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  1. #1
    Jr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default K&N Air Filter Question / Opinion?

    After researching the internet its amazing the different opinions out there on the K&N flat panel air filter, some love it and see improvement, some swear you dont see any improvement (or very minimal) gain and then some talk about the increased particles and the harm that these can potentially cause. I think I am more confused now than before, so I decided to call my GM dealership and I asked their service manager and I was told that they don't recommend it (which is obvious, they would recommend AC-Delco) but it would not void the warranty on my truck. When I asked why its not recommended they said because of the oil that can get on the MAF (which I know first hand) but didnt say anything about more dirt or dust particles getting through as a reason not to use it. Also, I would think if this was a valid concern then wouldnt it have an impact to the warranty?

    I would really appreciate "real world" opinions, not marketing blah blah blah which is almost all you find online anymore. Eventually I would like to go with a CAI and exhaust upgrade but what are your thoughts on the K&N air filter itself. Does it last for the 50k miles before needing maintenanced and is there a "real" risk to the performance of your vehicle from the increased dirt and/or particles being passed through this filter or is it insignificant? thanks
    Tony - Pittsburgh
    '09 Sierra SLT Crew 5.3L

  2. #2


    I've had K&Ns in everything I've had since 1977. They do work better in some vehicles than others. As far as the what GM says about them GM cant come up with any data to prove there claims about the oil ruinning the MAF. Yes the dealer will show you a letter from GM saying this, but K&N has ask GM for the proof and GM hasnt supplied any proof yet. Go to K&Ns website and they have several videos you can watch about this subject. I have never had a MAF go bad for any reason. As far as cleaning, your stock airbox has a indicater that tells you when to change your filter, just clean the K&N filter then.

  3. #3
    Jr. Engineer hundojoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Elk River, Minnesota


    I have had a K&N FIPK kit on my 1999 silverado since 2002. Never had any problem with it. It will make the motor seem louder because it eliminates the factory intake silencers, but I think it sounds better. The only thing that I have noticed is that the MAF sensor gets dirty faster from the oil that the air filter is soaked in, other then that cant say any thing bad, and I will buy another one for my new truck.

  4. #4


    I forgot to mention, if you decide to get the stock replacement K&N take the A/C Delco number off you stock airbox and cross referance the number on K&N website. I know with the classic model Silverados there were several filters made for the stock airboxes, not sure about the NBS airboxes.

  5. #5

    Enkeiavalanche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Piermont,NY, back in Northern NJ now, But may be in IL soon....


    Never had a problem. I clean my K&N every 6 months then do the MAF a day or 2 afterwards... GM Will try their best for you NOT to put Aftermarket things on your ride to fix what they can't build.. The fact is.. They we the customer wants better performance then the Co's can sell us..
    08 Z71 Avalanche Mods to date: K&N CAI,Hellwig Swaybars and End Links, Corsa Sport Exhaust, Superchips Programer,IPCW LOF & 3rd brake light and tails, AMI Gas door,Show Hooks and Door locks, Enkei Wheels, with Pirelli tires, StreetScene Bowties, Grant Steering wheel,Muth signal mirrors,SSBC Big Brake kit,Huskyliner Mug gards,Floor mats and Hood shield, McGard Lug nuts and locks, Bedrug, Cervini's Ram Air hood,35watt HID Fog lights, Sylvania bulbs all around ZXE's Highs and Lows, WhiteNight Back up lights,Sirius and HD Radio, SnugTop sitting on deck now Got a Softopper on now,Tempress Boat Hatches.... New Bilstein shocks are on... New Mods coming soon..... X

  6. #6


    If your looking for more power, the truck needs to have unrestricted breathing.

    Your engine is just a big air pump. Air comes in and goes out.

    To get the benefits from a good flowing air cleaner element, you need to help unrestrict the air getting to it.

    So if there are any crazy bends or size reductions on the Air box, you would want to straighten out the path the air is taking. This is why many choose to swap out for a Cold Air Intake.

    That being said, don't stop there. The motor needs to get rid of the hot air that is created during the combustion cycle.

    High flow Cat's (or no Cat's) and high flow mufflers will help get rid of the hot exhaust. And better yet, a good set of headers.

    Most folks that claim a K&N type air filter has no benefit, is because that is all they changed.

    That's like changing the spray nozzle on your garden hose to get more water out, and not removing the kink in the hose.

    Just my two cents worth, take it or leave it.
    Pavement sucks... :grrrrrr:

    1994 K1500 4x4 Ext. Cab
    PCM chip and Xenon 8000k bulbs bored over .050"
    balanced Crank, 10:1 compression
    Flat top pistons,cam,ported heads
    Option Racing Cold Air Intake
    Holley Throttle Body Spacer
    Accell Igition, 45kv coil
    FloTech Headers, no CATs, dual exhuast
    Goodyear Silent Armor A/T 305/70-16
    Pioneer SupertunerIII CD USB Bluetooth
    Kicker ZX200.2 ZX Amp
    Kicker Audio COMP 10" Subwoofer

  7. #7
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Myrtle Beach, SC


    ejohnson nailed it. Very accurate and straightforward explanation.
    Frederick - South Carolina
    2008 Silverado LT1 5.3 with tow pkg and 20's

    I work for a GM dealer.

  8. #8


    re: airpump is good info
    re: GM won't build what we want.... GM builds for the masses. Take it or improve upon it. If they build obnoxiously loud & stinky vehicles they're get in trouble with the EPA and old ladys who want suburbans. They care about the # of cup holders and tissue dispensers rather than how much raw power it has.
    The dealer doesn't want you to jack around with the thing either cause if they need to work on it - it deviates from what GM built and they have to figure out what all is going on in addition to why it showed up at the dealer. Labor rate on a job is "X" - so they calculate that. Opps, the vehicle in question has headers & air tubing and scoops all over it... now what?
    FYI. Playing devils advocate.

    I put a home made K&N job on my truck. No assjet-dyno improvement noticed. But the sound is there. My alteration may compliment other improvements I've made, but the cost was worth the effort. Next to nothing. If I paid $250 - 300 for this, I'd be disappointed.

    The trick here is not just unrestricting airflow, but getting COLD(er) air into the engine. I opened up my airflow, but didn't isolate it from underhood heat. So this may be why it's a wash. The next step may be to isolate the intake from underhood heat... that should improve power slightly. The factory design forces air into a silenced box from behind the fender. The system is closed off to the underhood area. So they're isolating for heat, but choking flow (intentionally to a degree to silence the air).

    You've got to do both to really see an improvement. At the moment I'm kind of limited where I can put my cone and pick up air until I make a box. Some of the expensive kits have baffles to try and do this which is why they cost more.

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