Free to Roam - Catch Can R&D, Part 3: Test Results
Our 2019+ Ford Ranger has been roaming the streets of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey for the past 1,000 miles testing our direct-fit oil catch can. In this post, we'll be emptying the catch can to see what, if anything, it caught. If all goes to plan, we'll also be kicking off the pre-sale so you can protect your Ranger from blow-by, without blowing your budget.
In our last post, we looked at the stock crankcase ventilation system on the 2019+ Ranger's 2.3L EcoBoost. We explained that the system was divided into two parts: the CCV side and the PCV side. The CCV side is active when the turbocharger is pressurizing the intake manifold, while the PCV side is active when cruising or idling. The CCV side also incorporates a pressure sensor that we've fought with in the past and the hose must be cut to remove it. For those reasons, we decided to place our catch can on the PCV side.
Despite the presence of an oil separator on the PCV side, we were optimistic that our catch can would collect blow-by the stock oil separator missed. After designing and fabricating a prototype bracket, we connected our catch can between the intake manifold and oil separator. 1,000 miles later, it was time to pull the catch can off and see what we caught.
Unscrewing the catch can bottom revealed a large amount of liquid in the can, but it wasn't the dark oily substance we were used to seeing in our EcoBoost catch cans. Instead, we were assailed by a strong smell of raw fuel. Emptying the contents of the catch can revealed about 35 ml of murky reddish-brown fuel and water condensation. As the fluid sat on my desk in the beaker, it settled into a mix of red liquid and solids. We thought that this might be a result of the engine still finishing the break-in period or the cold weather we had during testing, so we decided to drive the Ranger for a few more months and repeat the 1,000-mile test once the engine had more miles and the weather warmed up.
A few months later, the Ranger was ready for its second 1,000-mile test. With the warmer weather, we expected to see more oil in the catch can, but we were surprised again. The second time emptying the can revealed less fluid, but it was again the orange, fuel-heavy mixture we saw in the first test. This time, however, there were even more solids in the bottom of the can. After letting the mixture settle in a beaker, we were able to get a better look at the particulate.
The particles at the bottom of the beaker resembled sand that we've seen in some of our coolant filtration projects, but looking at the bottom of the catch can lid gave us a clue to what they might really be. Our bronze filter had turned a dark shade of brown from carbon buildup and our aluminum diverters looked like they were covered in rust. It seemed the oil separator was pulling the oil out of the blow-by, but what it was leaving behind could be just as damaging. Even without a significant amount of oil, the amount of water, fuel, and carbon in the returning mixture would be enough to lower fuel octane and clog injectors.
Now that we know the catch can is doing its job, we can send the kit into production, and the start of production also means the start of the pre-sale. Now is the best time to get this catch can kit and protect your Ranger from blow-by roaming your 2.3L EcoBoost. So, check out our website for more info and, as always, let us know what you think.