Toyota Corolla 1970-1987 Repair Guide

Air Cleaner


See Figures 1 through 7

The air cleaner has a dual purpose. It not only filters the air going to the carburetor or throttle body, but also acts as a flame arrester if the engine should backfire. The engine should never be run without the air cleaner installed unless an engine maintenance procedure specifically requires the temporary removal of the air cleaner. Operating a car without its air cleaner may result in some throaty sounds giving the impression of increased power but will only cause trouble. Unfiltered air will eventually result in a dirty, inefficient carburetor or throttle body and an inefficient engine. A dirty carburetor increases the chances of carburetor backfire and, without the protection of an air cleaner, an underhood fire becomes a very real danger.

Because the air filter is used to keep dust present in the air out of the engine, proper element maintenance is vital. A clogged element not only restricts the air flow and thus the power, but can also cause premature engine wear. A severely worn element may begin disintegrating an actually pollute the engine with the very dust the element had protected the engine from earlier.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of a common air cleaner assembly-carbureted engines

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Fig. Fig. 2: Replacing the air cleaner element-diesel engines (gasoline fuel injected engines similar)

The filter element should be cleaned and inspected every 7,500 miles, or more often if the car is driven under dry, dusty conditions. Remove the filter element and carefully blow dirt out from the inside using low pressure compressed air.

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Fig. Fig. 3: When only slightly dirty (not clogged) the air cleaner element may be carefully cleaned with low pressure compressed air

The filter element used on Toyota vehicles is of the dry, disposable type. It should never be washed, soaked or oiled

The filter element should be replaced every 18,000 miles, (1970-72); every 1,000 miles, (1973-74); every 2,000 miles, (1975-77); and every 30,000 miles, (1978 and later). But, once again, these intervals should be shortened as necessary if the vehicle is operated under dry, dusty conditions. Be sure to use the correct element; all Toyota elements are of the same type but they come in a variety of sizes. To remove or replace the element:

  1. Unfasten the wing nut(s) and/or clips that retain the element cover.
  3. Remove the cover for access to the element.
  5. Lift out the air filter element and clean or replace it, as necessary.
  7. Before installing the air cleaner element, carefully wipe our any remaining dust or dirt in the air cleaner housing using a damp cloth.
  9. During installation make sure the element is properly seated inside the housing.

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Fig. Fig. 4: Loosen and remove the fastener(s), in this case a wing nut, from the air cleaner cover

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Fig. Fig. 5: If equipped, release the cover retaining clamps

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Fig. Fig. 6: Remove the air cleaner housing cover for access to the filter element

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Fig. Fig. 7: Remove the filter element from the housing