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Unread 09-10-2009, 05:26 PM   #1
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Default How To: Clean Your Throttle Body

Your throttle body is a very important and commonly neglected part of the engine. A dirty throttle body can cause delayed throttle response, hard gas pedal, and a high or wavering idle. Cleaning the throttle body is a simple procedure and just about the same on every car.

Function of a throttle body: A throttle body is a "throat" that has a butterfly valve. Most cars run on about 15 parts air and 1 part gas that get mixed and combust. The throttle body and the butterfly valve control how much air is put into the mixture. The harder you press the gas pedal, the more the butterfly valve opens. When you floor it, this is called "Wide Open Throttle" and it allows maximum airflow.

Materials Needed:
A cleaner. I recommend SeaFoam Deep Creep cleaner. If that is not available, the cheaper alternative is GUMOUT Carb/Choke Cleaner.
A toothbrush.
Rags of paper towels.
A screwdriver. One Phillips to unscrew the hose fastening, and one very large one to hold the throttle open.

Alright, let's get started.

To locate your throttle body, find your air intake. Follow the hose up to a metal structure, that's it. There should be a clamp holding the hose down to it.

Diagram of Engine: (This obviously varies.)


Step 1: Take out your air filter and inspect both sides of it. If it is dirty, slap it against the pavement to knock some dirt out. If it is very dirty, time for a new filter. This affects performance.



Step 2: Unscrew the air hose that is connected to the throttle body. It is usually fastened by a hose clamp that is easily removed with a Phillips screwdriver. The hose may be hard to take off. Just make sure you unscrewed it all the way, and yank until it comes off. You have now exposed the throttle body (DO NOT DRIVE LIKE THIS!). My throttle throat is relatively clean, I cleaned mine out a few weeks ago. Picture of exposed throttle throat:



Step 3: If you haven't done this in a very long time, there is a good chance the body is charcoal colored. This gunk builds up over long periods of time. There might also be a small hole inside the body. This is called the IAC, or Idle Air Control Valve. It isn't always located here, I'm not sure where else it could be. (I could use some clarification here). In my Toyota Camry, it's located inside the throttle body. A dirty IAC valve can cause my Camry's engine to go haywire, so I recommend cleaning it out also.




Step 4: Attach the spray straw to the cleaner you are using. I will be using GUMOUT Carb/Choke Cleaner. Make sure you don't drop the straw into the throttle. With the butterfly still closed, spray the cleaner in the body and scrub away with the toothbrush. The gunk should let go pretty easily. Wipe away excess with a cloth or paper towel. Clean the top of the butterfly valve also. When you are sure it's clean, move on to Step 5.

Step 5: This might be a little tricky. Using a large screwdriver, you need to find a way to prop the throttle open. Example:



With the throttle wide open, the inside of the throat should look like this:



Step 6: Look how dirty it is back there! Spray cleaner past the butterfly valve and scrub with the toothbrush. I know you won't be able to reach inside there and wipe the excess, so just spray it clean as best as you can. Don't worry about spraying too much, it will just burn away and it is perfectly safe for the engine and exhaust.

Step 7: Close the throttle and reattach the intake hose. Put the black terminal cable back on the battery and try to start the car. Keep your mask open in case anything goes haywire. The car may not start a few times, and it will most likely stutter at first. This is normal. Smoke may also billow out of the exhaust. Only a tiny bit will come out if you used the Carb Cleaner. If you used the SeaFoam, white smoke will come out in LARGE amounts. If you live in an area where people would get angry, do this at night. Let the car run for a few minutes so that all the excess cleaner fluid burns away. You can also hold the car at about 2k RPM to speed up the process.

There, you're done! Next time you go out for a spin you should feel a better throttle response and you may also idle lower. When I did this the first time, my throttle was dark black. I idled above 1,000, and dropped to 750. Something this simple can really make a big difference.

Last edited by Retrospekt; 09-12-2009 at 05:11 PM.

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Unread 09-10-2009, 06:06 PM   #2
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Sweet guide bro. Stuck.
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Unread 09-10-2009, 06:12 PM   #3
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to add to retros post..nice writeup btw.

1.the idle air control valve is a valve to itself although it does attach to the throttle body and the air passages for it are made in the throttle body.most of the idle air control valves you can take apart and clean the carbon out of them as after a long period of time the pintle valve in them will carbon up and start sticking.

as retrospekt said it is important to clean out the passage ways that are in the throttle body for the idle air control valve.esp for chevys and fords they were notorious for carboning up...

2.make sure the cleaner you are using is throttle body safe as some cleaners are not..i know the seafoam deep creep is and it works great..if it's throttle body safe it will have it on the can...

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Unread 09-10-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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Oh, that's priceless.

Thanks for the guide, I planned on cleaning my throttled body before I drive it again which will be in a few months.

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Unread 09-10-2009, 06:52 PM   #5
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Hey, I was reading on the SeaFoam site that your supposed to add like 1/3 of the bottle to the carb or a vacuum line, then add enough to stall the engine.. How do you go by doing that.. Can I just toss 1/3 of the bottle in the engine oil, and 1/3 in the gas tank? (and save the other 1/3 for the next time I fill up?
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Unread 09-10-2009, 06:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cluffenstein View Post
Hey, I was reading on the SeaFoam site that your supposed to add like 1/3 of the bottle to the carb or a vacuum line, then add enough to stall the engine.. How do you go by doing that.. Can I just toss 1/3 of the bottle in the engine oil, and 1/3 in the gas tank? (and save the other 1/3 for the next time I fill up?
You can actually add SeaFoam while the car is running. Run it with the hose off and spray the seafoam in. You can even open the throttle up a little with your finger.

It only takes a short little spray of Carb Cleaner to stall my Toyota while it's on.

Edit: If you do it while the engine is on, you should only do that after you have thoroughly washed and scrubbed it before hand. Also take to mind that it acts like a vacuum. If you spray SeaFoam or Carb Cleaner with the car on, DO NOT USE THE STRAW. I've heard of many people getting their straw sucked in...and that's bad.

Last edited by Retrospekt; 09-10-2009 at 06:59 PM.

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Unread 09-10-2009, 06:56 PM   #7
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Oh, and what about us with Drive by wire throttles?

to it getting sucked in: Its not too bad if you have a turbo, it will chop it in little pieces before it goes into your cylinder and kills your motor eventually (lol)
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Last edited by cluffenstein; 09-10-2009 at 07:00 PM.

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Unread 09-11-2009, 10:22 PM   #8
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Oh, and what about us with Drive by wire throttles?

to it getting sucked in: Its not too bad if you have a turbo, it will chop it in little pieces before it goes into your cylinder and kills your motor eventually (lol)
No idea. :/

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Unread 09-19-2009, 05:37 PM   #9
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I should add that in some cars, you may throw a CEL (Check Engine Light) afterwards. I did it to my brother's sentra. He has a MAF (Mass Air Flow) hose that connects to the intake hose. A lot of cars have this. When you disconnect the MAF hose and run the car with it out (If you were wanting to vacuum in Carb Cleaner or SeaFoam), it will most likely throw a CEL. One you reconnect everything, though, it should go away. Not by itself, but if you disconnect the battery over night or clear it with an OBD scanner, it should stay off.

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Unread 09-19-2009, 08:33 PM   #10
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what you have to do is unplug thew MAF remove the intake then run the car after finished do a hard reset to the cpu and the light would be off. No waiting over noght no scanner required.
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