Oil catch can explained (read if tuned)
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Thread: Oil catch can explained (read if tuned)

  1. #1
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    Oil catch can explained (read if tuned)

    Thought I'd put up some info even though it isn't on the cruze (yet) since some members are seeing oil in their charge pipes.

    Basically what happens is there is a Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve that allows vapors in the crank case (where your oil sits) to be vented back into the intake

    The blowby vapors that end up in an engine's crankcase contain moisture as well as combustion byproducts and unburned fuel vapors. The crankcase is sealed to prevent the escape of these gases into the atmosphere, but the vapors must be removed to prevent oil contamination that leads to sludge formation. The positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system siphons these vapors from the crankcase and routes them into the intake manifold so they can be reburned in the engine.


    but what can happen is oil can also escape and get into the intake. Sometimes it will make it's way into the cylinders and cause blue smoke to come out of the tail pipe and gunk up the motor. Since oil has a low octane rating, it will cause knock/detonation which is the premature combustion of the compressed air/fuel mixture. sometimes this can be heard as an audible "ping" like there are pennies rattling inside the engine.

    To prevent this, there is a device called an "Oil Catch Can" and it's purpose is to take in the air/oil coming from the PCV valve and capture the oil while letting the vapors continue into the intake for burning.

    This is the catch can I bought for my SRT-4. It's a nicer one, but it's pretty much universal.

    01.jpg

    It has two ports, one for the line in from the PCV and another for the line to the throttle body/intake manifold.

    03.jpg

    it also has a release valve on the bottom for quick draining. Also on the side is a clear tube that gives a quick visual of how full that thing is.


    02.jpg

    The way it works is it has a divider wall on the inside and both sides are stuffed with steel wool. Vapor goes in and out while oil stays in.

    High boost setups

    In high boost setups (basically anything beyond stock settings), you get what's called pressurizing of the valve cover. This happens under high boost and is caused by the boost pressure going in the wrong direction up the PCV line and forcing its way past the PCV valve and into the valve cover. What happens then? Well there could be a few things like oil being forced past valve seals and down into the head(s) and back into the cylinders (read above) but the most common is that the pressure exits through the vent. Most vehicles have vents in the valve cover and surprisingly, a lot of them do not have shrouds to prevent oil from escaping. The vent serves a similar purpose as the PCV, allowing for pressure to escape and are usually piped directly into the intake again (for emissions reasons). In the V style motors like the V6 and V8, it's common for people to remove the PCV and put a breather which looks like a tiny K&N filter on top of one or both valve covers.

    anyway, the pressure from the boost getting past the PCV causes oil to fly out of the vent or keep the crank case/valve cover under pressure (which is bad all around). To prevent this, a 1-way check valve is placed in between the throttle body/intake manifold and the catch can. While you can install a check valve without a catch can, it isn't recommended as your check valve will get oily and fail (usually from getting clogged by oil). What the check valve does is allows air to flow only in one direction and not the other. so when installed correctly, the pressure from the boost will not get past the check valve and thus, cannot get into the valve cover and cause problems.

    04.jpg

    This is the engine bay of my SRT-4 (yes, it's filthy and it needs some attention). The green line starts at the top of the valve body and runs down to just behind the throttle body. The green circle is the vent that goes right back into the cold side intake pipe.

    05.jpg

    This is the result of too much boost. This is a picture of the cold side (pre-turbo). There is a bit of oil sitting there waiting to get sucked into the turbo compressor wheel. I actually cleaned this out last week (had a ton in there) so you can see what happens in just a few days.

    As for some of our members who are seeing it at the throttle body, I would make a guess that boost is pressuring the valve cover and as soon as the boost goes away, the pressure goes back out the PCV (along with oil).

    06.jpg

    I've installed the catch can here with the line coming from the PCV and then going to the throttle body.The cylinder in the middle of the line going to the throttle body is the 1-way check valve.

    The point is, turbo cars are a PITA, have ton's of vacuum lines every where and require special attention and upgraded systems when making modifications.

    This catch can was $110 but catch cans can be had for $25 if you look. Very easy to install. I'll be getting one for the Cruze (not sure if I'll drop $110 on one of these, but maybe).

    You're supposed to empty the can or replace it with each oil change.

    I hope you find the informative. I'll do a specific write up for the Cruze when I get a system for it.

