Frantz oil filters and other gimmicks...



  • greybarongreybaron Member Posts: 17
    You guys can trash these filters all you want, but I had good luck using them on 3 or 5 cars during the 60's and 70's. The toilet paper didn't disintegrate in oil like it did in water, in fact it seemed to filter very well. I never noticed any appreciable drop in oil pressure because the flow in the filter was very low. It would keep the oil cleaner looking' for much longer and in fact saved the engine in my 65 chevelle. When I changed the toilet paper, I found pieces of aluminum on top of it. I finally concluded that it was from the timing gear and pulled the front cover. The timing gear looked like it wouldn't have gone much further as the teflon was gone and the gear teeth were down to little points. So as you see, I have a soft spot for these filters.
    Does anyone remember the Magnavox Vibrasonic that we would install on the rear speaker to provide a delay. It sounded like you were in a cave. oh well, enough reminiscing.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    If you're talking about reverb, I had that in a '67 GTO and it's amazing how it filled out the sound from that rinky dink factory AM/FM.
  • greybarongreybaron Member Posts: 17
    Yeah, thats the one I was talking about. I had one in a 61 Pontiac Ventura and one in a 57 Chevy. They sounded cool then but would probably sound kind of hinky now.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    toilet paper filters? To save, what, $2, someone puts a roll of toilet paper in there to protect the car's don't get it, but it is a wonderful conversation piece at parties I suppose.
    It's a miracle your car didn't blow up.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    A grizzled old (and good!) mechanic looking at a Frantz filter.

    His comment? " Well, as I see things, toilet paper was designed for one thing...and it aint filtering oil!"

    And it was Motorola who built the vibrasonic units. I had several of them and thought the sound was pretty cool.

    The car manufactures called them their own names. GM called it Reverb. Ford called it Studio-Sonic sound. VERY rare option in a Ford product. Never saw one in a Mopar.

    The Motorola units were 39.95 and they would charge around 10-15 dollars to install them.

    I wouldn't consider these a gimmick. They sounded good at the time.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I think the big problem was the fact that the hucksters that sold them would state that your oil NEVER needed to be changed once the Franz filter was in place.

    Just change the paper once a month or something.

    And, on some cars they DID drop the oil pressure.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    On many cars, as soon as the toilet paper filter clogged up (quickly), the oil would just go through the you wouldn't lose oil pressure (maybe a bit) so much as you'd be pumping unfiltered oil through your engine without really knowing it.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I remember my dad had a Pontiac with this, if I recall correctly they claimed it was like a stereo. It actually sounded pretty good. If you didn't switch to just the front or rear speaker when the radio station wasn't playing music, you got this really cool echo.
  • greybarongreybaron Member Posts: 17
    The purpose of the Frantz filter was not to save $2.00. It was to improve the filtration of the oil over the stock filter, which doesn't filter the very small particles out. I would always change both filters at the same time and the oil would stay much cleaner "looking" with the Frantz compared to just the original. Over the 20 or so years that I used them I never had one clog up, disintegrate, or cause any loss of oil pressure. I don't think that the people that are badmouthing these filters have had any practical experience with them. The reason that I quit using them was because the toilet paper manufacturers started changing the sizes and they didn't fit correctly into the housing. I believe this happened in the late 70's or early 80's. Frantz did start selling their own toilet paper, but it was pretty expensive.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Frantz still does sell filters (not just TP type) and there are applications in bulk filters and bypass filters that use some type of toilet paper or paper towel medium.

    But as the sole filter in a modern engine, I would never use a TP filter or recommend it. Modern filtration is extremely good and unlike TP filters, would allow huge amounts of oil/air/atf fluids through, no problem. I wish I could put my finger on how tp filters can decrease torque but I simply cannot find it at this time. I will keep looking. But this is why, I think, they work best in bulk filters in bypass situations.

    If I had a bypass system on a fishing trawler I might use a bulk TP filter as a backup....but no way I'd put one on my car's $5,000 engine thank you.

    I'm not badmouthing the filter PER SE, just saying it's not good a good idea to use as a single filter medium in a modern passenger car gas engine.
  • greybarongreybaron Member Posts: 17
    I didn't mean to imply that I thought the Frantz was a stand alone filter. It was only meant to be an add-on in addition to the full flow filter. It has a very small orfice which admits the oil fairly slowly. The last car that I used one on was my 78 diesel rabbit which I sold with just over 110,000 miles on it and still ran perfect with no oil consumption.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, well, then, maybe we are closer in opinion than we first thought! And anyone who can get 110,000 out of a diesel Rabbit has my undying respect.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I can remember some huckster at a state fair hawking the merits of Frantz filters.

