Review & Install Video
Yummy. On this installment of "What's Up With That?" we're showing you why you need an oil separator for your truck.Hey, guys. Justin with americantrucks.com here, and welcome to our latest installment of "What's Up With That?", all things catch cans and oil separators. Now no matter what you call them, they are all designed to do the same thing, catch and collect the oily vapor produced during combustion before being rerouted back into your intake track, which can cause a number of issues, as we'll show you in a minute.But before we talk more about and demonstrate the value of one of these little beauties here, we do wanna talk more about why they exist in the first place. And to do so, we need a better understanding of a couple of important things, blowby, and of course PCV, which is short for positive crankcase ventilation. First up, let's talk blowby.Now this is the result of the combustion event that drives the piston in any internal combustion engine. You see, you've got your gas, you've got your air, which are then ignited by your spark plug, and they go boom, right, and most of the remnants of that explosion are pushed out through the exhaust valve as, well, exhaust. However, there is a small amount of this leftover gas mixture that doesn't get expelled and is essentially pulled down past the rings and into the crankcase, hence the term blowby. And this blowby is typically increased in forced induction applications as those cylinder pressures are increased.Now this blowby, or vapor, needs a place to escape, right. And up until the early 1960s it would either sneak past gaskets or seals or out of what was called a road draft tube at the time, which essentially was really the first iteration of proper crankcase ventilation. However, this road draft tube, was discovered, wasn't necessarily ideal as it led to a bunch of pollution and a strong odor at idle, and if that tube ever got clogged, well, then that pressure would force all of that vapor through various seals or gaskets, which would lead to leaks, and obviously that's not a good thing.Now that led to the implementation of PCV systems, or positive crankcase ventilation, on most new cars by the year 1964. Now this was essentially the first vehicle emissions control device and it's been on cars pretty much ever since. So what does positive crankcase ventilation mean or do? Well, instead of dumping all of that unburnt vapor, or blowby, back into the atmosphere, it was then rerouted or recycled back into the engine through a PCV valve and a series of hoses to be burned off through the combustion process all over again.Now this all sounds fine and dandy, right? Well, not exactly. You see, all of that unburnt fuel and oil mixture that does get rerouted back into your engine does so, typically, through the intake manifold so it can be re-ingested by your engine. The problem is, that stuff is oily. It's sticky. It's gross, right? And over time, it collects in areas that aren't necessarily ideal, including the intake manifold itself along with the backside of your intake valves, which, if you have a direct injected engine like the '11 to '14 3.5-liter EcoBoost, that can lead to a little thing called valve coking, which can turn into a big thing over time.Now valve coking is the extreme buildup or deposits of this junk on the backside of your intake valves, which can lead to poor performance, rough idle, misfires, and even more. Now you see the problem with those early 3.5 EcoBoost trucks is the fact that they lacked a traditional port style fuel injector to clean off the backside of those valves. Now Ford did wise up and, in 2015, started including port injectors alongside their direct injected setup, but nevertheless, this vapor can still coat the intake manifold, causing issues and even diluting the octane rating of your fuel in some very extreme situations.So we know the issue, but how does an oil catch can or separator essentially fix this issue? Well, easy. The separator's going to install in line with your PCV system and it's gonna isolate all that oily gunk and collect it into an easy-to-empty container while still allowing that nice, fresh, clean air to pass through and not disrupt the PCV functionality. Now for the purposes of this video, we are featuring the JLT 3.0 separator here, but you should know that most, if not all of these devices on the site, are gonna function in the same manner with some minor differences between your design and basically your filter media.So if we open this guy up, we can actually kinda show you what takes place once these are installed. Now this is a passenger's side option. They do make it for the driver's side as well, but passenger's side is kinda where all the magic happens. It's gonna enter through your car's, or truck's in this case, PCV valve, which is a one-way valve, and enter the canister with it connected here. Now if we flip it