Quick Tech: UPR Dual Valve Catch Can Oil Separator For EcoBoost

UPR’s Dual Valve Catch Can Oil Separator looks deceptively simple, but inside there’s a complex filtration system to remove oil vapor from the vented crankcase gases.

Introduced in the 1950s, the PCV system (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) is supposed to capture unburned hydrocarbons from a gasoline engine’s crankcase and circulate them back to the intake system to be burned as part of the combustion process. PCV systems also provide vacuum to the crankcase to remove positive pressure from the crankcase and create a vacuum to help with ring seal.

The crankcase vent hose runs from the side of the intake manifold, just behind the throttle body, to the crankcase vent/PCV valve on the side of the engine. A dental pick or a small flat blade screwdriver is the only special tool needed to remove the locking clips.

In modern performance engines, especially those that are factory supercharged or turbocharged, or have had aftermarket forced induction added, we’ve seen numerous examples of the antiquated design of the PCV system not being able to keep up with modern engines.

“Catch cans are important, particularly with forced induction applications, because the oil vapor which enters the intake manifold via the factory PCV system reduces the octane rating of the air/fuel mix in the combustion chamber. Racers will often discard the PCV lines and run vent filters on the cam covers, but this prohibits the system from performing its primary function- to evacuate crankcase pressure which improves cylinder seal. The octane rating of the air/fuel mix, along with good cylinder seal are critical factors in the performance of your engine- especially with forced induction” says UPR Products’ Sharad Raldiris.

We knew we’d want an air/oil separator for Project 5-Liter-Eater, our 2015 Mustang EcoBoost. UPR Products was one of the firs to market with such a product for the EcoBoost, and we turned to them for this upgrade. They sent us part number 5030-104, finished in black. This part is also available in satin and polished finishes.

Raldiris says that UPR has conducted extensive research and design work for the design of the filter system of its catch can oil separator. “UPR’s catch can design is not just an open can with a strategically placed wad of steel wool. We have invested countless hours and a large amount of money in research and development of UPR’s catch cans. We came up with our current 4-stage system by applying the lessons we’ve learned during this relentless testing process.

    Left: The plastic engine cover needs to come off to gain access to the OEM PCV hose at the throttle body. Right: If you're using an aftermarket cold air intake (like we are) place a call to UPR. They offer a special silicone coupler/reducer for the vacuum supply hose, ready to install. Not only does this speed installation, it also means you won't have to drill your CAI.

    “The filter media UPR used is stainless steel mesh. However, our testing has shown that stuffing a can full of filter media is not an effective substitute for superior catch can design. The multiple chambers and diffuser tubes in UPR’s catch cans cause the oil vapor to coalesce into large oil droplets which fall to the bottom of the can, but they do it without causing a restriction in the air flow.”

    UPR has gone to a lot of trouble to make its Air/Oil separator fit properly. The lines included are the exact length necessary for a good install. They also feature quick connect fittings that make this install as easy as swapping out a few lines and routing hoses. In fact the hardest part of the entire process is getting the OEM hose off from the crankcase breather to the throttle body, simply because access is tight.

      Left: This wider angle shot shows the clean line from the UPR system connected. Center: The clean line connected at the throttle body neck of the intake, and the lock engaged. The quick connect fittings supplied on on the GoodYear hoses are a direct replacement for the factory parts. Right: You can see the routing of the lines here. The vauum line routes from the coupler/air intake near the turbo, to the rear port of the catch can. The clean line routes from the intake manifold where the original PCV hose went, to the front of the catch can. There's plenty of hose here, so that it can be routed away from the belt and moving pulleys on the engine. The dirty line is routed from the top of the can around the high pressure fuel pump and down to the PCV valve/crankcase vent on the engine. You will have to put the car on a lift or jack up the driver side front to gain access to the PCV valve/crankcase breather for both removal of the old part and installation of the dirty line.

      There are three lines in the system, Raldiris explains this as well. “Our dual valve catch can has three lines- the dirty side which runs to the factory PCV valve, and the two lines which connect to vacuum. Our testing has shown that the intake manifold is the best source of vacuum, but it cannot be used as a full time source of vacuum on a forced induction vehicle. To solve this dilemma, we created the dual valve catch can which connects to the intake manifold with a check valve so that the intake line is closed off under boost. Meanwhile the other line, which is connected to the turbo inlet on the EcoBoost kit, sees vacuum at all times- especially under boost or WOT.”

      The catch can mounts using the OEM bolt, for a ground wire located on the passenger side strut tower. The ground wire goes on top of the catch can. The completed installation looks like an OEM part.

      If you’re competent with tools and familiar with most engines you can handle this install in around 30 minutes. Less experienced enthusiasts should still only need about an hour. You will need a jack or lift to access the PCV/Crankcase breather port. This port is located in front of the starter and under the intake manifold, you can find a helpful diagram at Fordparts.com by searching crankcase under 2015 Mustang. The OEM line runs from the breather to the side of the intake manifold behind the throttle body assembly.

      Raldiris says that UPR recommends draining the catch can using the drain cock on the bottom about once a month or every 1,000 miles whichever comes first. “It is not uncommon to fill our standard sized cans within 3,000 miles, so it’s a good idea to check them regularly.”

      Whether you’re planning to heavily modify your Mustang EcoBoost, or it’s just serving as a daily driver, a UPR oil separator catch can is a good investment. This part should help you monitor your engine’s oil consumption easily, and also help keep the combustion chambers cleaner, as well as preventing detonation caused by oil in the incoming air/fuel charge.

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      About the author

      Don Creason

      Don Creason is an automotive journalist with passions that lie from everything classic, all the way to modern muscle. Experienced tech writer, and all around car aficionado, Don's love for both cars and writing makes him the perfect addition to the Power Automedia team of experts.
      Read My Articles

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