    I clearly remember him saying that you NEVER had to change your oil or the regular filter, just the toilet paper. " Oil never wears out, etc.."

    I think this is where people got into trouble.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    anyone who can drive a diesel Rabbit 110k deserves an award, let alone getting 110k good miles out of the engine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I had a diesel Rabbit pickup truck for a while...ran okay but what a gutless little bone shaker! Put a turbo on it (low boost) but didn't really help much.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Sorry but when I read you put a turbo on your diesel Rabbit pickup, the thought "there's an optimist" flashed through my mind. But optimists make the world a better place.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Somebody gave the kit to me, so I said, sure, why not? Waste of time.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598 the red fake fur seatcovers my father got from JC Whitney for my Studebaker?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The tipoff should have been that nothing in nature has bright red fur that I'm aware of.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    How did you know they were bright red?

    They made me an instant celebrity at the local drive-through.
  • 427435427435 Member Posts: 86
    I can't believe TP filters are still out there. As an auto-nut since a kid, and an engineer working with engines in off-highway vehicles for over 30 years, the only place these filters should be used is to store TP in the outhouse!! Anyone that is familar with engines knows that one of the things in blow-by is indeed water vapor---and one of several reasons for changing oil is to get rid of the accumulated water. Believe me, toilet paper will disolve with enough water and can plug oil galleries. I have seen ag tractor engines with failed bearings because of such filters.

    By-pass oil filters, in addition to regular full flow filters, are a good idea---many heavy duty trucks and off-highway machinery are so equipped from the factory. However, they use the very special filter medias that have been developed over the years for the express purpose of filtering oil. Toilet paper has also been developed for a very specific use and that's what it should be used for!!

    I can't help but wonder if the people who risk expensive engine repair by using toilet paper for oil filters also save a few pennies by using yesterday's newspaper to wipe their rears!!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I thought these filters were long off the market!

    Didn't Frantz go out of business years ago?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,637
    but my mechanic said a good cure for rust in the cooling system of older Mopars is to put 3 tablespoons of automatic transmission fluid in with the antifreeze.

    He said that Mopar blocks have too much nickel (nickle? sp?) in the iron, which will cause the cooling passages to rust more quickly.

    Will this really help anything, or will it cause any harm? Or will it just do nothing at all?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Beats me....too small an amount to hurt anything I suppose. There is some truth to the idea of certain types of blocks having electrolysis problems. My Alfa has a special plug in the head that I periodically is a sacrificial anode of sorts that allows itself to be eaten rather than the aluminum. Maybe this is what the mechanic was driving at, to forestall electrolysis.

    There are also cooling system filters by the way. Heavy trucks often use them.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    A few years ago at a Good Guys car show I passed a vendor booth where they had an industrial engine idling--with no oil pan. The idea was to show how great their oil or additive was. Pretty striking but there must be an angle. I'd imagine a low-stressed engine idling at 300 rpm can get by with minimal lubrication, or maybe the trick is in the bearing clearances. Or maybe they just slap in a new set of bearings each week. Any guesses?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yes, there's no load. You could do the same to any engine on the street for a short time if the idle were low and the engine wasn't doing any work except turning itself slowly. It takes a while for the oil to flow off the cylinder walls and bearing surfaces, especially with not much heat generated.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,637
    I'd heard of this trick before, but I'd always heard that they'd use Chrysler slant 6'es or some other virtually indestructible, understressed engine that would run without oil anyway, no matter what kind of slick stuff they poured in it.

