See Figures 1, 2 and 3
An air cleaner is used to keep airborne dirt and dust out of the air flowing through the engine. This material, if allowed to enter the engine, would form an abrasive compound in conjunction with the engine oil and drastically shorten engine life. For this reason, you should never run the engine without the air cleaner in place (except possibly for a very brief period in when you are diagnosing a problem). You should also be sure to use the proper replacement part to avoid poor fit and consequent air leakage.
Proper maintenance is important since a clogged air filter will not allow the proper amount of air to enter the engine causing reduced power and fuel economy. It is even possible that a clogged filter could contribute to an overly rich fuel mixture on early-model vehicles equipped with a carburetor. Rich fuel mixtures can wreak havoc with the life span of a catalytic converter.
The air cleaner on carbureted or TBI engines consists of a metal housing with a replaceable paper filter and the necessary hoses connecting it to the crankcase ventilation system. The air cleaner cover is held down by 1 or 2 nuts on all models. Unfortunately, the housing is mounted directly on top of the carburetor or throttle body assembly, so access is almost always impossible without first removing the engine cover from the passenger compartment.
The air cleaner assembly on CMFI or CSFI engines is a composite plastic housing placed inline between the fresh air intake ducts and the throttle body assembly. The nice part about this setup for you is that unlike the the metal housing on older engines, the plastic inline housing can be accessed by simply raising the hood.
No matter which type of housing and filter you have, the factory recommends that the filter be replaced at least once every 30,000 miles (48,000 km). Inspection and replacement should come more often when the vehicle is operated under dusty conditions. To check the effectiveness of your paper element, remove the air cleaner assembly, if the idle speed increases noticeably, the element is restricting airflow and should be replaced.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
Carbureted and TBI Engines
See Figures 4, 5 and 6
- Remove the engine cover from the passenger compartment for access to the air cleaner housing assembly. For details, please refer to the procedure earlier in this section.
- Remove the air cleaner top nut(s) and lift off the top to expose the element.
- Remove the filter from inside the filter housing.
- Clean any accumulated dirt, dust or oil from the inside of the air cleaner housing using a rag.
- Position the new filter element in the housing, making sure it has the proper fit.
- Install the housing cover and secure using the retaining nut(s). Tighten the nuts firmly, but do not crack or deform the cover.
- Install the engine cover (or, as long as it is off, perform any other necessary maintenance such as checking the distributor cap, rotor and wires).
See Figures 7, 8 and 9
- Raise the hood (and support using the prop rod).
- Locate the plastic air cleaner housing at the front center of the engine compartment.
- Release the hold-down clamps at the front of the housing.
- Lift the air cleaner cover sufficiently to expose the housing, but be careful not to damage any attached components (duct work, wiring).
- Note the positioning of the filter element, then lift and remove the element from the housing.
- Clean any accumulated dirt or dust from the inside of the air cleaner housing using a rag.
- Position the new filter element in the housing as noted during removal.
- Install the cover to the housing and secure using the hold-down clamps.
- Close the hood.