Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Clean an electronic throttle body

Clean electronic throttle body — step-by-step

If you own a late model fuel injected vehicle, chances are it has an electronic throttle body. They can suffer from carbon buildup just like the older idle air control valve, so you may need to do a clean electronic throttle body procedure. Over time, carbon buildup can accumulate around the throttle plate, blocking the plate’s ability to completely close or reducing the amount of air that can pass at a partially open position. It’s fairly easy to clean a mechanical throttle body while it’s still on the engine. But you should never try cleaning an electronic throttle body while it’s on the engine. You must remove it an clean it off the vehicle. Here’s why:

An electronic throttle body is built with a powerful motor and a gear reduction set that’s strong enough to cut off your fingers! If you force the throttle plate open while the unit is on the vehicle, it will try to close and may cause injury. In addition, you need access to the backside of the throttle plate, something that’s impossible to clean while it’s still on the vehicle.

Clean an electronic throttle body— Step 1

Supplies you need to clean an electronic throttle body

• New throttle body gasket

• Aerosol can of throttle body cleaner, and a toothbrush. throttle body cleaner

Clean an electronic throttle body— Step 1

Do NOT use carburetor cleaner. The solvents in carb cleaner can damage some of the plastic parts used in an electronic throttle body.

• Socket set and pliers (to remove any vacuum or coolant hoses).

​Clean electronic throttle body— Step 2

1) Find and label all small vacuum hoses going to the throttle body. If you don’t do that know, you may forget which ports they attach to. Use removable (blue) masking tape and number both the hose and the port using a sharpie marker.

2) Disconnect the air duct from the throttle body. Most air ducts are attached with worm drive clamps or plastic snap clamps. Undo the clamps first. Then check for any sensors in the air duct. If you find sensors, disconnect the electrical connectors and label them. If you can’t remove the clamps, leave this job to the professionals.

3) Disconnect the negative battery terminal to prevent accidental activation of the radiator fan.

4) Remove the electronic throttle body from the intake manifold and place it on shop rags on your workbench.

​Clean electronic throttle body— Step 3

Wear rubber gloves for the following steps. Spray the cleaner onto a rag and wipe the liquid onto the throttle plate and throat. Let it soak.Ford electronic throttle body cleaning

Remove carbon buildup from the bottom of the throttle plateDon’t allow the solvent to seep down the throttle plate shaft and into the electronics portion of the throttle body–it can damage the interior parts.

Then wipe off as much buildup as possible. Spray the rag again and continue wetting and wiping the carbon buildup until it softens. Then use a toothbrush to scrub remaining buildup. Wipe again with a shop rag.

Use the same technique on the Spray the other side of the throttle plate and clean using the same technique.

Ford electronic throttle body cleaning

Clean the edge of the throttle plate

​Clean electronic throttle body— Step 4

Install the new gasket and throttle body. Torque the retaining nuts to spec.

Then perform the electronic throttle body relearn for your engine.

©, 2015 Rick Muscoplat

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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat



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