Fram aftermarket Sonata Oil Filter - Failure!

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Several Months ago, there was some discussion about aftermarket oil filters for the Sonata. I had purchased a Fram PH9999. I took several pictures of
it - the filter, O rings, and took similar pictures of the genuine Hyundai filter. Matt Whiting had the following to say: "The pictures are very nice. In the pictures, it appears that both the filter media and the inner o-rings (I think they are o-rings anyway) are a different color from the Hyundai filter. This may be inconsequential or it may mean that these materials are materially (pun intended!) different from the Hyundai filter. I'd want to know if this was my engine."
Well, Matt hit the nail on the head. Around the end of August, I did an oil change, and installed the Fram filter in my 2006 Sonata. All was well until I noticed the oil stain on my driveway yesterday. (My wife drives the car). This morning, I looked under the hood, and found oil had been leaking from between the cap and the filter housing. I tried to give it a turn, and found it tight. I started the engine, and the entire filter housing was almost immediately covered in oil. I took the filter cap off, hoping that it wasn't cracked.
It wasn't. The O ring for the cap was flat. It actually had hardened. I've changed the oil in the car like 6 times now, and the Hyundai O ring was still round and soft (flexible) when replaced. The Fram O ring actually is now flat on the outside, and was really hard. I have pictures of the Hyundai O ring I replaced it with up against the Fram O ring I removed. My server is currently dead, so I anyone's got either a way to host them, or suggestions as to how I can link to them, let me know (my email address is valid), and I'll either email them to you, or follow whatever instructions so everyone can see.
I think a contributing factor was the cold weather we had the past few days - pretty close to 30. I would have noticed the oil on the driveway, and the way the oil flowed out, it would have made a really big puddle, and ran the oil level down in the car. I suspect that as soon as the oil warms, it quits leaking.
I figure there's no point in trying to contact Fram about this - I can picture how their customer service would react - denial.
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That sucks.

Why assume that? While it may indeed be true, you have nothing at all to base that assumption on. Why not provide Fram the evidence you are so willing to share here, and see exactly *what* they have to say.
--

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I second Mike's motion. You should contact Fram and DOCUMENT the filter gasket's failure in case you have engine problems. A follow up with a registered letter would be my second step. Fram is a very reputable company, despite how they get slammed on this forum, and should welcome the information about the gasket material. It sounds as if they may have changed gasket material. Probably, as is so frequent today, they outsourced the gaskets (maybe the entire filter) to China and got what they paid for-junk. It happened to me at my work when our closure supplier changed their gasket source to China and, without their knowledge, the material was also changed to something cheaper. China will destroy our economy...................
Tom

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There is a TSB from Hyundai that talks about this issue, recommending to use ONLY original oil filters for Sonata 2006 to avoid such a kind of troubles.
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I read the TSB about engine noise (valve lifters) a while back. Is there another one? I'll have to check.

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The TSB from Hyundai was generic - Issued 2005 for All Vehicles. It talked about possible engine noise as a side effect of using aftermarket filters. Others here discussed it further, and said it was maybe due to anti-drainback valve issues. The filters for the 3.3 are bare cartridge filters, not the type in a metal can. They contain no valves.
As far as reporting it to Fram, I've made a call, and left info on their "Product Quality Claims" voice mail. If they call back, great. I'll let everyone know what transpires. You would think that they would have tested the filter / O-rings to make sure that they were the proper material for the application. There was absolutely no deviation from their instructions - it's in a car with motor oil, and the filter hasn't been in all that long. I can tell them exactly what oil was used, so maybe they can duplicate the problem. I'm not really concerned about this having damaged the engine, as all it did was cause a leak. The oil level didn't have a chance to get low. The leak was discovered within a day of it starting.
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A great many of us here will be interested in hearing how this plays out Bob. I for one, am not in the Fram bashing camp and I'd like to think they'll step up to the plate on this. We'll see...
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Fortunately, there's no damage other than the mess which a 2 dollar can of degreaser took care of. A neighbor came over and reminded me of the $500 fine for washing cars because of the water restrictions.....
They'll either call me back, and be interested, or they won't. Even if they want the filter, etc. back, I'm sure they'll never 'fess up to there being a problem. The filter is still in the car, as I'll probably change the oil sometime this weekend. I just swapped out the O-ring yesterday. I'll do the rest when I change the oil. I sent the pics to someone on this group that emailed for them. If anyone's got a solution for posting them, I'll do that.
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Bob wrote:

It is a good idea to let them know. If they are using cheap materials knowingly, then they won't care and won't do anything as you say. However, if they have any integrity, they will check to see if their supplier sent them substandard materials by mistake or maybe on purpose, but unbeknown to them. If they don't know of these failures, they have no opportunity to address them.
I personally no longer hold Fram in high regard, but that is just my opinion. However, I almost always let a company know when their product is substandard. I figure I at least owe them that much. If they choose to ignore it, then that is out of my control.
I know we have had long debates here about various manufacturers of oil, filters, etc. and many disagree with me, however, I still believe that there often IS a correlation of quality to price. Cheap parts really are often inferior in one way or another. Are they inferior enough to matter? That is the $64K question. Maybe Fram filters are good enough in most cases. Maybe SuperTech oil is good enough in most cases. For me, I'll pay the extra for Mobil 1 or Castrol and likewise for Hyundai or Purolator or similar filters.
I'm glad you found the problem before it caused engine damage.
Matt
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Well just to add my 2 cents for what its worth I have a 2005 XG350L and every oil change has been done at 3000 miles ( Please dont bash me for the 3000 mile change, I live in the desert ( Las Vegas ) and it gets kinda warm here and we have sand storms quite often ) But every oil change has been with Mobil1 and a FRAM oil filter as of now I have yet to have a drop of oil come from the filter or not 1 engine noise, the car car runs and sounds like new. I guess heres where I get bashed !!!!!! I have had every oil change done at the local Walmart !!!! and have never had a problem with them, besides they wash my windsheild with every oil change
']['unez
" When your up to your ass in alligators, its hard to remember, your main objective was to drain the swamp ! "

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I've used Fram from day one and never had a problem with them. I only use fram on my 01 Sonota because no one else carries filters for Hyundai Sonatas other than wall mart. Canadian tire used to have them, but do not carry them any more. I am not going to pay an inflated price for a filter from the dealership.

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Purolator
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If you'd been paying attention to this or any other forum, you'd know that Fram filters are absolute crap and potentially damaging to your engine. Now you know.
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Well Brian, If this response was aimed at me ( actually it doesnt matter who it was aimed at ) that is your opinion and you know what they say about opinions !!!!! I have been using Fram Oil Filters in my Vehicles and sold them in all 4 of my service stations for 40 YEARS with not one complaint or not one problem in 40 years and just so you have another of your opinions aired I also used Penzoil Oil all those years untill Mobil 1 came out and I switched.... As you know or should know EVERYBODY has parts fail, it doesnt matter if its Fram, Autolite, WHOMEVER it does happen Just because you may have had a bad experiance with a fram filter or read it someplace that doesnt mean you need to condem them for every body else .
OH BTW I probably follow this forum more in two days than you do in two weeks, I just read alot and dont post much.
']['unez
" When your up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember your main objective was to drain the swamp ! "

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']['unez wrote:

Fram filters changed a lot over that time period. I used them in the early days as well and they were very good then. When Fram was acquired by a different company (forget the details now as it has been many years ago), the filters were redesigned to cut cost. They went from being a premium brand to being a bottom-tier brand almost overnight.
Use what you will, but the standard Fram filters today just aren't high quality as several tear-downs have shown.
Matt
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I have always used the Hyundaifilter, but I do have a Fram that looks just like it! What I have been reading it was the O ring that failed, not the filter!! I have changed my oil every 5000 miles using the Hyundai filter, but taking off the O rings is a pain, so I have only done that once. otherwise I just use the old Orings. Have a bunch left over if you need one!!!
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Deck wrote:

Yes, but if the Fram o-ring is really inferior why do you suspect any different about the filter itself?
Matt
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Matt Whiting wrote:

Exactly. Moreover, when I checked the specs of the Fram filter for the Elantra, the relief valve (bypass valve) pressure was well below Hyundai's specifications. OTOH, Purolator filters ARE made to Hyundai's factory specs. I imagine other reputable filters are also made to the correct specs, but obviously, Fram doesn't care enough to do so, which is more than good enough reason for me to avoid them like the plague.
Additionally, any company that sells "snake oil" such as filters that contain Teflon (long ago disproved as a useful oil additive) and nonsense like special filters for use with synthetic oils is highly suspect. This silliness is all about marketing and increasing profits by deceiving the public, not about protecting engines.
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Actually, it was likely aimed at me. We've all heard the urban legends about the Fram filters that have caused all kinds of problems from sludge to thrown rods. Most of us have seen the teardowns that are BASED ON VISUAL INSPECTION. This filter is not in a can, and looked pretty good. That's why I tried it. The problem here wasn't the filter. The filter still looks fine. It was the O-ring gasket included with the filter. It would appear that whatever they made it out of, it didn't do well - heat, oil, cold? Actually, the small O-ring that's on the end of the bypass valve assembly is pretty hard also. The two on the filter itself seem OK.
Anyway, I got a call back from Fram today, and they are sending me out some kind of packaging to send the filter and O-rings back. They claim that they will report back. It didn't damage my engine. All it did was make a mess.
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Well, that in itself says one helluva lot about Fram!!! If they take the time and effort to send you a special box to return the failed filter in then they DO care about their products. That's a lot more than I can say about many other manufacturers that I have dealt with over the years.

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Bob wrote:

That is a great response from Fram. Let us know what you hear back once they get your returned parts.
Matt
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