1956 Air Cleaner Conversion

Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Thunderbird Year
1956
I drive my '56 a lot and it still has the oil bath filter. Is there an easy way to covert it to a paper element using the same housing? I know there are some replacement units but they are costly. Thanks

CTCarGuy in Connecticut.
 

Tater Salad

Active Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1955
The oil bath filters were designed for dirt and dusty roads. In today's society we rarely take these cars on long dusty trips. I haven't yet found a replacement filter I like, but I'm sure there is a close enough fit out there.
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1956
I ordered a filter at a local NAPA (Canada) dealer that seems to have all the correct dimensions made of Cellulose and I should receive it this afternoon and it costs $7.49 cdn. As soon as I get it I'll try it and report back. I also found the filters listed in the article to be extremely expensive but their made from different materials, washable and reusable, this one obviously isn't.
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1956
Well, try as I may, I cannot get it to fit! I seem to have the exact same set-up as what is pictured in the instructions given on the web but when I try, it's not even a close fit so, given the filter cost me less than $8, I tried to experiment with it a bit and went even as far as cutting the filter in half giving me 2 complete filters and still could not get it to fit. In my 56, the air filter is so close to the hood that if I add even 1/8 inch to the overall height it will touch the hood so I really have no play at all. Anyway, now that I've started trying stuff, I'll continue and report back if I have any success and looking at the install pictured on the web, I have a hard time understanding how it filters the air when you look at the intakes in the filter cover.......
 

Martin P

1955 Ford Thunderbird Raven Black
Joined
May 1, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
Well, try as I may, I cannot get it to fit! I seem to have the exact same set-up as what is pictured in the instructions given on the web but when I try, it's not even a close fit so, given the filter cost me less than $8, I tried to experiment with it a bit and went even as far as cutting the filter in half giving me 2 complete filters and still could not get it to fit. In my 56, the air filter is so close to the hood that if I add even 1/8 inch to the overall height it will touch the hood so I really have no play at all. Anyway, now that I've started trying stuff, I'll continue and report back if I have any success and looking at the install pictured on the web, I have a hard time understanding how it filters the air when you look at the intakes in the filter cover.......
 

Martin P

1955 Ford Thunderbird Raven Black
Joined
May 1, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
Filter MaterialCotton Gauze
Height2.125 in (54 mm)
Inner WireNo
Inside Diameter9.813 in (249 mm)
Outside Diameter11.875 in (302 mm)

Has anyone had any luck on identifying a replacement Dry Air Filter for a 55 t-Bird? I have a Polished Stainless Steel cover, I ordered two filters one is above referenced size, which according to the article that was attached seemed to fit the correct Size: K&N E-1447. Not sure if this is correct but seems like it should work.

the other Filter that I ordered was a Macs 64-71117 (Wix 64-71117) Air filter Dry replacement which is 7" outside diameter , 5 1/2" Inside and height is 2 1/2" this was supposed to be a direct replacement for a 55-56.

as the story goes of the three bears which is the correct size? trying to be proactive to change out the oil bath before the car actually arrives, and lack of things to do started me on this Journey. anyone know what the correct size should be? attached is image of the Tea Pot that is currently on the vehicle.

Thanks for helping out a amateur.
 

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doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
I attached two articles from the EarlyBird magazine that should answer all of your questions.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 

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  • 1955 - 1956 Air Filter Conversion.pdf
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  • Air Filter Conversion.pdf
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odannyboy

Barn find 1955 T-Bird
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1955
Perfect will be giving this a try. I purchased a Air Cleaner on E-Bay for my 55 T-Bird, it is an oil bath, but it looked good and was <$200. I had not looked for info as it was about to be sold, but figured some one, some place had figured this out. And BINGO here it is.
Thanks
 

74 Harley

Active Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1962
I may be in the minority here, but why in the world would anyone want to get rid of an oil bath filter? Maintenance is very simple and cheap too. I have sought them out for various older trucks and equipment that I own.
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
The old oil baths are supposed to be superior to a dry element unit.
They are very much inferior. Wear in engines with oil bath is far higher than with paper element.
 

