TESTED: CATCH CAN PRO

A TRICK WAY TO KEEP YOUR EN­GINE, TURBO AND IN­TER­COOLER IN CHECK THAT’S LE­GAL AND HAS­SLE-FREE.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

ONCE upon a time any blow-by gasses pro­duced by a ve­hi­cle’s en­gine were al­lowed to es­cape into the en­vi­ron­ment. As en­vi­ron­men­tal re­straints be­came more strin­gent, man­u­fac­tur­ers fed those gasses back into the en­gine via the air in­take. That’s all well and good, but re­turn­ing air con­tain­ing oil and other im­pu­ri­ties in­clud­ing wa­ter vapour into the air in­take of the en­gine not only de­creases the en­gine’s power and ef­fi­ciency, it in­creases the car­bon build-up in the in­let man­i­fold and the EGR valve, cor­rodes turbo bear­ings and al­lows a layer of oil sludge to build-up in the in­ter­cooler, greatly de­creas­ing its cool­ing abil­ity. That all adds up to not only a loss of power and per­for­mance, but in­creased fuel use, and it could lead to more ex­pen­sive dam­age.

Some peo­ple pro­pose that you blank off the EGR valve, but that is highly il­le­gal and usu­ally ends up cost­ing you more in lost fuel ef­fi­ciency. The way to stop that has­sle and to main­tain your en­gine’s per­for­mance is to fit an oil catch can. As with every­thing you can get cheap, ba­sic units that do a poor job, or some­thing a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive and com­pli­cated but a lot more ef­fi­cient at re­mov­ing those im­pu­ri­ties from en­ter­ing your en­gine.

The Flash­lube Catch Can Pro from Ter­rain Tamer is a pre­mium oil fume fil­ter that fil­ters out the dam­ag­ing oil mist and con­den­sa­tion, help­ing your en­gine run like it was when it was new. The unit is made from a high-grade en­gi­neer­ing poly­mer and glass-fi­bre com­pound so it is ro­bust and can with­stand the heat of an en­gine bay. It is de­signed with 19mm in­let and out­let ports as well as pres­sure re­lief and vac­uum re­lief valves to stop any over pres­suri­sa­tion of the en­gine and to main­tain the ef­fi­ciency of the mo­tor.

The Flash­lube Catch Can is fit­ted with a re­place­able fil­ter el­e­ment, and these are re­port­edly much more ef­fi­cient at col­lect­ing the oil fumes and con­den­sate than stain­less steel mesh fil­ters. The Flash­lube el­e­ments need re­plac­ing ev­ery 20,000km or so.

The unit comes with all the pip­ing and brack­ets re­quired and, while any handy­man could fit this unit by fol­low­ing the in­struc­tions sup­plied, we had our unit fit­ted by the crew at Out­back 4WD (www.out­back­4wd.com.au) in Bayswa­ter.

The Catch Can will with­stand a fair amount of heat, but it should not be mounted on the fire­wall, be­side the turbo or ex­haust man­i­fold, or be­hind the ra­di­a­tor. We fit­ted ours close be­side the ra­di­a­tor at the front of the en­gine bay where it has a chance of cool air flow­ing around it, while the drain pipe runs down to the out­side of the chas­sis rail where the drain tap is lo­cated and can be eas­ily ac­cessed. Yep, you have to drain the oil caught by the catch can, which is nor­mally around 5-15ml of oil ev­ery 1000km or so.

The Flash­lube Catch Can Pro may be com­pact in size, but it is good enough for all 4WD en­gines on the Aus­tralian mar­ket, even those fit­ted with a per­for­mance chip, an af­ter­mar­ket ex­haust and/or larger snorkel. The unit can han­dle flow rates of 250L/minute.

You should re­ally fit one of these as soon as pos­si­ble to get the best pos­si­ble re­sult, but with 110,000km on the clock of my Land Cruiser it is still a very worth­while thing to do. While it isn’t com­pletely ‘fit and for­get’, it’s so easy to drain any cap­tured oil that it is as close to has­sle-free as it can get.

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