on the housing and the previous seal
remains, then two seals will be in place
when the replacement filter is installed.
This will usually result in oil leakage since
the set up will not be able to sustain the
engine oil pressure.
Figure 2 shows the filter with two
seals in place. The left arrow points to
the old seal and the right arrow points
to the new seal. The two seals on top of
one another usually do not resist the
oil pressure from the engine, resulting
A second problem with oil filter installation is improper threading of the oil
filter onto the housing. Figure 3 shows
an oil filter to the right that was cross-threaded during installation.
Figure 4 is a close-up of the threads on
the oil filter to the right as compared to a
new oil filter. In Figure 4 the worn threads
on the right (arrow) are a result of im-
proper threading. In this case, the location
of the oil filter housing in the vehicle was
hard to reach. It is difficult to determine if
the filter is threaded properly in tight lo-
cations. Consequently, when the installing
torque of the filter increases, a technician
may think that the filter is being seated
properly when in fact the increased toque
experienced is a result of cross-threading.
Depending on the amount of oil seal com-
pression, the seal may leak almost imme-
diately or take some time to fail and leak.
When analyzing a vehicle fire with a
fire origin near the oil filter housing, the
cause may be a result of improper installation of the oil filter.
Charles C. Roberts, Jr., Ph.D., P.E.,
( firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of C.
Roberts Consulting Engineers, Inc.,
which provides professional engineering
services in accident reconstruction,
failure analysis, fire causation, explosion
analysis, and biomechanics.
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