These days, offroaders are constantly looking for ways to enhance the performance of their vehicle.
There are so many different accessories available that it’s difficult to know where to start. In this guide, we’ll analyse the purpose of an oil catch kit and find out why they’re one of the most popular 4WD upgrades in Australia.
Here you’ll find out the purpose of an oil catch can and if they’re worth it. We’ll check out the benefits and drawbacks. Then we’ll look at how to install one of them.
Let’s get started!
What are oil catch cans?
Oil catch cans are effectively a filter that protects the engine.
Powerful diesel engines produce all kinds of nasty fumes that circulate throughout. The problem is that the oil gathers in the intercoolers. Then it circulates back inside the engine.
Exhaust gases contain carbon. These mix with the oil and stick to all of the internal components. In the short term, it’s inconvenient because it’s very dirty. But over time it’s more of an issue because it can cause restrictions in the air intake system.
It’s no fun to clean but an oil catch can prevent this situation from occurring.
That’s because it helps the air intake to stay clean. In turn, this enhances the vehicle’s performance and functionality. It can improve longevity and make the vehicle more economical to run.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of using an oil catch can?
Now let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of an oil catch can in more detail.
Do they increase performance?
It’s not entirely accurate to say that oil catch cans increase performance.
Rather, they prevent the reduction of performance. It’s a subtle distinction but an important one. They prevent the spread of a toxic cocktail of oil and gases by containing the former.
If it gathers on the inlet manifold and engine valves it will cause a restriction. This reduces the risk of a blow-by. Oil is hot and prevents cool air from entering the engine, thus lowering its abilities.
An oil catch can optimise performance rather than increase it by ensuring that this doesn’t happen. It doesn’t add anything to the overall power but allows the driver to maximise its potential.
Are they necessary?
Technically, oil catch cans aren’t essential but they do make life a lot easier.
Even if you don’t use an oil catch, you’ll need to find another way to remove the wasted oil from the vehicle. Many popular alternative methods are illegal and will result in massive fines in Australia.
These days many vehicle manufacturers include oil catch cans as a standard feature. They are entirely legal, even if you add one as an optional accessory.
High-performance vehicles benefit from them because their engines receive more stress than standard cars. Also, their drivers want to optimise their output. An oil catch can is very useful for off-roading.
They also make sense as a long-term investment. Firstly, it’s expensive to pay a dealership to clean the effects of an oil blow-by. But it’s even more costly to pay for repairs after it causes damage.
Can they cause any problems?
Generally speaking, oil catch cans don’t cause many problems.
However, this comes with the caveat that it’s important to use common sense. Drain the catch can before it becomes too full or it won’t be able to work properly. It depends on the engine too and may not be necessary for every vehicle.
Check the terms of your warranty before you install an oil catch can. If you suffer a blowby with the can it may damage the internal components. This may not be covered.
Another issue arises in cold temperatures. This is unlikely to be an issue in Australia but it’s good to know about it. If water condensation freezes, it can also block the oil catch can and prevent it from doing its job.
How much oil does it catch?
Oil catch cans are capable of gathering a significant amount of oil and water.
This depends on several external factors including the amount of stress the engine is suffering and the speed of the vehicle.
However, it could accumulate up to 300mL in 10,000km!
How much do oil catch can kits usually cost?
Oil catch cans vary in price depending on the manufacturer and the overall specifications. They can range from under $100 for a cheap kit to hundreds for a premium product.
Provent is one of the most popular brands and provides a decent kit for under $400. So does HPD, another company with a strong reputation.
It’s wise to shop around because oil catch cans are often available second-hand too.
How to install an oil catch can?
Next, we’ll look at the necessary steps to fit an oil catch can. Remember that there may be slight differences depending on the product and the vehicle’s specifications. For a visual guide check out this great video by VideoShowMeHow.
Let’s get started!
Items required for installation
- Vehicle-specific hoses
- Clear drain hoses
- Catch can
- Vehicle-specific stainless steel bracket
- Nuts, bolts, washers etc.
Installing an oil catch can - a step-by-step guide
1. Pop the bonnet
Locate where the catch will sit. This will be on the driver’s side.
2. Prepare the catch can
Swivel the catch can’s components so that the inlet and outlet are both facing out away from the brackets.
3. Install the bracket
Fit the bracket into the appropriate section of the vehicle. Usually, with kits like the Provent 200, you can use the standard factory nuts and bolts.
Simply remove them, insert the bracket and refit the bolts.
4. Install the catch can
Now it’s time to insert the catch can itself. Line it up on the installed bracket against the rivnuts. Bolt it into place so that it’s secure.
Don’t go too tight because you want to be able to remove it for cleaning in the future.
5. Remove the engine cover
Before fitting the pipes, remove the engine cover to create more space. This step may not be essential depending on the vehicle, but it makes life easier!
6. Remove the factory hose
Disconnect the factory crankcase hose. This should be possible by hand. Keep it somewhere safe in case you want to put it back at some point.
7. Install the new pipes
Line up the new hoses as per the instructions.
Place the inlet and outlet pipe in their respective holes and tighten them in place. Zip ties are helpful to prevent them from moving.
8. Add the drain hose
Place the drain hose into the system with the tap. Put the tap in one end of the hose. Then feed the other side of the hose down into the engine bay and underneath the catch can.
Clamp the drain hose to all of the necessary areas.
9. Double check everything
Put the engine cover back on. Then scan everything to make sure everything is fitted correctly!
Points to consider when purchasing an oil catch can kit
There are some important aspects to consider before buying a new oil catch can kit. Don’t overlook these!
As a general guideline, it’s necessary to replace the filters after every 40,000km. Some filters have a shorter lifespan while others may last for longer.
Don’t leave them for too long without changing them or it can be detrimental.
Keep factory components safe
You may need to remove the catch can and reinsert the original factory hose.
Perhaps it’s because you want to sell the vehicle. Or you may need to change it for a service or the terms of a warranty.
It’s no good buying an oil catch can that doesn’t suit your vehicle. Many of these kits have a universal fit so they should suit the majority of diesel engines.
The number of cylinders will also affect the size of an oil catch can. If there are more than six, it will need a larger can. The advantage of a larger can is that it can hold more oil.
But the downside is that they’re more awkward and require more space.
Single or dual valve
Dual valve catch cans are the best because they work when the vehicle is idle and in motion. That’s because these models have a pair of outport connections that increase the overall efficiency of the system.
However, they’re typically more expensive.
An oil catch can is a great investment for anybody with a turbocharged diesel engine.
It increases the lifespan of the engine while optimising the performance. Meanwhile, it keeps it much cleaner too. Some people think that oil catch cans are snake oil, but this isn’t true. However, it’s important to get one that’s a good fit for the vehicle.
Look after the can or it won’t be effective. This requires emptying it and changing the filter when necessary. Preventing damage and failure is always wiser than trying to fix something that’s broken!
If you have any questions about oil catch cans, please leave a comment below.