J&L OSC (Oil Separator Co.) Catch Can – Install & Review – Long Term Results After 5,000+ Mile Round-Trip From Pennsylvania To Utah!
Back in November of 2022, my wife and I decided to embark on a trip we had been pining over for a few years now. The goal was to hit “The Big 5” in Utah from our home in Pennsylvania. With such a lengthy round trip, we wanted to make sure our 4Runner was as prepared as possible for the trek.
What Are “The Big 5”?
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Zion National Park
Suffice it to say, with gas prices being what they are at the time of this post, it wasn’t the best time to make such a long journey (in a 4Runner, no less). However, we recently upgraded from a soft shell rooftop tent to a hard shell and wanted to do it justice in some of the most beautiful National Parks in the continental U.S.
After many days of traveling, we got the chance to see the first three parks on our itinerary (in the order above). Unfortunately, a decent snowstorm ripped through the area, and both Bryce and Zion National Parks were closed for safety reasons. Nevertheless, we saw some amazing parks, stargazed, overlanded to some fairly remote places, and had a great trip.
One thing we didn’t have to worry about was how the 4Runner would handle roughly 5,000 miles in such a short period of time, carrying as much weight as we did.
In preparation for such a long trip, I did all of the preventative maintenance one would do before a trip, including:
- Checking the condition of the tires and the alignment
- Swapping out the air and cabin filters
- Checked the brakes to ensure they were in good condition
- A fresh oil change
One additional step I took was adding the J&L OSC catch can. After reading an overview of the J&L OSC oil catch can for the 5th Gen 4Runner, it was the perfect upgrade for our trip. The peace of mind was worth the incredibly reasonable cost.
Find It Online:
- J&L Oil Separator (Model 3107D): Check Price
What Does An Oil Separator Do?
Oil flows through your engine and is designed to lubricate and protect all of the moving components. During the process of combustion, excess oil mixes with fuel and air which creates a vapor. Over time, engines lose efficiency when that contaminated vapor called “blow by” gets routed from your crankcase back into your engine.
This vapor coats important components, such as your intake, blower rotors, intake valves, and intercooler fins. That in turn, causes carbon buildup and detonation, which dilutes your fuel. The reduced octane and fuel efficiency can cause long-term problems for your engine.
The J&L Oil Separator protects your engine from this process. As blow-by is pushed through the engine, the oil separator catches and filters the vapor before it circulates through your intake causing costly damage.
It separates the oil and air, then it deposits the oil into a small reservoir while allowing the clean air to move through your engine. That small tank is constructed of certified 6061 billet aluminum and utilizes a mesh screen for filtration and collection.
The good thing about adding this preventative upgrade is from start to finish, installation can take less than 30 minutes. And if you’re doing it on a hot day, J&L includes a beer koozie to make the installation look like a sponsored event.
- 10mm deep socket wrench
- Painters tape, or any tape (other than black electrical tape)
- Phillips screwdriver
Step 1. Remove Engine Cover
In order to gain access to the area needed to swap out the hose and install the oil catch can, you’ll need to remove the engine cover.
The front of the engine cover is held into place by one ball stud, while the back is connected by two feet clipped into a metal rod. Simply pull up on the front of the engine cover releasing it from the ball stud and pull the engine cover towards you removing it from the back rod.
Step 2. Disconnect PCV/Intake Hose
Next, you’ll need to remove the PCV intake hose. The hose is held down by two (2) retention clips that should be easily depressed by hand. If necessary, use a set of pliers to depress the clips and remove the hose.
Step 3. Tape PCV Hose & Swap Out Clips
Since the kit comes with two hoses, it’s important to differentiate the two during installation. As others have suggested, the use of some bright-colored tape, like blue painter’s tape, is helpful.
The longer of the two hoses will be the hose that connects to the PCV valve while the shorter one connects to the intake valve. So, we taped the longer of the two accordingly.
While J&L includes everything you’ll need to make this upgrade, they don’t include new retention clips. You’ll be reusing your existing PCV/intake hose clips, which is perfectly fine. Connect both retention clips to the new J&L hoses on the uppermost spot just above the elbows as pictured above.
Step 4. Install New Hoses
Next, it’s time to install the two new hoses. Using the retention clips, press the PCV valve hose (the longer of the two) into the PCV port just behind the engine.
Then, install the intake valve hoses (the shorter of the two) into the engine intake.
Note: It may feel like the intake valve hose is not seating into the intake port completely even with the retention clip. This is a known concern for most performing this install, but the retention clip will keep the hose in place.
You’ll eventually want to run both hoses alongside each other and out of the way of other components, but that step isn’t necessary just yet.
Step 5. Remove Stud & Install Bracket
Locate the stud as seen above.
Using your 10mm socket wrench, remove the engine cover ball stud completely and set it aside.
Next, grab the J&L OSC bracket and reinstall the ball stud by hand. Do not tighten it down completely just yet.
Step 6. Install Separator, Route & Connect Hoses
Now, it’s time to install the oil separator can. As you can see, I routed both hoses behind the oil filler.
First, connect both hoses to the can ensuring the taped PCV valve hose is connected to the left and the intake valve hose is connected to the right.
