aFe Momentum GT CAI Pro 5R Filter Cleaning & Maintenance

Lifted Black 4Runner with roof rack, aFe Power Momentum GT

How To Wash and Re-Oil The Pro5R Filter For The aFe Power Momentum Cold Air Intake On The 5th Gen 4Runner

Oil and air filter maintenance seemed to go hand in hand with the stock cold air intake on my SR5 4Runner. You know the drill; the technician would finish the oil change, come in with the dirty air filter that even had pieces of leaves on it, and say that it needs replacing. Despite probably just being an attempt to increase their workload and therefore my bill, I’d agree to the charge. That vicious cycle ends now with the aFe Power Momentum GT CAI.

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Why I Chose The aFe Power Momentum GT CAI

aFe Power Momentum GT Cold Air Intake Installed In 4Runner

I landed on the aFe Power Momentum GT CAI with a Pro 5R Filter Media. Though there are many comparisons in regards to what CAI is best for you, I chose aFe for a few reasons:

Cleaning Timeframe

aFe Power Momentum GT Re-oiled Filter

aFe states that under normal driving conditions (e.g. predominantly street driving in little to no dusty environments), cleaning is necessary every 25-30k miles.

For perspective, the average person in the US drives roughly half of this mileage range each year, making the always polished, pavement-only, no off-roading/overlanding 4Runner with an upgraded aFe CAI needing a filter cleaning nearly once every two years.

Personally, I plow through that mile range every year – sucking in air from of city, highway, dusty and muddy environments. This drives me to clean the filter every 10-15k miles, which I can complete in roughly an hour. Most of that time is allotted to the filter drying after rinsing.

Disassembly and Cleaning Process

aFe Power Momentum GT Installation

Materials and Tools needed:

  • 12mm socket and driver
  • aFe POWER CLEANER
  • aFe Oiling Agent

Step 1: Loosen Clamps and Disconnect Mass Airflow Sensor

aFe Power Momentum GT Installation

The filter housing and main plastic tube end overlap each other and are tightened down by two T-bolt clamps. Loosen the bolts with the 12mm socket and driver.

While loosening one of the left (the larger clamp) aids in this process, the clamp on the right (the smaller clamp) will need to be loosened enough until it can be repositioned and left hanging on the plastic tube for easy re-installation.

In addition to these clamps, the MAF Sensor should be disconnected, and if more mobility is needed to make room for the removal of the air filter, disconnect the hose off of the brass fitting directly right of the sensor.

Step 2: Remove Air Filter

aFe Power Momentum GT Filter

Pull aside the whole plastic tube and pull the air filter out for inspection.

Step 3: Cleaning the Filter

aFe Power Momentum GT Filter Cleaning Products

Remove any larger pieces of debris such as leaves and spray the Power Cleaner agent on the outside of the filter to fully saturate, but not drench it. After allowing the cleaner to sit for roughly 10 minutes, it will have broken down dirt and other particles without damaging the filter media itself.

The instructions then state to use a steady flow of water (e.g. soaker mode instead of jet mode on your hose) and rinse out the cleaner that was applied from the inside out, so as to not damage the media by pushing the now smaller particles from the outside in. Run water through it until it runs clear.

aFe Power Momentum GT Filter Rinse

aFe recommends letting the filter sit and air dry (can be in sunlight) instead of using other heating methods to speed up the drying process. This time takes around 45 minutes depending on the ambient temperature.

Step 4: Oil Application

aFe Power Momentum GT Filter Oil Application

After drying out naturally, apply the blue oil agent all around the outside of the filter. You’ll notice that after giving it a few moments, it’ll spread across the filter element.

Wait for this spread to occur before applying more to avoid excess oil, which could reduce airflow through the media when in use. Dab the leftover spots with oil until covered blue.

Step 5: Reassembly

aFe Power Momentum GT CAI Reassembly

With the main tube still pulled away, insert the filter back into the main housing. Move the main tube back into position and reposition the clamps to be tightened.

aFe Power Momentum GT CAI Pro5 Filter

Once both T-bolt clamps are tightened, re-connect the MAF sensor and the hose to the brass fitting.

Final Thoughts

aFe Power Momentum GT CAI Pro5 Final Thoughts

The filter can go through multiple cleanings before the media will start to deteriorate naturally. I’ve not seen a visible change after only one cleaning. However, like an old shirt that always looks faded even though it smells clean, eventually, the filter itself will need to be replaced. Entire replacement filters can be bought directly from aFe when you start to see segments of media falling apart. Or, where oil doesn’t spread through properly allowing for unfiltered air and debris to enter the intake.

At the stage of replacing the whole filter (since your mileage may vary), you’ll have a few options:

  • Pro 5R filter (5 oiled layers of cotton mesh between a 100% polyurethane top and base)
  • Pro DRY S filter (3 dry layers of cotton mesh between a 100% polyurethane top and base)
  • Pro-GUARD 7 (5 oiled layers of cotton mesh plus 2 layers of synthetic media between a 100% polyurethane top and base)

I’m looking to keep my4Runner running for plenty of years to come. There will be plenty of things that my service center will get to work on and attempt to fix that are beyond my abilities. The intake, however, after some research, is a feasible maintenance item for this DIYer.

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Chris K
Chris K
1 month ago

Great writeup, I’ve been meaning to do mine but haven’t gotten around to it. Seeing the pictures definitely helps show how easy the process is

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