  • chris191chris191 Member Posts: 14
    What about the "Fuel Economy" gauges that were found in a '78 Monte Carlo or some such. Weren't they just vacuum gauges with a faceplate rigged up to show high economy for low vacuum and visa versa? I liked that - my buddy's sister had one of those in her rather hideous Monte - it mesmerized me. So did she, alas. Another thing I remember is putting huge Accel spark plug wires on a beater of a '64 Olds Cutlass. The poor old car was so beat, that it was absurd to think anything like that was worthwhile - but I loved those bright yellow 10mm wires with their ugly cigar-like red boots. The innocence (ignorance)of youth . . . the money might have been better spent on a muffler as a courtesy to the general public. This is a great discussion group.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    An added bonus of those "hi perf" plug wires was they usually weren't shielded, so they caused interference with radios and TVs or so I was told. I think that's why they came with the warning "not legal for street use".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Anything that interferes with "Survivor" is okay with me.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Some kind of Rambler Marlin spinoff? A humorous version of Gilligan's Island??
  • chris191chris191 Member Posts: 14
    What about the '70s phenomena of the aerodynamic TV antennas on Chevy Vans and the like? Of course today's Mobile Entertainment Centers are pretty extreme as well. When I was a kid going somewhere in the parents' car I was satisfied just to look around and check out the world beyond my neighborhood. One of my favorite current gimmick/fads is the whole air-dam/ground effects deal that seems to be part of the Honda/Acura scene - and the Super Wings that extend way beyond the roofline. I guess it is kind of the current equivalent of the '60s/'70s non-functional fiberglass hood scoops and jacked-up rear ends with huge tires.
  • 427435427435 Member Posts: 86
    When I've seen this stunt, the snake-oil salesman was also spraying the crankshaft with water from a garden hose. At idle, no load, and special hardened bearings (with lots of clearance I suspect), the water acts as a coolant and a lubricant and it'll run a long time.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Just last week I saw a small ad in the newspaper. Some devise that injected "microscopic bits of platinum" into the fuel mixture.

    Imagine that!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, it must be expensive then if it is injecting platinum into your fuel.

    Money Waster Formulas:

    platinum = expensive/shiny, valuable =(therefore) "good thing"

    "good thing" + "my car which I love" = "put good thing in my car which I love"

    "put good thing in my car" + "my car which I love" = "I am now improving my car which I love"

    This works for platinum injection or even for putting premium gas in a low compression engine.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    was the name of the magnetic oil drain plugs.In the 50's, they would take out 3 or 4 page ads in Motor Trend [I bought these things at a used bookstore in the 70's for 25c a piece;now I can't afford em:$10.00 each at the last Pomona meet I attended],and they were a scream. All full of "technical data" and scientific terminology, they were hysterical to read.But the principle seemed sound.
    You could also order them from JC Whitney well into the 70's.
    Our 66 Mecury Montclair had the reverb radio and the sound on that AM radio seemed impressive.Two additional speakers in the rear package shelf and you could adjust how much sound went where. It always impressed my friends when I drove us to school[as did the delay windshield wipers...not a gimmick].
    Andre: I saw a slant6 performing this no oil stunt at the Rosebowl Swap Meet
    a few years ago. Can't remember the product now, but who can forget that engine!!!??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Actually, you can run any engine without oil in it at idle....not something I recommend you do, but there's no "miracle" about it. As long as the engine isn't under any load (doing work) it can put along on the oil film inside for a while. Especially a big iron clunker like a Slant 6, which no doubt is more heat tolerant than a Honda Civic.
  • cherostar1cherostar1 Member Posts: 2
    So much for the geniuses who think these are toilet paper filters. Mr. Frantz sold treated paper in large cartons. My Cessna 172 had a Frantz filter (FAA approved Supplemental Type Certificate) which was installed and which was used with the treated cartridges. Aircraft are quite prone to the accumulation of moisture in their air-cooled engines from rapid heating and cooling during the course of a flight. Never, ever, was there any deterioration in the oil, which was sent out for spectroanalysis at each change. I got a premium for the plane when I sold it because the aircraft mechanic who accompanied the buyer told him that that filter was the best there was on the market.

    Old man Frantz became inactive other than to sell cartons of treated cartridges and eventually died. Having sold the aircraft, I never paid attention to whether there is still a supply somewhere to obtain. I know that engine is still running strong, many hundreds of hours after its normal time before overhaul.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I clearly remember a huckster telling a crowd at a state fair that toilet paper, avaliable anywhere was fine to use.

    I'm sure they also sold private branded "filters" too.

    it just seems that if these filters were so great tehy would still be in production today.
  • taylor47taylor47 Member Posts: 23
    As with any product sold to the public, there are good products and there are less than stellar products. This also goes for the people that market the products.
    Toilet paper filters, as most people that like to disparage this type of by-pass filtration like to call them, have been around for years and years.

    The logic to low micron count by-pass filtration is only common sense and physics.

    I would venture to guess that most of the negative responses to by-pass filtration systems come from people that have no firsthand experience with them!!!

    As a mechanic that has had considerable experience in the use and installation of by-pass filters I can only say that they do work.
    Some better than others and if used in an appropriate application, e.g. large oil sump capacity and high mileage, they can save fleets a lot of time and money. Engine wear on engines using these types of filters is considerably less than those using only conventional full-flow filters.

    Anyone that is seriously considering using by-pass filtration should weigh the cost of the installation of the system to the cost of normal oil change intervals not using the systems. A thorough cost benefit analysis needs to be done.

