Alfa Romeo 4C Mann W6014 Filter Cut Open: Big Prob

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All: I am reposting this from the Alfa Romeo 4C forum as I would like to get the opinions of posters here as I can think of no other collection of individuals more knowledgeable about oil filters on the planet than can be found here. I did not author the original post but have contacted the author and encouraged him to participate in the discussion here. The performance of the filter, especially on this type of car/engine, is very troubling to me. Even more troubling is that, due to the newness of the vehicle and its niche status, there are no other options that I am aware of aside from this OEM Mann W6014 filter. All credit for this post goes to Clover on the Alfa Romeo 4C board. Without further adieu, see what you guys think: Hi from Newcastle Australia, this is my first post anywhere, ever, I hope you find it useful. Having been a mechanic with my own workshop, in a past life, and a car enthusiast for over 40 years specializing in Alfa, Honda and Lambo and having completed many total resurrections, it was obvious to choose a 4C as my first new car. However, rather than joining the waiting list, I bought a perfect 2500Km, white, coupe which met my specs exactly.....fantastic! Believing in the need for early first oil changes I decided to change the oil and filter immediately and picked up oil and a filter from Leichhardt when in Sydney. Aus$76 told me that this filter must be something 'special'. It was a Mann W6014 and looked very average but the specs gave a bypass pressure of 2.5 bar (35psi). Almost all other filters have a 1bar bypass pressure. This raised lots of questions. On further inspection I was alarmed to see that it had a plastic core with a large open grid structure rather than a tubular steel core, with lots more smaller holes, as in most filters. I predicted that the filter element could not be supported adequately for the high bypass pressure. Upon opening the old filter I found that the element had been compressed into tight bunches aligned to, and with the same number as, the plastic support verticals. At 2500Kms these bunches are tight enough when disassembled but when under heat and pressure they will be much tighter and the oil flow will be very restricted so the pressure across the filter will increase and the support will distort more further restricting flow until the bypass opens. (All getting worse as the filter gets older). At this point the engine is seeing oil at a pressure >35psi less than the feed pressure and that oil is washing over the small, dirty, open sections of filter to get to the bypass valve at the end. Yes! the engine is being fed especially dirty oil at approx. 1/2 the normal pressure. In my opinion, other than the 'special' price, the W6014 is a very ordinary oil filter but with a high bypass pressure and design faults. ( We can discuss the bypass operation and why Alfa might have set it high later, I am not saying that this is a fault on its own....) I sent the info and filter to Mann Australia 1 month ago. It has been returned. Apparently there is no great problem because there has not been a catastrophic failure yet, so the complaint must go thru Alfa. Meanwhile there is the great possibility that our cars will be suffering accelerated engine wear. Am I being alarmist? Possibly....but I can't find any other filters collapsing and 4Cs deserve better! It would be good if somebody with some involvement with Fiat Alfa could take this up with them.
 
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I've had Mazda, Motorcraft, and Puraone do this with insert type elements. Nothing to worry about. UOAs came back fine and engines showed no indication of missed beat.
 
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I checked but it seems this MANN filter is the only one available for this car...cost 18€ here. I noticed since 2 or 3 years the Fiat/Alfa oem oil filters moved from "made in Italy" to "made in China", with loss of quality of course. Is this MANN filter really made in Germany?
 

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After reading "Clover's" comments about this filter, I have these comments: Even though the bypass valve is set to 35 PSI and the pleats are wavy and spread open doesn't mean there was a high delta-p across the filter. The wavy pleats can happen due to many other reasons. I do however don't like the two big open pleats, especially with an opened up 'eCore' style center tube. IMO, if the delta-p really was near 35 PSI, those two open pleats might have blown right through the center tube windows. If he can't find another brand filter that he thinks will work better for this car, the use the OEM but ensure the oil stays clean and the filter is changed on a good maintenance schedule to ensure it doesn't load up and increase the delta-p/pressure drop across the filter. BTW - he made it sound like he things the oil flow will be cut back if the filter goes into bypass mode. That is only true IF the oil pump has also hit pressure relief. If the oil pump is not in pressure relief, then 100% of the oil volume coming out of the pump is still going through the filter & engine ... even if the filter is bypassing some of that oil.
 
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I would add-use the recommended oil viscosity, don't go super thick (as happens often in Australia), let the engine warm up fully before running high RPMs, WOT, etc. That will minimize the chances of a media blowout, & I would stick with manufacturer recommended OCIs, keeping receipts for EVERYTHING, as well.
 

phaphaphooey

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Originally Posted By: Popsy
I checked but it seems this MANN filter is the only one available for this car...cost 18€ here. I noticed since 2 or 3 years the Fiat/Alfa oem oil filters moved from "made in Italy" to "made in China", with loss of quality of course. Is this MANN filter really made in Germany?
Yes, it is the only one available for the car that I can find here in the USA as well. As to the location of construction, I recently changed the oil in my 4C for the first time and ordered the proper Mann filter referenced in this thread. It definitely had "Made in Germany" written on both the box and the filter itself.
 
