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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 2007 Touring that I absolutely love other than the fact that the cabin filter is only a wimpy particulate filter. BMW, Mercedes and other luxury cars have activated charcoal/carbon filters that block harmful gasses and hydrocarbons. I am very sensitive to these and since I can't find an aftermarket charcoal/carbon filter upgrade, I may try to return the car to the dealer today or sell it to a third party (and take the $2500 sales tax loss).

If anyone can help me find an activated charcoal/carbon filter for the car, even if it means cutting it to size, I would be hugely grateful.

Everyone should have one of these on their car. It significantly reduces the health threat from air pollution, which we are all exposed to every time you drive behind another vechicle. This shouldn't be just on the luxury cars...we all deserve the best health. Especially when it should only be a $20 filter upgrade like it was on my 2001 Audi, or standard on the BMW 530i I sold to buy my Prius.

Thanks,

Will
 

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the cabin air filter replacement instructions are in the owner's manual, in the DIY maintenance area. I have listed suggestions on it here:
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... sage/73716
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... sage/73729

You can just go to your favorite home/hardware store and purchase a home HVAC (heating system) filter, and cut it to size. Much cheaper than the paper one from Toyota, and you get several uses out of one HVAC filter usually. Several people went this route to get the carbon/charcoal filters that you're asking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you!

Thanks for the quick response. Just one followup question.

Will the filter lose efficacy from gasses or particles flowing around the custom cut size or is it possible to cut the filters so perfectly as to prevent this from happening?

Thanks again,

Will
 

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The filters kind of sit in a plastic tray (the drawer that you pull out from behind the glove box). If you cut it to size, I doubt that you'll have too much leak around the edges. I'd just be careful not to have too thick of a filter, that'll get smushed when you put it in there...

My experience with one of these more agressive home-cut filters over the Toyota paper filter is that the climate control has to work a little harder to suck air through the system, so you may need to turn your fan speed up a bit.
 

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charcoal filter

From Yahoo toyota-prius group message # 13836 June 2001 Chuck Gibson:

"Another possible source of a carbon filter is my favorite: McMaster-
Carr.(wwww.mcmaster.com) They have a "Charcoal Impregnated Pleated
Filter" 12" x 24" (30.5cm x 71cm) for US$11.45. It's more expensive
but you could get two Prius filters out of it."

Other sources might be for kitchen stove ventilation filters, cat litter boxes, or (loose granules) for aquarium filters. There would be some DIY work involved.

Somebody ought to be making these in their garage. I believe Toyota uses the same size filter in several models (and charges lots for it).

MRV, any filter that slows your fan motor down noticeably does not sound like a good idea to me.

DAS
 

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Actually, if you put in a filter with more restriction it would -speed up- the fan motor. It removes some of the "load" off the fan - the air it has to push. Try it with a fan. A slight perceived loss of air flow would probably be a "good thing" (pat. pending) as it would indicate better filtering or a better seal around the filter.
 

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charcoal questions

It always seemed to me that folks often think of charcoal filters as a sort of catylist when it comes to removing impurities. My understanding is that charcoal is simply a porus material that can remove fairly small particles. Once those pores get filled, the charcoal is useless.

And are the pores in charcoal really small enough to remove gas molecules?
 

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I believe the reason blocked airflow can burn out a motor is not because the fan has to work harder to try and pull the air, but because there no longer is any cooling flow of air.
 

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Re: Desperate-Need Activated Carbon/Charcoal cabin filter AS

musiklov3r said:
...the health threat from air pollution, which we are all exposed to every time you drive behind another vechicle.
I'm wondering how much any kind of filter will lessen exhaust pollution from other vehicles. I'm thinking engaging the recirculation button as much as possible is a much better way to avoid this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for all of your responses

I really appreciate all of the effort everyone made to help me with this. Unfortunately, I was not abe to find a solution that met my needs.

I am an extremely sensitive person and tend to get very naseous driving in traffic due to the fumes from other cars. I live in the SF Bay area, so it is impossible to drive without being behind other cars.

I previously drove a 2006 BMW 530i. The BMW's have had a hydro- carbon filter since 1999 which senses pollution and will switch back and forth between outside air and recycled cabin air depending on the amount of pollution it senses. It also has dual activated charcoal filters to capture both particulates and gasses. Activated carbon is supposed to reduce odors and toxic gasses. From experience, I did not notice odors when driving behind diesel trucks, sewage treatement plants or the cow farms on the 5 freeway when I drove to LA (both with auto recycle and with the pollution senson off in outside air only modes). So, given that I always noticed these odors with a paper filter in previous cars, I buy in to the idea that if it can remove the odor, it can remove the toxic gasses. Plus, the hydrocarbon sensor should detect when the toxic gasses are high and extend the life of the filter.

Why am I sharing so much detail about the BMW system? Because I don't understand why Toyota doesn't offer these options on a $29k car like the 2007 Touring edition I purchased.

I contacted my local dealership and Toyota directly and neither were aware of the advantages of activated carbon/charcoal and there are no oem carbon filters. Both my mechanic's searches and mine on the internet revealed that the large aftermarket parts manufacturers like Bosch, do not make activated carbon filters for the Prius.

In the end I decided I did not trust using a home filter in a vehicle application, given the differences in potential flow rates and the possibility of gases passing around the edges if the filter did not fit perfectly.

In the end I decided to go back to BMW for the hydrocarbon sensor. I miss my Prius, think it's the best car out there, and I truly care about the enviroment. I just care about my health more.

Maybe by taking the time to post this, someone from Toyota will eventually hear about this and offer Prius owners something to protect their health while protecting the environment. Until then, Prius owners, I salute you.

