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I decided to check the cabin air filter today inspite of all the horror stories. They come out pretty easy. They were pretty dirty so I took the time to slap them on the floor to knock the dirt loose, blew them out and vacuumed each fold til they were clean again. Reinstalling them is impossible. They are on my work bench and will likely stay there. The guy who designed that system should be hunted down and circumsized with a rusty can opener. :annoyed:
 

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What makes them so difficult to reinstall? I've never seen one in any car (all the cars I have to work on are usually not the latest models) and like Krashed I don't know if there's one in my ETC.
 

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Consider yourself lucky if you don't have one. You almost have to try it to understand it, but Ill try to explain it. The access door is above and to the right of the accelerator. You open a small access door and pull a tab that is attatched to the first filter and slide it out. There are three of them and they are stacked vertically and interlocking. Now #2 drops down to the access door and you pull that one out. Finally #3 drops down to the access door and gets pulled out. When pulling them out, you have to manuver them past the accelerator and the shift cable. That's the easy part. Reinstalling them is the reverse but somewhat akin to being on your knees and trying to push a wet noodle through a hole at the end of a 55 gallon barrel from the inside (without being able to crawl into it) with one hand tied behind your (aching) back, all the while keeping the previous one from fallind down and misaligning the interlocking track that the next one must slide into. It is an agonizing, exhausting exercize in futility.
 

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Agreed, the process for installing this thing is a real PITA! The first time I did it on my 2000 STS it took over an hour. The second time was about half an hour.

A rusty can opener? YEE_OUCH!!!
 

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Ranger said:
Consider yourself lucky if you don't have one. You almost have to try it to understand it, but Ill try to explain it. The access door is above and to the right of the accelerator. You open a small access door and pull a tab that is attatched to the first filter and slide it out. There are three of them and they are stacked vertically and interlocking. Now #2 drops down to the access door and you pull that one out. Finally #3 drops down to the access door and gets pulled out. When pulling them out, you have to manuver them past the accelerator and the shift cable. That's the easy part. Reinstalling them is the reverse but somewhat akin to being on your knees and trying to push a wet noodle through a hole at the end of a 55 gallon barrel from the inside (without being able to crawl into it) with one hand tied behind your (aching) back, all the while keeping the previous one from fallind down and misaligning the interlocking track that the next one must slide into. It is an agonizing, exhausting exercize in futility.
Sadly, that sounds typical, doesn't it? Working on these is not terribly difficult on paper, but the ergonomical aspect is the bad news. Everything is packed into the car without much thought gone into service--cadillac mechanics love it at $110/hr.
 

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Hello Dave! I'm a new owner of a Diamond White 2000 STS. I love the car even thou I dropped 900$ into her in my first week of ownership. I got a price from the dealer of 75$ (part only) for the cabin filter. Sound right??
I figured I would remove the existing filter and clean them like yourself. It is really that much of a PIA? I could live without it but the filter seems to keep dust in the cabin down to a minimum. My only concern is if the element becomes too dirty restricting airflow, could it potentially compromise my A/C system? Am I being paranoid?
Thanks,
Chuck
 

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cvol said:
...I got a price from the dealer of 75$ (part only) for the cabin filter. Sound right??
I figured I would remove the existing filter and clean them like yourself. It is really that much of a PIA?...
I seem to remember that the filter was about $65, but I could be wrong about that. :bigroll: A good vacuuming would probably allow you to reuse the filter a few times; last time I changed mine most of the debris was rather large and loose.

Yes, it's a pain. Ranger's description of the process was pretty close to reality. If you get the filter section bent around the accelerator pedal and properly engaged with the section already installed, there's still a good chance that it will jam in the process and you'll have to pull it out and start over. If you do get the second section installed correctly, the third section will go in a little easier since the two sections interlocked together are a lot more stable than just the single section. OTOH, if you haven't installed the second one correctly, there's no way the third section will go in! You get to start all over. :mad2:
 

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Dave is absolutely correct. It is truely a BIG PITA. It is something you must expirience. Also there are a series of "V's" cut in the top and bottom rail somthing like this V_V_V_V_V_V_ so as to allow it to flex as you snake it past the accelerator and shift cable. Too much flex and the thin portion at the base of the V breaks, then it really gets limp and impossible to install.

No, you are not being paranoid. There is a lot of dirt in there, and it will eventually restrict air flow. You can always yank it out then. After all, most cars don't have them and it is no different than driving with the windows open. I kind of like the idea but hate to spend $65 - $75 bucks on another set only to destroy them in another futile attemp to install them.
 

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Ranger, like you, I too removed the cabin filter on my 99 STS.
I could'nt believe the poor design ... my wife's Accord has the filter in the glovebox, takes 10 seconds to change it.

My car has more miles on it than does yours, so my filters looked awful.
I drove all summer without the filters installed, and my air flow was definitely increased ... I can live with a bit of dust, but I refused to reinstall the filters ... the whole process is barbaric and stupid.
 

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Dave-00STS said:
I seem to remember that the filter was about $65, but I could be wrong about that. :bigroll: A good vacuuming would probably allow you to reuse the filter a few times; last time I changed mine most of the debris was rather large and loose.

Yes, it's a pain. Ranger's description of the process was pretty close to reality. If you get the filter section bent around the accelerator pedal and properly engaged with the section already installed, there's still a good chance that it will jam in the process and you'll have to pull it out and start over. If you do get the second section installed correctly, the third section will go in a little easier since the two sections interlocked together are a lot more stable than just the single section. OTOH, if you haven't installed the second one correctly, there's no way the third section will go in! You get to start all over. :mad2:
IMO these are a one shot deal... They seem to "bend" and buckle and loose their stiffness after some use and cleaning... installing a new one out of the box is A LOT easier than installing a "recycled" one.
 

