intake for example, but this is not just CTS-specific I'm talking about all cars in general) come with K&N air filters. It's part of the reason why the flow more air than the stock intake with paper filter.
    These companies claim gains of 8-10 hp over a stock intake... we're talking about gains in the area of 2-3% in terms of whp... Not something the average driver is going to be able to feel although it is definitely a measurable gain. Similarly, I wouldn't go so far as to say that there is ABSOLUTELY NO gain in performance from just swapping in a K&N air filter, but just one that probably won't be detected by the average person's butt-dyno And obviously it won't provide the gains in performance that replacing the whole intake system will yield as M5eater has pointed out. I think it's definitely an option though for someone who wants to keep the stock appearance of the car, while upgrading the stock air filter with something re-usable, and without spending 300$ for an aftermarket intake.

    As for the tradeoff, there will inevitably be more contaminants that make it into the combustion chambers, but unless you live in an area or drive your car in places which are very dusty, dirty, desert-like, etc. It's not something I would stress about personally.

    As a side note, to settle the debate on performance, I think an interesting experiment would be to take a car down the 1/4 mile a bunch of times... with the stock filter, a K&N filter, and then with no filter I'd be willing to bet that the fastest times would be achieved with no air filter in the stock air box... which would be marginally faster than the K&N filter, which would in turn be marginally faster than the stock air filter

  7. #22
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    Quote Originally Posted by M5eater View Post
    What you're getting with the K&N drop-in is basicly a $5-10 cost savings versus paper filters over 100K miles of use. You trade off; filtration ability, and with improper use-- MAF sensor oil deposits.
    Not if you are able to buy a 5-pack of oem filters for $20 like I did when I had my Maxima.

  8. #23
    M5eater's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyH View Post
    Not if you are able to buy a 5-pack of oem filters for $20 like I did when I had my Maxima.
    exactly :P
    New car's have 50K cotton or paper filter service intervals these days, so the 'savings' is even less in these cases.

  9. #24
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    I still replace them every 25k or so. Cheap insurance.

  10. #25
    kingtj is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    Yep.... I, too, have tried K&N drop-in filters in several different vehicles I've owned over the years, including dyno testing the last one with and without it in place.

    From my experience, and everything I've read on car forums over the years from others, your typical K&N drop-in filter replacement is likely to give you an average of 4-5HP of peak power increase over the factory filter, given a 300HP or so engine to start with. It's not enough to where you'd actually feel or notice the difference. The people who swear such a mod "increased throttle response" or the like most likely came from a DIRTY factory air filter to a brand new K&N and are noticing that improvement, vs. anything else.

    It also seems to be the case that going with an intake (replacing the whole airbox) gives you an average of another 4-5HP peak HP, assuming again a 300HP-ish engine to start with. (That improvement over a drop-in K&N is probably explained by a more direct path of airflow to the intake, and/or a larger opening for air to get in, in the first place.)

    All of that said, they don't filter as well as the factory filters, so if you drive through a dusty environment (even only occasionally), you're potentially shortening your engine's lifespan a bit.

    There's also a lot of "voodoo" involved, in the sense that many factors affect results. When you're trying to measure such relatively small gains, other people's dyno sheets and claimed results mean VERY little. I know when a group of us Hyundai Genesis Coupe owners got together and did group dyno tests, supposedly identical, stock cars had as much as a 10-15HP difference in peak power on the dyno -- probably just due to manufacturing variances when building the engines. Sometimes you just get lucky and a given engine has tighter tolerances than another, or maybe someone's spark plugs are gapped a little bit closer to spec than another person's? Heck, maybe someone just did a poor job of an initial "break in" on a brand new engine and caused it to lose a few HP for the rest of its lifespan?

    You also have to remember that temperature and humidity differences affect results. How many times does someone dyno test before doing a mod, but then it takes them a few days to get it installed and get time to go back for another test? By then, the results aren't perfectly comparable anymore since it's doubtful weather conditions were really identical both times.

    Even if you were able to take ALL of the above into account? I believe most dynos out there have a certain acceptable margin of accuracy that means they're not going to be accurate to more than 1-2HP of the actual output. So your sheets saying a drop-in filter gave you 4HP *could* really mean it gave only 2HP. You'd have to do a number of tests with it on and then off again, preferably using different dynos, to know for sure.

    When you do mods like this, you have to go into them as though they're "building blocks" towards an end goal of multiplying lots of little upgrades to get a more sizable improvement. If you're not really planning on doing many mods anyway, I'd skip one like this.

  11. #26
    Michael_atDell's Avatar
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    You guys must not be buying your K&Ns from the right place... When I installed mine, I got +50 HP! +60 when i put the sticker on my back window! They guy who sold me mine threw in some magic beans too, but I'm not supposed to tell anybody...

  12. #27
    RWH60 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    I put a K&N in my 1999 STS and noticed a drastic drop in gas mileage. Will probably go back to paper filter.

  13. #28
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    There must have been something wrong. I certainly didn't gain any power or mileage, but I don't recall losing any either.

  14. #29
    tinman's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    Usually it sounds better at WOT, that's about it. If you work in a dusty environment I would not recommend the K&N.

  15. #30
    DMill's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone tried a K&N drop in filter

    My daily driver and track rat is a 2000 BMW Z3 Mcoupe that I purchased new (go HERE for some pics) ... My wife drives our CTS. My bone stock Mcoupe has the S52 engine factory rated at 240hp at the crank. I did a dyno test with the OEM filter and then immediately did one with a K&N drop-in. The result: Identical! ... 207hp at the wheels, which works out very closely, if not equal to the factory's 240hp. Just an "FYI".

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