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United States Patent Application 20180128135
Kind Code A1
Wiley; Stephen May 10, 2018

PCV ADAPTER FOR CATCH CAN

Abstract

An adapter and method are described for an internal combustion engine to direct blow-by gasses from a crank case to a catch can where air is cleaned, and then to provide such filtered air back to the motor via a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve.


Inventors: Wiley; Stephen; (Bear, DE)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Wiley; Stephen

Bear

DE

US
Family ID: 1000003109003
Appl. No.: 15/669077
Filed: August 4, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62370927Aug 4, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: F01M 13/04 20130101; F01M 13/0011 20130101; F01M 2013/0044 20130101; F01M 2013/0488 20130101
International Class: F01M 13/04 20060101 F01M013/04; F01M 13/00 20060101 F01M013/00

Claims



1. A method of providing filtered air to a manifold in an internal combustion engine; said method comprising providing a catch can adapter interposed between a manifold of the engine and a catch can system; providing fluid communication between a crankcase and the catch can system through the adapter to communicate blow-by gasses to the catch can system; receiving filtered air at the adapter from the catch can system; and providing independent fluid communication between the catch can system and a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve such that only filtered air reaches the PCV valve through the adapter.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said providing a catch can adapter comprises utilizing a threaded section and a torque nut to secure the adapter to a portion of a crankcase ventilation system.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said providing a catch can adapter comprises utilizing a sealing structure to prevent blow-by gasses from leaking past the adapter into the PCV valve.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein the sealing structure is an O-ring.

5. The method of claim 3 wherein said providing fluid communication between the crankcase and the catch can system comprises utilizing a main branch of the adapter to communicate blow-by gasses from the crankcase to the catch can system.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein said providing independent fluid communication between the catch can system and a PCV valve comprises utilizing a secondary branch of the adapter to communicate filtered air from the catch can system to the PCV valve.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein said utilizing a secondary branch of the adapter maintains filtered air from the catch can system isolated from blow-by gasses from the crankcase.

8. An adapter to be interposed between a manifold of an internal combustion engine and a catch can system; said adapter comprising: a main branch to communicate blow-by gasses from a crankcase to the catch can system; and a secondary branch to communicate filtered air from the catch can system to a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve; wherein said main branch is coupled to the crankcase such that blow-by gasses are prevented from leaking past the main branch into the PCV valve and wherein said secondary branch is coupled to the PCV valve such that only filtered air is allowed to enter the PCV valve.

9. The adapter of claim 8 wherein said main branch comprises a first end fluidly coupled to the crankcase and a second end fluidly coupled to the catch can system, and wherein said first end comprises a threaded section and a torque nut to secure said adapter to a portion of a crankcase ventilation system.

10. The adapter of claim 8 wherein said main branch comprises a first end fluidly coupled to the crankcase and a second end fluidly coupled to the catch can system, and wherein said first end comprises a sealing structure to seal said first end against a portion of a crankcase ventilation system.

11. The adapter of claim 10 wherein said sealing structure is an O-ring.

12. The adapter of claim 8 wherein said secondary branch is disposed relative to said main branch at an angle of approximately 45 degrees.

13. The adapter of claim 8 wherein said main branch and said secondary branch are formed as a unitary structure.

14. The adapter of claim 8 wherein said main branch and said secondary branch are formed of black glass reinforced nylon.

14. The adapter of claim 8 wherein said main branch and said secondary branch are formed of aluminum.

15. An adapter interposed between a manifold of an internal combustion engine manifold and a catch can; said adapter comprising: a main branch to communicate blow-by gasses from a crankcase to the catch can through the adapter, said main branch having a first end fluidly coupled to the crankcase such that blow-by gasses are prevented from leaking past said main branch into a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve and a second end fluidly coupled to the catch can; and a secondary branch to communicate filtered air from the catch can to the PCV valve through the adapter, said secondary branch having a second end fluidly coupled to the catch can and a first end fluidly coupled to the PCV valve such that only filtered air is allowed to enter the PCV valve.

16. The adapter of claim 15 wherein said first end of said main branch comprises a sealing structure to seal said first end against a portion of a crankcase ventilation system.

17. The adapter of claim 16 wherein said sealing structure is an O-ring.

18. The adapter of claim 15 wherein said secondary branch is disposed relative to said main branch at an angle of approximately 45 degrees.

