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Triumph TR3 - Air Cleaners

What are the pros and cons of using the original "rock catcher" mesh/oil air cleaners on the TR3A? How effective are they if maintained? Alternatively, if one wanted to install paper element air filters, what kind are available, and from what source(s) can they be had?


Bill Stagg
1960 TR3A
Bill Stagg

Mine are the originals with over 163,000 miles on them. I clean them in gasoline every 5000 miles or so and re-oil them. I don't do any more gravel or sand rally road driving as I did in it's first life. Now, I only drive on paved roads. The pistons, rings and liners have 83,000 miles on them since 1990 with no problem. If it ain't broke, why change it ? I've heard of others who put on paper filters and they clog up with dust in no time.

Don Elliott
Don Elliott


What's the right technique for cleaning and oiling them? I'm assuming one just swishes them around in some clean gas to clean. How do you apply the oil to the mesh without making an oily mesh mess?

Time to clean mine up.

Many thanks,

Bill Stagg

I dip or soak mine, one at a time. My bath is small and not too deep, but I can cover the filter with gas. I let it sit a while, then swirl it all around. Then after draining most of the gas out and back into the tray, I go outside I shake it up and down to get the rest of the gas out.

Then I do the second filter. Then I dispose of the dirty gas in an appropriate and environmental manner and refill the tray with clean gas and do them again as a rinse.

After they are dry, I put 20W50 oil on all the mesh that I can see in the outer openings And let them sit over night, pour out the excess from inside the bottom and reinstall them.

Ray Marty from Portland, Oregon, uses AMSOIL for Filters which is gummier in that it stays in the mesh and won't drip like 20W50.

Once they are back on, mine don't drip.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

Hi Bill I use to run paper elements on my cars up til about two years ago. They stopped making them. No longer availible. If you are lucky enough to find someone with old wix stock, # 42176 come as a pair. I dont care much for the old original rock catchers as you refered to them. If they are maintained properly as Don does, I feel they are barely adequate. When I ran out of paper elements, I went to K&N's, not by choice but rather because I had no choice. K&N's are expensive and they also have to be maintained, and I am not a believer in the K&N hype. But I feel the media is a bit better than the wire mesh type. I would go back to paper if I could find them. Good luck
B. Towne

This thread was discussed between 12/09/2004 and 13/09/2004

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