BEWARE of K&N oil filters on your Triumph - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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BEWARE of K&N oil filters on your Triumph

So, I never use K&N filters, I've always had great luck with either factory or Hi Flo which I usually buy 4 at a time. I went to use the last Hi Flo filter I had in my garage before a long road trip and when I pulled it out of the sealed box there was a large dent in the side of it. So, without enough time to order more, I reluctantly called around the local parts stores and found only one oil filter specified for use on the Sprint GT, the K&N KN-204 filter. It was expensive, around $17.00 I believe but I needed it and it got the job done.

Just over 2k miles later I'm riding through some back-country roads when out of the very bottom of my line of sight I see the red oil light flicker on and off on my Sprint. I immediately kit the kill switch and coasted to the side of the road where oil was puking out of the bottom of my bike. I looked underneath and it was immediately apparent, the bottom of the oil filter had blown out near the tack welds for the nut K&N puts on the filter for ease of removal. There was oil everywhere, my rear tire was drenched in it, how I did not go down is beyond me, someone was looking out for me.

Without cell service I was very fortunate to have someone stop and take me to the top of the mountain. I called around and unfortunately the only filter available was another POS K&N and it was an hour away. Bob who stopped to help was also a rider and agreed to take me there, I was extremely gracious. An oil filter and 2 quarts of oil later and a can of brake cleaner to clean everything off and I was back on the road.

Lesson learned, K&N oil filters are utter crap. I googled the issue and apparently I'm not alone in having this happen. There is no significant damage to the filter, it didn't bottom out, there are no scrapes anywhere on it and I hand tightened it like I have every filter I've changed in the last 20 something years of doing my own maintenance.

For safety sake, avoid these things like the plague. I still cannot believe I didn't go down and plan on sending an oil sample to Blackstone labs to see what kind of damage I did to it running it momentarily with low pressure. I want to pursue making K&N pay for a replacement engine/transmission since who knows what damage was done and this was clearly a manufacturing defect and a major major safety issue, I could have been killed. Anyone with legal knowledge feel free to chime in or send me a PM as I would appreciate it. I'm guessing I should just hire a lawyer to draft something up and send to them.

I know it looks like there are dents in the side of the filter but that is actually just oil, I'll clean up the outside of the filter and post better photos of the damage and the filter.

Be safe out there!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 11:12 PM
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I had this happen on my Thruxton as well, using a K&N filter. Didn't catastrophically fail but did leak out at the site of the nut.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 11:19 PM
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Glad you and the bike are ok and duly noted to not use K&N oil filters.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 12:10 AM
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There was a recent thread on Air Cooled Tech Talk forum where an Bonne owner had this exact issue...his engine would not start after replacing the faulty filter. Had it taken apart, found to be oil starved and in need of rebuild. K&N examined the filter and decided to pay out for a new engine...at least they stood behind their warranty as per their website.

Still, these welded nut filters are not worth the risk! Avoid at all cost (which could be your life). A solution in search of a problem as far as I can see.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 05:41 AM
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This just happened to a friend of mine's Speed Triple last month.

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-Kit

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 10:44 AM
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Wow thank you for sharing this and i'm glad your situation was not much worse as it could've easily been. I have been using the Hi-flo HF204RC filters for a few years on my former Tiger 1050 and now more recently on my Sprint GT. It has the same style nut for removal which is super handy. Now i'm wondering about the integrity of that filter although i haven't heard of any issues like with the K&N. I always wondered if Hi-flo racing series & K&N were related since the welded nut looks very similar. My girlfriend has a K&N KN138 on her Suzuki SFV650 so i will be inspecting that and possibly swapping it at my earliest convenience.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 10:52 AM
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Just my 2cc: some users seem to find the welded bit handy for fitting the filter --it should certainly only, if ever, be used to remove the filter, not fit it.

For lack of any alternative in my place, I use a K&N now. It is due for a change next month, I'll check carefully. And replace with an OEM one (just imported 4 of them).

NN
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metallian View Post
I always wondered if Hi-flo racing series & K&N were related since the welded nut looks very similar.
K&N filters are Hi-Flo with a nut added. KN204 = HF204
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferris View Post
K&N filters are Hi-Flo with a nut added. KN204 = HF204

I did not use the nut for tightening the filter, as stated in my original post it was hand tightened. I don't have a problem with the filter itself and it has been shown through disection that the filter element and bypass valves are actually well designed. I think the issue stems from the fact that the nut is tack welded onto the casing and the tack welds cause a degradation of the filter housing. Since the Hi Flow units I have used did not have a nut tack welded on I have not had an issue with them.

On a car, no big deal, engines and filters can be replaced but ask yourself, is it really worth risking your life for the ease of removing an oil filter with a wrench or ratchet? This could have been disastrous for me had my rear wheel lost traction due to it being covered in oil.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tornado99 View Post
There was a recent thread on Air Cooled Tech Talk forum where an Bonne owner had this exact issue...his engine would not start after replacing the faulty filter. Had it taken apart, found to be oil starved and in need of rebuild. K&N examined the filter and decided to pay out for a new engine...at least they stood behind their warranty as per their website.

Still, these welded nut filters are not worth the risk! Avoid at all cost (which could be your life). A solution in search of a problem as far as I can see.
Thanks for the information. I plan on changing the filter and oil this weekend and will send an oil sample out to blackstone labs to see what kind of wear occurred. I fear that because most of the oil was actually spit out of the faulty filter I won't get a representative idea of wear through a UOA.

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