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3 Huge Reasons You Need to Install an Air Oil Separator ASAP

Posted by IAG Off-Road on May 9th 2024

3 Huge Reasons You Need to Install an Air Oil Separator ASAP

An AOS can be a real game-changer. Upgrades in fuel efficiency, increased power output, and extended engine lifespan are just the tip of the iceberg. In this article, we'll explore the science behind Air Oil Separators and discuss why you need an AOS, ASAP!


HOW DOES AN AIR OIL SEPARATOR WORK, AND WHAT IF I HAVE A CATCH CAN? ISN’T THAT THE SAME THING?

Let’s talk about the basics first. Your truck has a positive crankcase ventilation (or PCV) system. The PCV system works to equalize pressure in the crankcase, and prevent wear and tear on your engine components. The gasses that escape via PCV get recirculated back into your engine, including some excess oil that comes along for the ride. That free-loading oil can cause major engine problems if it’s not dealt with properly.

At this point, we can hear your wheels turning. You might be thinking about just venting your PCV to the atmosphere. Why not? After all, you can get ahead of your problems and stop that damage in its tracks!

STOP. Don’t do that. It’s illegal nationwide, it’ll fail your vehicle at a smog check, and it releases tiny bits of oil into your engine bay, and the world at large. Don’t be that guy.

Now that we've got that out of the way, the situation leaves you with two options: an Air Oil Separator, or a catch can. They are NOT the same thing!

Check out our selection of oil system upgrades here-

Collage of air oil separators and Ford Bronco.

Oil catch can

AOS VS. CATCH CANS

An Air Oil Separator is a substantial upgrade from a catch can, for a couple of reasons. While both remove oil from your PCV system, and stop it from re-entering your cylinders (we’ll get into why that’s bad soon enough), a catch can collects oil, leaving you to either dump it periodically, or pour it back into your motor. Catch cans are messy at best, and can leave you a little low on oil, or with oil that is contaminated.

An Air Oil Separator, or AOS for short, on the other hand, does the dirty work for you. After a simple installation, the Air Oil Separator goes to work all on its own - circulating air back through your PCV system, and sending oil right back where it belongs - your oil pan. All you have to do is get your normal oil changes. This is your reminder to do that, by the way. Go change your oil.

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DIRECT INJECTION ADDS UNIQUE CHALLENGES

In direct injection engines (pretty much any engine built in the last 10 years), all of this is even more important. Because direct injection relies on more precise fuel and timing, even minor variances in fuel and air quality can cause trouble. Direct injection also means that the injectors fire directly into the combustion chamber and not on the back side of the valves, like traditional port injection. This means that any oil from your PCV system that comes along for the ride sits on the back side of the valve, clogging the system and causing reduced power as well as increased fuel consumption. Even if your vehicle is equipped with port and direct injectors like the 2.7L Ecoboost, you still don’t want this oil mixing with your charge air and fuel.

For engine management options, click here-

Engine with Air/Oil separator installed

THREE MAJOR BENEFITS OF INSTALLING AN AIR OIL SEPARATOR (AOS)


Check engine light

AIR OIL SEPARATORS REDUCE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH PREMATURE COMBUSTION

Call it detonation, call it pinging, call it what you want. We call it “long term damage and engine destruction.” When oil gets recirculated through your PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system, it runs through your engine, collecting even more oil along the way. That excess oil can wreak havoc when it starts to cause poorly timed detonation, and when you’re putting your engine under higher load (think off-roading, mountain drives, towing, or racing), the impact multiplies - leading to even more damage. The extra wear and tear on engine components can lead to catastrophic engine failures if you don’t get it squared away early.

Find the right oil separator for your ride here-


AIR OIL SEPARATORS REDUCE OIL BUILDUP

As your truck ages, oil will inevitably start to build up in your intake tube, charge piping, and manifold. Letting avoidable blowby become a part of the process will mean that process is sped up - a lot. All that excess oil in your engine, in a wild and uncalibrated way, means major build up over time in your intake systems - preventing air from flowing freely. All that oil can even dilute the octane of incoming fuel - and you’re paying good money for that. No matter how it happens, It’ll eventually lead to reduced performance - whether that means MPGs in your commuter, or horsepower in your built rig.

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Oil separator in ford engine

Air oil separator in engine

AIR OIL SEPARATORS REDUCE OIL CONSUMPTION

Especially when compared to a standard oil catch can, you can expect to see reduced oil consumption. All internal combustion engines consume some amount of oil through their combustion processes, but a good amount of that gets returned to the oiling system via the PCV system when you’re using a high quality Air Oil Separator.

If you’ve opted for a catch can? Good luck, and may the oil gods be with you. And an extra quart of oil - may that be with you at all times. But seriously - if you’re using a catch can, odds are you’re just dumping oil that could still be in your oil pan. All the consistency in the world when it comes to your oil change schedule isn’t going to keep your engine running at 100% when there’s a constant draw on the oil supply.

Find more power with our fuel system upgrades, click here-


So, what's the bottom line? In short - you need an Air Oil Separator. We wouldn’t call it fun or flashy, but you should do it anyway. Do it for the improvements in fuel economy. Do it for the power gains. Do it for the longevity of a truck that you love. There’s a reason for every off-road or daily driven truck to have one, and the cost is nothing compared to the long-term wins you’ll see down the road.

Whether you’re looking forward to time on the trails, or you just want to get the most out of your new grocery-getter, the Ford Bronco is a great choice, and our complete line of IAG Bronco Parts and Accessories can get you all the style, performance, and capability you want. If you’re looking for advice, need help with an install, or just don’t know what Bronco modification you might want to check out next, IAG Off-Road has the expertise you need. Give us a call at (410) 840-3555 or shoot us an email at sales@iagoffroad.com - we’d love to help!

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