The Science Of Cleaning Air With No Filter
Story By: Staff of UTV Sports Magazine
Photos By: Brandon Bunch
Technology has come a long way from the early days of off-roading. Things like carburetors have been traded for fuel injection, multiple shocks with different valving transfigured to one shock with multiple damping zones, and so on. The one thing that hasn’t really changed is air filters. Even the manufacturers still use a standard paper element. I’m sure it’s a much better paper than they used back in the ’70s, but paper nonetheless. There is almost nothing more important to an engine’s life than fresh, clean, and smooth air to mix with the gas. Dirty air kills power and engine lifespan.
S&B Filters is changing the way the industry looks at air intake. Their revolutionary Particulate Separator has been proven to remove 94% of the dust in the air before it ever hits the air filter. For quite some time, I called BS on this stat, until I picked up some work at a local shop spinning wrenches on UTVs. The shop sold a lot of S&B Particle Separators, and I was quite good at installing them. As the cars would come back for service, I was taking notice of the air filter and air box—the first-hand experience was staggering. These were vehicles that had thousands of dusty miles between services, and the filters would look brand new every time they came in. This piqued my interest to figure out how the S&B system worked.
At a glance, the injection-molded box doesn’t look very special or complicated, but a look inside and you will understand why it is so effective. The technology is so effective that the US Military has been using it for years on helicopters and other vehicles. As the dusty air charge hits the face of the Particle Separator, it hits what is called a vortex generator. This stationary impeller, for lack of a better term, spirals the air at a high rate of speed. As the air spirals, centrifugal force sends most of the dust and debris to the outside of the port, leaving the clean air rushing down the center of the port. At the exit, the air goes two ways. The dirty air on the outside of the port is routed through an exhaust port while the clean air is collected in the middle, merged with the other ports’ clean air and crammed into the air filter.
The concept seems simple once explained, but it took years of development to make it work perfectly. Now with multiple units on multiple cars, we see the S&B system not as a cool option for our cars but a necessity for any vehicle that we are going to keep and put a lot of miles on. We have also found that the cost of the system is quickly offset by not having to replace air filters every service. This is truly a product that is changing the industry and the way we look at air intakes.
Couple the Particulate Separator with their reusable air filter, and you have a combination that will last you years without having to buy a new filter. We all know that oiled filters are quick to clog in dusty situations. The proprietary dry synthetic media flows slightly better over stock while giving you the ability to blow it out after a long dusty ride. The big advantage to the S&B filter is the increased surface area for the Polaris models. Filling the entire air box, the filter will increase air flow while providing more surface area to clean the air.
The moral of the story is there are a lot of great companies out there like S&B that are actively trying to make the industry better. They are bringing new technology to a rapidly growing industry. Products that are actually useful saving both parts and money.