19. The adapter of claim 10 wherein the portion of the crankcase ventilation system is a valve cover.

20. The adapter of claim 16 wherein the portion of the crankcase ventilation system is a valve cover.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 62/370,927, filed Aug. 4, 2016, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

[0002] Aspects of the present disclosure are directed to the field of automotive engines of the type using Positive Crankcase Ventilation ("PCV"), in general, and more particularly to a modification or adapter for an automotive engine to direct blow-by gasses from the PCV valve to a motor catch can where the air is cleaned, and then to provide clean air back to the motor via the PCV valve.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

[0003] The known PCV system is designed to regulate and remove fumes from the engine crankcase, and to alleviate crankcase pressure which could cause oil leaks or seal damage. It provides a path for gasses to escape in a controlled manner from the crankcase of an internal combustion engine. During normal operation of an internal combustion engine, a compressed air and fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber is ignited and as a result, forces the piston down. A small amount of the ignited mixture leaks past the piston rings and accumulates in the crankcase. This leakage is often referred to as "blow-by" (leakage past the piston rings), and as it accumulates over time, forms a buildup or "gunk." An oil catch can collects the oil mist and condenses the fuel vapors while allowing cleaner gasses to be passed back into the engine intake valve. Typically the blow-by gasses are passed through a wire mesh, which provides a collecting surface for the vapor droplets. Because an oil catch can condenses the vapor portion of the gasses, it must be drained periodically of all the accumulated oil, fuel, and other contaminants.

[0004] Trapping and removing oil before it gets into the combustion chamber maintains maximum engine efficiency and prevents excess carbon buildup. A correctly designed and installed oil catch can system generally solves this problem of oil contamination by placing the catch-can in series between the PCV valve and intake manifold to serve as a collection chamber for blow-by gasses before contaminated air reaches the valves. On the majority of modern motors, this is accomplished by replacing a stock hose that runs from a PCV valve to the manifold with new hoses and a catch can because in such motors, the PCV valve is accessible so that it can be disconnected from the stock hose and reconnected to retrofit hoses to divert blow-by to a catch can. For certain other motors, such as the Ecotec LTG.TM. motor by General Motors, however, the PCV valve is internal in the manifold and thus, is not accessible to modify the blow-by flow path with so-called rerouting hoses.

[0005] It may be desirable in some instances to employ a catch can system even in situations where the PCV valve is not readily accessible, and thus the use of rerouting hoses is not an option. Accordingly, a need exists for easy modification of certain types of motors to accommodate installation of an oil catch can.

SUMMARY

[0006] The disclosed system and method overcome the foregoing and various other shortcomings of typical PCV implementations, providing a PCV adapter for use in connection with a catch can system in an internal combustion engine. In accordance with some embodiments, use of a catch can adapter may temporarily isolate the blow-by gasses from the PCV valve and allow a catch can to be placed in series within the system (i.e., between the PCV valve and the intake manifold). As will be appreciated by those of skill in the art, dirty air may be forced out through a sealed port, directed out of the motor and through the catch can, and then drawn back into the PCV valve as clean, filtered air.

[0007] In accordance with one embodiment, for example, a method of providing filtered air to a manifold in an internal combustion engine generally comprises: providing a catch can adapter interposed between a manifold of the engine and a catch can system; providing fluid communication between the crankcase and the catch can system through the adapter to communicate blow-by gasses to the catch can system; receiving filtered air at the adapter from the catch can system; and providing independent fluid communication between the catch can system and a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve such that only filtered air reaches the PCV valve through the adapter. In some implementations, providing a catch can adapter comprises utilizing a threaded section and a torque nut to secure the adapter to a portion of a crankcase ventilation system, utilizing a sealing structure to prevent blow-by gasses from leaking past the adapter into the PCV valve, or both. The sealing structure may be an 0-ring or other suitable sealing structure.

[0008] In some implementations, providing fluid communication between the crankcase and the catch can system may generally comprise utilizing a main branch of the adapter to communicate blow-by gasses from the crankcase to the catch can system. Providing independent fluid communication between the catch can system and a PCV valve may generally comprise utilizing a secondary branch of the adapter to communicate filtered air from the catch can system to the PCV valve; the secondary branch of the adapter may maintain filtered air from the catch can system isolated from blow-by gasses from the crankcase.

