How to Clean Air Cleaner in Heavy Equipment

Air is drawn into the engine through the air cleaner. The air cleaner houses a filter element which removes foreign material from the air before it enters the engine. There are several different types of air cleaners currently available on Caterpillar engines. Always refer to the operation and maintenance manual of the engine for the most accurate maintenance procedures.

service dust indicator

Engine air cleaners should be serviced on a regular basis. Many air cleaners are equipped with a service indicator. The indicator monitors the amount of restriction through the air cleaners. The service indicator is the most accurate method to use to determine when the air cleaners are in need of service. Engine air cleaner elements should be serviced, cleaned or replaced, when either the yellow diaphragm enters the red zone or the red piston locks into the visible position.

dry element air cleaner

Dry element air cleaners are by far the most common type of air cleaners used on Caterpillar engines. Dry element air cleaners are typically composed of a pleated paper filter media that is used to remove the dirt from the incoming air.

This type of air filter requires replacement or cleaning when the service indicator is tripped.

cleaning dry air cleaner

Dry element air cleaners can usually be cleaned with filtered, dry air with a maximum pressure of 207 kPa (30 psi). The element should be cleaned from the clean side out, holding the tip of the air nozzle parallel to the pleats of the air cleaner.

airsep filter

Another type of air cleaner that is found on Caterpillar engines, most commonly in high performance marine applications, is the AIRSEPĂ’. The AIRSEP elements are a pleated fiber filter media that is impregnated with a special petroleum based fluid. This allows the AIRSEP elements to flow a high volume of air with little restriction, but still clean the air before it enters the engine. These elements are reusable, but the elements require a special maintenance procedure.

The AIRSEP filters must be cleaned using the 102-9720 Cleaning Kit. Follow the guidelines in the operation and maintenance manual.

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