: Fram Collapsing Oil Filter

06-27-08, 01:21 AM
My dealer jumped all over me for using a Fram oil filter. The dealer said that the Fram filters collapse, sometimes resulting in severe damage to the engine. Anyone hear about this before? I have used many Fram oil filters, without problem, but........

06-27-08, 01:27 AM
Seems like I've heard that Fram's were poorly made, but I've never had any problems with them.

06-27-08, 01:35 AM
I have heard that too. I used them a few times without an issue (on other cars) but stopped after I heard the urban legend.

fred's maggie
06-27-08, 10:36 AM
fram has had a problem for sometime now. use Wix or NAPA Gold which is the same. very high quality we use them in my race hemi motors

06-27-08, 11:34 AM
I think FRAM has gotten a bad wrap. For every day use they are more than adequate. My compnay has fleet of approx 35 (mostly GM pickups and SUVs) vehicles and we have been using Fram filters exclusively for 15yrs or more years. In that time I estimate we have put close to 8.5 million miles on our fleet. We do 3k mile oil changes, so that is around 2800 oil filters! On average we keep our vehicles until 100k. We have never had a fram filter collapse, or any other filter related problem. In fact we have only had 2 engines fail in 15 years/8.5 million miles. One was blown head gasket that ended up failing a bearing and the other was a cracked block. We have a couple 5.3L truck engines that have over 220k miles on that are still running strong.

I did use fram filters in my race cars. I stopped that when I started building purpose built engines ($$$). I use WIX in those as they have better filtration and these engines are used at the limit. Not worth saving a few dollars a year when an engine cost $30k!

06-27-08, 05:56 PM
:confused: I don't see how a filter could "collapse", since it's filled with pressurized oil. It could blow out, but it shouldn't be possible for it to collapse.

As for Fram filters in general, I'm with 85258. Go into just about any auto parts store - Autzone, Pep Boys, Schucks, you name it - and there's a huge section of Fram filters for sale. It's supply and demand - all those filters wouldn't be there if they weren't selling a bunch of them. So, with that in mind, there are millions of vehicles on US roads accruing billions of miles of use with Fram filters. I used Fram filters for years before deciding to spend a bit more for (supposedly) better filters. I've read internet horror stories about Fram filters, but I've never met anyone that had a problem with one.

They are not the best filters in the world, but they're not the Devil's Spawn Filter that every automotive enthusiast forum makes them out to be. :rolleyes:

06-27-08, 06:07 PM
There are several filter test sites on the web and they all report poor construction and performance for Fram filters. The filter element collapses on itself. The important internal parts are glued together cardboard. Do some Google searches for oil filter comparison. In the trade, Fram filters are a joke. It's a great example of an old line company gone bad and coasting on its reputation.

The gold standard for knowledge about lubrication and filters as long as they have existed is the Caterpillar tractor company. Caterpillar filters are made under contract by Wix, same as NAPA Gold..

06-27-08, 06:40 PM
The supercharged LSJ ECOTEC in my former Cobalt SS would tear up the filter element in a Fram filter somthing mean, never completely failed but the element would get all twisted up resulting in cold start up valvetrain noise from the head due to poor oil flow through the filter. The ECOTEC family of engines does not use a filter inside a metal can like most engines. You only replace the filter element similar to what is commonly used in industrial hydraulic units so you can plainly see the condition of the filter element upon replacement. I don't use Fram filters anymore.

06-27-08, 07:56 PM
Just a note from down in the old Seville pits.

I use WIX filters, and here's why: For many years I have built Olds 455 and GM 454 engines for boats, both cruising and racing versions (I'm not a mass-producer: I do it for friends). I used to use Fram HP2 filters and variants for the size and can strength......but we found something out when customers began complaining of "dry" starts: The drainback valve rubber discs were inverting on the filter core sleeve, allowing all the oil in and above the filter to drain back into the sump/pan. Start the engine after a day or so and the oil pump had to fill the entire oil system before building pressure. I cut filters open, took pictures (35mm), sent them to RI, explained the redesign necessary. Received a thank you note and 2 cases of HP2's, same problem. Never heard from the engineers again, we switched to WIX and all's oily in the filter department. No more dry starts.

Just my .02.

06-27-08, 10:44 PM
wow. i have used fram since i started driving. i think i might go withsome thing else from now on

06-28-08, 02:20 AM
I normally use AC Delco filters.
However, I have some Fram "Double Guard" filters.
Are they bad also?
Is it just the standard Fram filters that have issues?

06-28-08, 03:26 AM
I've also used NAPA Gold since the beginning. No problems.

peter simov
06-28-08, 04:30 PM
I used the mobil 1 filter for 2 oil changes till k&n came out with my filter size I would recomend both (04-06) -HP1007 (07) -HP1017 07 has a bigger inlet where the filter screws on ( I learned this the hard was had to go back to aoutozone)
both cost $10-$12

Rich H
06-28-08, 06:44 PM
One of the best filters (ie, bang for the buck) is a PureOne Purolator PL14006 that sells for ~$7.00. Several on-line posted oil filter write-ups rate them among the best for filter element efficiency and construction quality. And now they have a textured, although ugly yellow, metal surface so you can tighten and loosen them exclusively by hand.

