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5kTQ Air Filter

Well, after many ideas from the list on Friday on how to get a new air filter
in, I went home and took off the metal pipe that runs from the fuel
distribution nonsense to the turbo.  This allowed decent room to yank out the
whole air cleaner front housing.  I found a little oil in the filter, as well
as the metal pipe, the hoses and the housing itself.  After wiping all of this
out and re-installing the air cleaner housing, I got ready to put the pipe back
on.  Stupid me didn't think to bother looking at the little arrow stamped on
the pipe before I took it off.  In my mind, it makes sense that this arrow
would indicate the direction of airflow, which (again, in my mind, which is a
wasteland) is from the air distribution to the turbo unit.  Did I get it right?
 Does it even matter?  The pipe looked the damn same on both ends to me, does
it really matter which way it goes back on?  Next question:  what does a K&N
filter do for you?  Does it REPLACE the front housing on the air cleaner, or is
it just a replacement element that requires the use of BOTH sides of the
existing housing?  I'd love to get my hands on a filter that eliminates the
whole front housing, seems an increase of airflow could be had here, but does
one exist?  TIA for any ideas, short of cutting apart what is in there!

87 5000CS TQ