Will
 

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Re: Thank you for all of your responses

musiklov3r said:
I really appreciate all of the effort everyone made to help me with this. Unfortunately, I was not abe to find a solution that met my needs.

I am an extremely sensitive person and tend to get very naseous driving in traffic due to the fumes from other cars. I live in the SF Bay area, so it is impossible to drive without being behind other cars.

I previously drove a 2006 BMW 530i. The BMW's have had a hydro- carbon filter since 1999 which senses pollution and will switch back and forth between outside air and recycled cabin air depending on the amount of pollution it senses. It also has dual activated charcoal filters to capture both particulates and gasses. Activated carbon is supposed to reduce odors and toxic gasses. From experience, I did not notice odors when driving behind diesel trucks, sewage treatement plants or the cow farms on the 5 freeway when I drove to LA (both with auto recycle and with the pollution senson off in outside air only modes). So, given that I always noticed these odors with a paper filter in previous cars, I buy in to the idea that if it can remove the odor, it can remove the toxic gasses. Plus, the hydrocarbon sensor should detect when the toxic gasses are high and extend the life of the filter.

Why am I sharing so much detail about the BMW system? Because I don't understand why Toyota doesn't offer these options on a $29k car like the 2007 Touring edition I purchased.

I contacted my local dealership and Toyota directly and neither were aware of the advantages of activated carbon/charcoal and there are no oem carbon filters. Both my mechanic's searches and mine on the internet revealed that the large aftermarket parts manufacturers like Bosch, do not make activated carbon filters for the Prius.

In the end I decided I did not trust using a home filter in a vehicle application, given the differences in potential flow rates and the possibility of gases passing around the edges if the filter did not fit perfectly.

In the end I decided to go back to BMW for the hydrocarbon sensor. I miss my Prius, think it's the best car out there, and I truly care about the enviroment. I just care about my health more.

Maybe by taking the time to post this, someone from Toyota will eventually hear about this and offer Prius owners something to protect their health while protecting the environment. Until then, Prius owners, I salute you.

Will
OK, I don't know if this helps but have you looked into the All New Camry
"Ionized" Plasma claster Filtering system ? Toyota claims that no particule will penetrate the cabin environment. Polen, Microbes, Fumes etc.
Try investigating this filteration system, might be the answer for your health...

My 2 cents,
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Camry ionizer

Thanks, C. Rickey, my vague understanding of ionizers is that they are onlyl effective at removing particles and not gasses. Here is an abstract of a scientific article I found on google:

The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of individual commercially available portable indoor air cleaning units in removing dust particulates, tobacco smoke particulate and vapor phase constituents (nicotine and vinyl pyridine), viable and total fungal spores, pollen, and gaseous contaminants (carbon monoxide[CO], nitrogen dioxide[NO2], and formaldehyde[HCHO]), in a clean air test chamber. The air cleaner chamber results presented here represent initial-use results. In general, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) and electrostatic precipitator systems demonstrated the highest efficiencies with respect to particulate, contaminants, followed closely by electret filter systems. Ionizers and ozone generators were least effective in particulate removal. Systems which included sufficient sorbent material (i.e. activated carbon or potassium permanganate) were marginally effective at gaseous contaminant removal. None of the systems tested were effective at carbon monoxide removal.

Sensory testing was conducted to discern potential correlation between human perceptive response and measured air cleaner performance (with respect to tobacco smoke removal). An electret filter (EF) loaded with carbon sorbent received the best ratings with respect to odor strength, nasal irritation, eye irritation, and overall air acceptability.

quoted from here: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/ ... 006.x/abs/
 

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Yes, ionizers remove particles not gases. Carbon filters trap gas molecules. An ionizer would remove some of the smell. In fact the contributors to smell are unburned hydrocarbons, NOx and SOx. Some of the hydrocarbons would be tiny liquid droplets and they would be trapped by an ionizer. As transport fuels are legislated to become largely sulphur free and cats remove NOx and the hydrocarbons (so they aren't usually in exhaust gases) an ionizer would remove most of the smell. CO is oderless and CO2 has a faint smell. I suppose you'd still get NOx and hydrocarbons from trucks, which don't yet have cats.
 

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Re: Camry ionizer

musiklov3r said:
Thanks, C. Rickey, my vague understanding of ionizers is that they are onlyl effective at removing particles and not gasses. Here is an abstract of a scientific article I found on google:

The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of individual commercially available portable indoor air cleaning units in removing dust particulates, tobacco smoke particulate and vapor phase constituents (nicotine and vinyl pyridine), viable and total fungal spores, pollen, and gaseous contaminants (carbon monoxide[CO], nitrogen dioxide[NO2], and formaldehyde[HCHO]), in a clean air test chamber. The air cleaner chamber results presented here represent initial-use results. In general, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) and electrostatic precipitator systems demonstrated the highest efficiencies with respect to particulate, contaminants, followed closely by electret filter systems. Ionizers and ozone generators were least effective in particulate removal. Systems which included sufficient sorbent material (i.e. activated carbon or potassium permanganate) were marginally effective at gaseous contaminant removal. None of the systems tested were effective at carbon monoxide removal.

Sensory testing was conducted to discern potential correlation between human perceptive response and measured air cleaner performance (with respect to tobacco smoke removal). An electret filter (EF) loaded with carbon sorbent received the best ratings with respect to odor strength, nasal irritation, eye irritation, and overall air acceptability.

quoted from here: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/ ... 006.x/abs/
OK, understood.

How about the " Plasma Cluster filtration system " ?
 
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