Old Dog… New Trick?



So I opened a fresh box of Tempest oil filters today, and on top of the filters was the notice that you see in the picture. Imagine my surprise – someone has come up with a new trick when it comes to installing oil filters! If you don’t want to go get your reading glasses for the fine print, it says that you’re no longer supposed to dip you finger in the old oil to lightly coat the gasket with lubricant before installing., We all do that… don’t we? I mean – that’s what my grandfather taught me when I was just a lad – the same way he taught my father. “No good came come of installing an oil filter dry” would be a paraphrase of what he told me, and the one time that my dad left a trail of oil behind his old Chevy after an oil change, I am sure his father blamed it on his forgetting this most basic mechanic’s procedure.

Tempest SPIN-EZ oil filter
Tempest SPIN-EZ oil filter

Of course, if you’ve been reading aircraft manuals for the past many years, you know that you’re SUPPOSED to use DC-4, or some other fancy lubricant – but come on… show of hands… who hasn’t just used a little of the old oil?!

Well here comes Tempest (A filter I have been using for a few years now, and I pay for my own filters) rocking the boat with some new “anti-stick treatment.” I mean, what about all of us old dogs out here in mechanic’s land? Are we supposed to believe that you can do this job with some magic coating applied at the factory? Well, OK….a lot has changed over the years, and chemistry has given us many advances. OK, I’ll give it a try, in fact – I did just that as I installed the new filter this afternoon according to the new “dry” procedure. I even bet that the filter will spin right off when its time for the next oil change – hurrah for the advancement of science!

But hey…don’t tell Grandpa.

[Assistant Editor’s Note: Despite the “old man’s” rant, please follow all manufacturer’s directions when installing any part on your aircraft!]

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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