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I take it the wide spaced pleats are aligned with the bars of the center tube? Mann would test the filter for the bypass pressure rating I would think, but it definitely is different than the USA made ecore.
 
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Yes, and that was an online retailer... Filters for my cars are usually between 5 and 9€, depending on model and brand (Purflux or Mann, I avoid Mahle now).
 
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Hi, I am the original poster of this topic on '4C FORUMS' Thanks to all for your comments. I am not so concerned by 'waviness' so much as the spreading at the axial supports, and the bunching and compression of the pleats into the holes between the supports. It can be seen in the photos that this is caused by pressure. I have measured and drawn this. Though the drawing is somewhat idealistic, it is dimensionally and geometrically close. If not good quality...sorry about that. It displays the cause of the bunching; The well supported pleats over the axial supports compress a bit at the bottom but tend to hold up better against the pressure. As the poorly supported pleats sink into the holes those better supported pleats push the other pleats together at the outside, while the supports push them together at the inside. I don't think that the 8 open pleats have a likelihood of rupturing because they are over the axial supports. There is no other filter for the 4C so I will need to take extra care with servicing etc....sure...would anyhow.....but why should we have to take extra EXTRA care because the filter is designed badly. Or are you saying we should take extra care until the filters are fixed? BTW it cost Au$76 (51 euro) from a big Alfa dealer. ]
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BTW - he made it sound like he things the oil flow will be cut back if the filter goes into bypass mode. That is only true IF the oil pump has also hit pressure relief. If the oil pump is not in pressure relief, then 100% of the oil volume coming out of the pump is still going through the filter & engine ... even if the filter is bypassing some of that oil.
Yes, It is a positive displacement pump, so the flow is not affected by the filter pre-relief, and, post-relief, the pressure is high enough( in this case 100psi)that there will always be enough pressure to the motor...100psi relief minus 35psi bypass = 75psi. But if the filter is badly compromised the motor sees unfiltered oil after relief and at any other time pre-relief. I said "compromised", What you can see in the photos and drawings is the pleats jamming together between the axial supports and deforming over the radial supports. this must significantly restrict the capacity of this filter. I am doing some testing: This car has Approx 100psi relief and 35psi filter bypass. New oil and filter. Cold idle: 100psi supply.(relief open) Warm idle: 45psi supply When warm the press relief opens at 4000rpm. Pressure across filter 2-3 psi.max. In time I hope to post some more results. Please ignore the extra black circle in the core in the picture below. blush
 
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Though first to admit I don't completely understand the conclusion given for the pleat deformation, it's an interesting topic. One thing I note is, 35 psi bypass spec is significantly higher compared to the average bypass spec on US spin on filters with filter integral bypass. I would call this filter a hybrid ecore spin on design. But unlike the new ACDelco hybrid ecore this one obviously uses metal endcaps as opposed to the fiber type ACDelco. But the GM ACDelco have a much lower bypass spec too as noted earlier. Agree that there should be another design available if this representative of results for this filter in this vehicle. My biggest concern though as has been posted on this board with an ecore anecdote would be the complete blowing out of a piece media between the openings, sending that media into the engine.
 
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Perhaps some people care more about protecting their rather exciting engine, while it is still going, than the instant excitement of an explosive failure!
 
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I guess that comment was intended for me since my display name in the Re. Apparently you took some sort of personal umbrage to my observation of what 'my' main concern would be which seems a rather a benign comment and based on an ecore anecdote posted here in the past. Also apparently completely ignoring everything else in my post including other observations regarding differences noted. Good luck with your rather exciting engine.
 
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Sorry about that...Misread your last sentence...and overreacted.....sorry!...again!
 
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I don't see anything wrong with that "e-core" center tube. my old Passat 2.0T filter housing used that style center tube, for the cartridge filter. my old 2002 TDI, had that style center tube on the cartridge filter itself, until they changed it a bit, to reduce the amount of oil that gets drained back into the oil pan when the engine is cff. maybe the bigger question should be: did the filter show signs of tearing, when it was subjected to the oil pressure and filter pleat angle???
 
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Originally Posted By: UG_Passat
I don't see anything wrong with that "e-core" center tube. my old Passat 2.0T filter housing used that style center tube, for the cartridge filter. my old 2002 TDI, had that style center tube on the cartridge filter itself, until they changed it a bit, to reduce the amount of oil that gets drained back into the oil pan when the engine is cff. maybe the bigger question should be: did the filter show signs of tearing, when it was subjected to the oil pressure and filter pleat angle???
I am more worried about the fact that this filter is clearly showing the signs of high pressure distortion with the impingement of the pleats against the center tube and the tight bunching of the pleats as they sink into the holes while closing up against the oil flow, than tearing, at this point. When this happens the bypass opens and unfiltered oil goes to the motor and that oil washes over the filter media on the way. Remember we have a 35psi bypass, not the 15 psi we are all used to. If we can solve this problem, the problem of torn filter media will have been solved.
 
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