upside down, you can see your stainless steel mesh and kinda filter media there. Basically, all of these little tiny particles of unburnt fuel or oil reach this little screen here and then collect, where they eventually drop into the canister itself, in this case, billet aluminum 3-ounce capacity. Now it's really a pretty simple design overall but one that does work extremely well, as we're gonna demonstrate later in this video.But first, we wanna show you just how easy it is to get these things installed. So we're gonna pop the hood on my EcoBoost-powered Raptor behind me and get everything in place.All right, guys. So we're under the hood here in the EcoBoost-powered Raptor. Your first step is gonna be removing your engine cover. Now here it is. Here's our area we're gonna be working. This is our passenger's side PCV area. This comes from our crankcase, and as we talked about, you can see it gets rerouted right back into your intake manifold. We're gonna get rid of this here today and we're gonna install the JLT in its place.This is our PCV valve. This is a one-way check valve here that allows air to go in, but it doesn't allow that air to kinda come back and re-pressurize the crankcase. Now we're gonna make way for the JLT bracket, and to do so, we have to remove this little Christmas tree clip here near the battery box because that's where the bracket is actually going to mount to. Now JLT does supply a bolt and clip that you can drill into the battery box here to really secure it. With our bracket in place, we're gonna bring in our JLT canister here, and with our canister physically mounted in the engine bay, we can plug everything in. This one's pretty easy. Just kinda pop it in place. And this one, since it is kinda long, I might go around the intake tube here, and in we go.So now that we have the JLT separator in place, we're gonna kinda button everything back up, get the engine cover back on, and then I'm just gonna drive this thing. We really wanna show you just how much collects in a controlled amount of time. So we're gonna give this thing about four weeks. I'll do a halfway check-in. I'm gonna document the mileage very closely and show you, during the two- to four-week period, just what you can expect to collect in your F150 at home. So let's get it going.All right, guys. Well, it's been a couple of hundred of miles since we installed the JLT oil separator here on my Raptor, and during that time, we've done the Raptor takeover, some hardcore abuse there, to and from work, bunch of trips, which is about 20, 30 miles each way. So what do you say we get under the hood real quick and see what we've collected?If you're wondering what the Raptor takeover does to your engine bay, wonder no longer. So here we go. JLT oil separator, unwind this thing, see what we've got. Wow. There's a good amount of like oily kinda junk in there. So obviously, this thing's doing its job so far. We're gonna give it another couple of hundred of miles, (I've got a trip up to Buffalo), and then take this thing back to the shop and see what we've collected.Well, we're back in the shop after about 2,000 miles. We let this go a little longer than originally planned, so moment of truth. We're gonna see how much stuff we've collected over that time, and again, we hit the Raptor takeover, hence the mud. I also made that trip up to Buffalo to see my dad, and just basically back and forth to work. This is my daily. The work trip is about 50 miles round-trip, so all together, we put some miles on it. Let's unscrew it and see what we've got.Now we're getting very scientific with you here today, guys. We actually have a graduated cylinder. I haven't seen one of these things since high school. And here we go, moment of truth. Let's see what we've caught. Yummy. All right, see, look at that. About 10 milliliters after all. We were wondering how much we would get. Ten milliliters of oily junk collected after roughly 2,000 miles. So given a normal oil change interval from 5,000 to 7,000 miles, you're looking at anywhere from 30-plus milliliters collected in your 3-ounce canister.Now with that being said, probably not a bad idea to check, maybe, once or twice per interval, but keep in mind, this would've otherwise ended up back into our intake manifold through your truck's PCV system, gumming things up, leading to that valve coking on earlier EcoBoost trucks and just hurting performance, and you just wanna keep your engine a bit cleaner, right. And as we can see, these things are certainly not snake oil. They do the job they're intended to do and capture all that junk that would've otherwise ended up back into your engine.Guys, we hope you enjoyed this installment of "What's Up With That?", all things oil separators. Be sure to comment on this video if you have any questions. Subscribe if you dig our content. And remember, for all things F150, keep it right here at americantrucks.com.