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Camaro V6 LLT Engine, Exhaust, and Bolt-Ons Bolt-Ons | Intakes | Exhaust

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Old 11-15-2013, 11:15 PM   #1
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DIY LLT Intake valve cleaning... Pics (A LOT) and results

Sorry it took me this long but I'm finally posting up my... interesting experience with my intake valve cleaning. First of all, big thanks to 911medic and intensify and Can't_C_Me. These guys have some really good threads up that helped me a lot.

I followed a thread posted by 911medic ( http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296960 ) who has an LFX. Mine is an LLT but all the principles are the same. I haven't seen an LFX in person but it looks like the valves might be easier to get to than on my LLT. I'm not going to try for a DIY so much as 911medic did a pretty good job there, but I'll chime in with my lessons learned. I'll post my failure first...

I started out with the idea that I could do a walnut shell blasting, which was also discussed in this thread by intensifi: http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=288997 There were some concerns raised and my experience fell way short of my hopes. The bimmer guys have had awesome luck with this procedure, but they do have a purpose built machine and tool. 911medic linked a couple of really good threads from the BMW world on that topic, definitely check those out.

What I'll say about the walnut shell blasting... Here is what I bought, about $80 all told.



I was really hopeful it would be a magic fix. It certainly was not, unfortunately. For one thing, in my case the valves had a good bit of wet "gunk" and the intake tract was oily. The end result was that I blasted a bunch of walnut shell into the intake (after I visually confirmed the valves were closed) and all they did was stick. Problem #2 - the bimmer valves aren't quite as deep in as mine, and they have a purpose built tool http://www.ecstuning.com/ES2165972/ to help vacuuming the shells out. I found it quite hard to get the shells out, even with a neat little hose attachment. In the end, I ended up just doing the manual cleaning like 911medic did. The LFX might be a bit easier to try to walnut blast, but in any case, a seafoam treatment BEFOREHAND would probably go a long way in getting some of the sticky out.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:18 PM   #2
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The good stuff

Now for the successful part!

I started down this path when I bought a Vmax Throttle body and the Ice-olator from Phil at Tampa Tuning. I figured if I was going to take it all apart I may as well clean it up. Here is my throttle body and intake plenum. I don't remember for sure, but I think I got the catch can on sometime between 10k and 20k miles... Not very exact I know. It seems like I am getting a LOT of oil in the intake, but right now it's impossible to tell if it's new or residual. I welcome any input.









I basically just sprayed the intake down with seafoam and wiped it all off really well. Next spring I intend to paint it, so I wasn't terribly concerned with it for now. I actually might end up using my new blaster to clean it off really well

Now for the valves, I went out and got a gun cleaning kit from wally world - the only really useful piece is the biggest brass brush and the rods. I also picked up a set of really stiff nylon brushes with the flexible 9" wire handle. I had to grab a set of craftsman scribe/picks as well. The only problem with these was the handle wasn't long enough, but luckily they were a 1/4" hex and fit right into a screwdriver handle I picked up some seafoam and some AC Delco Top Engine Cleaner. I think the top engine cleaner was actually a bit better at cleaning than the seafoam was, but that's just me. I turned the crank over a couple times while watching the valves I intended to work on to see when they closed and stopped moving. If you watch closely, you can actually get a couple sets of valves soaking while you work on the first set.

I started with the valves I had chucked a bunch of walnuts into and started scrubbing both walnut shells and carbon out. I did just like 911 _medic and used the gun brush to scrub what I could reach and then I bent the flexible ones in a nearly 90 angle to try to hit the back of the valve. I did some scrubbing, some spraying and then I had cut up a bunch of small T-shirts and used them to wipe out loose carbon (and walnut shells) and the excess cleaner. I had to repeat a couple of times and finally was left with only the hard carbon deposits. At this point I probably could have tried the walnut shells again, but I didn't want to deal with the set-up and clean up. I used the scribes, a bent right angle tipped and a weird bent tip (anybody with these in their toolbox knows which ones I'm talking about, I'll try to grab some pics of these) to gently scrape the hard carbon loose. Then I sprayed and wiped again. Using the cleaning rods you can get the T-shirt scraps down on top of the valve and then work them around the valve, back and forth and finally back out of the intake all dirty.

Now, for the good stuff! I tried to get both before and after pics of each set of valves, but my camera was having difficulty focusing where I needed. The pics I'm posting represent the valves, they were all about the same - bad! The only thing that keeps nagging at me are the backside of the valves - I had a couple places where the scribes and ends of the brushes marred up the wall of the intake tract. The valve seating surface is pristine, so it's purely cosmetic, but it gnaws at me a bit.

