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Clean an electronic throttle body

How to perform an electronic throttle body cleaning

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 perform an electronic throttle body cleaning procedure. Over time, carbon buildup can accumulate around the throttle plate, changing it’s “home” position. Even though the PCM has learned new baseline home positions, the carbon interrupts the flow of air past the throttle plate. You’ll get a smoother idle if you perform a Ford electronic throttle body cleaning. Here’s how to do it.

WARNING: Do not do this while the throttle body is on the vehicle. 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.

1) Buy a new throttle body gasket, an aerosol can of throttle body cleaner, and a toothbrush. Do NOT use carburetor cleaner. The solvents in carb cleaner can damage some of the plastic parts used in an electronic throttle body.

2) 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.

5) Wear rubber gloves for the following steps. Spray the underside of the Ford electronic throttle body throttle plate with cleaner

Ford electronic throttle body cleaning

Remove carbon buildup from the bottom of the throttle plate

and let it soak. Don’t allow the solvent to seep into the electronics portion of the throttle body–it can damage the interior parts.

Then wipe off as much buildup as possible. Spray it again and use the toothbrush to scrub remaining buildup. Wipe again with a shop rag.

6) Spray the other side of the throttle plate and clean using the same technique.

7) Open the throttle plate and scrub the edge of the throttle plate.

Ford electronic throttle body cleaning

Clean the edge of the throttle plate

8) Spray cleaner on a rag and wipe any carbon from the bore of the throttle body. Then spray both sides again and let it dry.

9) Re-install the Ford electronic throttle body with the new gasket. Torque the retaining nuts to spec.

Then perform the electronic throttle body relearn for your engine.

©, 2015 Rick Muscoplat




Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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