Trouble with Napa Gold?

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6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
Welp. The story begins here. Yesterday evening, after working some long hours recently, I decided that it would be somewhat therapeutic to 'turn a wrench.' So I went over to my parents house with three five quart containers of oil and changed the oil of both their cars and my own. For my 99' Pontiac Sunfire 2.2L OHV, I had Mobil1 10W-30 High Mileage oil and a Napa Gold 1040 oil filter. Everything went smoothly except for the fact that I can't see the filter stem from underneath as it is obstructed by all sorts of wiring, framing, and other [censored]. But I finagled on the filter while successfully not searing the flesh on the exhaust from my massive pythons of arms, finished up, and arrogantly pulled out off the ramps without really checking - and only looking for a trail of oil to indicate any failure or deficiency. Neither was the case so I did a bit of a test drive and went home, stopping off on the way for some ice cold Sam Adams Summer Ale. All seemed well. The following morning, being this one, I drove into work on my usual 30 mile commute. As I was on the highway I began to notice a plume of smoke resonating from what seemed to be my car. Of course, this couldn't be possible since my car, while winning no beauty contest prizes, doesn't burn any oil and generally runs very well. As I drew closer to work, I exited the highway near the airport and had to endure several stop lights and some stop and go traffic. At each light, I smelled and saw the presence of smoke coming from what seemed to be directly under my engine block. I began to worry, but sort of went into denial. I finally made it to work and saw a small pool of oil under my car and I wigged. Despite the fact I was wearing a shirt and tie, I reached down into the engine block as it seemed that the oil must be coming from the filter area, and dripping directly below onto what looks like the forward catalytic converter. I tried tightening the filter from the top of the car, and it was intractably obstinate to my efforts. But despite this, I was able to crank it tighter and ended up dirtying my white shirt. After an annoying day of work, I got back in and drove home. It seemed the oil smoke was gone initially. But I realized to my chagrin that there was indeed some smoking, though noticeably less. And I got home, I again saw some dripping of oil onto the driveway and the acrid stench of oil burning off the exhaust system, though it was appreciable less. So I got out my ramps, raised the car, and sort of verified that it was indeed coming from the oil filter face plate that mounted the Napa Gold (Wix?) filter. I drove to the local Autozone and picked up the Mobil1 oil and fliter deal (five quarts and a M1 filter for $30 or $35) and actually found the 5W-30 flavor of High Mileage to my surprise. I got back, put the Mobil1 filter on, and all seemed immediately well. No oil piddling or dripping on my driveway, so I topped off the car and did a test drive to insure everything was okay and again saw no oil dripping on my driveway after I got back. So, the culprit was the Napa Gold filter... So, what is up with this? I bought the Napa because I always had good luck and heard they were the bestest filter around. I paid over $7 after taxes for it a week ago and it seems that it was probably defective. I inspected it, and saw no apparent defects and I plan on writing them and returning the filter. I also plan of giving them the option of taking the thing back for QC purposes. But I feel let down and it might be a while before I buy a Napa/Wix filter again. I dunno, this seems a pretty rare failure of quality control, but has anyone else had a filter problem?
 
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Messages
11,184
Location
Bad Axe, MI
every manufacture can have a bad day,they all have seen it,don't let one bad filter scare you away,i've used TONS of NG with out issue there a well built fine filter. Oh an by the way use a NG 1036 or AC pf52 next time,it's a longer filter and you'll be able to reach it better from the top with a filter cap wrench,i know i have a 2000 sunfire 2.2 and have no problems changing the filter from the top.
 
Messages
978
Location
Fernandina Beach FL
Don't expect much, I just got back a filter from Purolator (returned) it was a cartridge type that was twisted and slightly crushed (Hourglass shape) inner pleats very tight after 4191 OCI. I also sent a second filter (same new circa 2006) so they could compare. Got a letter back stating the filter was within spec and the deformation was due to filter reaching capacity. NEVER had an OE Mazda filter look like this!!! So if you go to all the trouble of notifying them, filling out paperwork ,and shipping. Only to get aggravated... Think Twice... PS I noticed the the newer filters have been redesigned. WONDER WHY ?
 
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Messages
1,723
Location
Virginia
 Originally Posted By: Corvette Owner
Are you sure the old oil filter gasket didn't stick on? Did you check for leaks after you installed the filter?
+1, the filter gasket was my first suspicion as well
 
Messages
1,574
Location
Ca, US
 Originally Posted By: sicko
 Originally Posted By: Corvette Owner
Are you sure the old oil filter gasket didn't stick on? Did you check for leaks after you installed the filter?
+1, the filter gasket was my first suspicion as well
Yes, now that you mention it... a coworker told me his car had a huge leak on the road. Because when he changed the oil filter the old gasket was still stuck on the engine block and he screwed in the new filter on top of it. So gasket to gasket = oil trail on the road. This is why you oil the gasket when you put on a new filter. So the gasket doesn't stick to the block.
 
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Nickdfresh

Thread starter
Messages
6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
 Originally Posted By: daman
every manufacture can have a bad day,they all have seen it,don't let one bad filter scare you away,i've used TONS of NG with out issue there a well built fine filter. Oh an by the way use a NG 1036 or AC pf52 next time,it's a longer filter and you'll be able to reach it better from the top with a filter cap wrench,i know i have a 2000 sunfire 2.2 and have no problems changing the filter from the top.
You're right. Maybe I shouldn't have thrown them under the bus so to speak in this thread based on one single incident. Maybe I should have contacted them first. But while I have many faults, posting such things on the internet, or mentioning it anywhere else, lightly is not one of them...
 
