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The price of the cabin filter for my 2001 Prius from the dealter is now $22.50. (Part price only - not installation!) This is a substantial increase from the prior year. Fram filters at the parts store are about the same price. There is absolutely nothing high-tech about this filter. It's a flimsy pollen filter that is made to fit in a plastic tray found behind the glove compartment. If I could obtain filter material that I could cut, I would make my own. Any suggestion?

I looked high and low (ebay and elsewhere) and can't find any type of filtering material that can be bought in bulk and cut to size. The material would is similar to that of high-quality furnace filters that can filter pollen-size particles.
 

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Try a "high quality furnace filter."

They cost $20-30, but will make half a dozen filters.
 

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pay for labor for replacing the cabin AC filter?!? It's a simple DIY job, and the instructions are in the owner's manual. Biggest problem is to empty your glove box...

yes, a HVAC filter cut to size will work fine.
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... sage/73730
 

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mrv said:
pay for labor for replacing the cabin AC filter?!? It's a simple DIY job, and the instructions are in the owner's manual. Biggest problem is to empty your glove box...

yes, a HVAC filter cut to size will work fine.
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... sage/73730
Thanks for the ad, MRV, but wasn't this idea first posted a really long time ago? Like 2001?

Look for "washable electrostatic HVAC filters", about $20 gets you a size that will cut into 4 filters with some useless-sized strips left over. Make 21.5 cm squares. They may be blue, grey, or black plastic foam. They *are* foam, coated with some magic stuff.

You will probably see a rating on the packaging of MERV 8. This is not a reference to our own MRV, rather its efficiency in capturing really small particles. I have yet to discover a MERV rating for vehicle OEM filters of any sort, but I'll bet 50 PriusChat Points that they are no better than MERV 3.

They really do wash out nice and easily. Now after about 4 washings, I am getting good at not spilling out all my gloves.

DAS
 

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Cabin Air Filter for 2001 Prius

Ebay Motors has a filter for $13.80 plus $4.33 S/H. A bit less than your dealer ...
 

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I work for an Indoor Air Quality company working with HVAC dealers, and deal with this stuff every day.

Watch out for those washable filters, whether in your Prius or in your home. If those get dirty, some will allow particles to cruise on through to your AC coil, which can then start having that musty smell- difficult to get rid of! (Think of a magnet that is next to some metal shavings, the more loaded it gets, it starts to let go of some of that stuff, passing through so to speak.) If the filter is such that it won't allow stuff to pass through as it gets dirtier and dirtier, when you wash it, dirt and muck tends to accumulate in the middle of the thing, reducing airflow, efficiency, and can lead to ice buildup on your AC coil.

I'm a big fan of the MERV 8 rated filter, whether from Home Depot cut to size version, or the parts store replacement for 20$. Most importantly when cutting your own is making sure there is no way for air to get around the seal, as this will allow air to by-pass the filter, and again letting things grow on your AC coil. Depending on how much pull the AC fan has, stepping up to the "Super Allegen Filtration" style filters (MERV 11-13) might do better with filtration, but you'll more likely just burn out your AC fan motor, so buyer beware. For some reason I thought I had seen that the filter in the Prius was a HEPA style, which would mean 99.99 effective to .3 micron, but now I don't find that on any official site, and that little thing sure doesn't look HEPA to me. I'm sure replacing the filter with a non-standard one would violate some sort of warranty, so be sure to stick a regular filter in before taking it in for warranty service on the AC unit, whether the filter caused it or not.
 

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I don't recommend the MERV 11-13 filters- I tried a 3M Filtrete MERV 13 in my Classic and although it worked very well in terms of filtration, it cut the air flow to a fraction of what it was with the Toyota filter and made the system sound like it was working a lot harder (similar to a vacuum with a clog in the hose)..

I took it out and replaced it with a MERV 8 with an activated charcoal layer, which works very well.. The filter was $14 at the Home Depot and sold as a "universal sized" filter, meant to be cut to size, so it's actually big enough that I can cut about 6 Prius-sized filters out of it..
 

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Well, that already answered most of my questions. I bought an electrostatic furnace filter at Home Depot yesaterday. It was the Filtrete MERV (Griffin?) 13, so based on the above post, it's going back. The Depot selction was pretty shoddy - I didn't see any MERV 8 or 9's but I'll look again.

Also, are we talking about the pleated 1" thick filter (which is all I saw, and was the one I bought), or some sort of flatter design? I changed mine once with the official Toyota replacement, and I don't remember how thick it actually was.
 

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Re: Cabin Air Filter for 2001 Prius

mrv said:
Yeah, this known Prius-friendly dealer (posts here occasionally) has it for $15.
http://www.metrotpn.com/ProductDetails. ... rtIndex=13

Or it's $19 from CoastalETech. http://www.coastaletech.com/cabin_air_filter.htm
But this is the plain ol' garden-variety non-HEPA, non-electrostatic filter, yes?

<More about me than you wanted to know>
I was just diagnosed with allergy-triggered asthma, and my worst attacks always occur in my car on the 405 freeway between west LA (work) and the SF Valley (home). (pardon the LA-centric freeway lingo.) If you see a blue '04 late afternoons with the driver sucking on an inhaler, it's me.