Before:





In progress:





And clean!!!!










All told, I have about 10 hours of work in on these valves. I was alone, and of course, experimenting with the walnut shells set me back a little bit. The valves might have benefited from another hit of walnut shell, but I was so worn out after basically lying down on top of the engine (not comfortable) and scrubbing each valve. The Top Engine Cleaner sprays in kind of foamy, so after finishing the last valve I sprayed each one down and let them sit overnight. The next morning I threw everything back together and rolled the car out of the garage for the seafoam treatment. My reasoning was that the loose carbon left around the valve seating surface would best be cleaned out with the seafoam rather than just running normally. I used the write-up from Can't_C_Me ( http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=286229 ) for the seafoam. Even with all the research I did and youtube videos... this scared the hell out of me! I kept feeling like I was kicking my favorite puppy, the way the engine was reacting. I thought I broke something the way the car felt when I took it for a drive, but once I got it all out, WOW! In the interest of science, I did NOT install the Iceolator yet. The difference alone from the cleaning was well worth the time and effort. I can't wait to see how the Iceolator feels. I also wanted to see how the intake looked after a few miles on it. I'm hoping all the oil was residual, but we'll see!

Here is my engine bay:



See the oil fill cap? I had some issues with the oily breather cap, so I sent RX an email. I talked to Mike and he said they would buy back the breather cap at cost if I bought the 1LE style separator. Looks nice! hopefully it functions as well as it looks. The one downside is that it requires much larger tubing, and the hose barb on the intake is made for smaller hose... That 1/4" threaded to 1/2" hose barb fitting is tough to track down, so for now a hose clamp and a nearly kinked hose is "good enough". Here's my old breather:

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Old 11-16-2013, 01:24 AM   #3
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Reserved
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:01 AM   #4
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Very interesting. Nice looking engine bay. I'm sure you feel good having cleaned all that gunk out.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:58 AM   #5
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Great post. Thanks for sharing. How many miles do you have on your car right now?
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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Looks like all that hard work paid off, looks good
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:15 AM   #7
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Great job . . . my valves look EXACTLY like yours so it gives me hope I can get them cleaned up. You really did an amazing job, can you post pictures of the tools/scribes you used to help me visualize a plan of attack?

How long did doing all 6 take you?
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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This is very cool. I too am curious how many miles you had on your car when you performed this procedure??

Also, I second the post above and seeing all the tools you used in the process.

Sounds like your saying the car is performing really well after your valve cleaning....can you elaborate on that at all?

Final question. Do you think the seafoam treatment you did at the end was really needed, or was it just a final measure you wanted to take?


Thanks for posting this. I'm not sure if it is something I'd try or not, but then again it could be a winter project sometime and may break the project out over 2 or 3 weeks cleaning a couple valves at a time maybe it wouldn't be so horrible? lol
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Old 11-16-2013, 01:59 PM   #9
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So your catch can was absolutely useless?
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubyCamaro View Post
Very interesting. Nice looking engine bay. I'm sure you feel good having cleaned all that gunk out.
I feel awesome having done this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apex Chase View Post
Great post. Thanks for sharing. How many miles do you have on your car right now?
I'm sitting at 58,000. I'm guessing somewhere around 20,000 of that was before the catch can. Maybe more, maybe less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadG View Post
Great job . . . my valves look EXACTLY like yours so it gives me hope I can get them cleaned up. You really did an amazing job, can you post pictures of the tools/scribes you used to help me visualize a plan of attack?

Thanks! I'm glad I'm helping at least a few of you! I'll get some pics of all my tools either tomorrow, or maybe I'll post up some amazon links just for show. That's actually where I bought the stiff nylon brushes and GM Top Engine Cleaner.

How long did doing all 6 take you?

It took, all told, maybe 12 hours over the course of 2 days. Part of it was prepping/cleaning up the walnuts, some was waiting on the chemicals to soak and cutting up rags. By far the most difficult part was positioning myself over the car in such a way to see the valves and work inside the intake easily.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KMPrenger View Post
Sounds like your saying the car is performing really well after your valve cleaning....can you elaborate on that at all?

Idle seems much smoother, more pedal response. I had put the VMax throttle body on right before the cleaning. Now it seems that I feel a bit more of those gains in particular. Like I said, I haven't installed the spacer yet, so I am interested to see those effects as well.

Final question. Do you think the seafoam treatment you did at the end was really needed, or was it just a final measure you wanted to take?

