GM Cutlass RWD 1970-1987 Repair Guide

Air Cleaner

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The air cleaner has a dual purpose. It not only filters the air going to the carburetor, but also acts as a flame arrester if the engine should backfire. If an engine maintenance procedure requires the temporary removal of the air cleaner, remove it; otherwise, never run the engine without it. Operating a vehicle without its air cleaner may result in some throaty sounds from the engine giving the impression of increased power but it will only cause trouble. Unfiltered air will eventually result in a dirty, inefficient fuel system and engine. A dirty carburetor increases the chances of carburetor backfire and, without the protection of an air cleaner, fire becomes a probable danger.

The air cleaner assembly consists of the air cleaner itself, which is the large metal container that fits over the carburetor, the element contained within, and the flame arrester located in the base of the air cleaner. The air filter should be inspected at its first 12,000 miles (19,308 km), rechecked every 6,000 miles (9,654 km) thereafter, and replaced at 30,000 mile (48,270 km) intervals. Inspections and replacements should be more frequent if the car is operated in a dirty, dusty environment. When inspecting the element, look for dust, leaks, holes or an overly dirty appearance. If the element is excessively dirty, it may cause a reduction in clean air intake.

If air has trouble getting through a dirty element, the carburetor fuel mixture will become richer (more gas, less air), the idle will be rougher, and the exhaust smoke will be noticeably black. To check the effectiveness of your paper element, remove the air cleaner assembly and, if the idle increases, then the element is restricting airflow and should be replaced. The flame arrester, located at the base of the carburetor, should be cleaned in solvent (kerosene) once every 12,000 miles (19,308 km).

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1 and 2

  1. Unscrew the wingnut and remove the cover.
  2.  
  3. Remove and discard the old filter.
  4.  
  5. Check the small crankcase breather and replace if necessary.
  6.  

To install:
  1. Using a clean rag wipe out the inside of the air cleaner.
  2.  
  3. Install the new filter.
  4.  
  5. Install the cover and wing nut.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: The air cleaner cover is held by this wingnut



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Check the air filter for dirt and clogging

 
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