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Replacing the Air Filter

Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing the Air Filter


15 min





Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)

Parts Required:

New air filter

Hot Tip:

Replace your air filter every 10,000 miles

Performance Gain:

Better airflow into your fuel intake system

Complementary Modification:

Install an aftermarket air filter, replace your CIS air box straps
101 Projects for Your Porsche 911

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's book, 101 Projects for Your Porsche 911. The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Porsche 911 owner's collection. See The Official Book Website for more details.

Every 10,000 miles or so, you should change the air filter in your 911. The air filter protects the fuel injection system and the air intake system from dust and debris that can be sucked in under normal operation.

On the early 911s, the circular air filter was contained in a housing that spanned the top of the carburetors or the Mechanical Fuel Injection (MFI). To replace the air filter, you simply disconnect the long 'snout' on the air filter housing, and remove the old one. Make sure that you don't drop any of the attachment screws into the engine compartment: they can be very difficult to fish out. The new air filter must be aligned properly within the housing in order to replace the 'snout' on the air cleaner.

With the introduction of the Continuous Injection System (CIS) on 911s starting in 1973, Porsche implemented a new type of air filter. The CIS air filter is contained within the plastic air cleaner housing and held on with flexible rubber straps. Simply detach the straps at the top of the air box, and remove the filter from the air intake housing. Check the rubber straps to make sure that they aren't cracked and worn out. Replace them if they show signs of wear or age.

On the 1984 and later 911 Carreras, Porsche implemented the Motronic Fuel Injection system, which uses a square air filter that is mounted on the right side of the engine compartment. The filter is located in the intake system inside a box held on with clips. Simply remove the clips to replace the air filter.

If you talk with people familiar with performance cars, you will no doubt hear discussions on the different types of air filters used in cars. For the 911 there are basically two different types of air filters: the stock paper or cloth air filters and aftermarket units. These aftermarket units utilize an oil-soaked fabric to achieve freer air flow. While this may sound good, many aftermarket filters also do not filter as well as the stock units. In addition, the various horsepower claims of some aftermarket filters are somewhat suspect as well. The bottleneck for air flow in the 911 engine is not the air filter. The primary advantage of the aftermarket units is that you usually only have to purchase one, and it will last the life of your car. The bottom line is to carefully research any aftermarket filter before you install it to your car. Make sure that it filters as well or better than the original Porsche specifications for your year car.

On the early cars, the air filter housing covered the Mechanical Fuel Injection system or carburetors.
Figure 1

On the early cars, the air filter housing covered the Mechanical Fuel Injection system or carburetors. The circular air filter is located inside the housing, and is accessed by removing the long 'snout' of the air cleaner housing. You don't need to remove the retaining screws to replace the air filter. Simply loosen them up and rotate the 'snout' until it comes off.

The CIS cars (1973 1/2-1983) house the air filter underneath a plastic air intake housing.
Figure 2

The CIS cars (1973 1/2-1983) house the air filter underneath a plastic air intake housing. This housing is held onto the CIS air box by two rubber straps. Access to the filter is gained by disconnecting the straps and removing the housing. Inspect the straps when you remove the filter, as these have a habit of breaking when they age.

The Carreras (1984-89) and 911 Turbos housed their air filter in a box on the right side of the car (see orange stripe).
Figure 3

The Carreras (1984-89) and 911 Turbos housed their air filter in a box on the right side of the car (see orange stripe). This box is held together with clips (indicated by arrow). To replace the air filter, simply unsnap the metal clips and pull out the old filter.

Comments and Suggestions:
Bryan Comments: While checking my air filter on my 1972 911 I snapped the plastic bolt when I was tighting the wing nut. I can't seem to find the plastic replacement bolt, can you suggest where I might find one.
December 16, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Waleska 34 Comments: 85 targa I put too much oil in engine, car will not start.
June 25, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Drain the oil and refill with correct amount. remove and replace the spark plugs. be sure intake is clear of oik. Then try to restart. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dave A. Comments: Hello, I'm trying to get the old air filter out of my '87 non-turbo Carrera, and after I unclamp the housing like you describe, there's no room to open it enough to get the old filter out! I don't know what to do.
June 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are two clips on the front and two on the back. Have you loosened both sets? If so the airbox lid should separate from the other half of the airbox and you should be able to replace the air filter. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
J Comments: I removed the air filter housing to start looking into working on my carbs and discovered a small hose connected to the bottom of the housing. I discovered it because it was hanging on the housing when I pulled it out. Now I don't know how to reconnect it or even where to start looking for the part if I damaged mine and need to buy a new one. Any advice?
September 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What is your vehicle info? In the mean time, check the vacuum hose routing diagram on the emission sticker under your hood. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tunc Comments: How can I replace 2005 911S air filter
March 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have a tech article for that vehicle. If we get the chance to perform the repair we will be sure to document and share it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
marty Comments: hello nick, thanks for your reply regarding the 930 turbo airbox hose query. just to confirm my car is a us delivered 930 that I imported later on to Australia.
could you give a email address that I could attach some pics showing the engine bay area.
there seems to be provision on top of the motor for some other part that may bolt in and would be located under the airbox area as well. regards martin
p.s I can't attach a pic using the link provided in your write a comment area
November 14, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sure, email me here: - Nick at Pelican Parts  
marty Comments: hello, i'm trying to refit a original metal airbox assembly to my 1987 Porsche 930 turbo. this airbox has several places for hoses to connect to it and on the underneath of the airbox is a small pipe sticking out that appears to be for a hose approx 8 mm to fit on. would you know what should connect to it and if its a hose where does it go too ? thank you for your assistance. regards martin
November 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We likely have different hose routing here in the US. See attached photo, it may help. I also opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
darcher Comments: tell folks to get their wives' very small hands to reach around to the front of the air box to release the clips on the 84 - 89 Carrera! German mechanics are either all women or just have really small hands! There are so may spots I can't reach but my wife can. Good thing this is her babay!
March 4, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Nice tip. Small hands do rule in tight engine compartments. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hennessy Comments: tips on how to change air filter on 997 S
March 2, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's not that bad. You have to disconnect the electrical connector, then thw two rubber hoses, remove the air cleaner fastener, then lift the air cleaner out of the engine compartment. Be sure nothing is attached or snagged as you lift it out. Once out, open the air cleaner and replace the air filter element. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tom Comments: how do i change front break pads on a 2003 porsche 911, thanks in advance
February 10, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to remove the brake pade spring clip retaining pin. It has a cotter pin holding it in, then drive the pinout. Once out, remove the spring. Then lever the brake pads off the brake pad damper. Then remove the pads. Assemble the parts in the reverse order you took them apart. You can also call our parts specialists and grab a repair manual for your vehicle: 1-888-280-7799 - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Wed 2/21/2018 02:00:17 AM