After six months of having the Catch Can Pro fitted, was it really worth it?
Words by Grant Hanan and Linda Bloffwitch, Images and Video by My Aussie Travel Guide
After listening to all the hype and sifting through the pros and cons about why you need to fit a catch can to modern 4X4 diesel engines, we finally bit the bullet and fitted one to our 79 series. We chose the Flashlube Catch Can Pro and installed it ourselves before taking off for six months. But before jumping straight into telling you what we thought of it, it’s probably worthwhile giving a quick explanation on the theory behind the need for fitting a catch can.
It really comes down to the simple fact an engine’s crank case needs to vent. But unlike years ago when the vapours used to simply disappear into the ether, strict emission laws have put a stop to that. So what happens now? Well that really depends on the manufacturer’s design. Generally, the misted crankcase air is routed through some hoses and mixes in with fresh intake air. And then from here it travels through the intake system and mixes with some hot gases flowing through the EGR valve before ending back up in the combustion chamber.
It’s thought that the oil misted air which really is a combo of soot, sludge and carbon substance (in other words crap) will eventually gum everything up as it coats components and sensors. The result of all this is an air intake system that won’t function correctly if left unchecked and could lead to loss of power or possibly engine damage due to wrong fuel air mixtures. This is where the catch can comes in as it’s been designed to filter out the oil mist and separate the oil from air. The waste then sits in a reservoir that has a drain hose attached so it can be periodically drained, and the clean oil free air is then channelled back with the fresh intake air supply.
WHAT YOU GET
The kit’s got you covered by having everything you need to install the catch can and it’s available for a range of vehicle makes and models. Flashlube’s Catch Can Pro unit has an inbuilt replaceable filter and pressure relief valves with 19mm ports with the unit measuring 146mm high x 116mm wide x 137mm deep. The kit also includes two sets of formed hoses, some clamps, a mounting bracket with bolts, a length of drain hose and a ball valve type tap with fittings. A set of install instructions are included to help you put all this together. We found we needed to modify the install for our vehicle as our electrical fuses were in the way of where typically the catch can is fitted, but that wasn’t any big drama.
HOW IT WENT
We fitted the catch can before taking off on a couple of big trips which would be a mixture of dirt and black top travel. The first trip was through the Kimberley where we noticed some oil staining around the catch can relief valve port within a couple of thousand kilometres of driving. We realised that the drain hose was completely full when taking a closer look, so we drained its contents into a container. I’m not sure whether we were more alarmed or surprised at the amount of oil it had separated as there was a bucket load.
From that trip we did a bit of a zigzag across the country from the Pilbara, over to outback NSW and back to WA’s deserts, so we got into a bit of a routine and conducted more regular drain hose checks. We found we really needed to drain it approximately every 2000kms which roughly equated to every second fuel refill. In those six months of touring, we clocked up more than 20,000 plus kms and changed the engine oil twice. Our style of travel always means we’ve got a camper in tow and we experienced almost everything when it comes to driving conditions, meaning anything from low range rock crawling to regular blacktop highway speeds. From regularly monitoring and draining the catch can hose during our travel, we were blown away that we’d drained and collected almost one full litre of oil that otherwise in the past would have found its way into the air intake system.
Love it! We’ve no doubt it was a great decision to fit the catch can as it’s doing a great job of separating and collecting the oil mist, and we’re getting cleaner air entering the inlet manifold and air intake system. So it’s worth its weight in gold when it’s reducing the risk of carbon build up in the intercooler and associated components. Although we’ve added another task into our maintenance program by having to periodically drain the catch can hose, that’s only a minor chore when its benefits far outweigh any negatives and we’re stoked our 4X4 can now breathe cleaner air.
RRP: $495 for our 79 Series Landcruiser. For further details, head to flashlube.com