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UPDATE:

After some positive comments from some of the guys over at caddyinfo, I decided to give it another try. I hate defeat. Rockauto has a Wix filter PN #24874 for $20. I ordered the filter on 11/02 and it was delivered on 11/03. Now that is service. Rockauto ROCKS! I got it installed in :10-:15 minutes this morning. Here is a picture of it for those who never have had the pleasure. http://www.wixfilters.com/filterlookup/Par....asp?Part=24874

CAUTION If you order from rockauto, order by the PN I listed. They have the wrong part listed in the online catalogue. If you go through the make, model, year thing. You'll end up with a Deville filter.
 

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Hello...
Yes, getting the filter out is the easy part.
Installation is a different story...patience and a good flashlight always helps!

I considered not replacing the filter, but I noticed that the upper vents blow too strong on Low for my taste
and the filter restricts air flow just enough to correct this for me.

There are some preparations that you can do the filter to ease installation.
-file the edges of the "V's" and lubricate so they assemble with greater ease.
-remove the panel and move the wire/cable out of the way and slide the filter in behind the accelerator pedal
(I think that's what I did).

I wouldn't recommend cleaning the old filter...besides being a PITA to replace,
it may harbor germs and/or odor.
OEM filter is a carbon/charcoal filter and the aftermarket ones that I have seen are not, hence the price difference.

You just have to keep in mind that cars are designed for ease of assembly...GM intends for every customer to return for service.

Further, many vehicles are relatively "maintenance free" (if nothing breaks!)
for thousands of miles,
so MrGoodWench has to make his money somehow...
oil changes/rotate/balance/allignment/cabin-filters...etcetera
Gone are the days of points/plugs, distributors and carburetors!
 

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ElDawgg 2G said:
Hello...

Further, many vehicles are relatively "maintenance free" (if nothing breaks!)for thousands of miles, so MrGoodWench has to make his money somehow...
oil changes/rotate/balance/allignment/cabin-filters...etcetera
Gone are the days of points/plugs, distributors and carburetors!
So I guess what you are writing is that planned obsolescence is now considered end user consumables? *LOL
 

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The first time I ever changed the filters, they were jammed in there so bad from a collection of debris that the pull tab snapped right off. I had to pull the first one out by hooking the other end of it with a coat hanger.
I found two things to do to make the job easier. One is to wire tie the shift cable to the brake pedal to keep it out of the way. The other thing to do is to modify the filters slightly. There's a ramp in the slot where they join together and the problem with it is that it's a bit too steep and makes it harder for them to slide. If you take a file to the peak of the ramp and smoothe it out, the filters slide together much easier when installing. A shot of silicone spray in the slots helps, too.
 

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Long time listener, first time caller. Great site with lots of info!

I also took the plunge on the cabin filter...Oh, my, god! Came out easy enough; and I am glad I did it. Was severely restricted. Leaves, bugs, dirt, you name it. (car has about 75k miles on it and from the look of that filter it was the first time it has seen the light of day since it was installed at the factory)

However re-installation is a mother! Funny that we all seemed to try the same things to work around the problem. Before I read this thread I tried filing the sharp edges down, also did the zip strip thing to get the cable out of the way, lubed up the interlocking channels. Good news is after about an hour, I got one of the sections in. Bad news is there are 2 more sections. At this rate of success (or failure depending on your point of view) I'll either have the whole filter in by Feburary, or lose patience and end up beaking something.
 

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Dang! You guys have convinced me to make this a new winter project. Thanks for sharing the R&R tips!

I suppose if you are an allergy sufferer and haven't discovered the modern world of drugs, the filter might be a relief as you drive. I take my Zyrtec and keep the windows open whenever possible.
 

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Having read none of the posts here about installing this filter (stupid me, eh?) I attempted it by merely reading the instructions that came with it. Mistake !! Whoever designed this is truly a sadist.
Mine had never been replaced since 1999, from the looks of it, so that's 130k miles of debris clogging it up.
I used OEM (charcoal, etc) model which came from ebay for $24 incl shipping.
Like others have said here, getting the old one out was not too bad, but those interlocking grooves ............ like ted_tcb said, "the whole process is barbaric and stupid."
After a few hours I gave up trying to get #2 to interlock with #1; besides, by that time they were so mangled that it just would never have happened anyway. (yes, I did do the silicone spray suggested in the instructions, but that only made everything slipprier & harder to handle).
In the end, just to get the damn things in there, I resorted to sawing off the tabs on the top, on two of them (with my little thin-blade band saw) and eliminating the interlocking aspect. (if you leave the tabs on and try installing them without interlocking them, they won't fit inside: too high).
Yes, I know that without interlocking, there's a little space for the dust & pollen to get through, but the alternative would have been to throw the new (mangled) ones away and just do without any filtering. My knuckles were bleeding, my back & neck was sore, and I'd run out of expletives to use against whoever designed this setup.
This set will have to stay in there for the next 130k miles !

(I've done R & R on engines, trannys, & everything else but this was the worst, I think, in terms of frustration.)
 

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:yeah:

Last weekend I welded in a new catalytic converter into my Olds 442... On my back, on a creeper with a heavy, dirty exhaust system (yes this is a hobby) with my TIG welder dropping droplets of molten metal on my arms...

I would rather re-do that project three times then install another cabin filter...

And mine went in fairly easily..
 
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