I would actually suggest a before and an after seafoam. Doing it before I started scrubbing might have gotten rid of a lot of the "gunky", oily, stickiness as well as some loose carbon. The after treatment was do get rid of whatever loose carbon I scrubbed off but was unable to actually get out of the intake tract. My fear was that the loose stuff could possibly become reattached to the valves when it started heating up if I didn't flush it completely out of the system. I chose NOT to put the half can of seafoam in the crank case mostly because I am only 1,000 miles into the last oil change, although I will still be changing the oil soon anyway, due to the fact that some seafoam did get into the oil by way of the intake I'm sure. Or maybe it did mostly burn off? Not sure, but I don't want to take any chances with the health of my oil in this engine.

Thanks for posting this. I'm not sure if it is something I'd try or not, but then again it could be a winter project sometime and may break the project out over 2 or 3 weeks cleaning a couple valves at a time maybe it wouldn't be so horrible? lol
Quote:
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So your catch can was absolutely useless?
I'd say absolutely NECESSARY! Far from useless. I wish I would have gotten the catch can on sooner than I did. If I had the mess wouldn't have been nearly as bad. One thing to remember though, the catch can is there to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of oil introduced by the dirty side PCV system. I've also now got the cleanside separator on there, as it's been found at WOT the cleanside of the PCV also introduces some oil.

I'm a bit bothered by how oily my intake was, but for now, I can't say whether all that oil got there in the time I ran without a catch can and has just been hanging out or if it's new. I'll take it back apart soon and see what everything looks like. If it's oily, I may have a problem with the catch can. I know it is working though, at least most of the time, due to what I drain out of it on a regular basis.

As to the valves themselves - it's a direct injected engine so there are absolutely NO cleaning agents, fuel or otherwise, inserted to the top side of the valves. Unlike a regular fuel injected engine, which gets fuel + whatever cleaners and fuel treatments sprayed in. We're bound to get some "coking" or carbon build-up on the valves due to this fact.
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:47 PM   #11
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Man , I can only imagine how mine look , but she seems to run great still , 10 hours is alot of work , any quicker way ?
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:25 PM   #12
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Great job!

Thanks for posting all the before/after pics.

When I finished I was so tired I didn't want to do anything but put it back together.

I'm now running with an Elite Can and a 1LE separator. I retired the breather as well.

I posted a DIY on the 1LE breather on LFX that shows how to deal with the air tube size changes without having to go to a lot of effort. That air tube part will apply to your LLT. I'll see if I can find it for you later.

I'm thinking the valve cleaning will be an annual event for those of us who want to keep the cars for a long time and/or performing at a high level.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:06 PM   #13
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Mine looked similar to yours i had my catch can put on around 22k wish i had done it earlier. Your best bet is to check everything in another 10k to see if there's anymore build-up and i hope to god you didn't get one of those defective useless RX cans that a few people have recieved.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:33 PM   #14
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As promised, here are some amazon links to what I used for cleaning. Unfortunately, it seems the brushes got tossed when I threw away the huge pile of carbon and cleaner soaked wrags, but they did work quite well.

I can't believe I didn't have one of these yet!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Brushes:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Cleaner - If you can get it from your dealer it might be a bit more expensive but shipping took a good week for me:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This is the scribe set I used:
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-4-pc-...4&blockType=G4

Those turned out to be too short, but the handles are actually 1/4" hex and fit right int my craftsman 1/4" screwdriver handle just like a regular bit. A bit of nuclear grade red tape and it was rock solid and I had the reach I needed. This would probably be better suited to the task:
http://www.sears.com/ullman-6-pc-ind...&blockType=G40

Just remember to be gentle while scraping the carbon deposits. You probably won't hurt the valves themselves, but the block is aluminum and much softer than the hardened tips on the picks. I used the brass rods from the gun cleaning kit to push the rags around after I noticed I had gotten a bit over-zealous with the picks and left some marks in the back of the intake tract, right behind the valve. Shouldn't be anything more than cosmetic, but it bugs me all the same. Also, be careful around the valve seat for the same reason.

I really hope it doesn't turn into an annual thing, but I guess I'll see after I take it back apart. And I don't think my catch can is defective, it has definitely been trapping a lot of oil. I have had a pretty good experience with RX so far, so if I find excess oil still being drawn in I'll bring it to their attention. For the 1LE hose, I actually found the correct hose fitting after browsing 20 pages of fittings on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

As an aside - I LOVE Amazon Prime!
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:24 PM   #15
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Thanks for posting this! Going to order those tools even though I'm not going to get around to doing this for a while.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:53 PM   #16
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This should be a sticky
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:10 AM   #17
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Here is the DIY I mentioned for the LFX:

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=314149

If the port on the intake tube is the same as the LFX, all you need is a 15/32" radiator hose to make the connection.
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:06 AM   #18
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Very nice! Your valves look great OP.

