Follow up on the filter situation:

The filter situation is handled…for a while.

Now, realize, that when I built the genset that I chose a very common filter. One that is used on about half the oil furnaces in the US and many larger oil fired portable heaters. Therefore it was a common filter….at the time….manufactured (or at least sold) by nearly every manufacturer…Baldwin, Fleetguard, Napa, Purolator, Wix, Donaldson, LuberFiner, etc. All the majors had a compatible filter. Therefore I thought that I would always have filters readily available from someone….


Approximately two years ago, according to the Tech folks at Wix (and also at Fleetguard) the filter was discontinued….at approximately the same time at both companies….Which the Fleetguard tech guy said indicated that it was likely only made by one company and simply labelled differently for different companies. He said that he had suddenly received a lot of calls in the past month or two by folks looking for this same part,….his theory was that the supply of filters on the shelf after they were discontinued had run out in the two years since discontinuance, and people (like me) had started calling all the manufacturers to find a replacement.

Now, Capitalism being what it is, there is a company that makes this filter still, which I found via help from commenter “D” (thanks again for finding that for me!) in the previous post….But as far as I can tell, there is but one single supplier for this part. The rest of the suppliers no longer carry it. Perhaps the market is such that it isn’t worth carrying for the bigger companies….It is possible that the usage of oil furnaces has declined such that the big boys no longer find it economical to keep these filters in their inventories.

But the supply chain is fragile, more fragile than I thought…..perhaps, this time, not because of Covid.

A filter is an important part of a machine….without it, the machine will stop operating eventually. Our reliance on technology is also a reliance on supplies and manufacturers. It isn’t just fuel for the generator, it is also belts, and hoses, and filters and lubricants…..all of which are made by someone else and which replacements cannot be manufactured easily by the average person. Without that supply chain of needed consumables, technology will grind to a halt….first slowly and then rapidly.

Can you make tires for your car? Yes, you can patch them, but at some point they will wear out and become useless. Same with hoses. Belts are made by other companies, and you or I cannot make replacements if they are not available to purchase. Same-same fuel and oil filters. Gaskets may or may not be able to be made by folks like myself, depending on their complexity. Bearings and other parts are impossible. Brake shoes /pads and such are outside of my ability to manufacture. I MIGHT be able to find substitutes, but maybe not. How long will our technology last without a ready supply of parts?

This episode is a lesson for me. Even a common filter can be an issue. Stocking a single replacement part or supply may not be enough for critical machinery…..

Critical parts may or may not be available in the future, despite your planning….if it ain’t on your shelf right now, then it might never be….

You might take this into account in your own preps,



2 thoughts on “Follow up on the filter situation:

  1. Stuff like this is a kind of “being hoisted by one’s own petard” thing, impacted by three trypes of things.

    As one moves up the technology complexity chain the number of suppliers declines because, for example, even though semi-conductor manufacturing is very expensive and has a lot of money moving around inside it, very, very few people are doing it and the equipment requirements are sufficiently complex that it costs real big money to get into the supplier game.

    Moving up the scarcity levels – “installed base” – does the same thing. Toyota has sold half a million Camrys annually for decades so every one who can makes stuff for them; parts for a 1958 Edsel, however, will be damn hard to come by (same is true for things like Lister engines, great engines but not a lot of them around).

    Then there’s the #@&% bean counters running our bigger industries who seek out the cheapest, quickest solution. This winds up with a dozen manufacturers buying parts (like filters, or bearings) from the same – cheapest – supplier because it saves them eleven cents per unit. If something happens to that one supplier, well, we’re selling a new model now that uses different parts, or we’ll re-design it so that it does. Not our problem.

    For Joe and Jane Customer it seems the only answers are stockpile large quantities, or design in the flexibility to accommodate multiple solutions, which can be an expensive proposition. Preppers try to solve this by building mutliple paths to potential success, also an expensive proposition.

    Until companies decide to return to respecting their customers there may not be a reasonable solution, other than, perhaps, finding outfits that have always respected their customers and dealing with them.

    I’m confident Herbert Stein’s caution will apply here: “If something cannot go on forever it will stop.” Expect a calamatous purge of companies in some industries at some point as customers dump the untrustworthy outfits.

  2. if i have to replace something, say a carb needle, on a peice of critical gear like my 3k genny, i buy ten of them. i have an extra set of tires for my primary vehicle, though i figure it won’t be getting many miles on it if shtf. stock oil/filter for it too, and drive belts. when i was in bosnia the only businesses were roadside used car parts and used tires. most looked used up already. lots of cars abandoned, parted out where they died, knowing no repair parts/money available anyway. and wood was gold. all the trees blown up or used for heat already. none for building, little twigs for heat. our toss out pallets would cause a riot, so we had to burn them. coming to amerika, soon.

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