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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Introduction and Overview
Our PCV mounts on a plastic plate behind the intake manifold; the backside of the plate has a ramp that functions as an oil separator. Gasses in the engine cavity are from blowby (combustion gasses leaking past the cylinder rings). These acidic gasses are essentially comprised of water, partially consumed hydrocarbons and some oil vapor and need to be evacuated--else your dipstick will pop out and a Disturbance in The Force will be created.

The PCV (Pollution Control Valve back in the day and Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve nowadays) is a one-way plastic check valve that allows blowby to be sucked in to the intake manifold, but does not allow boost into the engine cavity.

It's the blowby which causes buildup on the backside of the intake valves.

In my own testing (my 2013 has just under 50K miles now), I did mostly calm city driving for three weeks, then pulled the intake manifold and noted the kind of buildup others have noted. I then drove for a week with a lot of highway driving and was able to do a number of pulls which would get the valves decently hot. Upon removing the intake manifold afterwards I noticed I had less buildup on the valves, and the buildup that was there was dryer and grayer than the moist dark black gunk I observed the first time. This confirmed to me what I had read elsewhere that there is a benefit to the old-school "Italian tune up" method of spirited driving to help keep the intake valves clean.

Now, while on some cars the valve buildup gets so bad that performance is noticeably impacted and a valve cleaning is required, that doesn't seem to be the case for our cars. Nonetheless, others have turned to WMI and catch cans to reduce valve buildup before it happens. WMI "washes" the valves, and catch cans are intended to condense vapor into liquid and "catch" it before the liquid gets into the intake manifold. But most of that catch liquid is just water, which doesn't cause valve buildup. It's the oil vapor condensing on the valves that causes the buildup.

So, Mountune's approach was to architect two large, condensation ramps on their plate -- double the number of the factory plate, and larger/longer too (see comparative photo below). IOW, the Mountune plate is intended to function as a more effective oil separator. Further, their plate reuses the stock PCV and PCV tubing, with no modifications.

Approach and Preparation
I intend to keep my car for at least 100K miles, and given that it has nearly 50K now, I thought it would be good insurance (though not required) to replace the gaskets and the PCV presuming I'm not going to touch this again for at least another 50K miles. That way I don't have to worry about cleaning the existing PCV, nor about accidentally damaging any gaskets during the removal process. The Mountune breather plate comes with no gaskets BTW.

The PCV is not sold separately; you can buy the breather plate gaskets separately, but for just a few dollars more (under $30) you can buy a kit which includes a new breather plate with PCV, hose and the two gaskets (one for the back of the breather plate and one for the PCV-to-plate connection).

The Mountune condensation ramps are steel, the plate itself is aluminum, and I was worried the screws holding the ramps would eventually come loose. I called Mountune about this and they told me the condensation ramp screws are prepared with Red High-Temp thread locker for just this reason and should not be tightened nor removed. Of course... (typical Mountune engineering...)

There are lots of guides to removing the intake manifold you can use, so I won't repeat that process here. But here are a few bullets specific to how I did things:

  • I used a removal process which leaves the throttle body attached to the intake manifold.
  • I cleaned the charge pipe hose interior with denatured alcohol to remove any oil film, and used hair spray as assembly lube.
  • I cleaned the inside of the intake manifold with rags moistened with denatured alcohol, including the exterior portion of the throttle body that connects to the charge pipe hose.
  • I used the new gaskets I bought, as well as the new PCV and PCV-to-manifold hose that came in the kit.
  • I used red high-temp thread locker on the Mountune screw that holds the PCV retaining plate down on the breather plate itself, and the same red high-temp thread locker on the breather plate-to-engine block bolts.


Part Pumbers:

  • CJ5Z-9439-A Intake Manifold Gaskets (4)
  • AG9Z-6A785-A PCV Breather Plate Complete Kit (1)
  • 2363-OBP-AA Mountune Oil Separator/Breather Plate (1)


Tools Etc. Needed:

You'll need the following tools:


  • 1/4" drive ratchet, extension and 7mm, 8mm and 10mm sockets
  • Two teeny screwdrivers - to help remove the green plastic lock tabs from the very long vacuum source tube
  • Plastic spudge for helping to remove and install the charge hose-to-throttle connection
  • Friction tape
  • Red High-temp thread locker
  • Two magnetic steel cups, for holding the manifold and breather plate bolts, respectively
  • Clean rag, for temporarily plugging the charge pipe hose after you remove the manifold (just in case you drop one of the breather plate bolts or something else)

Metal




Preparation Details
Here is a photo with both the Mountune and the new Ford breather plates side by side, showing the second condensation ramp in the Mountune and the Ford with only one:

Auto part Vehicle Car City car Engine



First prep step is to remove the breather plate gasket from the new Ford plate and put it in the Mountune plate. The gasket has a locator nub which fits in a slot in the Ford unit; the Mountune plate does not have such a slot so I removed the nub with a razor blade:

Gun Firearm Shotgun



The PCV and attached hose are held in place on the Ford plate by a black plastic slotted retaining ring. A small wide flat blade screwdriver or the backside of a boxcutter blade can be used to pry the clip off the base, which enables you to withdraw the new PCV from the new Ford plate.

