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Cleaning Throttle Bodies

A basic solution to a very common problem.
» Diagnosis
» Time To Get Dirty
» Stronger Than Dirt

It's time to go to work so you get into your trusty steed. You turn the key and the engine starts right up and the cold fast idle is good. You drive down the street for a few blocks to a red light, come to a stop and your car stalls. You know the stall comes at a bad time because the cab in back of you is leaning on his horn and your hair is starting to curl. You restart your car, step on the gas and it stumbles a little bit when you accelerate.

You come to the next light and it stalls again. That cab is still behind you and the driver leans out the window and suggests a few things, none of which has anything to do with your car. You still have the stall and stumble and it is there when the car is warm so you can eliminate all the cold engine causes from your troubleshooting checklist. This is really annoying you so come Saturday morning the hood goes up and you get down to work.

Diagnosis: Deposits

The Check Engine light didn't come on and there are no codes stored in the computer. You look around the engine and all the sensors and control devices are plugged in tightly and securely. Now what? You check all the vacuum lines. That's a good idea because a vacuum line could be pinched or burned in an area that is difficult to see. But check them all and make sure they are not cracked or burned from rubbing against something like an EGR tube or exhaust manifold. Make sure they are on tight and correctly.

And don't forget, Murphy's law states the last hose you check is the one that will be the cause of the problem. If all the hoses are good and tight, then another good possibility is gum and varnish has accumulated in the throttle body.

To verify this you'll need to remove the air intake duct between the air filter housing and the throttle body.

» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3

Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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