How to replace intake manifold gasket?
Located between the intake manifold and the cylinder head, the intake manifold gasket is the part responsible for ensuring a good seal between these parts. Not to be confused with the cylinder head gasket, the intake manifold plays an important role in sealing the various channels that connect to your vehicle's engine. Located at the top of the cylinder head, it seals the surfaces around the coolant and air ducts to protect them from leaks. It is subject to various external factors that can cause premature wear. It is highly recommended that you replace it at the first sign of trouble, as it can lead to much more serious problems.
What is an intake manifold gasket?
Also known as an exhaust manifold gasket or exhaust gasket, the intake manifold gasket is located between the cylinder head and the outlet of the intake manifold tubes. There are two types:
- One-piece gaskets: A single gasket is placed between the cylinder head and the intake manifold;
- Gasket sets: You'll have an intake manifold gasket for each cylinder.
The intake manifold gasket plays a vital role in the smooth operation of the intake system. It's the gasket that keeps the cylinder head and manifold perfectly sealed. This ensures that the intake valves have the proper flow and pressure so that each cylinder receives the air flow required for fuel combustion. The intake manifold gasket is exposed to extreme temperatures of up to 800 degrees. As a result, it must be designed to withstand the heat. It must also withstand pressure, as the pressure of the combustion gases is around 2 to 3 bar.
The intake manifold gasket also plays a role:
- Prevent leakage of exhaust gases as they flow into the intake manifold;
- Facilitate the flow of exhaust gases to the exhaust pipe.
Symptoms and failures of a bad manifold gasket
A faulty manifold gasket presents several symptoms
- Exhaust odor in the cabin.
- Excessive fuel consumption.
- Soot marks on the side of the exhaust manifold.
- Exhaust noise during acceleration.
A defective manifold gasket, if not replaced in time, will no longer provide a seal between the cylinder head and manifold, which can cause a number of problems:
- Cylinder head wear.
- Piston wear
Why intake manifold gaskets fail?
Intake manifold gaskets can fail due to extreme stress or natural wear. For example, allowing your vehicle's engine to overheat can stress the intake manifold gasket to the point of cracking or distortion. If you don't change your vehicle's coolant, it can become acidic and eat away at the gasket material.
But intake manifold gaskets can also fail over time. On average, most intake manifold gaskets last about 60,000 to 80,000 miles before they begin to leak in some way.
Is a leaking intake manifold gasket a problem?
A leaking intake manifold is definitely a problem. The purpose of the intake manifold gasket is to seal the area between the intake manifold and the cylinder head, preventing air and coolant from escaping into the space where these two surfaces meet. If you have a leaking intake manifold, it means that coolant or air - or a combination of both - is leaking between the intake manifold and the cylinder head.
How to repair a leaking intake manifold gasket?
It's usually not possible to repair a leaking intake manifold gasket. Instead, you'll need to replace it with a new intake manifold gasket of the same size and type. This requires removing the intake manifold from your engine, in which case you can remove the intake manifold and replace it with a new one.
How to replace a manifold gasket?
For some vehicles, you'll need to consult the technical manual to find out how to replace a manifold gasket, as there are several components to remove: air filter, air flow meter, etc.
Remove a manifold gasket
- Stop the engine and allow it to cool.
- Disconnect the battery.
- Locate the manifold from which you're removing the gasket.
- Loosen the fasteners on the manifold to be removed.
- Remove the intake or exhaust manifold.
- Remove the gasket from the manifold.
Reassemble a manifold gasket
- Verify that the new manifold gasket is identical to the removed one.
- Check that the air flow meter is working properly.
- Check the condition of the air filter and replace if necessary.
- Lubricate the manifold gasket before installation.
- Install the manifold gasket.
- Replace the intake or exhaust manifold.
- Tighten manifold bolts.
- Install dismantled parts.
- Reconnect the battery.
- Start the engine and check for proper operation.
How to choose a manifold gasket?
To identify your manifold gasket, use our Vehicle Finder by selecting your vehicle's make, model, year and engine. You can then select the part that is compatible with your engine.
Installing a new intake manifold is easier than trying to replace a head gasket, but it's still a somewhat complicated process. If you're comfortable working in your vehicle's engine compartment and have the right tools, you should be able to complete this automotive DIY job in just a few hours.