Published 2010 Amended 2013
Filter systems from contamination in engine oil and water separation
When running on E85 collected a lot of yellow foam on oil and what it
consists of is probably not fully investigated, but a large part is probably
unburned ethanol and in leaking water. Water is heavier than oil, so how can it
be on top? - Yes that's tricky to explain but the use of this system as I'm
using on my car for the liquefaction of gas - so is this either water or (and)
One thing is sure in all cases - the formation of water/alcohol is lot more
frequent when running on E85 than when running on gasoline. The system is based
on the vented mechanism for the crankcase and is quite simple in its function.
When the top point of the oil-room is connected to the intake manifold with a
hose, the engine itself sucks in the most of what the oil will releasing. It
started when I mount a filter before the intake manifold tube so that no yellow
foam could clog the small hole that produces the air flow. Pretty soon you had
to replace the filter as there is plenty of yellow foam in the oil. I decided
then to build a larger filter - which I did.
The filter is a bandy ball of solid foam which sits between two split in half
pet bottles (the smaller model). The cylinder halves are fixed together with a
layer tape and through a hole in my ball go a PVC hose down to the Nivea-jar,
all the way from the cylinder head. In addition, sits the old fuel filter in the
same place and capture it as successfully pass this filtering system to spite.
After a while, gather the pink yellow foam (left over), even in the police
filter (a common fuel filter) but it will take considerably longer than it did
before. I have now changed from a one-time (police) filter into a knock-down
filter. This does not collect any yellow foam. This is why one rarely needs to clean it.
Note that this is a closed system!
Any gaseous substances that can not be condensed goes back and pass again combustion
chamber and exhaust systems.
Before the content of the oil space is allowed to go through the filters, it
must first go down to a can of thin sheet metal walls that sit near the cooler.
The gas that goes into this jar is cooled and the condensate is collected in
this jar. This tin can is from a pressurized container contents shaving foam,
but with a modified connection. The cap connection is from a large pet bottle
and has been glued there with epoxy adhesive.
Between the filter unit and the can are a link which is rather simple in
their design. Where I have used a VPC tubes that are angled and reinforced with
glue - Biltema's Steel Epoxy. VPC (20 mm) is a great fit with the usual
pet-stopper. If you make a hole in a pet-stoppers for this type of pipe, it
will be a tight connection that seals harder if you pull the cork harder.
The connection between the hoses to the filter unit is a brazed brass story
that is fit through the red pet-cap and here I have chosen one bolted joints
with silicone sealant.
The result is that there's less or nothing yellow foam in the oil. It is
therefore noted that the foam is converted into condensate and the water formed
in the engine is only there temporarily and are not allowed with this filter
system - to start its journey again.
First I ran the system for quite some time manually, ie I emptied the
collection jar with water/alcohol occasionally. But for not so long ago I built a
kind of valve that lets water get out in one direction but are barred if the
vacuum is brought to work in the opposite direction. Now it's not so easy to
form a vacuum because there is always a shipment of gas from the crankcase to
the intake manifold. However, is the water in the hose between the collection
jar and the valve enough to prevent that air is sucked from outside into the
filter system, when the engine is running. This fact questions whether it really needed
a valve here, but you could have a small container instead - as a trap for a
sink type? Anyway, this thing works as expected even with a valve.
Vacuum valve installed and in use:
So it is, and maybe it saves an oil change now and then? Therefore will this
filter system facilitate the eliminating of the water/ethanol in the oil, and
the engine function much better. Thus, one avoid the need to run on gasoline to
get the system right again. However, I pick off the whole caboodle before it's
time for inspection.
I have failed to examine the condensate and found that it most likely does
not consist of anything worse than water. The conductivity is the same as for
ordinary tap water and it is transparent and does not smell alcohol, so it can
not be ignite by a flame. Furthermore, I did a weigh of the fluid. 100 ml
condensate weighed 98 grams. So for example if the rest is ethanol or a mixture
of gasoline and ethanol will the condensate consist of 90% water and 10%
As a response at the information that this is a case of water, I felt a
strong need to further expand this concept, without any further effort...
Is that this water that makes so the oil more quickly becomes second-hand
for E85 than for petrol? Because the yellow foam is very real when you choose to run on E85
and when this is water, it is not so difficult to understand the connection. It
has been discussed here and there why it is so much water and I can only dare to
give my explanation. First, more water is converted from the combustion of
ethanol than the combustion of petrol and the second, the temperature sink. This
temperature drop can cause the water to linger and that the piston seals will
leak through. When the engine has reached operating temperature, the problem
should decrease or disappear, but maybe the temperature still is lower in the
cylinders, although the engine oil temperature remains unchanged? Since I myself
have found this water also collected in the exhaust pipe may the use of E85
lead to puddles of water in the exhaust system catalyst such as depressions and
silencers. Moreover, formed more condensate in the Nivea-jar if the outside
temperature is low, but it may be due to the cooling of the can is better then.
