2.3 I4 Cartridge Oil Filter Warning

21973 Views 57 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  88asc
Today I changed oil on my Milan and found the Purolator #PL15505 was smushed and twisted. After some research I found out there is a problem with that brand of filter on the 2.3 engines that use the cartridge type filter. My filter was only on the car for 1600 miles.
I just wanted to give everyone a heads up. From now on I am sticking with WIX or Motorcraft, Mazda OEM.
You can read more here:;f=6;t=003860

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Really?  Any idea what caused that?  I used the Purolator Pure1 filter on my car and it looked exactly like the stock filter. the hell did it "mush" and twist? I will look at mine, just for the sake of checking it, next week.  
Thanks for the info. I just changed mine at 2500 miles and used the Fram filter. I noticed that when I was putting the cover back on it was very difficult to twist the cover back on. My dealer is doing the next change for free (part of the purchase deal) and I will ask them to check the filter.
Here is a copy of what I left on another site:

Well I changed my oil and filter on my Mercury Milan 2.3 I4 about 1/2 hour ago. Sure enough my Purolator filter looks just like pictures above.
I went out and bought a Carquest (WIX) filter.
(Made in Poland)
I had another Purolator so I thought, okay let’s install this thing take it off and look at it.
Well it was twisted like the pictures. (I did not run the engine.)Before this I measured both filters with a mic they were the same at there longest point. The Wix filter has hard caps on both ends and the diameter is 6mm larger. The WIX filter seemed much better IMOP. And I need to add I installed the Wix and also removed it no twisting. IMOP the Purolater with its felt top is griping both the top and bottom of the filter canister and is being twisted when screwing on the filter canister
Any new thoughts about the spin-on conversion? I am going to ask my dealer about it.

Thanks for the update. I also read your post in BITOG (I'm a memeber there too). Purolator makes excellent oil filters but apparently not for our 2.3 I-4. I have three and will return them all and get a Wix. I'm due for my first filter change in a couple of weeks. I'm quite curious to see how the OEM filter looks and whether or not the new Wix will twist. I'll report back.

Did you smear a little oil on the top and bottom of any filter you installed? Would that idea possibly help prevent the twisting?

An aside: Do you have an '03 HD with a springer front end?
I do put oil on the top and bottom of the filter. I lube it up really good.
I went to my dealer today and he gave me 2 Motorcraft filters. So that made me happy.
As for the HD with the springer front end yes  I do have one. Take a look at my 105 RWHP sleeper.
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Well I just got back from Advance - I returned the 3 Purolators I had. I think my local NAPA (repackaged Wix) has our filters for $4.99.

Beautiful scoot! What did ya do to get it to 105HP? Branch ported and polished heads? Dyna ignition? What brand 2 into 1 do ya have? I'm glad HD brought out the TC96/6 speed in the whole big twin lineup! I'd like a '07 Fat Boy but that's not in the cards right now.

I have a '01 Suzuki SV650. It's piped and jetted, has an Ohlins shock, Racetech springs and a Sargent seat and is lot's 'o fun. :D
I just did my 2.3's first filter change. Interestingly the OEM filter has felt rings on the top and bottom as do both models from Purolator. The OEM came out looking good and wasn't twisted. I installed a Wix (Napa Gold #7203, $4.99) and then removed it to see if it twisted the pleats. It came out perfect. Now I did oil the top and bottom of the Wix so that may have helped even though there is plenty of old oil in the filter housing to sufficiently lube a new filter upon installation. I wonder if some filters are twisting the pleats upon removal?
Just changed oil this past weekend and the Wix filter I removed looked perfect. :klavergreg:
So I am sticking with WIX or Motorcraft OEM here on out.
the napa gold filter was perfect when i pulled it out.
Napa Gold, Carquest filters are mad by WIX Cheers!
I just did my second oil change on the car at 4800 miles. The dealer did the first one for free at 1800 miles. They used a Motorcraft filter of course. The filter I just took out, came out looking pretty much like springers did. At first I thought maybe it got twisted from the removal, but after examining it, I could see it was from the clock-wise rotation of installing it. I put in a Motorcraft FL-2017B and it actually went in fairly easy after I oiled up the felt top and bottom. I removed it and it looked good. Maybe they were in such a hurry to make a buck, they didn't oil up the ends.

One last there suppose to be a spring dealie above or below the filter? None in mine at all.

'06 SEL I4 auto (RDS working great) :)
The bottom of the plastic housing that actually holds the oil filter is spring loaded. You won't see or even notice it unless you sit it on your workbench (or the floor) and then press down on it.
Just did the second oil change on my 2.3L. I removed the used Motorcraft 2017B filter and it too was TWISTED and CRUSHED. During the first oil change I noted that the original filter the engine had was a Mazda filter and was ever so slightly SHORTER than the FL2017B I was replacing it with. I checked it because I had read THIS thread before hand. I even removed the FL2017B at that time to check that it was not crushed by faulty installation. This apparantly is a failure mode of these filters during use. No more Motorcraft filters. Only the Mazda part from now on.

How about the Wix (pictured below) filter? I agree with Springer - it's a sturdy well made filter and sells for $4.99 which I'm sure is less expensive then a Mazda filter.

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I cannot make any statements about the Wix filters. I have not used one. I WILL measure the (admittedly expensive) Mazda filter length with dial calipers as soon as I get one and post the measured results here.
Just a note for you all. The Mazda filters are readily available on eBay and in most case you can buy them for $4-$5. I purchased 8 of them in two seperate purchases of 4 for just under $4.00 ea. Also, I read somewhere that you are suppose to oil the felt washer that is on the top and bottom of the filter. I do not know if this makes a difference. I do know the Mazda filter is made much better.

How much $ was the shipping for the box of 4 Mazda filters?

I'm going to check on the price of mail-order Wix filters tomorrow. I'll report back.
I changed my oil a few days ago and my Motorcraft filter was crushed! I replaced it with a carquest filter and it was shorter than the Motorcraft one. So add Carquest to the list of safe filters.
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