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Hi all,
My 1956 Savoy has an oil bath air filter/cleaner (Totally foreign concept to me)
Is that something I should replace with a more typical paper filter/intake?
Thanks!

Hood Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design
 

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You might be able to find a base to fit the carb but it will be hard and likely to wide to clear everything.

Oil bath air cleaner works as follows:
1) 30 weight oil is filled to the level line after cleaning up all the dirt at the bottom of the base.
2) Once installed, the air passing over the oil and up through the mesh in the upper part draws a small amount of oil up into the mesh. It will wet the mesh with oil to attract the dirt but does not have enough air speed to take the oil to the top.
3) Excess oil gets dirty and falls back down into the base carrying the dirt with it and the dirt settles to the bottom. Cycle begins again.

30 weight is thick enough to lift but not be drawn into the carb. We always used non-detergent as it will be less likely to suspend particles. You want them at the bottom of the oil


Not as efficient as a paper filter but surprisingly good.
 

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. . . .My 1956 Savoy has an oil bath air filter/cleaner (Totally foreign concept to me) . . . .
Before the advent of technology of treated paper in the late 1950s which could serve as an air filtering element, oil bath was used. Idea was to route engine intake air over a closed container with oil. The oil vapors would attract the dirt and cleanse the air before entering the engine. At periodic intervals the oil bath cleaner was removed. Empty the dirty oil and clean the interior. Refill wth fresh engine oil and reinstall on the carburetor.

. . . Is that something I should replace with a more typical paper filter/intake? . . . .
I would say yes and avoid the mess of cleaning the oil and then having to properly dispose of the dirty oil. Techology has given us treated paper which makes an excellent filtering media for an air cleaner. I would venture to say that no automotive or industrical engine to include agricultural enterprises uses an oil bath air cleaner. All use paper element filters.

If you want the original look of an oil bath air cleaner on your engine, you can do a Google search and find videos of how to convert an oil bath air cleaner to use paper elements.
 

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For the amount of miles you will put on the car the oil bath will work just fine. If that engine has a lot of miles on it it won't notice the difference. The problem comes in if you do a lot of severe driving in dusty areas etc.
 

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I changed the oil last week in my 49 New Yorker; a few days later I changed the oil in the air cleaner. A few days later I took it for a drive; when I accelerated I left a smoke screen that would make James Bond proud! It did that several times, and had me quite concerned...and then I remembered this was the first time I'd driven it since the refill. I was low on 30w so finished off the half-quart of 20w sitting on the shelf. Between the viscosity difference and possibly overfilling it by a hair, well, it made perfect sense. With some driving it cleared up...sucked all the excess oil.
 

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They actually work fairly well. Copy/pasted off the internet ...

The oil bath air filter pulls in outside air and makes it turn 90 degrees over a pool of oil. This helps to remove the large, heavy particles. The air then travels over a filter element that rests in the oil and wicks it into the fibers (often made of steel mesh). Some early filters used horse hair for the element, while some more modern filters used foam.

You can convert your original air cleaner to a paper filter .... basically take a cut off wheel & gut out the original housing. Then haul it to the local parts house & find a filter correct width & height to fit .... you may find something close then modify your filter housing more to fit the filter .... not a huge job.

My 49 truck will eventually be converted, just do not want to deal with the oil spills that will happen in the future. I'm more concerned with functionality then I am with originality.

So that is your decision .... do you keep it original or do you modify it? Either way works fine.
 
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