Thank you for the effort!!
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:41 AM   #19
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Thanks for posting up all the tools!
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:27 AM   #20
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Catch can not working?

So, update:

I installed the Ice-olator yesterday, and as promised, I'm posting more pics! I'm actually a bit disappointed - there was a lot more oil than I am comfortable seeing after less than 1,000 miles driving after my full cleaning. In any case, I've got an email in to RX to get their input.

Here's the intake, as you can see a bit dirty/oily.







And here's a valve pic:



Here's what I wiped out of the intake:



Not terribly happy about it....
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:41 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry_b View Post
So, update:

I installed the Ice-olator yesterday, and as promised, I'm posting more pics! I'm actually a bit disappointed - there was a lot more oil than I am comfortable seeing after less than 1,000 miles driving after my full cleaning. In any case, I've got an email in to RX to get their input.

Here's the intake, as you can see a bit dirty/oily.







And here's a valve pic:



Here's what I wiped out of the intake:



Not terribly happy about it....
Valves already buyilding up dirt!!! WTF
I have over 60,000 miles on mine so far...Mine must be pretty bad. I have been running SUPER since day one (Apr 2009)...maybe that helped!!! Wondering about my timing chain too!!!(Thats another subject)
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:35 AM   #22
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I don't think the catch can will totally eliminate oil getting inside the intake system just will stop the majority.
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Old 11-21-2013, 01:14 PM   #23
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The rx catch can was advertised as the "only can to prevent 100% of oil ingestion". People in the know knew that wasn't accurate at all. It's the reason I went with the elite instead. I know it probably won't stop 100% of oil but it'll do a damn good job and emptying it is a lot easier
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:47 AM   #24
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RX for the win!

Well, after a couple emails to Tracy at RX the issue may get resolved in the best way possible!

Tracy was, as has always been my personal experience, super helpful. It looks like my catch can is most likely one of the very early designs and doesn't have as much baffling and such as the newer cans. It's also possible that my drain valve or one of the upper fittings has a slight leak because there is a hissing sound coming from the vicinity of the can.

Anyway, Tracy and Mike at RX offered to switch my catch can out with one of their newest cans at no charge!

Here were my email responses from Tracy:

To: *terry_b*
Subject: Re: Catch can not trapping any oil?
From: rxproducts@aol.com
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:56:57 -0500

Hi Terry,

Was the IM completely clean last time it was apart including the depression ring inside the IM mouth? If any oil was trapped there from before, then it would still gradually pull into the rest.

Triple check your drain valve to ensure it is closed, and even though the amount in the pictures is very minor, make sure you also have the PCV orfice barb drill mod completed. drill the top and 2 bottom holes to 7/64" (GM now has changed the design in all late 2013 & 2014's to the size I started sharing the engineer friends on the inside 3 years ago...but they made the change now). If it is obstructed at all, or has not been drilled now that you have the rx 1LE style Billet cleanside separator if there is excess crankcase pressure it will seek the path of least resistance, which is back through the cleanside and you would be getting oil entering via this path as the new cleanside solution retains the connection to the intake charge pipe unlike the previous RX breather that eliminated it and controlled the amount of flow in to not mess up the short term fuel trims (see the thread with logs by rcatman and others to prove the old RX breather did its job as advertised unlike the open breathers that totally screw up fuel trims from 100% unmetered/unlimited air entry.

If your getting oil on the front portion of the TB and inside that coupler to it, then you are pushing oil past the RX 1LE style separator due to excess crankcase pressure.

The drill mod is critical on ALL the V6 LLT & LFX to prevent this from happening.

Were your valves manually cleaned before installing the RX can? If not they have very little deposits. An upper induction cleaning will NOT remove all the deposits, it will only remove a small amount. Only a manual cleaning like we do in-house can accomplish that, or there is a great thread on Camaro5 where another member did it himself. Takes us app 8 hours to do properly:

jerry vales 003.JPG
Manually cleaning intake valves 003.JPG

The pictures above show the before and after. A solvent cleaning will only remove a small portion.

Let me know more. Even though your pics show very little oil, you should have none if the IM was cleaned perfect at can install.

Let me know on the drill mod. If not done, or done correctly then you will push oil laden crankcase vapors in VIA the clean side, or if you have excess blow-by from a damaged piston or ringland (even a gummed up one) it would cause more pressure than even the drill mod can evac and push oil past the clean side in.

