Oil Catch Cans

Oil catch cans have become a popular aftermarket modification for enthusiasts seeking to protect their engines and maintain optimal performance. In this guide, we’ll explore what oil catch cans are, how they work, and the benefits they offer to your vehicle’s engine.

Provent Oil Catch Can

HPD Oil Catch Can

What is an Oil Catch Can?

An oil catch can is a device designed to capture and separate oil vapours from the crankcase ventilation system before they can enter the intake manifold.

Why use an Oil Catch Can?

Prevent Oil Buildup in Intake Manifold
The primary purpose of oil catch cans is to prevent oil vapours from recirculating into the intake system. This prevents the buildup of oil deposits on intake valves, inside the intake manifold and on/around other components.

Maintain Engine Efficiency
By reducing the amount of oil entering the intake manifold, oil catch cans contribute to maintaining proper air-fuel ratios and combustion efficiency.

How Do They Work?

Crankcase Ventilation System
As the engine operates, some combustion gases and oil vapours escape into the crankcase. On a cold engine you may also have water vapour venting as well which is why sometimes the oil collected in a catch can, can appear milky. The crankcase ventilation system allows these gases to be recirculated into the intake manifold.

Oil Catch Can Operation
Positioned strategically along the path of recirculated gases, the oil catch can effectively intercepts and isolates oil vapours from the air through a combination of mechanical filtration and condensation. This process ensures that oil free air proceeds into the intake system. The efficiency of vapour separation is significantly influenced by the design of the catch can. Generally, a catch can equipped with a filter is more adept at this task compared to one solely relying on baffles.

Benefits of Using an Oil Catch Can

Preventing Carbon Buildup
Oil catch cans help reduce carbon buildup on intake valves, intake manifold, and other components, preserving engine efficiency.

Extended Engine Life
By minimising oil contamination in the intake system, properly spec’ed and installed catch cans contribute to a cleaner and healthier engine, potentially extending its lifespan.

Enhanced Performance
Improved combustion efficiency and reduced carbon deposits may lead to enhanced engine performance, throttle response, and fuel efficiency.

Why May Catch Cans Not Be Recommended?

There’s virtually no reason to discourage the recommendation of a properly sized and correctly installed catch can. Instances where catch cans are typically removed include:

Poorly Sized
An improperly sized catch can has the potential to pressurise the crankcase, leading to the displacement of seals to vent excessive pressure. This situation can give rise to issues such as external oil leaks. Depending on the seals’ location, replacement costs can be substantial. Ensuring the catch can is the correct size is crucial in averting such complications and preserving the overall health of the engine.

Poorly Installed
A catch can installed in a manner that allows the plumbing to be kinked, crushed, or damaged can also generate pressure in the crankcase, potentially causing damage. It is imperative that the PCV is allowed to breathe unimpeded for optimal performance.

Poorly Maintained
A catch can that isn’t routinely drained or cleaned can diminish its effectiveness. If the catch can lacks a relief valve, it may also pressurise the crankcase. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the catch can operates at its best, preventing potential issues with the engine.

Considerations for Installation

Proper placement of the oil catch can is crucial for effective operation. It is typically installed in the crankcase ventilation line between the valve cover and the intake manifold.

Regularly inspecting and emptying the catch can is imperative to uphold its ongoing efficiency. The required frequency of maintenance is contingent upon driving conditions and the engine’s oil consumption. Neglecting to keep the catch can empty not only hampers its performance but also poses potential risks to your engine, especially in the absence of a pressure relief valve on the catch can. An overfilled catch can has the potential to obstruct the PCV (positive crankcase vent), leading to the possibility of engine seals being displaced to release built-up pressure.

Oil catch cans come in diverse designs and capacities, underscoring the importance of selecting a model that aligns with your vehicle’s make and model to ensure peak performance. Crucially, sizing the catch can appropriately according to the PCV volume is paramount. Engines that exhibit heavier breathing patterns necessitate a larger catch can for optimal efficiency. Opting for a catch can that is too small runs the risk of restricting PCV gases, potentially causing the displacement of a seal within the engine to release accumulated pressure. It is pivotal to match the catch can size meticulously to the specific demands of the engine’s ventilation system.

In addition to the crucial aspect of sizing the catch can appropriately, it is equally imperative to ensure that all associated plumbing and fittings are proportionately sized. Neglecting this aspect may hinder the smooth flow of PCV vapours. Furthermore, ensuring that the plumbing is routed strategically to minimise the occurrence of kinks and prevent any crushing of the plumbing is equally significant for optimal performance. A meticulously planned and appropriately sized plumbing system contributes significantly to the effective functioning of the entire catch can setup.

Installation Tips

Plan Location and Plumbing Route
Thoughtful planning before commencing the installation is key. Confirm that the chosen location for the catch can installation provides ample space for seamless transitions in your plumbing, minimising the risk of tubing becoming kinked, squashed, or damaged. Adequate space ensures a smooth and unobstructed path for the plumbing, contributing to a well-executed and reliable installation.

Follow Manufacturer Instructions
Adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation to ensure proper fitment and function.

Consider Professional Installation
If you’re unsure about the installation process, consulting with a professional or an experienced mechanic can provide peace of mind.

In conclusion, oil catch cans are valuable additions to a vehicle’s engine bay, offering benefits such as reduced carbon buildup, extended engine life, and improved performance. When properly installed and maintained, these devices play a crucial role in preserving the health and efficiency of your engine.