Messages
22
Location
mississippi
the last 3 super tech filters i changed all left the gasket on the car. it pays to double check. i now use ac delco filters not saying the st is a bad filter i will use them again someday.
 
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25,044
Location
ON, Canada eh?
 Originally Posted By: Nickdfresh
You're right. Maybe I shouldn't have thrown them under the bus so to speak in this thread based on one single incident. ...
Why not... a lot of others do, and sometimes with just a rumor of a problem!
 

Nickdfresh

Thread starter
Messages
6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
 Originally Posted By: sunfire
So why was the Wix leaking? Did you inspect it? How could a filter cause your engine to burn oil?
I inspected it quickly and cursory as I was irritated and it was getting late. I still have the filter, the box, and the receipt (the last two of which I had to retrieve out of the garbage BTW) and I'll check it closer tomorrow. Bear in mind that I was once an assistant manager of an oil change facility, and I have to say that I've never seen an oil filter leak when properly installed and used in the correct application... I never said I burned the oil, the filter caused it to leak out. Although, I did get some free undercoating.
 
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Nickdfresh

Thread starter
Messages
6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
 Originally Posted By: Corvette Owner
Are you sure the old oil filter gasket didn't stick on? Did you check for leaks after you installed the filter?
One of the first thoughts. But I have oil change experience as I worked in a 'quickie lube,' albeit from over a decade ago, and I witnessed a few "double gaskets" on mostly Ford products in my time.... A double gasket usually causes a massive loss of oil and is readily apparent. This was a steady trickle that I reduced to a steady drip when I tightened it. And it was pretty snug even initially. And I actually dug the old filter out of the garbage (a Fram Tough-guard) to get my receipt for the Napa Gold, and it had its gasket still IIRC...
 
Messages
3,653
Location
Clermont, Florida
Well at least there was no engine damage done. I know it can freak you out when that oil change doesn't go just right. It happened on my last one, when I pre-filled my filter I put a little too much in and it ran up over the baseplate. So I let it sit a while thinking the excess would soak into the media, but somehow when I screwed the filter on the block and started my truck it burped a little oil past the gasket somehow. I had to check it 3 more times to be sure it wasn't leaking any more. I knew for sure the old gasket came off with the old filter, it was still on the old filter sitting in my drain pan. I have had no other leaks or any other problems. BTW, both my old and new filters were Napa ProSelects, which are made by Wix. I have never had a single problem with any ProSelect filter. Don't let this one issue sour you on Wix. Wix/Napa Gold really are one of the best filters you can buy, if not the best for their price range.
 
Messages
1,574
Location
Ca, US
Do both of you hand tighten your oil filters? I always give my filters a final 45 to 90 degree turn with the filter wrench after hand tightening. Never had any leaks of any kind in any of my family's cars. And yes I torque the drain bolt too.
 
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Messages
25,044
Location
ON, Canada eh?
 Originally Posted By: sunfire
Do both of you hand tighten your oil filters? I always give my filters a final 45 to 90 degree turn with the filter wrench after hand tightening. Never had any leaks of any kind in any of my family's cars. And yes I torque the drain bolt too.
I do the same as you... I just don't torque the drain bolt because I have a Fumoto drain valve. \:\!
 
Messages
3,653
Location
Clermont, Florida
I always coat the new gasket with clean oil and hand tighten the filter till it contacts the block, then as far as I can by hand, then I give it a good half turn with my filter wrench. Never had any filter problems at all and the old ones always come off easily.
 
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1,358
Location
Las Vegas
You missed the part where he said he had massive pythons of arms. I've always hand tightened oil filters if I can get my hand in there without burning it. Never had a problem getting the 3/4 spin on it after the gasket touches the base, and never had a leak. Usually works out to about a 50% effort. Of course, 100% effort would probably torque the engine off the engine mounts, so I have to be careful. I suspect you had a warped base or some other defect with the filter like you concluded. I had pretty much given up on the check for leaks step since I never have any, but you've convinced me to keep looking.
 
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39,806
Location
Pottstown, PA
 Quote:
Of course, 100% effort would probably torque the engine off the engine mounts, so I have to be careful.
I know what you mean I have a feeling that the evolution from "just do it hand tight" to the aligning the letter points after gasket contact was due to people having different definitions of "hand tight". I never appear to get it to the forward points by hand, but that's probably a byproduct of not truly feeling where the gasket contacts the base.
 
Messages
2,371
Location
WA
I've never had an oil filter leak on me. This case sounds like there was a defect of some kind with the filter that caused it to leak at the base seam or gasket area. I always follow the manufacture's tightening spec (usually 3/4 to 1 turn after gasket contacts filter seat), and lube the new gasket with clean oil.
 

Nickdfresh

Thread starter
Messages
6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
I'm looking at it tomorrow. It's been a busy week, but by the end of next week I am sending something to WIX (or NAPA?) on this. I'd like my money back I guess, but more so I'd like to let them know that they've had a problem... As far as questions, I do hand tighten the my filters, and this one felt snug enough not to leak even before I cranked it as hard as I could. I also hand-tightened the Mobil1 M-101 filter, and it isn't leaking. As I've said, in years of oil changing experience I have never a filter leak (after hand tightening them) unless it was the wrong application (in which case it won't go on most of the time) or from double-gaskets, which is sort of all or nothing as the oil spurts out of the filter mount quickly and forms a puddle...
 
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