Also, feel free to post all this with pictures in your thread.

Best Regards,

Tracy

RX Performance Products
1614 20th St E
Palmetto, FL 34221
941-721-1826
941-721-1896 fax


-----Original Message-----
From: *terry_b*
To: Tracy Lewis <rxproducts@aol.com>
Sent: Thu, Nov 21, 2013 2:14 pm
Subject: RE: Catch can not trapping any oil?

Tracy,

Unfortunately when I first put the can on I did not clean anything. I put the can on around 15,000 ( I think ) and I'm now at 58,000 miles. I did recently do a manual cleaning - I figured why not since I had it all apart to install the ice-olator.

I cleaned everything from the valves up through the intake, and then finally did a seafoam treatment to flush any loose stuff out as well. when I put everything back together, I had thoroughly cleaned the intake manifold, throttle body, and the air intake tube. I wiped the IM completely dry of oil before I put it all back together.

Since the cleaning I've got just under 1,000 miles on everything. Yesterday when I took it apart again I did notice there didn't seem to be a whole lot of oil on the throttle body blade, although there was a very light film. I did drill those out a bit, but I'm not sure if I went to 7/64". I'll check on that tonight after work. In regard to the clean side separator - I have removed the oil fill extension tube so the separator sits right on the valve cover. I was wondering if being that close to the valve cover maybe the oil is more easily pulled up into the clean side? Would it help to possibly put an extension tube back on?

Also, I've noticed an audible hiss coming from around the catch can. It's difficult to pin-point, but I think it is coming from the can itself. I've heard this as well as the check valve ( I assume ) rattling lately. Is this normal?

Thanks for the quick reply, I really appreciate it!

*terry_b*

From: Tracy Lewis @ RX Performance (rxproducts@aol.com) This sender is in your contact list.
Sent: Thu 11/21/13 12:35 PM
To: *terry_b*
The can should not have any hiss that you can feel suction around the fittings, but make sure the drain did not fail and your getting a leak there. If so let me know and I will send our new revised valve:

001.JPG

The lack of the extension would allow the rockers to sling oil right into the 1LE style separator....so that is a real probability.

But what year/month did you buy the can in? Let me know in case it was an early model w/out all the latest baffling and separate chamber the past 2 years have had.

If so I will exchange yours for the latest.

Also, triple check the PCV orfice. If it is restricted or clogged at all it will force oil laden vapors out the cleanside.

But 7/64-9/64" drill on the barb both top and two bottom holes.

Also, won't hurt to correct any of those that think we are not around that we are alive and well, and just completed a big re-tool and remodel was just completed and we are now at 2-5 day max lead time (we paint these to order) or the common polished and black are in-stock along with the billet 1LE style cleanside units.

No more 1-2 month plus waits on any products. We can now provide up to 1000 cans a month!

Best Regards,

Tracy

RX Performance Products
1614 20th St E
Palmetto, FL 34221
941-721-1826
941-721-1896 fax


From: Tracy Lewis @ RX Performance (rxproducts@aol.com) This sender is in your contact list.
Sent: Thu 11/21/13 2:30 PM
To: *terry _b*
Terry,
My name is Mike. I am the office manger here at RX Performance.
I am putting your replacement can into production right away.

I will need your current shipping address.

Thank you,

Mike...
RX Performance Products
1614 20th St E
Palmetto, FL 34221
941-721-1826
941-721-1896 fax


I have heard/read some of the horror stories from people about bad experiences with Tracy and his shop. I'm here to say I've had nothing but positive experiences. I've emailed them and usually I've gotten a response the same day, usually within a couple hours.

I emailed them about the oily breather cap, and Mike told me they'd buy it back at sale price if I bought the new 1LE style. I emailed them about the oil in my intake and you can see how helpful they've been in getting a possible problem with the can sorted out. I know there has been some vendor drama on here and all bickering aside, Tracy and Mike have been pretty stand-up guys in my experience and they've stood behind their products when I've had concerns.

I don't want to start any arguments or feed any trolls but, like Grandma always said - "If you don't have anything good to say..." I'm all for warning someone about a potential shady character, but I also feel it's important to offer up some well-deserved positive comments when appropriate.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:47 AM   #25
RickRay
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Drives: 2010 CGM 2LT/RS AUTO
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Location: Montreal (South Shore)Quebec, Canada
Posts: 5,771
Any pics for this Fix: ... PCV orfice barb drill mod completed. drill the top and 2 bottom holes to 7/64" (GM now has changed the design in all late 2013 & 2014's)
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