Let's talk oil catch cans

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Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by HwAoRrDk » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:42 pm

I'd like to get a bit of discussion going regarding the PCV system on the RX-8 and the benefits and drawbacks of plumbing an oil catch can into the PCV system.

First of all, in case anyone's reading this who doesn't know what a PCV system is and wants to know, let me provide a brief explanation. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation, and is the system used on modern engines to deal with combustion gases that blow-by piston rings (or in our case, rotor side seals) and into the oil system (i.e. sump) of the engine. The accumulation of these gases is undesirable because it not only pressurises the sump, valve cover, etc. but also adversely affects the oil itself. Previously, manufacturers used to simply have the crankcase ventilate to atmosphere, but this not only excessively pollutes, but also dripped oil all over roads. So, the solution was to re-circulate these combustion gases and oil vapours back into the engine intake.

In the RX-8, the PCV system is exceedingly simple. As you can see below, there is simply a hose going from the oil filler neck to the intake, just before the throttle. There isn't even a one-way proportioning valve!
rx8-pcv-04.png
rx8-pcv-04.png (30.53 KiB) Viewed 3706 times
(A note here regarding '06+ models and also those that have had the "breather mod" or "ventilation kit" retro-fitted by dealers. This changed the PCV system so that there are two paths from the oil filler neck: one to the intake as before, but another to a pair of ports directly on the intake manifold, as below.)
rx8-pcv-06.png
rx8-pcv-06.png (32.3 KiB) Viewed 3706 times
An oil catch can/tank is commonly used as a supplement to the PCV system, in order to trap or 'catch' any oil liquid or vapour in the ventilated gases and prevent it from going back into the intake, whilst leaving other gases to pass through. This is particularly desirable on turbocharged engines to stop oil vapour coating the inside of an intercooler (which reduces its efficiency) and on track vehicles because oil may be forced uncontrollably by increased G-forces into the PCV system.
catch-can-diagram.png
catch-can-diagram.png (8.35 KiB) Viewed 3706 times
So, if not primarily for the aforementioned reasons, why would you want one on your RX-8? There are at least a few reasons:
  • It is an unfortunate flaw of the RX-8 that due to its exceedingly straightforward PCV path even the slightest oil over-fill will inevitably end up being regurgitated straight into the intake, making a mess and possibly ruining air filters.
  • Even though the MAF sensor is 'upwind' of the PCV inlet, oil vapour seems to still be able to contaminate the sensor, leading to poor running. Also, excess oil can contribute to the throttle plate getting dirty and sticking, also causing poor running.
  • Excessive amounts of oil dumped into the intake causes smoke from the exhaust, which although not damaging per-se, doesn't do anyone any favours.
  • It is postulated that excess oil being drawn into the intake doesn't do the SSV any good long-term, and may be a contributor to a sticking SSV when oil build-up sludges or carbonises over time.
  • It looks shiny in the engine bay. :P
From what I've learned when researching oil catch cans, a good catch can meets the following criteria:
  • Should have some kind of baffling and/or filtering inside, which input must pass through before returning. Any empty vessel doesn't do much!
  • Must not vent to atmosphere (even if through a filter) as this is not only illegal for on-road use, but also obviates the entire PCV system. (Note: I can't find any specific reference or regulation for this, but people do fail MOTs for this.)
  • Should preferably be mounted below the level of the feed from the valve cover (or rather, in our case, the oil filler neck outlet), so that oil vapours that condense in the hoses naturally run down into the tank via gravity.
  • Is preferably made of metal, as composite tanks don't seem to be as durable and might leak (sorry carbon-fibre fetishists!).
  • Has a level indicator so that you can easily tell when it needs emptying (not absolutely necessary, though).
Phew! With all that said, does anyone has any recommendations for a specific product, or tips on installation? Or indeed, any other catch can or PCV-related information or knowledge would be great too. :)
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by benedunn » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:58 pm

ordered :lol: - fab write up you should be a salesman - up until now i thought they were just the same as that little black box next to the intake

Vinnie get a pic of yours up please i want some ideas for mounting points :mrgreen:
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by benedunn » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:03 pm

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_nkw=r ... m270.l1313 ... well square or circular?

also they come in red black or chrome ... my car is red black and chrome, whic to pic? #-o

ive gone for silver pulleys on the red and black engine so perhaps silver? black i think is too understated for this application providing you can find somewhere neet to put it :D

dammit thinking about it im trying to swap all hoses out for red 1's and red hoses on a silver tank wouldnt be right .... not sur enow :(
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by VelocityVinnie » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:04 pm

Will take some tomorrow, as ive relocated it.