Shall I dare at this stage expressing me of any conclusions, one can arrive
at the following: When the engine temperature is lower for ethanol, decrease
also the efficiency. This should be compensated with a longer life and even when
given the absence of soot. Since E85 provides significantly less soot, should
the engine oil stay fresher than when running on petrol, but the all water in
the oil will lead to the contrary - it going to be poor much faster - than for
petrol. The conclusion of this is that (by all means) remove the water, as much
as it is possible. One can also see it as the crankcase venting under the
influence of fuel ethanol is inadequate - because it does not do its job to the
extent it should. The water does not want to be transported out of the engine oil
but are rather collected in the form of yellow foam.
Another way to streamline the removal of water in the engine oil is to drive
the ventilation of the crankcase and the valve body harder. An increased air
flow should take with the steam out of the engine faster. In addition, we should
also be able to raise the oil temperature for about 5-10 degrees, so that the
water becomes more prone to evaporate - but I doubt that a temperature increase
of the engine/oil is necessary. I suspect there is quite enough to remove the
water with a similar device as mentioned above, because this measure should
ensure that the oil can be used for no longer than the equivalent of a gasoline
engine. That is to say - extending the range of bytes instead to shorten it,
which is the actual case where you do not take any action against the water -
against all reason as the manufacturers of the engine oil want to hear. Because
the engine oil in ethanol engines not is contaminated by soot.
If one wishes to achieve a flow of air going through the crankcase and up to
the valve body can you first make an opening at A and then enlarge the opening
that is connected to the intake manifold at B (one or a few tenths). The idea is
not that it shall lead to a cross draft, but rather make it easier for air to
circulate. Opening of A can consist of a hole (about 5 mm). Over the hole is a
VPC tube and between this a piece of foam. The tube is held in place by a click
and it will be clamped over the lower tube. Such a hole (at A) can also act as a
safety valve in the event of a ice plug in the tubing between the crankcase and
the valve body. The chilling effect such moves of air through the engine have
has to be seen in proportion to all the water that cools the engine.
Now that it's been several years since I took this system in operation
so would it be appropriate to put in a report. It was in 2010 that I installed this
and now it is 2013-09. Everything is the same except for a few small adjustments.
For about three months ago disappeared the foam-jar because it came loose
due to it was filled with water unintentionally. I then switched to a similar
cooling-jar (waterproofing spray). The cause of the stopper will have been
dirt in or near the vacuum valve. I did a wash cycle and it seemed to work
again. I also tested the valve and realized that I was lucky because this valve
design became very right after the first try - it worked perfectly. About twice
in a year, I have had to disassemble the pet-jars, cleaning the foam and the
police filter from white to yellow sludge. The most nourishing information that
this report has to offer including probably the yellow goo. It was quite evident
in my engine and it was most likely due to the hole at A. Will such a hole be
done, one should be prepared for a lot of formation of yellow goo, because it is
the incoming air that causes it. I recently became aware of it when I plug it,
then Admittedly, I read a line about this problem written by a knowledgeable
person. That's what happens if one do not get the hang of all causation that
sometimes bewilders our everyday lives ... A warning then for a hole at A -
do not do it! This system will continue in any case to collect the water and
the mechanism for emptying works year in and year out. While cleaning the foam
so one can pour detergent into the cooling-jar, so will one prevent formation of
A good question I got was whether the state of piston rings in my car? If
piston rings are worn can there be leaks or so-called ”Blow by” and for that
reason; only them (including me) suffer from this foam and water woes. I think
it is an essential factor in this context and not something that should be
ignored. In order to be credible shall we not have any skeletons in the closet unplucked.
Said and done - a compression gauge was obtained and this is the result of my car:
Thus, my findings is correct and if you take a look in the ventilation
tubes and the like - well, then you may be wondering why this foam must exist?
As I understand it right, all looks normal and it is not any danger on the
roof yet, as we say in Sweden. I also measured on a Hyundai Getz which passed
4000 mil, and the figures were similar but the pressure after the oil-drop, was
around 16 bar instead. It was a bigger difference than my car, who moreover is
approaching 20 000 in mileage...
With en teaspoon oil:
With en teaspoon oil:
With en teaspoon oil:
With en teaspoon oil: