Mobil 1, K&N, AC Delco, and STP filters look alike

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A lot of differently branded oil filters must be made in the same factory with many of the exact same materials. While at AutoZone, I looked over the filters spec'ed for the '06 Camry Inline-4, and found that the Mobil 1 103 filter, the K&N filter, the AC Delco oil filter, and the STP filter all look * exactly * the same, except for the color of the filter cans. If they were all the same color, I couldn't tell one apart from the other--that's how similar they look: identical really. I guess there is one difference: the rubber-like gasket below the ring of holes is orange-colored in the Mobil 1 and the K&N filters and black-colored in the AC Delco and the STP. But that's it. Everything else looks identcial. All 4 filters even share the same "blue button" that can be seen down inside the long, hollow center hole. These 4 filters must share a whole lot of the same construction materials. I guess it's what you can't see from the outside that counts. I suppose the internal filtration media is quite different between these 4 filters since the filters are priced very differently: $13 for the Mobil 1, $16 for the K&N, $6.xx for the AC Delco, and $3.50 for the STP. The Fram is $4, but it looks way different from the other 4 filters and is taller. Oh, one other detail: the K&N filter has a 1-inch wrench thingie sculpted on top so you can unscrew the filter from the car using a regular 1-inch wrench, instead of a special filter wrench. Although these 4 filters are all spec'ed for the '06 Camry I4, they're all about 1/2-inch shorter in height than the OEM Toyota/Denso filter specified for the Camry (cost is $6.xx at the dealership for the Denso). A newbie could easily conclude that the Denso has a much larger filter capacity because of the Denso's taller height. The other 4 filters look like tiny things next to the Denso, even though all 4 filters and the Denso have the same diameter.
 
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Indeed, all 4 filters are manufactured by Champion Labs. The K&N and Mobil 1 have better filter media and the orange silicon anti drain back valve, but everything else is the same as the STP and AC Delco.
 
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The ADBV probably isn't a big thing since the filter is mounted open end up. Assuming you're still under warranty and running 5000 mile oci's, they're probably all fine. Also, Supertech at Walmart is a champ, same as the STP from what I can tell. All five are much shorter than a Purolator or Napa/Wix.
 
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When Bosch was made by Champion you could go to Autozone and look at 6 different brands of filters all made by the same manufacturer: Valucraft (Hecho in Mexico) STP AC Delco Bosch M1 K&N Go to Advance Auto and get a Purolator for your Toyota. It will work great for you.
 
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Has anybody done UOA's with current Purolators and pre Botch ones? The last L 10193 I cut open was closer to a Fram in media area than anything else.
 
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 Originally Posted By: greenaccord02
+1 they're all good. If price is not an object, I'd get the K&N or M1 as it's been said that those have the same media.
No, they don't! Everything else (except the nut on top of the KN, and can thickness) is the same. I've sacrificed the cash, and cut both open myself (unused filters). You can plainly see that they're not the same elements. They have a noticeably different color and surface texture. From what I've learned over the years, the M1 can take more smaller stuff out, but is more restrictive. The KN by contrast, is far less restrictive (flows better) but doesn't filter quite as well.
 
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 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
 Originally Posted By: greenaccord02
+1 they're all good. If price is not an object, I'd get the K&N or M1 as it's been said that those have the same media.
No, they don't! Everything else (except the nut on top of the KN, and can thickness) is the same. I've sacrificed the cash, and cut both open myself (unused filters). You can plainly see that they're not the same elements. They have a noticeably different color and surface texture. From what I've learned over the years, the M1 can take more smaller stuff out, but is more restrictive. The KN by contrast, is far less restrictive (flows better) but doesn't filter quite as well.
ekpolk - You are 100% right about the different media between K&N and M1. \:\! K&N = phenolic resin impregnated cellulose media Mobil 1 - synthetic fiber blend media Filters may look the same on the outside while holding them but it is what is on the INSIDE, that you can not see, that counts. Heck, other than a color change a Fram looks the same as an Amsoil or Royal Purple filter but they are not even close to being the same. Short of cutting a filter open to see how the internals are constructed( ie; media type, metal or cardboard end caps, what kind of ADBV, etc... )you can't say they are the same. Example. Here is a cut open Fram EG( one of the cheapest and most readily available filters you can buy price and quality wise )and a cut open Royal Purple filter( one the highest quality and price filters you can buy that is readily available ). No way you can see the internal difference just by holding it and looking in the hole. You will notice the RP filter weighs a lot more than the Fram when holding a filter from each for the same vehicle but that is all you can tell. FRAM: Info - the standard Fram Extra Guard filter uses a paper media element with glued on cardboard end caps. They use a rubber ADBV which is glued to the cardboard end cap. They use a plastic bypass valve. Cheap components and cheaply constructed. Even the can material( ie; metal exterior )is cheap and thin. Royal Purple: Info - The Royal Purple filter uses a 100% synthetic media material that is backed/supported by a mesh screen. The end caps are metal and they use a silicone ADBV. Even the can is built thicker to make it stronger and increase burst PSI. I don't know what kind of bypass valve they use but based on the rest of the filter's component choices it is a high quality one. I know a Fram EG and an RP filter are vastly different but that is kind of the point. There is no way you can see the difference in the media, type of end cap used, the ADBV type, etc... just by looking down the hole. Again I say you can tell nothing just looking at them. You need to cut them open or find the info on what is used to make them. This applies to any brand filter vs another brand filter not just Fram and RP. I used them mainly because I have the great shot of the cut open RP filter that really illustrates my point. No offense ment to anyone wiith this.
 
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 Originally Posted By: NHHEMI
There is no way you can see the difference in the media,just by looking down the hole.
Disagree just a tad bit ;\) , one can tell the difference when your looking at a traditional filter(media)vs. a synthetic filter(media),one(media) is yellow and one is white showing through the center tube holes if you look close. But yes i know what your saying. \:\!
 
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 Originally Posted By: NHHEMI
There is no way you can see the difference in the media,just by looking down the hole.
You obviously don't have Superman Eyes like I do!
 
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LOL. I noticed the same think today! Here are pictures of 2 filters ranging in price from $3 to $13 IIRC. [img] http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc174/friendly_jacek/oilfilter1.jpg?t=1245900771 [/img] [img] http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc174/friendly_jacek/oilfilter2.jpg?t=1245900817 [/img] Hint: one package claims "traps nearly 2 times more dirt than leading national brand [...] SAE HS806" and the other states "stores more contaminants 2x more capacity vs leading brand SAE test HS806". Questions for the audience: what are the brands and how are they different (if any). Answer will follow. Edit: the picture insert is broke?
 
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Can't be a Bosch - Bosch's are Purolator clones now. The Left is a Supertech, the right is a Mobil 1 EP. As you can see, the only visible difference is the silicone ADBV for the Supertech. The blue spring loaded bypass valve and the centertube are the same. The Mobil 1 has better media as well, but you can't see that.
 
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