This is a stretch of freeway that oridnarily has brown and dead foliage, but thanks to the record rainfall last winter, is oddly green and alive this summer.

Due to my gimpy condition, I've taken an inordinate interest in this particular thread, and I'm all for doing all I can to make my cabin environment as allergen-free as humanly possible.
 

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Re: Cabin Air Filter for 2001 Prius

Thomme said:
mrv said:
Yeah, this known Prius-friendly dealer (posts here occasionally) has it for $15.
http://www.metrotpn.com/ProductDetails. ... rtIndex=13

Or it's $19 from CoastalETech. http://www.coastaletech.com/cabin_air_filter.htm
But this is the plain ol' garden-variety non-HEPA, non-electrostatic filter, yes?

<More about me than you wanted to know>
I was just diagnosed with allergy-triggered asthma, and my worst attacks always occur in my car on the 405 freeway between west LA (work) and the SF Valley (home). (pardon the LA-centric freeway lingo.) If you see a blue '04 late afternoons with the driver sucking on an inhaler, it's me.

This is a stretch of freeway that oridnarily has brown and dead foliage, but thanks to the record rainfall last winter, is oddly green and alive this summer.

Due to my gimpy condition, I've taken an inordinate interest in this particular thread, and I'm all for doing all I can to make my cabin environment as allergen-free as humanly possible.

The filter that you quoted from me is the OEM filter. I don't know what its ratings are. I'm really surprised that Toyota moved out the scheduled replacement of the filter on the 2004-? Prius out to 36 months/30,000 miles. On the Classic it was every 18 months/22,500 miles, and I know that my filter was quite dirty (needed a shakeout and vaccuuming) in half that time, flimsy little paper thing that AC cabin filter is...

Do make sure to check that filter every so often and shake out the leafy matter and insects and such that collect on it!
 

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I did change my filters at 30K, but from here on in, I think I will change them at 15K. The engine filter did not seem to pass light when held up to the sun.
 

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Thomme said:
Also, are we talking about the pleated 1" thick filter (which is all I saw, and was the one I bought), or some sort of flatter design? I changed mine once with the official Toyota replacement, and I don't remember how thick it actually was.
Anyone?
 

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cabin filters

Thomme, the "washable electrostatic filters" look like open cell plastic foam. I have seen them in blue, gray, and black colors.

They are not pleated "paper", as are the OEM filters. Home Depot, for example, does carry them, so suggest you continue the search when it is convenient to do so.

DAS
 

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Thanks all for the info so far. I hate to keep flogging this thread, but I'm having trouble finding the correct kind of filter media at my neighborhood Home Depot.

The closest thing to what you've described is the Web brand "15 In. x 24 In. A/C Electrostatic Filter Pad" Product # 125524
(I tried to make a TinyURL of the Home Depot page with this item, but it's not directing back to the correct page for some reason)

It looks like it may do the trick, but the package doesn't explicity mention any specific MERV rating.

Does anyone have info on the specific product they're using, with a link to a retailer's or the manufacturer's web page for reference?
 

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A/C filter

Thomme, what I purchased most recently was the Web Plus adjustable permanent electrostatic filter, 20x25 inches, on the shelf at Home Depot. When I opened it up, surprised to find that the active element was about half the thickness to similar ones I had bought previously.

Company web site

http://www.webproducts.com

Interesting that they also offer HEPA and activated charcoal versions there. It is not obvious to me whether those can be cut down to fit. Seems very unlikely that either could be washed and reused, but presumably the HEPA would do the best job removing the smallest particles. If the HEPA can be cut, its overall thickness would still be an issue because the space available inside the Prius filter holder is less than one inch.

DAS
 

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The problem with HEPA is exactly the same as using filters with too high of a MERV rating- more stuff gets filtered out, but the air flow rate (CFM) gets severely impacted...

An electrostatic MERV 8 furnace filter with activated charcoal layer sounded no different than a stock Toyota filter, but going up to a MERV 13 (highest rated 3M Filtrete) resulted in much lower air flow, and a "clogged vacuum cleaner" type sound from the A/C.. This means that the fan is working much harder, and is likely to fail prematurely..
 

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A/C filter

The following link came from a PriusChat post by "Tideland Prius":

http://www.micronair.us/Toyota/105

It is described by the mfr. as a HEPA filter. No info presented on MERV, or the pressure drop through the filter.

I emailed an inquiry to them on the issue of pressure drop.

I agree with c4 that any replacement filter that noticeably changes the sound of the ventilating fan can affect the longevity of the fan motor. Not to mention that you will get less airflow from the system.

DAS
 

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That sounds good. I'm almost sold, except for this from their FAQ page:

"Are micronAir filters as effective as the filter that came with my car from the factory?

All micronAir filters meet or exceed the performance levels of the factory supplied filters. Approximately 65% of all cabin air filters installed as original equipment on vehicles worldwide are micronAir filters."

Based on that, I wonder if this definitely a higher-quality filter, or if it's essentially the same as the OEM filter, but at higher price.

Also - not electrostatic? That surprises me, as it seems that would add an extra level of performance to the filter. (said the guy who knows practically nothing about air filter technology...)
 
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