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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by benedunn » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:06 pm

where was it before?

and is yours 1 of the ebay 1's or MRPs? the mrp 1s are expensive :shock:
Please excuse the spelling mistakes ^^ :D

I'll second that!

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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by warpc0il » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:09 pm

I'll show you mine...
catch tank.JPG
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by VelocityVinnie » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:17 pm

Mine is a Toyosports can, cant fault it.

It used to be where Daves is now, but ive moved it so its below the filler neck, its mounted to the plastic tray the airbox should sit in.

old location.

Image

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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by Arnie_O » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:26 pm

Ill try to get some pictures up of mine tomorrow, I also have the Cusco one but i managed to mod the mount and fix it to the back of my (carbon fiber fetishists) air intake box. not the bestest route for the pipeing but was the only serious place i would find to mount is properly, though its not exactly on display.
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by HwAoRrDk » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:46 pm

Thanks for the pics! :thumleft:

Does anybody still have the standard airbox and have theirs mounted anywhere other than next to the brake reservoir? I can't really see where else one might go, and I wouldn't really want to put it there because it's higher than the oil filler neck outlet (which is not ideal, as I mentioned in my OP). Also, it strikes me that it would make bleeding the brake master cylinder a pain in that location (and why does Dave have a rubber cap on his - I don't! :cry:).

I wonder if there is anywhere on the underside of the engine bay? That would actually be fairly convenient to empty I think, as you could just drain it straight downwards at service time like you do the sump.

Speaking of which, seeing as most cans feature a drain hole on the underside, have people installed theirs with the expectation that you'll simply remove the can to drain it? How quickly have yours filled?

@Dave, that Cusco design looks fairly good, as it appears the bracket mount is adjustable up/down, aiding placement; is that the case? Also, where's the drain outlet? I bet it's fairly expensive, though... :?

I'm liking the looks of this Saikou Michi one. Not too bling (I wanna keep my engine bay fairly standard-looking) and fairly small. No level indicator, though, and even though the can itself is reasonably priced, I don't know how much one shipped from the USA might be.
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by warpc0il » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:24 pm

One other thing to consider is that you want it somewhere warm, out of any cool air draft.

Some people who've put their can forward of the engine have found they fill-up with water in cold weather, presumably due to moisture in the system condensing in the chilled can.

I've not found any water in mine and, so far, not enough oil to appear in the sight tube.
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by Arnie_O » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:28 pm

I goth cusco can from an eBay trader from Colchester
I think it was about £65 shipped
The breacket is adjustable but I had to mod mine to fit it where I did
As far as emptying it you simply loosen the rear retaining hilt, slide it off the bracket then it drains out via the clear tube (Gauge tube)

Pictures as stated above

Image
This should show the bracket modification. It is the same bracket as warpcoil has.

Image

Image

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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by desert_ratfaced » Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:05 am

I got mine from MRP. Does exactly what it says on the can...... :wink:
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by HwAoRrDk » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:26 pm

:bump:
warpc0il wrote:One other thing to consider is that you want it somewhere warm, out of any cool air draft.

Some people who've put their can forward of the engine have found they fill-up with water in cold weather, presumably due to moisture in the system condensing in the chilled can.
To be brutally honest, I'm not sure whether this is totally correct. As I've continued looking further into catch cans, I've found that several manufacturers have recommended installing it as far away as possible from sources of heat (e.g. turbo, manifold, etc.).

Thinking about it, surely you want it to be as cool as possible, to aid condensing of the oil vapour? Any water that also happens to condense in there, well, I suppose that's good too.
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by warpc0il » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:51 pm

There's a major difference between the heat of a turbo or manifold and "somewhere warm, out of cool air drafts".

High heat would damage the unit and may even melt the sight tube.

Water vapour doesn't do the intake system any harm at all, hence water injection on some very high-power installations and why the engine seems to (and actually does) produce more power in foggy conditions.
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by HwAoRrDk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:54 pm

Found this oil catch can: Radium Engineering Universal Oil Catch Can

Image

Looks pretty damn good. I like the dipstick feature, rather than some slightly cheap-looking plastic fittings and clear pipe for a level indicator like some have.

Properly engineered, too! Not just an empty vessel.

Image

Mucho expensive though, especially once you include the requisite inlet and outlet fittings. :(
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by Beckster 231 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:29 pm

I agree that it looks really good 8). Although, like you said pricewise, it's a bit of a spicy meatball :shock:

Also, the Toyo one (that I have) is more than adequate - if you're relying on your catch tank to recycle oil (in any sort of notable volume) then there's something awry with your engine.

