OEM air filter size difference - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2018, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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OEM air filter size difference

Picked up an OEM replacement engine air filter and noticed itís a bit smaller than the factory filter. Part numbers match but there are a few other minor differences in addition to the size. Pics below. It was more difficult to install because it didnít friction fit in like the factory filter and wanted to slide out when sandwiching the cover back on. Iíve routinely bought OEM air filters for other brands because they typically are a better fit than aftermarket but this didnít impress me. Anyone else notice this or have an aftermarket that fits more like the factory filter?

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by skinny2 View Post
Picked up an OEM replacement engine air filter and noticed itís a bit smaller than the factory filter. Part numbers match but there are a few other minor differences in addition to the size. Pics below. It was more difficult to install because it didnít friction fit in like the factory filter and wanted to slide out when sandwiching the cover back on. Iíve routinely bought OEM air filters for other brands because they typically are a better fit than aftermarket but this didnít impress me. Anyone else notice this or have an aftermarket that fits more like the factory filter?


What OEM replacement did you purchase? Brand and part number would help.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by skinny2 View Post
Picked up an OEM replacement engine air filter and noticed itís a bit smaller than the factory filter. Part numbers match but there are a few other minor differences in addition to the size. Pics below. It was more difficult to install because it didnít friction fit in like the factory filter and wanted to slide out when sandwiching the cover back on. Iíve routinely bought OEM air filters for other brands because they typically are a better fit than aftermarket but this didnít impress me. Anyone else notice this or have an aftermarket that fits more like the factory filter?

I bought a Napa filter before and ran into a similar situation, not an exact fit and returned it the next day.


Never had any issues with fitment of Fram ExtraGuard air filters. Unless it changed (which it doesn't look like), you need a Fram CA9997 engine filter.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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What OEM replacement did you purchase? Brand and part number would help.

Perhaps OEM means something different to you...but these are both Subaru filters 16546AA12A. You can see both have same part numbers in pictures. The one of the left came from the factory and fits better.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 10:41 AM
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If they're both Subaru filters with same part number, then either they switched suppliers, the manufacturer has QA issues, or Subaru changed the design slightly. Weird.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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If they're both Subaru filters with same part number, then either they switched suppliers, the manufacturer has QA issues, or Subaru changed the design slightly. Weird.

I'd say they're definitely made by different suppliers...the factory filter is stamped "ELSA LLC DENSO MADE IN USA" but the replacement just says "SUBARU MADE IN USA". There are some other less obvious nuances that don't really matter, but size/fit is a big deal in my book.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 12:30 PM
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Perhaps OEM means something different to you...but these are both Subaru filters 16546AA12A. You can see both have same part numbers in pictures. The one of the left came from the factory and fits better.


Sorry I did not notice the part numbers. The word replacement is what threw me off. I would consider a Fram filter an OEM replacement. By that a filter that will directly replace the OEM filter.

I looked at the filter in my 2012 3.6R. It is a Subaru filter I got from Subaru Direct if I remember correct. It is also marked "ELSA LLC DENSO MADE IN USA". Part number 16546AA12A
I measured the filter and it measures 220 mm x 222mm. Have no idea what the original factory filter was as that was 6 years ago.

I have been using NAMPA 6914 filters mostly. The 6914 is advertised as 219mmx 219mm. The 6914 has more pleats (23) than the Subaru at (13). The Subaru filter I have now was purchased to bring my Subaru Direct order to a value for free shipping thus resulted in a good price.



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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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I measured the filter and it measures 220 mm x 222mm.

That's about exactly what the factor filter was. The replacement Subaru filter was around 118mm square so just slightly smaller than the NAPA (assuming their published numbers are correct). I picked up a Fram CA9997 and it's identical in size to the factory filter.
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