Ak Jim
06-29-08, 02:33 AM
Are the mobile 1 filters any good?

06-29-08, 08:59 AM
This is the second thread I've read in as many days regarding failure of FRAM oil filters. The other thread is on an off-shore performance boat site that I am a member of. Back in high school I had a buddy who worked in the shop at a VW dealership who had a story of a car that came in with a FRAM filter that had blown out. With all of the filters to choose from, if there is any doubt in the quality of the FRAM filter, why would anyone use them?? For me, I use the OEM, factory issue Delco filter......no need to monkey around with speculation.

06-29-08, 09:00 AM
Wow.....I've been using Fram filters for 18 years... I now have them in my V, wifes 330CI and Explorer. I've never had a problem but after reading this and other posts online, I'll be changing. In fact, anyone ever try and take a filter off the V without draining the pan? How much oil does it let go? I just changed the oil and want to swap it out. Don't want to risk hurting my baby...

06-30-08, 12:13 PM
Are the mobile 1 filters any good?
I've used Mobil1 filters on my car since new. No issues. The main reason I use the Mobile1, is that the 'long' version is bigger, and should filter better (M206).


07-01-08, 01:48 AM
Fram has about the highest first pass efficiency ratings because they typically use much less surface area and a tighter filter media, so they tend to catch more stuff on the first pass at a very high cost of oil flow. The low surface area tends to be highly blocked around 300 or so cold starts, costing you flow and oil pressure and you are flowing alot through the bypass.

Fram HP series was pretty decent a few years back, and Tough guard is pretty good, which claims to use a synthetic media.

The Dana filters are better than Fram's low end and get better the more you pay, with Purolator standard being low end and Wix/Napa Gold being the upper end.
The Wix has probably double the surface area that a comparable Fram low end has, and uses stamped end caps which would prevent the rare case of collapsing that could happen with carboard endcaps like the Fram.

The Mobil1 uses a synthetic media with a strong internal metal structure, and a good bypass. It is basically like the Wix, but with synthetic media. If you get the bigger size filter, it is a solid all around choice, and it will filter great over many miles, pretty much the life of your synthetic oil, unless you are one of those die hard Amsoil 20K oil changers.

The Purolator PureOne has a synthetic filter I think, and so does the K&N, but pretty much any filter you spend $10 on is far better insurance than the $3 filter. The cheap ones work ok, if you don't do sub-freezing starts regularly, or change your oil far more frequently than you need too.


07-01-08, 08:26 AM
Ask your dealer if the ACDelco PF26 filter will fit (and/or help) your engine. It is the heavy duty filter used and REQUIRED on the STS-V engine. The following footnote is from the owners manual.

Notice: If your vehicle is an STS-V model, the engine uses a special oil filter. The use of any other engine oil filter could lead to filter failure and result in severe engine damage. Damage caused by use of the wrong engine oil filter would not be covered by your new vehicle warranty.

06-09-12, 06:31 PM
Photo of the COLLAPSED Fram filter removed from my SRX (06/09/2012). Original packaging is shown.

A quick search in the topic revealed:
- Best case, collapsed Fram filter does not filter the oil.
- Worst case, particles from the collapsed Fram filter clog up the oil pump causing catastrophic engine failure.


I did not buy the Fram filter because it was cheap, just grabbed it off the shelf at WalMart by sheer convenience when buying the Mobil 1 oil at the same time. Never again.

06-10-12, 02:57 PM
Interesting photos. No reason not to be using the AC Delco Ultraguard UPF44 on the 04-06 V's, one of the cheapest filters and also one of the best!

06-10-12, 03:55 PM
Wow...that's bad. I've been using M1 #206 on both my V and Saab 97x.

06-10-12, 05:56 PM
I never will use Fram.

06-10-12, 08:08 PM
No reason not to use Purolator, Wix, NAPA, even Walmart brand oil filters. They've all been proven to be better built than Fram. Fram is the Huddle House of oil filters.

06-11-12, 09:22 AM
Wow.....I've been using Fram filters for 18 years... I now have them in my V, wifes 330CI and Explorer. I've never had a problem but after reading this and other posts online, I'll be changing. In fact, anyone ever try and take a filter off the V without draining the pan? How much oil does it let go? I just changed the oil and want to swap it out. Don't want to risk hurting my baby...

I have dropped my filter only and needed about 1/2 a quart to top it off.

06-11-12, 10:20 AM
Wix, Mobil 1, Purolator, and K&N are the best filters. Can't go wrong with any. Most other branded filters are manufactured by Purolator, and rebranded. One example is AC Delco.

06-11-12, 12:53 PM
You guys should read up on the AC Delco Ultraguard. They're only available in two sizes anymore (UPF-44 and UPF-52, IIRC), but in all the canister filter tests they always come out on top--and they're half the price of an M1 or a K&N. Luke @ Lindsay can get them for you...