    Again the main advantage is to major fleet operations or truck brokers. Some fleet customers that I come in contact with are running systems made by Puradyne I believe from Florida and do 100,000 mile oil changes and by-pass filter cartridges on normal intervals. This can result in increadable saving for large operations and in addition to reducing oil use provides cleaner and less internal wear on engines. Just imagine filtering engine oil to hydraulic oil standards!

    By-pass systems are also offered by companies such as Amsoil, TripleRRR filters, and Kleenoil. These systems are also great for antique engines that had no filtration systems originally provided, such as flathead fords and older chevies. Anyone remember the tin can mounted to the intake manifold on BlueFlame Chevrolets? This was by-pass filtration.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I don't think we have all confused Frantz with toilet paper filters--if you read all the posts, this gets clarified early on.
  • cherostar1cherostar1 Member Posts: 2
    I offer one reason they did not continue in use. You were a mess after you changed one. Out came the cartridge and then you mop out the cannister, if you want to do it right. Not the most popular system with the jiffylube down the road. I can just see one on the back side of a crosswise V-6 on a hot day. The thought of it alone ........!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I still have a cannister type on my Benz diesel, and coupled with what happens to motor oil in a diesel after 3,000 miles, it is an ugly and unpleasant mess, you're right about that.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    Does anyone remember some of the "fuel saving" items from the oil crisis in the 70s?

    I recall one being water jacket with the fuel line running through it. The water jacket was connected to one of the heater hoses. it was supposed to "expand" the gasoline for better mileage. I never tried it but I would think it would cause vapor lock in hot weather.

    The other I remember is the "catalyst" in the intake. It went under the carb and looked like a piece of window screen.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    Road Test Magazine was real big on these and apparently they actually DID help mileage somewhat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, yeah, injecting some water into the fuel mixture (well, at least on older cars) does improve combustion....I presume this is why cars run a bit better on rainy days? I am not sure about other side effects, or if the complexity of regulating it is really worth the trouble.

    Worth talking about though, if someone has done more research on it.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Edelbrock sold what I think was a fairly sophisticated water injection system. Not just a jug of water with a hose to the carburetor. It actually had two adjusting screws although I can't remember what they adjusted. Maybe one was for the 50 hp increase and the other was for the 100 hp increase.

    Mixing alcohol with the water was supposed to be the hot set-up. I think there's something to it, especially if you're trying to run a carboned-up high compression musclecar on 91 octane. More appealing than retarding the timing.

    The idea is that it prevents combustion from happening too quickly. Instead of a quick uncontrolled bang you get a flame front that moves from the plug outward the way the guy who designed the combustion chamber intended. Something like that...
  • cliffsurfscliffsurfs Member Posts: 4
    I have a new 01 Excursion with the Diesel. Been reading posts on Ford about by-pass filters. Went threw boxes of wonderfull things to good to 86 and found two compleat Franz filters. Took one of them bought new hoses and now have a by-pass filter. Oil had about 2500 miles and was showing color (soot). After 100 miles it looked almost fresh. I plan to do regular 5k oil and filter changes for warrantee purposes but now feel better knowing it will be clean between changes. Big problem was finding paper with the right inside hole diameter. Wall-mart has it in single rolls from Scott, 1k single sheets @$.57 a roll (cheap for a filter) . you can find these filters at swap meets for about $5-$15 (seen them). Never used the Franz paper back in the 60's so it was not a concern. I had this filter on my 65 GTO, pulled a valve cover off at 95k miles, you could eat out of it, no varnish or sluge. Franz was not snake oil. The normal spin on filter will pass particulates smaller then 10-15 microns, the Franz 2-4 microns. I use [email protected] filters they rate there's at 10 microns. my $.02 cliffsurfs
  • bjrichbjrich Member Posts: 125
    Had a friend that used to drive over the road for a large trucking company. He told me that when a new truck came in..Cummings diesel engine, that it was started and was never turned off and never had an oil change... oil was added as needed, but the engine was warranties for one million miles from the manufacturer I used to drive a car, back in the 50s and 60s. over 70,000 miles a year without interstate highways and do not remember ever changing oil.. just added as needed... and also do not remember having any problems with the cars.(traded every year) Any body want to buy an old can of Marvel Mystery Oil?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I'm afraid you won't have "clean oil" with a diesel engine. Oil in a diesel engine looks dirty after about five minutes of running. So don't expect to see that. This doesn't mean anything is wrong. You can't tell anything about the condition of your oil from just looking at it. Dirty oil can be in great shape, and clean oil can be broken down.
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