Tempest vs. Champion
Tempest vs Champion Oil Filter Comparison
April 6, 2012
My buddy, an A&P/IA, and I invested in the experiment of cutting open two brand new oil filters, a Champion and a Tempest, to get a gross comparison between the two, and the results were very interesting. Here are some of the salient discoveries:
Packaging: The Tempest comes better packaged with the filter sealed in a plastic bag and a tight-fitting plastic cap over the threaded outlet of the filter, as compared to no bag and a poorly fitting cardboard cap found with the Champion.
Shell Construction: The Champion’s shell construction seems far better, with a more robust base plate and a 10% thicker shell than the Tempest. The overall “fit and finish” of the Champion shell was clearly better.
Spring and Seat: The Champion filter has a far more robust spring and rubber seat than the Tempest. Additionally, the spring and seat system found in the Tempest had no margin for error such that an extremely small error in any of the dimensions of the rubber seat, the “leaf spring” design of the spring, the can, the filter cartridge, etc would prevent the filter from getting a tight seal to the end plate inside the filter housing. The Champion’s sealing system is comprised of a robust coil spring, and a thick, beefy sealing ring, the combination of which allows for as much as a 3/8” of end float while still allowing for a good seal. As one cannot know if the seal is intact inside the filter when it is in use, or even after it is cut open after use, I would not doubt that many Tempest filter cartridges are actually not well seated, and oil is bypassing the filter element!
Filter Paper Area: The Tempest filter is advertised as having a greater number of square inches of filter paper than the Champion, but an actual measurement of the two lengths of paper proved otherwise! The Champion has 12.5% more filter paper than the Tempest! The quality of the paper was impossible for us to quantitatively evaluate, but they appeared similar in weight and texture and looked roughly the same under 70x magnification.
The Internal Magnet: Both my friend and I were very enthusiastic about the fact the Tempest filter has an internal magnet to help collect ferrous particles in the oil, but we were very disappointed to discover that it is so weak that we had trouble locating it in the filter! It turns out that it is part of the actual filter cartridge inside the housing, and is installed in the base of the cartridge under the strange “leaf spring” that holds the cartridge to the filter housing base. It is so weak that it barely can support a little 6-32 screw from falling off it. In my estimation, it is a great idea, but poorly executed by Tempest. There may be reasons that tempest made the magnet so weak that we are not aware of, but because it is so weak, we both felt that it was of little use.
Conclusion: Our gross anatomy dissection of the two filters leads us to believe that the Champion is a better filter, and we are both going to continue to use them, he in his A&P/IA business, and me on the Lycoming IO-360 on my Lake. Of course, this review isn't scientific at all, but it was impressive enough to me to decide to stay with the Champion even though I was going to switch to the Tempest.