[0009] In accordance with another embodiment, an adapter to be interposed between a manifold of an internal combustion engine and a catch can system may generally comprise: a main branch to communicate blow-by gasses from a crankcase to the catch can system; and a secondary branch to communicate filtered air from the catch can system to a PCV valve; in such instances, the main branch may be coupled to the crankcase such that blow-by gasses are prevented from leaking past the main branch into the PCV valve, and the secondary branch may be coupled to the PCV valve such that only filtered air is allowed to enter the PCV valve. In some implementations, the main branch comprises a first end fluidly coupled to the crankcase and a second end fluidly coupled to the catch can system, and the first end comprises a threaded section and a torque nut to secure said adapter to a portion of a crankcase ventilation system, e.g., a valve cover. The first end may be fluidly coupled to the crankcase and the second end may be fluidly coupled to the catch can system, and the first end may generally comprise a sealing structure, which may be an O-ring.

[0010] In some embodiments, the adapter may include a secondary branch which is disposed relative to the main branch at an angle of approximately 45 degrees, or wherein the main branch and the secondary branch are formed as a unitary structure. The adapter may be constructed such that the main branch and the secondary branch are formed of black glass reinforced nylon, aluminum, or any of a variety of materials that are known and useful in the internal combustion engine art.

[0011] In accordance with another embodiment, an adapter interposed between a manifold of an internal combustion engine and a catch can generally comprises: a main branch to communicate blow-by gasses from a crankcase to the catch can through the adapter, the main branch having a first end fluidly coupled to the crankcase such that blow-by gasses are prevented from leaking past the main branch into a PCV valve and a second end fluidly coupled to the catch can; and a secondary branch to communicate filtered air from the catch can to a PCV valve through the adapter, the secondary branch having a second end fluidly coupled to the catch can and a first end fluidly coupled to the PCV valve such that only filtered air is allowed to enter the PCV valve.

[0012] In some circumstances, the first end of the main branch comprises a sealing structure, such as an O-ring. As noted above, the secondary branch may be disposed relative to the main branch at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. The adapter may be secured to a portion of a crankcase ventilation system, e.g., a valve cover, such as with a threaded section.

[0013] Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the foregoing embodiments may have applicability in various applications and in connection with various types of internal combustion engines based upon the detailed description below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] FIG. 1 is a side view cross-section of a Positive Crankcase Ventilation ("PCV") adapter in use in connection with an engine.

[0015] FIG. 2 is a side view of a PCV adapter in isolation.

[0016] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a PCV adapter connected to a PCV valve.

[0017] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a PCV adapter fully connected for use.

[0018] FIG. 5 is a collection of schematic diagrams illustrating the PCV adapter of FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0019] FIG. 6 is a simplified flow diagram illustrating certain functionality of a method in accordance with an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] As noted above, the disclosed subject matter overcomes deficiencies of typical PCV systems by enabling convenient implementation of a catch can system even in cases where it would not otherwise be possible using rerouting hoses. While one example of an internal combustion engine has been noted above (e.g., the Ecotec LTG.TM. motor by General Motors), those of skill in the art will readily appreciate that the PCV adapter technology described below may be implemented in connection with numerous types of automotive, aviation, and marine internal combustion engines in which the PCV valve is not susceptible of conventional approaches. The present disclosure is not intended to be limited by any particular model of engine produced by any particular manufacturer. The applicability of the disclosed technology is related to the specific structure of the motor, and is not related to any specific manufacturer or line of products.

[0021] Turning now to the drawing figures, FIG. 1 is a side view cross-section of a Positive Crankcase Ventilation ("PCV") adapter in use in connection with an engine. As illustrated in the FIG. 1 implementation, a catch can adapter 100 may be configured as a "Y" having an elongated straight main hollow tube or branch (main branch 110) defining a fluid flow path from the motor, and a hollow secondary tube or branch (secondary branch 130) for providing a return air path that is isolated from the flow path of main branch 110.

[0022] In general, main branch 110 may have a first end 111 fluidly connectable to the engine crankcase in line to receive blow-by gasses from the motor, and a second end 112 for directing the blow-by gasses to the catch can such as through a hose or tube connected between second end 112 and the catch can. Specifically, main branch 110 may be fluidly coupled to the crankcase at first end 111, and may define an independent fluid conduit between first end 111 and second end 112; second end 112, in turn, may be fluidly coupled to the catch can, such as via a pipe, hose, tube, or other suitable fluid conduit. When configured and coupled as illustrated in FIG. 1, main branch 110 of adapter 100 may communicate blow-by gasses from the motor to a suitably installed catch can and isolate those blow-by gasses from air that is subsequently supplied to the intake manifold. It is appreciated that the term "fluidly coupled" in this context contemplates that additional components may be interposed along the fluid conduit. For example, main branch 110 may be fluidly coupled to the crankcase via a valve cover, for instance, or some other structure associated with a crankcase ventilation system, for instance, that may be dependent upon engine design.