    Please note that installing a catch can cause you to fail visual inspection when trying to get smogged.
    Last edited by titan2782; 01-26-2013 at 04:39 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Bought a catch can this weekend off ebay for $16. Need to get a check valve and it's going on the Cruze. Universal High Quality Capacity Billet Aluminum Oil Catch Reservoir Tank Can Red | eBay

    So far no more oil issues in the SRT-4 after installing the can and valve. Why don't cars just come with them?!

    Still looking for a good check valve that is under $15 shipped. Needs to open at 1in Hg.
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  4. #3
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    I believe this has been done on the Cruze by another member, but I forget who. The amount of oil that the catch can recovered was practically significant. I believe GM noted that if the car was burning or losing more than a quart of oil in a certain mileage (I don't remember the exact mileage, but it was at least 3,000), that it would need to be repaired under warranty.

    Your results may vary in the Cruze. I'm looking forward to seeing how much oil that can recovers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by XtremeRevolution View Post
    I believe this has been done on the Cruze by another member, but I forget who. The amount of oil that the catch can recovered was practically significant. I believe GM noted that if the car was burning or losing more than a quart of oil in a certain mileage (I don't remember the exact mileage, but it was at least 3,000), that it would need to be repaired under warranty.

    Your results may vary in the Cruze. I'm looking forward to seeing how much oil that can recovers.
    Yeah, I've seen the the other thread and that's where I got the ebay idea from. Local part store didn't have anything.

    I'm actually more interested in the check valve to prevent pressurizing the valve cover. After experiencing the problems with the SRT-4 and the amount of oil in the TB that Markj2222 took pics of, I'm concerned since I'm running 22psi.

    I was hoping to find some usable parts at good prices to offer kits for tuned members, but can't find anything. I ended up getting the same check valve I got for the SRT-4 which was $40 shipped.

    I will monitor the levels and report back after 5000 miles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by titan2782 View Post
    Yeah, I've seen the the other thread and that's where I got the ebay idea from. Local part store didn't have anything.

    I'm actually more interested in the check valve to prevent pressurizing the valve cover. After experiencing the problems with the SRT-4 and the amount of oil in the TB that Markj2222 took pics of, I'm concerned since I'm running 22psi.

    I was hoping to find some usable parts at good prices to offer kits for tuned members, but can't find anything. I ended up getting the same check valve I got for the SRT-4 which was $40 shipped.

    I will monitor the levels and report back after 5000 miles.
    I guess at a bare minimum, this catch can will be good for identifying other problems that you wouldn't otherwise be able to. If your car starts leaking oil in the intake at 22psi, I'd be willing to bet an expensive repair isn't too far away. That is, based on my limited knowledge of turbocharged engines. I'm far more familiar with superchargers.

    Still, don't let anything I say discourage you from proceeding with this. I'm definitely looking forward to your results and believe they will be quite valuable.
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    Still looking for a good check valve that is under $15 shipped. Needs to open at 1in Hg.
    Let us know what you find with regard to the check valve. I have a catch can that I want to install on my Cruze - looking forward to seeing your install/instructions.

    I believe this has been done on the Cruze by another member, but I forget who.
    If I recall the member is Smorey.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by blk88verde View Post
    Let us know what you find with regard to the check valve. I have a catch can that I want to install on my Cruze - looking forward to seeing your install/instructions.



    If I recall the member is Smorey.
    Yes, smorey78 and the thread is: http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/10-en...installed.html

    I'll post info as I get it.
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    Im very interested in your findings.

    I checked my intercooler for oil, there is a film coating the inside, but i used my vacuum pump to check the bottom of the intercooler and i didn't find a drop. Also in my upper charge pipe i found about a teaspoon of oil at the bottom.

    Im going to get a catch can for sure, but first I want to see how well that ebay one performs.
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    Bought a catch can this weekend off ebay for $16. Need to get a check valve and it's going on the Cruze.
    Looks just like the catch can I bought for my Cruze from e-bay, except I got a black one. Do you have a part # and supplier for the check valve?

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blk88verde View Post
    Looks just like the catch can I bought for my Cruze from e-bay, except I got a black one. Do you have a part # and supplier for the check valve?
    Yeah they come in different colors but the black one was $20. I'll just plastidip mine.

    I ended up getting this valve https://www.modernperformance.com/pr...o_oilcatchcans. Shipping is absolutely ridiculous but I paid it anyway.

    If you want to search for a cheaper solution, it needs to obviously be able to handle 30psi or more and needs to crack open at 1in Hg or less. I wasn't able to find any cheapo's that would open under 2in Hg (and that was low end for a range. They all said 2-4in Hg).
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