The PCV hose assembly will now have this black plastic ring flopping around the length of the hose, but the Mountune plate uses an aluminum semi-circle retaining ring held in place by an allen head bolt to retain the PCV in the plate, making the Ford plastic retaining clip redundant. I elected to remove the Ford clip by cutting it off with a pair of ***** after assembling the PCV and its hose into the Mountune plate:

Auto part


The new Mountune plate assembly is now ready for installation!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Installation Notes


I came across two things doing the installation I thought it would helpful to share:

First, in the stock configuration, there's an orange plastic support for the middle of the fuel injector harness that clips to the hard plastic breather pipe connecting the breather plate to the intake manifold. But, because Mountune's design relocates the PCV to the passenger side of the breather plate, the hard plastic breather pipe is no longer available to support the wiring harness.

So, to address this, I used a 10" strip of friction tape to tie up through the open loop of the orange plastic support and anchor it to the coolant hose:

Auto part Bicycle handlebar Carbon Pipe Vehicle



Second, and again due to using the stock hard breather pipe but relocating the PCV to the opposite side of the breather plate, the flex U bend in the hard plastic breather pipe hose now points up, instead of down, and needs to be rerouted OVER THE TOP of the coolant hose accordingly. I fussed with this for a while, wondering if there wasn't some way I could rotate the plastic breather pipe and fittings to avoid this, but the solution escaped me. Perhaps someone more clever than me can figure this one out?

But for the upwards-pointing set, here's how I rerouted the hose:

Auto part Engine Automotive engine part Vehicle Car



Also note the clean rag stuffed in to the charge pipe. I was able to do this entire job from the top, without removing the belly pan. I was nervous that if I dropped a tool or bolt down the charge pipe I'd have to get under the car, and worse case remove the bumper to remove the FMIC and shake out whatever I dropped.



Manifold Removal Tips

This is now the third time I've removed the intake manifold, so here are some tips not in any of the instruction sheets I found:

First, as stated above you can do this whole job from the top, if you leave the throttle body attached to the manifold.

Second, it's much easier if you remove the symposer (or have already installed a symposer delete plate).

Next, there are two electrical connections that mount to the backside of manifold behind #1 and #4 cylinders. The driver's side one uses a press-in clip, like some of the interior panel clips. Just move it side to side carefully while pulling on the connectors towards the back of the car and it will eventually pop out. The passenger side one however is on a slide rail, so you need to press the release on the backside and then slide the connector assembly towards the passenger side on its rail until it falls free. A bright worklight here does wonders to help show you what you need to do.

After I pop off the electrical connector assemblies above, I pop off the charge pipe and free the long hard vacuum tube from its mounts. I then have some extra room to disconnect the MAP sensor connector on the front of the manifold and the other sensor on the same harness spoke jutting out from the cylinder head.

At this point, I remove the bolts holding the manifold in place, even though the long vacuum pipe, PCV pipe and throttle body electrical connector are still attached. This seems opposite from most of the instructions I have seen, but here's why:

Reason One: The PCV pipe connector is a pain to release from the backside of the manifold. The way I do it is to crouch down some and curl my left arm around the passenger side of the manifold, and my right arm around the driver's side, as if I am going to give the manifold a hug. The PCV pipe requires a simultaneous squeeze on both sides to be released, so using this "hug" method my right thumb presses against the driver's side of the connector and my left thumb presses against the passenger side. I can squeeze then hard enough to release, and then move the pipe towards the back of the car to open the connection. If the manifold is still bolted to the head, I can't get my arms back there.

Reason Two: The electrical connector to the throttle body has a little red clip you need to pull towards the harness (away from the connector) about 1/3", so that you can then press the release tab on the other side of the connector. Once the manifold is unbolted you can pull the manifold up a few inches (gently!) and tilt it forward, giving you easy access to the red clip and the connector. No need to jack the car up, remove the belly pan etc. just to do this part.

Reason Three: I don't want to break the two little interlocking green U-shaped clips that hold the long hard plastic line in place on the manifold. But, once you've disconnected everything else, this vacuum line has a lot of play in it, so you can lift the manifold up and get easy access to the clips. I use the two little screwdrivers to (very gently) pry the clip ends out so the clip can be removed easily. You need to remember though which clip goes on which end of the connector, otherwise they won't go back together. I suggest taking a few pictures as you go.

