Cleaning the Idle Air Control Valve? [Archive] - Forum


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03-22-2004, 11:43 AM
When you guys clean the Idle Air Control valve, do you just clean off the spindle, or do you also shoot carb cleaner into the actual valve itself?

03-22-2004, 11:45 AM
I tried carb cleaner on one once in the past and it killed it. I don't know if it was a fluke, but that was the last time I used carb cleaner on it...

BTW, did you know that your rabbit has a pancake on it's head? :P

H.O. Driver
03-22-2004, 11:49 AM
electrical/carb cleaner will kill them, they don't like it for some reason. Same trouble with the GPs.

03-22-2004, 11:40 PM
Thanks for the help guys. I got it all cleaned out... I used carb cleaner on the very tip of it, but didn't spray it on it.... worked great :)

I also sprayed into the valve.... tons of buildup in there!

Pancake? What pancake? ;)

03-23-2004, 10:31 PM
when i did mine i just cleaned off the end (pindle)

03-23-2004, 10:56 PM
use TB cleaner, little less harsh then carb cleaner.

03-23-2004, 11:22 PM
If your pindle is dirty chances are your valve is even worse... The valve is the little passageway that runs above the TB (and in the direction of heading towards the upper manifold)... when I sprayed mine a TON of crap came out.

03-24-2004, 09:47 AM
Did you get performance back or hesitation back or was this just preventitive maintenence?

03-24-2004, 10:41 AM
anyone have a pic of this. i have no clue where it's located. would just like to take a look at it.;) also, my girlfriend's car, 96 saturn sc1, is having some idle problems. she said she's never had the fuel filter replaced since she' had the car, and she's at 89k miles. :rolleyes: u think this might cause a higher idle? or would cleaning the iac valve thingy work too?? hell, maybe she just needs a tune-up. i dunno. doubt she's had one of them either.

03-24-2004, 11:58 AM
I had intermitent surging idle at startup sometimes... and cleaning the IAC took care of it! :)

When you don't have your foot on the gas, your throttle plate is blocking your throttle body, letting very little air by.
The IAC is basically a bypass valve that runs above the plate, allowing air to bypass the plate when at idle. The spindle is attatched to a motor which extends and retracts it, controlling how much air is allowed to bypass the throttle body (this is how it controls your idle speed).
My IAC valve was really gunked up at 67k miles. Open up the TB plate (press down on the spring loaded mechanism) and shove a papertowel in the TB. Then spray a bunch of carb cleaner in the IAC valve. All the junk and cleaner will fall on the paper towel.

There is a pic SOMEWHERE on this board... I think it was posted by the owner of Doctor Speed (Kyle?)... I'd look for it for you, but I had a hell of hard time finding it.

03-24-2004, 03:47 PM
I have the same problem... thanks for the tip brendon, i'll clean that out tomorrow :thumbs:

03-24-2004, 03:59 PM
Originally posted by Brendon

There is a pic SOMEWHERE on this board... I think it was posted by the owner of Doctor Speed (Kyle?)... I'd look for it for you, but I had a hell of hard time finding it.

ok, i found the pic.

iac valve pic (

and from what is circled, it looks like something electronic that is plugged in. so do u unhook the plug or something? do u have to unhook everything, like my CAI, or can it be cleaned with everything on?
im a moron lol. i need step-by-step directions.:confused:

03-24-2004, 05:21 PM
You will need to have access to the throttle body so you can stick a towel in it to catch all the dirty carb cleaner that comes out of the IAC valve. So yes, you'll need to be looking just like the picture with the air hoses disconnected.

There is a wire running to it that you simply unplug. To remove the IAC motor unit, you will need a torx (star) wrench, T-20 I believe.
Just remove the two torx bolts and pull it out... spray a little carb cleaner on a paper towel and clean off the metal head of the unit. Then follow my above directions for cleaning out the valve (like I said, the valve is the little tunnel heading in the direction of the upper intake manifold (that says 3400 on it). Just take some carb cleaner with a straw on it and spray it out real well.

03-24-2004, 08:11 PM
I have the same problem but cleaning the IAC Valve, passage, AND throttle body only fixed it for a week or so, when it came back I tried cleaning it again and it didnt help so ive been chasing the problem ever since.

03-24-2004, 09:38 PM
Hmm... well let us know if you get it figured out Jesse. If it's easy to reproduce, I'd just take it to a dealer, let them hook it up to a scanner and see what's abnormal while it surges.

03-25-2004, 07:58 AM
well thanks to ur awesome step-by-step directions:thumbs: i was able to remove it pretty easily. it had caked up lookin dirt stuff all along the rim. here's a pic of it.

03-25-2004, 08:14 AM
ok, and here's an after pic of the same thing. :thumbs: thanks brendon, u da man! :cheers:

03-25-2004, 12:39 PM
Was the valve pretty dirty too?

03-25-2004, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by Brendon
Was the valve pretty dirty too?

ohhhhhhhhhhh yeah!! took me awhile to get all the stuff out.

03-25-2004, 09:02 PM
I allready took it to the dealer but it wouldnt act up for them because it was raining and it dosent do it in the rain. On the bright side of things the tech. guy cleaned my MAF sensor and it dosent seem to do it as bad as before and they did it all for FREE.

03-26-2004, 10:53 AM
Well, just cleaned mine out... and holy crap it was dirty!! Also got some TB cleaner, and sprayed that out really well too.

A little advice, make sure you plug the IAC back in BEFORE you start your car... i forgot to and thought my car was going to blow up. It decided to idle at 3K :eek:

03-29-2004, 10:22 AM
Well, cleaning out the IAC and TB did not solve my erratic idle at startup. Could that be the EGR valve??

03-29-2004, 05:14 PM
Originally posted by ryGT1
Well, cleaning out the IAC and TB did not solve my erratic idle at startup. Could that be the EGR valve?? Check for a vacuum leak somewhere . And yeah the EGR valve could be sticking open and causing an erratic idle . ;)

03-29-2004, 07:38 PM
Already checked for any kind of vacuum leak, so I guess I'll replace the EGR valve.

03-29-2004, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by ryGT1
Already checked for any kind of vacuum leak, so I guess I'll replace the EGR valve. It could be the EGR , but before you start spending money replacing parts you should get it checked out , there's other things that it could be also .

04-01-2004, 03:23 PM
Alright, I want to solve this problem. I just changed the fuel filter for the first time on Tuesday, and it didn't solve the problem. Reason I think its the EGR: It only does it when the engine in cold, and when its cold out. So if I run my car for a bit, turn it off, start it again, it starts just fine.

Today, the idle variation was so extreme it almost stalled the car out!

08-25-2005, 10:15 AM
Like it was said in another thread...Could be a Evap Canister Purge Valve malfunction too...I got the same :rtfm idle problem for some time now.

Will try some of those soon...

08-25-2005, 10:26 AM
Holy old thread.

I fixed the problem, but I'm not really sure what did it. I had the LIM leak, so I replaced that, the rear O2 sensor, and EGR valve GASKETS at the same time. So far so good... over a year later.