How to Inspect the Engine Air Filter in your 2021 Bronco

David

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Bronco engines pull in A LOT of air. The turbo that gives sixth generation Broncos their zip is a thirsty component and if you're doing a lot of off-roading in dusty environments, you'll want to keep an eye on the engine air filter. Here's how to inspect it and how often you should.

How often should I check the engine air filter on a new Bronco?

The Bronco owner's manual suggests that the filter be replaced every 30,000 miles. However, if you keep reading, it suggests that if you are driving in dusty or sandy conditions, such as on unpaved or dirt roads, then you should inspect it frequently and service as required. To me, the point of a Bronco is to spend as much time as possible in those very conditions so you'll want to be inspecting that filter a lot.

In our recent trip to Colorado for Bronco Super Celebration West, we did a solid two weeks of off-roading and when we checked our air filter, it was in need of replacement and we were right around 10K miles on the odometer. Now, the number of folks who do that kind of driving are small but if you're out doing what Broncos are made to do, we'd suggest checking this filter frequently. It takes about five minutes and it's much better than dealing with a severely damaged engine.

How do I inspect the engine air filter on the new Bronco?

Tools Required:
  1. Ratchet
  2. 5/16th Socket
To inspect your engine air filter, follow these steps:
  1. Pull the hood release handle under the left-hand side of the instrument panel.
  2. Release the hood latch by pushing the secondary release lever to your left-hand side.
  3. Open the hood and support it with the hood strut.
  4. Identify the air filter housing cover in the lower left-hand portion of the engine bay. (labeled H in figure 1)
  5. Remove the four screws from the air filter housing cover (see figure 2)
  6. Carefully lift the air filter housing cover.
  7. Inspect the air filter and air filter housing.
    • The filter housing should be generally free of debris and dust build up.
    • Paper filter elements are usually white or yellow. When they become gray, meaning they are full of dirt and dust, it is time to change.
    • See figure 3 for an example of a filter that needs replacement and figure 4 for a clean, new filter.
  8. Once you've inspected the filter, replace the air filter housing cover and close the hood.
Notes and Considerations (from the owners manual):
  • Failure to use the correct air filter element could result in severe engine damage that the vehicle warranty may not cover.
  • When servicing the air cleaner, do not allow foreign material to enter the air induction system. The engine is susceptible to damage from even small particles.
  • To reduce the risk of vehicle damage and personal burn injuries, do not start your engine with the air cleaner removed and do not remove it while the engine is running.
Figure 1:

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 1.17.14 PM.png

Figure 2:

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 1.10.34 PM.png

Figure 3:

2655A105-416C-4D47-9DEC-3B1C11A1A230_1_105_c.jpeg

Figure 4:

ECD66529-4B0C-449B-8A27-8443769565F1_1_201_a.jpeg
 
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LR48

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Bronco engines pull in A LOT of air. The turbo that gives sixth generation Broncos their zip is a thirsty component and if you're doing a lot off-roading in dusty environments, you'll want to keep an eye on the engine air filter. Here's how to inspect it and how often you should.

How often should I check the engine air filter on a new Bronco?

The Bronco owner's manual suggests that the filter be replaced every 30,000 miles. However, if you keep reading, it suggests that if you are driving in dusty or sandy conditions, such as on unpaved or dirt roads, then you should inspect it frequently and service as required. To me, the point of a Bronco is to spend as much time as possible in those very conditions so you'll want to be inspecting that filter a lot.

In our recent trip to Colorado for Bronco Super Celebration West, we did a solid two weeks of off-roading and when we checked our air filter, it was in need of replacement and we were right around 10K miles on the odometer. Now, the number of folks who do that kind of driving are small but if you're out doing what Broncos are made to do, we'd suggest checking this filter frequently. It takes about five minutes and it's much better than dealing with a severely damaged engine.

How do I inspect the engine air filter on the new Bronco?

Tools Required:
  1. Ratchet
  2. 5/16th Socket
To inspect your engine air filter, follow these steps:
  1. Pull the hood release handle under the left-hand side of the instrument panel.
  2. Release the hood latch by pushing the secondary release lever to your left-hand side.
  3. Open the hood and support it with the hood strut.
  4. Identify the air filter housing cover in the lower left-hand portion of the engine bay. (labeled H in figure 1)
  5. Remove the four screws from the air filter housing cover (see figure 2)
  6. Carefully lift the air filter housing cover.
  7. Inspect the air filter and air filter housing.
    • The filter housing should be generally free of debris and dust build up.
    • Paper filter elements are usually white or yellow. When they become gray, meaning they are full of dirt and dust, it is time to change.
    • See figure 3 for an example of a filter that needs replacement and figure 4 for a clean, new filter.
  8. Once you've inspected the filter, replace the air filter housing cover and close the hood.
Notes and Considerations (from the owners manual):
  • Failure to use the correct air filter element could result in severe engine damage that the vehicle warranty may not cover.
  • When servicing the air cleaner, do not allow foreign material to enter the air induction system. The engine is susceptible to damage from even small particles.
  • To reduce the risk of vehicle damage and personal burn injuries, do not start your engine with the air cleaner removed and do not remove it while the engine is running.
Figure 1:

