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How to clean the intake manifold?

How to clean the intake manifold?

Why do I need to clean the intake manifold?

The intake manifold takes in air and directs it to the cylinders. Over time, it becomes clogged with soot. To prevent it from becoming completely clogged, you must have it cleaned regularly.

The job of the intake manifold (also known as the distributor) is to take in air and distribute it to the cylinders. Because air from the exhaust gas recirculation system also passes through it, the intake manifold becomes clogged over time, more quickly for frequent riders than for occasional riders. However, if it is cleaned regularly, it does not need to be replaced.

Over time, soot deposits (coking) form in the intake manifold. The soot eventually builds up on the intake ports of the cylinder head, and eventually, the ports become so small that they don't let in enough air.

The fact that the engine light is on and the engine isn't running smoothly indicates that something is wrong. However, these symptoms may also indicate other faults. If the problem is not corrected over a long period of time, there will be a progressive loss of power, i.e. the car will buck and jerk. In the worst case, the deposits can break off and damage the cylinder (engine damage), but this rarely happens.

How do I clean an intake manifold?

To prevent your intake manifold from clogging, you can clean it yourself if you're familiar with auto mechanics. Cleaning your intake manifold will also increase its life and performance.

Step 1: Remove the EGR Valve and Throttle Body

Remove the 4 screws at the top and bottom of the intake housing. Remove the intake manifold.

Step 2: Clean the assembly

You can use a pressure washer to clean the entire area after removing the parts.

You can also use a vacuum cleaner if there's a lot of dust.

Step 3: Apply the stripper

Allow the product to work for about ten minutes. Rinse off with water and allow to dry.

Step 4: Reattach the intake manifold

If you find that the intake manifold gasket is too damaged, you'll need to replace it.

Once the manifold is thoroughly cleaned, you can reassemble it by following the previous steps in reverse order.

intake manifold

What are the benefits of cleaning the intake manifold?

If we take a look at modern vehicles, we'll see that they generally distribute fuel in one of two ways - either through the intake valves into the engine, or directly into the combustion chamber.

This process causes soot to build up in and around the injectors and cylinder walls. If not cleaned frequently, they can affect your vehicle's performance. Whether your car is new or old, here's how intake manifold cleaning can benefit your car.

1. Increased performance

Soot buildup is usually the root cause of many vehicle problems because it affects the performance of key components. Whether the carbon buildup has occurred in the valves or the combustion chamber, it needs to be cleaned as soon as possible to improve vehicle performance.

2. Stop engine knock

Engine knock is never a good sign, as it can damage cylinder walls and pistons. By opting for intake cleaning, the soot at the root of the problem would be eliminated. This would allow your engine to run efficiently, putting an end to engine knock.

3. Improve Fuel Economy

Most mechanics have associated carbon buildup with poor performance and fuel economy. Once the carbon buildup has been removed through intake cleaning, you'll find that your car now has improved fuel economy.

4. Reduces emissions

When your engine malfunctions due to carbon buildup, it uses more fuel and releases harmful emissions into the atmosphere. By cleaning the intake, the accumulated soot would be removed, reducing your car's emissions and making it more environmentally friendly.

What are the symptoms of a worn intake manifold?

The intake manifold is not a wearing part: it doesn't need to be replaced every few years. However, it can be subject to several types of failure that prevent it from working properly: a leak, a crack in the manifold, a faulty valve, or a clogged intake manifold.

When the intake manifold is clogged or damaged, it can no longer perform its function properly, which directly affects the engine's combustion. As a result, you'll notice the following symptoms

  • Loss of engine power, especially when accelerating
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Increased exhaust emissions

If the intake manifold is clogged, you may also notice soot deposits in the manifold, but also in other engine parts such as valves or the EGR valve. If it's a leak, you'll experience the same symptoms, but may also notice a puddle of oil under your car or unusual engine noises.

Now you know all about your car's intake manifold! Over time, oil builds up in the intake ports and intercooler. That's why it's important to clean the intercooler to remove this oil, which limits heat exchange and makes the intercooler less efficient, thus reducing engine performance. If yours is damaged, don't wait to replace it as poor combustion can damage your engine.

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