Additionally, the Toyo (and cusco) ones are shiny, which I like :D
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by HwAoRrDk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:26 pm

I'm not sure why anyone would even think of recycling the oil caught by the tank. :? It'll just be a bunch of milky crud full of water and combustion by-products, not good for anything.
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by HwAoRrDk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:55 pm

SARD do a specific kit for the RX-8, which appears to be a variation of their universal one with a custom bracket.

Locates the tank on the other side of the brake reservoir:
sard_oilcatch_SE3P.jpg
sard_oilcatch_SE3P.jpg (44.96 KiB) Viewed 1952 times
However, don't think it would work well on those cars with dealer-fitted bonnet gas struts (like mine), as I think the tank and/or bracket would get in the way of the strut. Also, the SARD kit is also mighty pricey: over £100! :shock:
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by tractorboy » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:49 pm

Just fitted my Toyosport. Put it on the back of the airbox after removing the VFAD solenoid (I already have the vacuum pipe disconnected to keep the "short route" open all the time), although it would be possible to reposition the valve if you wanted to keep it. It's not the prettiest of solutions as the bracket is a bit too visible; I may spray that satin black some time. Also needed to cut the engine cover. The good thing about fitting like this is that it is very quick to remove for emptying, and the top of the tank is below the oil filler pipe outlet.

Image

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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by Beckster 231 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:47 pm

HwAoRrDk wrote:I'm not sure why anyone would even think of recycling the oil caught by the tank. :? It'll just be a bunch of milky crud full of water and combustion by-products, not good for anything.
My bad - I just scanned the website while in work and from the diagram, it looked to be recycling via a filtration system. On closer inspection, it looks to be a nicely engineered piece of kit (even if it isn't shiny :D ) but the price is quite off-putting (for me anyway).
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by exiled-viking » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:35 pm

sorry this is a little out of focus but mine only holds 600 mil as i can now down size my catch tank due to fitting the new greddy oil pan ,as this anti surge plates that help the problem also the oil pan is a little larger than the mazda spec so filling the oil to 3/4 mark on the dip stick is the same as filling it to the full mark on the old dip stick with the old oil pan this has now completely stopped the problem i was having :)

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you can just see the top of the can in this photo with the hose mounted with the blue connections as i said its only 600 mil tank.
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by Gezzup » Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:31 pm

(A note here regarding '06+ models and also those that have had the "breather mod" or "ventilation kit" retro-fitted by dealers. This changed the PCV system so that there are two paths from the oil filler neck: one to the intake as before, but another to a pair of ports directly on the intake manifold, as below.)
Are there many advantages to retro-fitting the new twin port ventilation kit to earlier models. I was recently advised by Mazcare that I ought to fit one but couldn't really get a concise explantion from them as to the benefits of doing so?

And secondly, would it be more beneficial to fit an oil catch can instead?
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by Arnie_O » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:05 pm

Who are mazcare dude I have never heard of them as a rotary specialist?
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by HwAoRrDk » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:19 am

Gezzup wrote:Are there many advantages to retro-fitting the new twin port ventilation kit to earlier models. I was recently advised by Mazcare that I ought to fit one but couldn't really get a concise explantion from them as to the benefits of doing so?

And secondly, would it be more beneficial to fit an oil catch can instead?
I believe the primary purpose of the ventilation modification is simply to reduce mayonnaise-like build-up of condensation on the dipstick. I think it is the extra vacuum through the PCV system provided by the two intake ports that helps prevent so much of the foaming oil/water going up the dipstick tube.

The primary purpose of an oil catch can is to prevent any oil being cycled through the intake manifold, so this mod doesn't really help with that, as there's still a tube to the manifold. In fact, I reckon it makes the likelihood of an oil overfill puking oil into the intake even more probable, as the intake tube is lower down the filler neck assembly.
Arnie_O wrote:Who are mazcare dude I have never heard of them as a rotary specialist?
From a quick Google search, Mazcare seem to be an independent Mazda dealer based in Wolverhampton.
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Re: Let's talk oil catch cans

Post by Freeman38 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:57 pm

I need some advice as next year I am hoping to take part in the Hill Climbs and possible Sprints. Part of the regulations for road cars states that a vehicle must be fitted with an oil catch can, unless the vehicle has a closed loop system. I assumed the PCV setup would be classed as a closed loop system. However, on reading this it maybe prudent to fit a catch can anyway.

Can anypone advice please as I would like to prepare the car over the Christmas break whilst I have some time off.

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