View attachment 20062

Figure 2:

View attachment 20063

Figure 3:

View attachment 20064

Figure 4:

View attachment 20065
Thank You! Such a critical part of regular maintenance. I'm really surprised that K&N hasn't developed an after market replacement filter. I've used K&N filters in all of my vehicles on and off road for years and found them to be exceptional, both in filtration, performance and the ability to clean and reuse. Apparently they're asleep at the switch, nothing on their website.
 

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Thank You! Such a critical part of regular maintenance. I'm really surprised that K&N hasn't developed an after market replacement filter. I've used K&N filters in all of my vehicles on and off road for years and found them to be exceptional, both in filtration, performance and the ability to clean and reuse. Apparently they're asleep at the switch, nothing on their website.
They'll get to it, ya know how wonky things have been with Ford lately
 
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LR48

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Thank You! Such a critical part of regular maintenance. I'm really surprised that K&N hasn't developed an after market replacement filter. I've used K&N filters in all of my vehicles on and off road for years and found them to be exceptional, both in filtration, performance and the ability to clean and reuse. Apparently they're asleep at the switch, nothing on their website.
They'll get to it, ya know how wonky things have been with Ford lately
Yep I know they will, I’m sure along with great filter options as always they’ll have some very good performance kits for the 2.7. Of course I don’t know why I’m in a rush my Wildtrak is now MY22.
 

Speed Devil

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Yep I know they will, I’m sure along with great filter options as always they’ll have some very good performance kits for the 2.7. Of course I don’t know why I’m in a rush my Wildtrak is now MY22.
I'm supposedly next month, hopefully it arrives BEFORE my birthday (12/12) or the birth of my nephew (12/8)
 
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Jakob1972

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Thank You! Such a critical part of regular maintenance. I'm really surprised that K&N hasn't developed an after market replacement filter. I've used K&N filters in all of my vehicles on and off road for years and found them to be exceptional, both in filtration, performance and the ability to clean and reuse. Apparently they're asleep at the switch, nothing on their website.
Just a question but any of those vehicles have turbos? I have heard the K&N will let too much particles go through when they are new/clean they actually work better when they have some dirt on them. I have heard you can dust your turbo if you run a K&N. Maybe a pre-filter would help.
 

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Just a question but any of those vehicles have turbos? I have heard the K&N will let too much particles go through when they are new/clean they actually work better when they have some dirt on them. I have heard you can dust your turbo if you run a K&N. Maybe a pre-filter would help.
I wouldn’t use a K&N. First of all, there’s no point to it - the engine has a turbo, and can ingest as much air as it needs. Secondly, the K&N lets too many small particles through, which is likely to damage the turbo or the MAF sensor.
As for putting a pre-filter in front of the K&N, well - that’s defeating the whole point of the K&N, which is to permit better air flow.
(FWIW, I used a K&N in my 1986 Mustang GT, and didn’t detect any difference in performance at all).
 

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A 5/16” socket.!?? Seriously? I’m gonna have to see that.! LOL.! (my money says it’s mm) Thanks for reminding everyone of this important service item. The pics and diagrams are awesome.!
 

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A 5/16” socket.!?? Seriously? I’m gonna have to see that.! LOL.! (my money says it’s mm) Thanks for reminding everyone of this important service item. The pics and diagrams are awesome.!
Could be, I used a 5/16s but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

LR48

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Just a question but any of those vehicles have turbos? I have heard the K&N will let too much particles go through when they are new/clean they actually work better when they have some dirt on them. I have heard you can dust your turbo if you run a K&N. Maybe a pre-filter would help.
I know that the Ford off-road teams all use K&N filters and I have used them in various off road motorcycles and vehicles for years without any negative results. Proper prep is the key and using the usually included oil for the filter is important, especially after you wash them. I've never ingested anything with any of them. I'm quite sure there will be a complete performance kit available in short order for 2.3 and 2.7 which will include rerouted intake plumbing etc.
 

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I know that the Ford off-road teams all use K&N filters and I have used them in various off road motorcycles and vehicles for years without any negative results. Proper prep is the key and using the usually included oil for the filter is important, especially after you wash them. I've never ingested anything with any of them. I'm quite sure there will be a complete performance kit available in short order for 2.3 and 2.7 which will include rerouted intake plumbing etc.
I have used K&N filters on many of my vehicles I just never used one on a turbo after getting my diesel and reading all the forums talk about the K&Ns. If always used BHAFs
 
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