[0023] In that regard, an O-ring 120 or other suitable sealing structure is located proximate first end 111 to prevent dirty air from leaking past main branch 110, passing through the PCV valve, and entering the motor. In some embodiments, a trough, detent, or other structure on the outer surface of main branch 110 proximate first end 111 may act as a seat for O-ring 120. In other embodiments, a different type of sealing structure or strategy, such as use of a gasket, epoxy, silicone, or threaded engagement, may be employed. In use, O-ring 120 may function to prevent leakage of blow-by gasses past the structure of adapter 100 and into the PCV valve. While O-ring 120 is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 as an example, those of skill in the art will appreciate that various other sealing structures may be suitable, depending upon the application, and may be acceptable substitutes for providing the functionality of O-ring 120 noted above.

[0024] As set forth above, secondary branch 130 may provide a return air path that is isolated from the flow path of main branch 110. In general, secondary branch 130 may have a first end 131 connectable to the PCV valve in line to deliver clean air from the catch can, and a second end 132 for receiving that clean air from the catch can such as through a hose or tube connected between second end 132 and the catch can. Specifically, secondary branch 130 may be fluidly coupled to the PCV valve at first end 131, and may define an independent fluid conduit between second end 132 and first end 131; second end 132, in turn, may be fluidly coupled to the catch can, such as via a pipe, hose, tube, or other suitable fluid conduit. When configured and coupled as illustrated in FIG. 1, secondary branch 130 of adapter 100 may communicate clean air from the catch can system and isolate that clean air from the blow-by gasses being communicated by main branch 110. As noted above, secondary branch 130 may be fluidly coupled to an intake manifold, for instance, even though the PCV valve is interposed along the fluid conduit.

[0025] In the foregoing manner, adapter 100 may be configured to provide an outbound fluid conduit (such as through main branch 110) between the crankcase (or a portion of a crankcase ventilation system, such as the valve cover) and the catch can, on the one hand, and an independent, isolated inbound fluid conduit (such as through secondary branch 130) between the catch can and the PCV valve, on the other hand, such that only filtered air is drawn into the PCV valve. In the illustrated embodiment, adapter 100 is of unitary or monolithic construction, though it is understood that accommodations may be made at second ends 112, 132 to couple adapter 100 to the catch can. These accommodations may be in the form of threads or other structures, such as hose bibs, at respective second ends 112, 132 to facilitate coupling with a hose, tube, pipe, or other conduit, depending upon the structure of the motor in which adapter 100 is employed. Alternatively, second ends 112, 132 may be coupled to hoses or tubes via clips, bands, silicone, epoxy, adhesives, or other coupling mechanisms and structures generally known in the art. The present disclosure is not intended to be limited by the manner in which adapter 100 is fluidly coupled to other elements of the internal combustion engine.

[0026] In that regard, FIG. 2 is a side view of a PCV adapter in isolation. In the FIG. 2 embodiment, first end 111 of main branch 110 generally comprises a threaded section 121 for connecting to like threading, and a nut 123 for allowing torque to be applied for installing adapter 100 to a portion of a crankcase ventilation system, for example. A washer 122 may also be provided to present a tight seal between the crankcase ventilation system and adapter 100. As noted above, the FIG. 2 embodiment is illustrated by way of example only, and those of skill in the art will appreciate that various technologies may be used to couple first end 111 of main branch 110 on adapter 100 to an engine crankcase ventilation system.

[0027] As is best illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, secondary branch 130 may be connected to, or fixed to, main branch 110, such that adapter 100 (including main branch 110 and secondary branch 130) is implemented as a unitary structure. In some implementations, secondary branch 130 may be oriented from main branch 110 at an angle of approximately 45.degree., though it will be appreciated that other angles may be useful or necessary, depending upon the structure and configuration of the various other elements of the motor in connection with which adapter 100 is employed. Adapter 100 and its various components may be constructed of steel, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, or combinations of these and other metals or alloys, carbon, ceramics, or other types of materials that are generally known in the art and useful for internal combustion engine applications. Additionally or alternatively, one or more sections of adapter 100, such as main branch 110 or secondary branch 130, may be constructed of metal or black glass reinforced nylon or fiberglass, but other suitable materials will be readily known to those of ordinary skill in the art.

