I’ve never been happy with the RACOR CCV (Closed Crankcase Ventilation) system on our Deere engine so I decided to dig in and learn more. To meet emission requirements, the CCV (the black housing circled above) separates oil from the crankcase vapors, drains the oil back to the sump and sends the vapors back to the engine air intake. The CCV filter needs excessively frequent changes and, if allowed to plug up, will cause positive crankcase pressure which will lead to nuisance oil leaks. The RACOR system has a red “needs changing” indicator in the top, but I have never seen it pop-up, even when the crankcase pressure is far above the Deere maximum measured using a manometer.
I took the CCV apart to better understand how it works and see why the “it’s plugged” indicator never triggers. What I found was surprisingly complex for what should be a simple device. Crankcase vapors are vented into the middle of the filter and flow to the outside and then back to the engine. Normally I would prefer to see the vapors flowing through the filter from the outside inwards for more surface area, but that’s not the design. There is a valve in the top that will vent positive pressure and bypass the filter. This sounds good but, in playing around with the system, it will not bypass until the crankcase pressures are very high. It looks like that indicator can’t be relied upon.
The same valve at the top of the CCV can be pulled in the other direction to seal off the ventilation system when the air filter plugs to prevent excessively negative crankcase pressure. Venting crankcase vapors, removing oil from the air, and flowing it back to the engine intake really shouldn’t be this complex nor as prone to plugging. But this same system is used by Cat, Deere, Volvo, MAN, Cummins, Hercules, Mach and Detroit Diesel, so it appears that I am in the minority in not liking the design since RACOR has somehow managed to impress most of the world’s marine engineers.
One thing I noticed when looking through the details on the filter assembly is that RACOR supplies three different filters elements for this unit: 1) medium density (CCV55248-04), 2) high density (CCV55248-06), and 3) ultra density (CCV55248-08). The Deere part number , RE502284, cross-references to ultra density. In fact, all the OEM filters cross-reference to the high density (CCV55248-08) filters and, as a consequence, I couldn’t find the low density element where we currently are in the UK. My plan is to switch from CCV55248-08 to CCV55248-04 and, in the interim while still using the ultra density CCV55248-08, to change them frequently.
Another interesting option is the Wix WS10114. It’s a drop-in replacement element marketed as a racing filter. It appears to be very low density and a much nicer design that is less prone to clogging and causing nuisance engine oil leaks:
- Wix WS10114: https://www.amazon.com/WIX-Racing-Filters-WS10114-Crankcase/dp/B00WCOPB42
- RACOR CCV55248-04: http://ph.parker.com/us/en/cv-series-element-replacements/ccv55248-04