Oiled Filter vs. Dry Filter for Duramax

Oiled vs Dry Filter

Oiled Filter vs. Dry Filter for Duramax

When ordering an intake for a Duramax, we often get the question about what is the best air filter for a Duramax…an oiled filter or a dry filter.  On the Duramax intake, there is a MAF (mass air flow) sensor that is located on the intake just past the inlet filter.  This sensor is there to read the amount of air flow that is passing through the intake.  It uses this information to properly fuel the truck.  The more air flow, the more fuel, etc.

These sensors are extremely sensitive and the slightest amount of dirt, dust, or oil can cause them to not function properly, affecting mileage, performance, spool-up, and more.

The Down Side of Oiled

When you have an oiled air filter on a Duramax, some of that oil will get pulled onto that sensor causing mileage to decrease, the truck to become laggy or smoky, and performance to decrease.  In some cases, it can ruin the sensor altogether.

The Up Side of Oiled

Quite simply, you can clean them so you don’t have to replace them nearly as often.  And in most cases they do filter better.

Pros and Cons of Dry

A dry filter doesn’t have any of the issues that an oiled filter has.  It will allow the truck to run properly and eliminates the possibility of ruining that MAF sensor.  You do, however, need to replace the dry filters more often as they cannot be cleaned, so the long term cost is higher.  To overcome this negative, I like to add a pre-filter wrap such as the one below, which will greatly increase the life of the filter.

(For use with an S&B intake only.)

To see all of our S&B intake options for the Duramax, please head to our website:


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