Prefilling Oil Filters - Necessary?

Messages
614
Location
USA
Hey, guys. I know, I'm sure I am beating a dead horse and it's inevitable I'm going to annoy some people with this question. For years, I have prefilled (as much as I can) the oil filter on my F-150, in an effort to help the engine receive oil flow to the bearings, as soon as possible. I'm getting ready soon to do the first DIY oil change on my 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis that I recently purchased and I'd like to hear your opinions on prefilling the oil filter before installation.

Being that the Modular engines in light duty Ford F-Series pickups and Ford Panther Platform cars have horizontally mounted filter angles, it somewhat makes it a bit more challenging to prefill the filter, without spilling, which pretty much limits me to only a halfway prefilled filter, at best.

So, now to the point: Being that the filter these engines take only holds about maybe 1/2 - 3/4 of a quart of oil (if it is completely filled to the top), is there really any scientific advantage to prefilling the filters before installation, or is it negligible? I've been on the fence on this topic for a long time now and I've never actually asked anyone else for their opinion on this topic. Just always used this method, based on my own assumptions. Thanks!(y)

You can, but I doubt your car will care. I'd guess a majority of people don't and their engines last a long time. I never have.
 
Messages
1,519
Location
UT
I've only done it on filters that were vertical, never seen any negative effects from not prefilling though.
And I doubt anyone can show data that suggest any negative effect from not prefilling. So far all I have ever seen is hypothesis.
 
Messages
25
Caterpillar has recommended for many years now to NOT prefill filters. Their reasoning is they’ve seen engines and other components damaged by prefilling filters. New oil can have some level of contamination in it and by prefilling the filter you run the risk of those contaminates circulating through the bearings

I would really like to see Caterpillar's data on this one. I might be able to see blaming poor technique, contamination, etc., but fresh oil out of the bottle being contaminated enough to cause damage???

On my 5.4L engines I always fill my filters quickly, the media will absorb most of it, leaving the filter maybe 1/3 full.
 
Messages
8,193
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
VERTICAL BASE PLATE UP: Fill & install
ALL OTHERS: Fill, immerse in bath of liquid nitrogen for 5 minutes & install.
Wait overnight for oil to warm back up before starting. The wait is why garages don't do this.
NOTE: Some element filters require a pre-greased "mold can".
 
Messages
141
Caterpillar has recommended for many years now to NOT prefill filters. Their reasoning is they’ve seen engines and other components damaged by prefilling filters. New oil can have some level of contamination in it and by prefilling the filter you run the risk of those contaminates circulating through the bearings

That doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't the oil have the same contaminants when poured into the crankcase? Am I missing something here?
 
Messages
141
I've always pre-filled. Even if the oil filter is parallel with the ground you can still get a fair amount of oil into the media without it spilling out when you screw it on.
I had a couple of cars that had horizontal filters, and was surprised at how much oil they'd hold without spilling. I'm an advocate of filling the filter whenever possible, and it's possible in many, many situations.
 
Messages
1,172
That doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't the oil have the same contaminants when poured into the crankcase? Am I missing something here?

Yes you are missing a key part. Oil from the crankcase gets filtered before it enters the oiling system. If you pre-fill an oil filter, that oil has not been filtered and can potentially have damage causing foreign debris.
 
Messages
865
Location
AR
The CAT recommendation is probably due to the locations where and on what the filters are changed on.....mining, earthmoving with excavators etc.....dusty & dirty environments and equipment....all those contaminants...

Your garage inside and civilian dirt level engine bay.....different story I'd venture out to say.
 
Messages
1,172
The CAT recommendation is probably due to the locations where and on what the filters are changed on.....mining, earthmoving with excavators etc.....dusty & dirty environments and equipment....all those contaminants...

Your garage inside and civilian dirt level engine bay.....different story I'd venture out to say.
Could be. But for anyone using oil from bulk drums you also don’t know the condition inside those drums.
 

4WD

Messages
15,064
Location
Texas
I’m not falling on a sword one way or the other here … but I think iron is always a bigger fear than most and how much do we see in VOA’s … including all those on sites like MACT …
 
Messages
2,053
Location
missouri
1. BMW boxer motorcycles say to prefill the filter. The older ones are vertical dome down, and only oil pressure energized the cam chain tensioners so they make a racket it you do not. Some people have had the cam chain rails break. This requires splitting the block to fix correctly. No one knows if the oil filter has anything to do with that, but why tempt fate.

2 The Kohler Courage engines recommend to prefill the filter, They have a tiny pump so it takes more than a few seconds. My neighbor refused to prefill. I always do. All I can say with a small sample size, is that my connecting rod is still inside the case and working. He now has a harbor freight Vtwin.

So I guess we can say, Follow the manual. Humm, who would have thought.
 
Messages
25,785
Location
PNW
That doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't the oil have the same contaminants when poured into the crankcase? Am I missing something here?
It would, but the dirty oil in sump would go through the filter media before going into the engine. Cat's theory was that the new oil was contaminated enough (maybe bulk oil in dirty storage containers?) to cause engine damage if the filter was pre-filled, which means dirty oil going into the engine before being filtered.
 
Messages
141
It would, but the dirty oil in sump would go through the filter media before going into the engine. Cat's theory was that the new oil was contaminated enough (maybe bulk oil in dirty storage containers?) to cause engine damage if the filter was pre-filled, which means dirty oil going into the engine before being filtered.

Thanks to you and stower17 for the clarification.
 
Messages
1,172
1. BMW boxer motorcycles say to prefill the filter. The older ones are vertical dome down, and only oil pressure energized the cam chain tensioners so they make a racket it you do not. Some people have had the cam chain rails break. This requires splitting the block to fix correctly. No one knows if the oil filter has anything to do with that, but why tempt fate.

2 The Kohler Courage engines recommend to prefill the filter, They have a tiny pump so it takes more than a few seconds. My neighbor refused to prefill. I always do. All I can say with a small sample size, is that my connecting rod is still inside the case and working. He now has a harbor freight Vtwin.

So I guess we can say, Follow the manual. Humm, who would have thought.

I have a Kohler Command v-twin 18hp in 1993 Cub Cadet 1863 and I guess I’ve never read the owners manual. The original selling dealer was adamant about using a 10W-30 oil instead of SAE30 due to the hydraulic lifters. The filter is mounted horizontally and I’ve never prefilled it. Same with my 2007 Cub Cadet SLT1550 with a Courage v-twin, mounted horizontally and never prefilled either lol. The Command was bought new, the Courage was bought off a neighbor who was moving and both run great.
 
Messages
2,053
Location
missouri
I have a Kohler Command v-twin 18hp in 1993 Cub Cadet 1863 and I guess I’ve never read the owners manual. The original selling dealer was adamant about using a 10W-30 oil instead of SAE30 due to the hydraulic lifters. The filter is mounted horizontally and I’ve never prefilled it. Same with my 2007 Cub Cadet SLT1550 with a Courage v-twin, mounted horizontally and never prefilled either lol. The Command was bought new, the Courage was bought off a neighbor who was moving and both run great.
Kohler Command one cylinder is NOT the same as the Courage or the V twins. The courage single has full flow lube thru the filter. The Command the filter is bypass. The courage likes to blow up they say.
 
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