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  • Automotive Service Digest Mar 58 air filter article second page s.jpg
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odannyboy

Barn find 1955 T-Bird
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1955
Well ??

WIX part number 64-71117 not found on their web site
Mac's 64-71117 was good
K&N E-1447 was not found on their web site
NAPA 6161 was not found by store or web site, Using the size NAPA found part number 2077, and it fits in the bottom very nice.
So my plan is to modify the Oil Bath Top to basically make it the CASCO 9600B $180.
I went to CASCO in OHIO, what a great place, the shop had a almost done 55 restore, WOW
So there is the Paul Harvey's "rest of the story".
 

Docj

Active Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1956
Let me know how that works for you. I am considering doing the same thing.
 

Docj

Active Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1956
I know I'll be burned at the stake for this, but have decided it's worth it in case there are others on the forum of like mind. First and foremost, I'm cheap. Crazy cheap! Second, my car was purchased to drive and enjoy. I said I would buy a '56 when I was in Junior High, ~48 years before actually purchasing my 'Bird. So, mine's not for show (even though I'll park it with the top down at local small town car shows); she's a driver. I drive ~100 miles each way to work twice weekly. I take it off the road in the Winter, though, to get things done.

So, if there is someone out there looking for a cheap way to put a paper filter on their car I offer the following. The reason you can't just buy a round chrome air filter is hood clearance. You need it to fit in the limited space housed by the scoop. I purchased an air filter and riser on Amazon (links following), but today I'll get a stud/wing nut that is shorter.

air filter kit

riser (It'll be ~1/2" too short without this)

Okay. Now you can burn me. Before doing so, please understand my 'Bird was purchased to love and enjoy. I'll die owning it, then my wife can sell it. I'm keeping the original parts I replace, so if one of you purchase it on my demise they will be available to you.

I hope this helps someone who might be in a similar position. I will also try to attach a picture of what she looks like sporting the new air filter!

20220223_150129.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2016
Thunderbird Year
1957
I know I'll be burned at the stake for this, but have decided it's worth it in case there are others on the forum of like mind. First and foremost, I'm cheap. Crazy cheap! Second, my car was purchased to drive and enjoy. I said I would buy a '56 when I was in Junior High, ~48 years before actually purchasing my 'Bird. So, mine's not for show (even though I'll park it with the top down at local small town car shows); she's a driver. I drive ~100 miles each way to work twice weekly. I take it off the road in the Winter, though, to get things done.

So, if there is someone out there looking for a cheap way to put a paper filter on their car I offer the following. The reason you can't just buy a round chrome air filter is hood clearance. You need it to fit in the limited space housed by the scoop. I purchased an air filter and riser on Amazon (links following), but today I'll get a stud/wing nut that is shorter.

air filter kit

riser (It'll be ~1/2" too short without this)

Okay. Now you can burn me. Before doing so, please understand my 'Bird was purchased to love and enjoy. I'll die owning it, then my wife can sell it. I'm keeping the original parts I replace, so if one of you purchase it on my demise they will be available to you.

I hope this helps someone who might be in a similar position. I will also try to attach a picture of what she looks like sporting the new air filter!

View attachment 20820
It’s your car and you can do as you see fit
No one has been chastised on this sight for modding their car (to my knowledge)
I have done a few mods to mine, I don’t do anything that can’t be changed back to original
I have kept all of the original parts for the next person
Show us some more pictures of your car
 

Docj

Active Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1956
I've done more mods than I wanted. The 'boss' suggested I limit driving to around town when she had to rescue me with a battery about an hour away. Isaid I'd sell her before I'd do that. This Winter's changes include, besides the air filter, conversion to electronic ignition and a 3-wire alternator charging system. I also installed an electric windshield washer pump. I'm getting the wire spokes this Spring. I think body/paint will be done the Winter after next in preparation for a run down Route 66 in celebration of my end of full-time work and my 66th year.
 
Joined
May 21, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
I drive my '56 a lot and it still has the oil bath filter. Is there an easy way to covert it to a paper element using the same housing? I know there are some replacement units but they are costly. Thanks

CTCarGuy in Connecticut.

Here's a video on a way to use the original housing with a wix filter:
 
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