If you’ve been following along, you’ll know my new Dmax was fitted with a HPD catch can not long after getting it as a catch can is a sensible idea, and they were the most highly recommended by a huge number of workshops and individuals.
A few months later, I received a report from Curtin University showing how poorly the HPD catch can performed in a laboratory test when compared against other catch cans. Of course, given the study was funded by Mann and Hummel a lot of people said the results were flawed and the testing was done to make the Provent and Flashlube Catch cans look better (as they outperformed everything else).
I very much disagree with this as University’s put a lot on the line to run their testing, they have a lot to lose if any fraud is involved and at the end of the day they have to be funded by someone. If you built and sold a quality product you’d want an independent test done too, which would show the truth without any bias. No one else is going to pay for it to be done!
Despite this, I kept the HPD fitted for many months after that, simply because there was no where suitable to install a Provent 200. That is until Western Filters brought out a new kit which dual mounts the Provent Catch can and the normal secondary (aftermarket) fuel filter on the same bracket.
About a month after it was released, I picked up a dual mounting bracket and Provent 200 for $360, and fitted it. The HPD catch can was sold second hand for $250, and I continued collecting oil to see how the two catch cans performed in a real life situation.
I knew running a catch can on modern turbo diesel motor was a smart choice, and was pretty annoyed that I’d blown $385 on an aluminium HPD catch can that didn’t collect nearly the amount of oil you’d want it to. What made it worse was I chatted to the sales guys at HPD, who assured me it was almost as good as the Provent 200, without some of the downsides that the Provent has. If you want to see the report from Curtin Uni, my initial results and overall thoughts of the HPD Catch Can, check it out here: Why I’m removing my HPD Catch Can.
Installing the Provent 200
If I’m totally honest, installing the dual kit was a real headache, and not something I enjoyed at all. Part of this was because I had a different kit already for the fuel filter, which had to be undone and removed, then turned around and with a larger battery it only just fits. You’ve got to be pretty careful when playing with fuel lines, and having the catch can and fuel filter mounted off the same bracket means things are very tight. I’ve got giant hands, and that doesn’t mix too well.
I fitted the Provent at 34,773km, and weighed the brand new, dry filter at 86 grams. It takes a while for their filter to wet and actually start oil, but the results below are from when the catch can was brand new to now.
HPD vs Provent Catch can real life test
Thus began the Provent vs HPD catch can test, with zero commercial interest involved. I paid my own hard earned money for both catch cans and kits, and can proudly say I have never received a dollar or any products from either business.
I expected that the Provent 200 would catch a lot more oil than the HPD ever did, not only because of the laboratory testing that was done but just by looking at the two units side by side. The internal design and filtration methods are worlds apart. That said, I was still surprised at the difference in how they performed in a real world environment. I wasn’t expecting such a big gap.
HPD Catch can results
I ran the HPD catch can on my Dmax for 34,000km. It caught 125ml of oil (eye balled; 97 grams of oil), which works out to be 37ml every 10,000km. I then removed it and installed a Provent 200.
Provent Catch can results
I’ve collected every drop of oil from the Provent 200 (like the HPD above) and put it into a container over the 5625km I’ve had it on for. The total catch so far is 138ml (eye balled again; weighed in at 105 grams).
That’s 245ml per 10,000km! Interestingly, the dry filter which was 86 grams now weighs in at 126 grams, so there’s a fair bit of extra oil inside the filter that has been caught but not dropped out into the drain tube just yet.
Ultimately, in just 5625km, the Provent 200 has caught more oil than the HPD did in 34,000km on my 2016 Isuzu Dmax, and that’s not even considering the 40 grams of oil that’s caught in the filter at this very minute.
HPD vs Provent Catch cans
The results speak for themselves. In this test, the Provent 200 caught 6.5 times more oil than the HPD. Of course, there are lots of things to look for when buying a catch can, but in my opinion the most important is how well they actually filter, and separate the nasties. It also means that I’ve likely let a heap of oil go through my motor in the duration the HPD catch can was on, which I’m not too pleased about.
It also means that the testing Curtin Uni did was pretty much spot on, in the fact that the HPD catch can is about 6 and a half times less effective at catching the mist and separating the oil going back to your inlet compared to the Provent 200. Their results showed 5 x less effective filtration.