Reassembly is the reverse:

  • After installing the breather plate, supporting the injector harness and orienting the PCV pipe over the coolant hose, you can reconnect the vacuum hose to the manifold with the manifold up pretty high, and carefully reattach the two little green clips.
  • Lower the manifold about 4" above where it will be installed permanently and reattach the throttle body electrical connector. Don't forget to push the red locking clip back in.
  • Lower the manifold to its installed height, "hug" it with both arms and reattach the hard PCV breather pipe.
  • Bolt the manifold to the head and clip the vacuum line back in, in three places.
  • Reattach the charge pipe after removing the rag, using the spudge if necessary to open the pipe over the throttle body and tighten the clamp, making sure it hasn't slipped downwards at all (it should be horizontal and level with the hose end).
  • Reattach the two unconnected electrical connectors to the backsides of the manifold; pressing in the one on the driver's side and sliding on the rail (a little tricky) the one on the passenger side.
  • Reroute the harness accordingly, and reattach the MAP sensor connector and the connector to the sensor in the cylinder head (orange connector).
  • Clear the engine bay of any tools and take a test drive to check for vacuum leaks.
  • Reinstall the engine cover.
  • Enjoy!



Hope that helps,
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Reserved for Follow Ups


6,225 Mile Follow Up
I changed the oil after 6,225 miles; the Blackstone report is below. From the report, the concerns that some expressed over worry that the oil trapping would be too efficient and also retain contaminants in the oil is not well founded. As you can see, the oil is very clean.

As regards intake valve cleanliness, I did pop the intake manifold to have a peek. I had been doing a lot of city driving and high-traffic highway driving for the most recent 1K miles prior to the oil change, so really hadn't a chance to get on it except for two pulls out of toll booths. Honestly, the valves looked pretty much the same as when I did the install. It may just be too early to tell.

We know there are two sources of gunk on the intake valves: blowby through the PCV valve and backflow from intake/exhaust valve overlap. I don't think I've seen anything indicating what proportion those two sources can be expected to contribute in most cases. An engine running high boost more often will have more blowby; and I recall a post from @Bugasu at Stratified in which he was down on catch cans because he felt the valve overlap was a significant contributor to valve buildup. What I'll try to do is get some time to do some spirited driving, to make sure I get the valves nice and hot and try to burn off the crud that's already there. I'll pop the manifold to see, and if the crud is reduced from the burn off, I'll drive around commuting for a week or two (the car is my daily driver) and see if the crud comes back.

If it does, then either this breather plate isn't very effective, or... valve overlap is a significant contributor.

I'll update again at the next oil change; here's the current Blackstone report.

All the best,
Mark

View attachment 13 FOCUS ST LAB.pdf


One-Year+ Follow Up
I popped the intake today to take a look, and honestly the valves looked about the same as when I put the PCV plate in a year ago. I don't run WMI, so no cleaning going on, so I really can't say if my valves would have been worse or the same with the stock PCV plate. Here's a pick of a typical valve:
Black Nose Close-up Snout Mouth


But I also used the opportunity to do some valve cleaning with the CRC GDI intake valve cleaner. Basically, I rotated the engine until all the intake valves were closed, sprayed in each port for about 3 seconds and bolted the intake back on. I waited ten minutes, then went for a drive and did a few pulls to get the valves hot.

Came back home, popped the intake again, and noticed some of the valves were almost totally clean, and a few had some remaining spot deposits. So I hit the valves with another round, waited another ten minutes and went for another drive. Took one last look and the valves were all pretty darn clean.

Hope that helps,
Mark
 

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As always mark you are a plethora of information. Very interested in the ease of install as well as your journey to well past 100k.


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This thread really should be in the guides section of the forum, maybe trimmed down and thrown in there as a guide, and this thread open for future updates and discussion.

It is well written, properly organized and overall exactly what i like to see people do.

Well done sir, well done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not to nitpick, but PCV stands for "Positive Crankcase Ventilation" valve.
You are absolutely right these days that that is so!

Back in the mid 1970s however, when I worked part time in a Porsche/Audi/Renault dealership parts department (to help pay for college, and yeah, I'm that old LOL!) I distinctly remember being admonished by a Porsche engineering rep that saying "PCV valve" was redundant, because PCV stood for Pollution Control Valve (at the time). Recall that back in those days, emission controls were fairly new and the purpose of the valve was to vent the crankcase back in to the air filter assembly, to... control... pollution...

So no worries, I like that kind of nuanced minutiae and don't consider it nitpicking at all!

Have a great weekend,
Mark
 

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I have been torn on this modification. Worried that this set up may condense out more blowby and accumulate in the oil. Have to imagine Ford took this into consideration.... My valves are fairly clean nearing 70k without catch can, etc. But I drive highway frequently and never lugg the engine in city. Would be interested to see someone monitor oil quality over time with this installed.
 

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I have been torn on this modification. Worried that this set up may condense out more blowby and accumulate in the oil. Have to imagine Ford took this into consideration.... My valves are fairly clean nearing 70k without catch can, etc. But I drive highway frequently and never lugg the engine in city. Would be interested to see someone monitor oil quality over time with this installed.
I think we all would... I love how companies build a product like this but what supporting evidence do they have? do they have a ST with 100k miles on it?
I am honestly asking and maybe they do.

Almost the same across the industry though. 2016 Focus RS comes out and they haven't dropped into the hands of a single person but you can already buy part # xxxx from said parts dealer that has been tested and proven 0 miles on 0 cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have been torn on this modification. Worried that this set up may condense out more blowby and accumulate in the oil. Have to imagine Ford took this into consideration.... My valves are fairly clean nearing 70k without catch can, etc. But I drive highway frequently and never lugg the engine in city. Would be interested to see someone monitor oil quality over time with this installed.
I'll do a BlackStone oil analysis report as well, and have modified my third post accordingly. It's a good idea, thanks.

The acids in blowby are pretty gaseous; I'm hopeful the second condensation tray in the Mountune plate will capture mostly oil vapor only. But BlackStone will tell us for sure! And while they can't match Ford's budget, I'd be surprised if Mountune didn't do a little homework too on this product... :)

BTW, at level highway cruise you are drawing 6-7psi of vacuum, so lots of fresh air being drawn through most of the time in your case -- until you get into boost.

All the best,
Mark
 
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Appreciate the helpful tips in installing this! Will be referring to this if and when I buy it. Also interested in seeing long term results.

Also, I'm sure Mountune has done plenty of research on this part, they've had plenty of accessible Focus ST's for a while now. Kinda wish they did post some of these results though, as it does require a bit of faith.

Still excited to see any potential benefits though. Will be following this thread. Thanks for your help!
 
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Great write up, thanks. I am planning to install this on my car. I was actually thinking of installing it on wife's EB Fusion that does not have a OCC and probably won't. I'm curious on the long term but I cannot see any negatives of installing the piece. Only seems like there would be pluses when it comes to oil vapor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Do you have a catch can as well? A great comparison would be to look at the amount of liquid caught in 5k miles before breather plate vs 5k miles after breather plate.
I never will have a catch can on my car; I'm one of "those" in the "Yes!" "No!" catch can wars...

Keeping it short:
1. The super-vast majority of the liquid caught by a catch can is water, plus some partially consumed hydrocarbon particulates. No harm in feeding that back in to the intake.
2. I don't want to worry about a myriad of new potential boost leaks. (Having a can pressurized to 24 psi is not without risk).
3. I don't want to add another maintenance item (emptying the catch can).
4. I don't want to worry about either forgetting to empty the catch can or having its mount break and risk hydrolocking the motor.
5. No one has documented any significant performance loss on our platforms (not true for some other platforms) from typical valve coking.
6. Spirited driving sufficient to heat up the intake valves has been proven to burn off much (but not all) of any existing buildup.

Having said that, if one has a very high boost, high output built motor and has opened up the ring end gaps, then that is a fair use case for a catch can IMHO, because in that case, a much greater percentage of the blowby stream will contain oil.

Hey, you asked! ;-)

All the best,
Mark
 

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I never will have a catch can on my car; I'm one of "those" in the "Yes!" "No!" catch can wars...

Keeping it short:
1. The super-vast majority of the liquid caught by a catch can is water, plus some partially consumed hydrocarbon particulates. No harm in feeding that back in to the intake.
2. I don't want to worry about a myriad of new potential boost leaks. (Having a can pressurized to 24 psi is not without risk).
3. I don't want to add another maintenance item (emptying the catch can).
4. I don't want to worry about either forgetting to empty the catch can or having its mount break and risk hydrolocking the motor.
5. No one has documented any significant performance loss on our platforms (not true for some other platforms) from typical valve coking.
6. Spirited driving sufficient to heat up the intake valves has been proven to burn off much (but not all) of any existing buildup.

Having said that, if one has a very high boost, high output built motor and has opened up the ring end gaps, then that is a fair use case for a catch can IMHO, because in that case, a much greater percentage of the blowby stream will contain oil.

Hey, you asked! ;-)

All the best,
Mark
While I mostly agree here, the water that is built up is a byproduct of combustion and not pure water like what would be injected via a WMI system. The contamination can certainly lead to issues with spark efficiency. I may be one of those better safe than sorry people, but I don't mind dumping a can every 3500 miles

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