Using the two provided Phillips head screws, screw the loosely installed bracket into the catch can.
Once you’ve found the appropriate final location for your catch can tighten down the ball stud snugly.
Step 7. Replace Engine Cover
Reinstall the engine cover popping the front back into the ball stud. Install complete!
What Was Collected After 5k Miles?
After the long haul to and from Utah, my first bit of after-trip maintenance/clean-up was to see what was caught in the J&L catch can. Removing the can is pretty simple with a few counterclockwise turns made easy by the textured knurl on the bottom of the can.
While not the best picture, you can clearly see built-up contaminants that resemble a fine Italian espresso. As you can see, the J&L Oil Separator prevented the gunk that settled on the bottom of the can from being recirculated through the intake.
J&L suggests that everyone check their oil separator 500-1,000 miles after installation to get an idea of how often it needs to be serviced. The can holds three ounces without the optional XL reservoir. I simply drained all of this gunk into a recycled plastic jug. Once it gets close to full, I’ll dispose of it through my local township like you would with a normal oil change.
Make sure to properly dispose of the excess and contaminated oil. Most auto-part stores will take your old oil, and often free of charge.
Is it worth the price, cost, and extra maintenance step? Absolutely. If your body had a filtration system you could install for under $200 offering life longevity, would you do it? Of course. So, why not do the same for your vehicle?
So far, I’ve disposed of contaminated oil twice now; it’s catching things that I’m glad aren’t being recirculated through my 4Runner’s engine. Unless any future vehicles I purchase come standard with an oil separator catch can, this is an immediate upgrade I’ll make for years to come. And, so should you.
i can understand the need for a catch can in forced induction applications, but in a healthy NA factory motor, the only thing you’ll find in a catch can that has been added to the PCV system is minute amounts of motor oil and possibly trace amounts of fuel. anything other than that means you’re already in trouble. the sample captured after 5K miles would have easily been burned away with the PCV system left alone with no harm to the engine.
Great Article and loved the Big 5 analogy . . . I do enjoy these tips on how to extend the engine life and how to stretch the miles on my 4Runner. Bravo Ryan . . . Thank you kindly!
Awesome article, nice install. The reason Manufacturers don’t install this type of item because additional maintenance is required and neglecting it can cause more issues than good. That is the reason why many good mods are enthusiast driven. Why wouldn’t Toyota install lift, bigger tires and say FOX shocks or full underbody armor? Onboard Air compressor? Secondary battery? 15 volt alternator? Like I said – specific needs and enthusiast driven. Keep on Improving. Let them be Mods!
I’m still skeptical and not buying it. If it’s so simple and useful, why would not Toyota add it from the factory? Most probably, because all these “contaminants” will simply be burnt without any negative effect.
If there were any obvious evidence that it’s useful, I’d buy it first. Are there any?
You mean, automotive manufacturers are aware of things that can break down components over time and take every proactive measure to ensure that never happens, thus ensuring your vehicle will never need to be replaced? Need to get me one of those vehicles!
Joking aside, it’s a fair point. I do know that this is becoming a common modification in the automotive industry in general. I’ll have to do some digging, but I read recently that some newer cars were being developed with this “aftermarket” option as a standard feature. So, it stands to reason that it is effective in the eyes of the design engineers.
Ryan, a his was a great write up and a good step by step. I agree with many other posters that most automotive engines do not feature this system and it seems to have no real ill effects. Likewise as other posters mention, with port-injected engines the gasoline dissolves any oil anyway.
it would be great to see some more data showing the benefit of this system to a well functioning engine and if it indeed does increase engine life and/or performance.
where this may be helpful is as a diagnostic tool if your engine is burning too much oil.
overall great write up on the product, but big question to the manufacturer to support that is really that helpful.
My understanding of these catch can systems is that they do indeed catch contaminants that can be deposited, but are only really helpful on engines that are direct injected (where the fuel injectors fire directly into the cylinder) and aren’t needed in port injected systems (fuel is injected before the intake valves). This is because gasoline is a really good solvent and dissolves the contaminants before deposits are made on the valves and other components. Contaminants are easily burned up in the engine all the time, so that’s not an issue I’ve heard of, but I’d love to hear of any other issue this might cause down stream.
This isn’t a bad thing to add by any means. I haven’t seen a justification yet for the 1GR-FE engine which I understand is port injected. These catch cans aren’t super expensive, but they aren’t cheap either. I’d like to know my engine needs it before dropping a couple Benjamins and adding extra maintenance.
This is the second article on the topic and they both contain pictures showing that the “separator” collects “something”. OK, and what? Both articles are great but look to me pretty subjective.
Personally, I want more technical details. The previous article contains a comment explaining that our engine type does not need this thing (useless). It would be cool to have an answer to that comment.
As for your joke, we already have one of those unbreakable vehicles. If not Toyota, then who?
>>> You mean, automotive manufacturers are aware of things that can break down components over time and take every proactive measure to ensure that never happens
I mean that it might be the last thing that will affect the overall engine life. Or might not. Would be cool to have more details on why we need it instead of only where to buy it and how to install it. I mean no offense.
Great write up, thanks!