Interestingly, the HPD catch can caught a reasonable amount of water. I can’t be sure, but its possibly condensation from the aluminium heating and cooling, as I get none of that with the Provent 200. What’s even more disappointing is the HPD Catch can actually costs more money than the Provent 200, right out of the box.
Beyond this, the facts are pretty simple. Mann and Hummel are found in more than 80 locations world wide, have over 21,000 employees and in 2018 had sales revenue figures of around 4 billion Euro. They also provide OEM catch cans to a myriad of different industrial and commercial and passenger engines, and up until recently were the only filtration company making catch cans (just recently Ryco have stepped into the game).
Realistically, I feel rather daft falling to sales tactics and listening to the herd mentality that suggested the HPD was better. Anyway, you live and learn, and hopefully this will help others making the same decision about What catch can to buy.
If you are looking to purchase a catch can, and are weighing up whether to fit a HPD or Provent, you’d be mad to go past the quality German engineering that Mann and Hummel have to back their products up. I know which one I’m keeping on the Dmax, and what will be fitted to future vehicles. It most certainly isn’t made of billet aluminium!
Now, I can already hear some of you saying ‘there are too many variables’, ‘your engine oil was different’, ‘the car now has more blowby’ etc etc. You don’t have to believe what I’ve done here, and you are welcome to question any of it, but it was done extremely carefully, honestly and with zero commercial intent.
For some further information, the engine oil viscosity has remained the same, the driving style and vehicle use is very similar and considering the Provent has only been on for 5600km its pretty unlikely my motor has all of a sudden developed bad blowby.
Even if there were some variables and error, do you really think that any of those would result in a 6.5 times worse filtration ability? At the end of the day the difference between these two catch cans is chalk and cheese. As someone recently put up on the 4WDing Australia Facebook page – ‘Let me guess. One looks great and the other works great’.
Downsides of the Provent 200
With anything you buy there’s always an element of compromise. The Provent 200 is a massive unit, and finding somewhere in the engine bay to mount it isn’t always easy. For older vehicles, its not an issue as there is always ample room to play with. Most modern vehicles though, have extremely limited space and finding a suitable spot to mount it and route hoses is a challenge.
Western Filters themselves have released a few kits for the 2012 – 2016 Dmax’s as it is such a problem. Beyond this, the Provent 200 has a filter that needs replacing roughly every 40,000km, and at $80 it does add up over the life of the vehicle. The HPD has no filters to replace, as they are just bits of stainless steel mesh.
As the Provent 200’s work so well, you have to drain oil regularly. Put one on an old vehicle with lots of blowby and ignore it for 5000km, and you may have a problem, as the catch can will eventually fill up. I can see it filling the drain hose on my Dmax as the kilometres rise, and make sure it is emptied every 1000km or so. I don’t actually know how much they will safely hold, but you don’t want the actual cans filling up with oil.
I sucked oil out of the HPD catch can about 3 times in the 34k it was fitted as I couldn’t undo the bowl easily. I guess if you catch less oil, you have to empty them less!
What do you think, and what do you run?
What catch can do you run? Do you like it? If you run a HPD, please don’t take this personally. It’s a real shame that such a popular, and realistically good quality product asides from its filtration ability lacks the performance required to actually be useful. If it performed nearly as well as the Provent, I’d still have it fitted. They do catch oil, but not nearly as much as they should.
Are you happy with your catch can?
A quick word on dumping to the chassis
I can guarantee that as this gets spread around there will be plenty of people saying just run the hose to the chassis, and blank the inlet off. This is one way to guarantee no oil and muck gets into your intake. It’s also completely illegal, and downright irresponsible. Eventually oil makes its way out of your chassis, onto your driveway, or the roads.
You literally endanger peoples lives by doing this, as oil on the road makes it easy for motorbikes in particular to slip over, or normal vehicles to have uncontrolled handling. Do the right thing by other peoples safety and the environment, and don’t dump it into your chassis.
Further updates to come
I’ll keep updating this with how much the Provent 200 catches over the next few months and years. Again, this is my results, my opinion and you can take them however you want to. If its been of value, please do me a favour and share it around, so future catch can buyers can make an educated decision and do their own research!
Se you out there