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Backwards PCV Valve Broke My Car

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Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Bad luck
Tim   11/11/2011 12:41:21 PM
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The function of PCV valves is usually a no-brainer.  You lost on the luck of the draw on this one.  I am sure that Fram produced at least a million of these PCV valves.  If their part per million (PPM) defect rate was one, you got the unlucky one that failed miserably. 

David McCollum
User Rank
Gold
Just lucky
David McCollum   11/13/2011 11:38:57 PM
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I'm guessing I've been lucky all these years. I always verify the things I can check, liking bloing both ways on a PCV valve, but who can see inside an oil filter.

vectorhappy
User Rank
Iron
pcv valve rattle?
vectorhappy   11/14/2011 9:59:18 AM
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Did the new pcv valve rattle before installation? Most pcv valves use a stainless steel ball as to provide the one way flow - and the ball will rattle when the pcv valve is shaken (not stirred)....if it doesn't rattle, it is stuck.

Sometimes saving a few dimes doing your own oil-changes / repairs can be costly if you don't know what to check along the way, including how to lube and check the seal on an oil-filter prior to installation.....

One example of this was a friend that decided to wire up the lights / brakes on his new horse-trailer. Everything seemed fine until the trip home after dark and turning on his lights caused his trailer brakes to engage. We all had a good laugh when he told us the story. The friend was a qualified EE with multiple patents to his name, but didn't know what he was doing when wiring the new trailer lights.

vectorhappy (one with dirty fingernails and scarred knuckles)...

averagejoe72677
User Rank
Gold
Re: Just lucky
averagejoe72677   11/14/2011 10:04:51 AM
I have been avoiding Fram products for many years. I bought a new Toyota Corolla in the mid 1980's and was warned by the dealer that I would void my warranty if I used a Fram oil filter. Fram had apparrently been producing oil filters without an anti-drainback valve. That engine had a high horizontal oil filter and without the anti-drainback valve, the oil filter would simply drain all the oil within it back to the oilpan, resulting in a momentary dry start each time the engine was started. Fram did correct that issue later on. The manager of a local parts store said the Fram Rep came in and replaced all their inventory  with updated filters that did have the anti drainback valve. I never did go back to the brand as reports started sufacing that the bean counters within Fram had cheapened up the product by cutting the amount of filter media in their oil filters. This is a shame as Fram used to be a top shelf product. I now use Purolator, Motorcraft and Wix. Better be safe than sorry.

 

David12345
User Rank
Platinum
Re: The devil is in the details
David12345   11/14/2011 10:24:42 AM
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 I had a similar experience to the split oil filter on a motorcycle, but it was my fault.

I changed the oil and filter on my 1983 Honda Shadow.  After refilling the crankcase to the proper level, there were no leaks and everything seemed fine.

It was a pretty day, so I took my wife to work on the back of the motorcycle.  As I entered one tight turn the back of the motorcycle got REAL squirrelly, but we successfully rode it out.  I immediately pulled over expecting a flat tire, but instead found an intact tire with an oil coating.  We made some calls and her girlfriend took her on to work.   I had a friend with a trailer get me and the bike home.

 The oil filter was right in front of the rear tire and had the rubber seal blow, dumping 1.5 quarts of oil on the rear tire in under 50 feet.  A little investigation revealed that the old oil seal had attached to the metal of the engine; so that, I had 2 seals doubled-up when I installed the new filter.  This was fine until the bike got fully warmed-up. Then with the higher oil pressure of operating at speed, the double-seal blew-out. 

Clearly, my embarassing error . . . I now inspect a lot closer to make sure the old seal came off, before installing the new oil filter on my cars or bikes.    

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Backwards? PCV valve??
William K.   11/14/2011 10:52:17 AM
The problem with the crankcase becoming pressurized from a stuck valve is due to the valve being in the wrong location. The PCV valve is not supposed to vent to a pressurized manifold, since that would not vent at all. What was wrong is that the valve was not routed to vent into the intake path before the turbocharger, in the area that is not pressurized. That is one of those things that sometimes gets overlooked when modifying an engine.

And I really wonder about how long it took to reach hydrostatic lock and break three pistons. That does not seem like an instant sort of occurrance. 

As fpr Fram oil filters bursting, I can't imagine that happening, of course, I only put them on American cars. I have seen filters rust through, but that was a whole different situation.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: The devil is in the details
Rob Spiegel   11/14/2011 10:55:15 AM
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Hi David,

Can i use this in a future Monkeys column?

If so, please send along you full name to: rob.spiegel@ubm.com

Thanks.

herbissimus
User Rank
Silver
Re: Bad luck
herbissimus   11/14/2011 10:55:56 AM
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doesn't every mass produced product have an acceptable quality level? wouldn't that mean that  most every manufacturer determines, based on largely economic factors , what percentage of products will be d.o.a. or in some other way , less than perfect?

the guy that put his filter on with 2 rubber gaskets isn't alone, but several times the professional oil change guys have dangerously overfilled my crankcase, which also can be an engine killer.

i find myself wondering how many industrial processes when considered from end to end have so many open loops in them--places where there's no, or incomplete feedback, so quality suffers.

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Oil Filters
bob from maine   11/14/2011 12:58:24 PM
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Quickie oil change places are notorious for 'double gasketing' and using cheap oil filters. If you have one of these places change your oil, ask for the old filter in a plastic bag; check to make sure the the o-ring gasket is with it, if not, find out why. There is generally a reason why most manufacturers offer different grades of oil filters for different prices, the difference in cost is insignificant over the life of the car, buy the best you can find. Regarding the PCV valve, it is likely the original had come with the turbocharger kit and did nothing but block off the vacuum line, or was deliberately installed backward to prevent damage.

Critic
User Rank
Platinum
PCV Misunderstandings
Critic   11/14/2011 4:12:04 PM
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A PCV valve should not be relied upon to prevent boost pressure from pressurizing the crankcase.  Also, it is important to understand that the crankcase will be pressurized while the engine is boosted, from blow-by.  When a turbocharger or supercharger is added to a car, it is very important to re-engineer the PCV and crankcase venting systems.  I suspect that in this instance, this was not done.

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