How to Install an Oil Catch Can on a Toyota 2.2L 5SFE Engine (With Video)

Updated on May 23, 2020
hardlymoving profile image

Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.

This article, via video, will demonstrate how I installed a engine oil catch can in my 1999 Toyota Camry CE, whose inline four-cylinder 5SFE engine has 270,000 miles. Millions of 5SFE engines were used in Camrys, RAV4s, Celicas, and MR2s during approximately a 12-year engine production run.

An Oil Catch Can Can Fight Engine Knock and Oil Burn

During the power stroke of an internal combustion engine, some of the expanding gases from the ignited air/fuel mixture will escape through the small gaps of the piston rings. Unless these gases are vented, the pressure buildup under the pistons inside the crankcase will eventually stop the engine.

The PCV Valve Directs Blow-By Gases and Oil Into the Engine

The first internal combustion engine designers vented these gases including carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. As pollution control standards were applied to the auto industry, engine blow-by gases were redirected back into the engine's intake. A simple one-direction check valve called a PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve controlled the venting of the blow-by gases.

How engine blow-by gases are formed
How engine blow-by gases are formed
PCV check valve directing blow-by gases
PCV check valve directing blow-by gases

An Oil Catch Can Removes Oil From the Blow-By Gases

Since the blow-by gases mix with the oil being churned inside the crankcase, the PCV valve channels a hot, oily gas mix back into the engine's intake system. Over time, carbon deposits form inside the throttle body, intake valves, and piston domes, impacting engine performance. Typical symptoms can be erratic engine response (sticking throttle plate), poor idle and lack of power (carbon buildup on the intake valves), and engine knock (oil vapors mixing the air/fuel mixture reducing the combustion chamber octane). Forced induction systems (super and turbo chargers), generate even more blow-by gases.

A simple solution is to remove the oil from the gases before they reach the engine's intake system, filtering the oil by running the gases through a screen mesh and allowing the oil to drop out of the gases. The captured oil is held inside a small container and periodically serviced to remove the accumulated oil residue. This container is called an oil catch can, or simply a catch can.

Aftermarket catch can
Aftermarket catch can

Video: Oil Catch Can Installation - 99' Toyota Camry 2.2L 5SFE

Catch Can Oil Dip Stick
Catch Can Oil Dip Stick
Catch Can Oil Vapor Filter Media
Catch Can Oil Vapor Filter Media

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 hardlymoving


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    • hardlymoving profile imageAUTHOR


      6 weeks ago from Memphis, TN

      After putting around 500 miles on the car with the catch can, the warm weather engine knock under load has completely disappeared and my fuel economy went up by a few mgp's. I believe the improved performance is due to the fuel's octane not be corrupted by the oily blow by gases.


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