[0028] The present disclosure is not intended to be limited by the materials selected for adapter 100 or its various components, including nut 123, washer 122, threaded section 121, and O-ring 120, which may be selected as a function of a particular application or as a design choice.

[0029] Similarly, though illustrated as a unitary construction, various elements of adapter 100 may be independently constructed and then joined, affixed, or bonded together. For example, it may be possible to forge or machine adapter 100, including its constituent parts, such as main branch 110 and secondary branch 130, from a single piece of material, or to create a unitary adapter 100 via three-dimensional printing technologies, for example; alternatively, it may also be possible to construct main branch 110 and secondary branch 130 independently and subsequently to join the two components, such as by welding, brazing, applying epoxy, fiberglass, or adhesives, or via some other industrial manufacturing technique or technology that is generally known in the art.

[0030] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a PCV adapter connected to a PCV valve. In FIG. 3, adapter 100 is connected to the valve cover of an Ecotec LTG.TM. motor (though, as noted above, other motors are within the scope and contemplation of the present disclosure), and second ends 112, 132 of main branch 110 and secondary branch 130, respectively, are opened (i.e., not yet connected, or fluidly coupled, to the catch can). First end 111 of main branch 110 and first end 131 of secondary branch 130, are not visible in FIG. 3, as they are each obscured by structure of the crankcase ventilation system, specifically, the valve cover--they are below and to the right of nut 123 in FIG. 3, and disposed within the structure of the valve cover.

[0031] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a PCV adapter fully connected for use. In FIG. 4, adapter 100 is connected to the crankcase ventilation system and hoses are connected to each second end 112, 132 of the main branch 110 and the secondary branch 132, respectively, and to the catch can. The arrow at the top right portion of FIG. 4 indicates outbound flow of blow-by gasses from the crankcase through adapter 100.

[0032] FIG. 5 is a collection of schematic diagrams illustrating the PCV adapter of FIGS. 1 and 2. FIG. 5 provides the best view of an outlet section 139 that provides clean air from first end 131 of secondary branch 130 into the PCV valve. In combination with FIG. 1, the illustration in FIG. 5 provides a clear view of how outbound flow from the crankcase, via main branch 110, is isolated from inbound flow from the catch can to the PCV valve.

[0033] FIG. 6 is a simplified flow diagram illustrating certain functionality of a method in accordance with an embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 6, a method 600 may begin by providing a catch can adapter (block 601) interposed between a manifold of an internal combustion engine and a catch can system. As noted above, this may be effectuated via a threaded section 121 or other engagement, either with or without a torque nut 123, washer 122, O-ring 120, or some combination of these or similar elements, depending upon the particular application and the structure and nature of the motor to which adapter 100 is to be coupled.

[0034] Fluid communication between the crankcase and the catch can may be provided as indicated at block 602. As noted above, such fluid communication may be provided through adapter 100 (via main branch 110, specifically), and may be isolated such that blow-by gasses are prevented from leaking past the adapter into a PCV valve. In operation of adapter 100, this functionality may communicate blow-by gasses from the crankcase to the catch can.

[0035] Clean air (or "filtered" air) may be received at the adapter 100 from the catch can as illustrated at block 603. As indicated at block 604, independent (i.e., isolated) fluid communication between the catch can and the PCV valve may be provided. As indicated above, such fluid communication may be provided through adapter 100 (via secondary branch 130, specifically), and may be isolated from the flow through main branch 110 such that only clean air is provided through secondary branch 130 to the PCV valve.

[0036] It will be appreciated that the arrangement of the blocks representative of operations illustrated in FIG. 6 are provided by way of example, and is susceptible of numerous various. The orders of operations are not intended to excluded other possibilities, and the operations depicted in FIG. 6 may occur substantially simultaneously or in a different order than that illustrated.

[0037] Several features and aspects of the present invention have been illustrated and described in detail with reference to particular embodiments by way of example only, and not by way of limitation. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that alternative implementations and various modifications to the disclosed embodiments are within the scope and contemplation of the present disclosure. Therefore, it is intended that the invention be considered as limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

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