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Throttle Lag Engine Hesitating Try Cleaning Your Throttle Body

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Throttle Lag Engine Hesitating Try Cleaning Your Throttle Body

Created on: 2020-12-06

In this video, Len shows you his preferred method of cleaning up the throttle body so that you can get more life out of it!

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Something often overlooked when doing maintenance on your vehicle is cleaning your throttle body. If yours looks like this, well then, it needs to be cleaned. Let's talk about it.

Now, your throttle body on your vehicle is gonna generally be attached to your engine. And what it's supposed to do is actually control the amount of air getting drawn into your combustion chamber so it can mix with the amount of fuel for the proper combustion in your vehicle. With that said, to find the throttle body, what you'd wanna do is find your air filter housing like this. You're gonna find an air inlet tube, and it's gonna generally run down to where it looks like it connects onto the engine, but it's actually the throttle body. And that's gonna be in between your air intake and your engine itself. But essentially, if you were to just follow this tube, you're gonna be able to find the throttle body. Generally, it's either gonna be on the front of the engine or even one of the sides, maybe even the top.

Once you've located the throttle body, you also wanna make sure that you have everything out of the way, so you'll be able to service it. At this point, I have a clear view of the inside butterfly of my throttle body. As you can tell, it's very dirty. Now, some people will choose to clean these while they're still in the vehicle, but personally, I prefer to remove them. It's fairly simple. Usually, there's three or four mounting bolts. Once we get that off, we'll have a better view of the backside. Now that we have this off of the vehicle, let's bring it over to the bench so we have a nice, clear view. Looking all in here, all those black areas right there is carbon buildup. Any of that can, of course, restrict this butterfly valve from opening and closing as it should, which of course would create delayed engagement of your throttle. So, you go to step on the gas, it seems like it hesitates a little bit and then, of course, it takes off. You might also notice that you have poor runability or rough idle if your throttle body looks like this.

Theoretically, it could be a lot worse, though. Looking at this one, which is off of another vehicle, you can see that that's very dirty. And then if I was to turn it over, well, that was definitely a real issue. For this particular vehicle that we were working on at that time, well, it really only made sense to just go ahead and replace the throttle body as opposed to trying to clean it because, well, you can see what I'm talking about.

Before we just jump right into the cleaning aspect, there's something that I also wanted to mention. There's gonna be different types of throttle bodies. You have an electronic throttle body, which of course, would have electrical wires that lead to it and it leads to a motor. Otherwise, you might have a throttle body that just has a cable going to it that comes from your accelerator pedal. As you step on the accelerator pedal, the cable is gonna pull on a lever and that's, of course, gonna open up this butterfly. It's a lot less technical than this one right here.

All right. So, I grabbed a different throttle body here. This is another electronic one. You can see where the connector goes in. This is where you're gonna get your reference from your PCM to let it know where this throttle body butterfly is supposed to be at. If you were to look inside, which I don't recommend opening up, you're gonna be able to see the motor area, and of course, the gears, and then this is the area that's gonna control that butterfly. So, essentially, as I move this butterfly around, while I'm trying to clean it, there's a possibility that I could cause an issue with the calibration for our throttle body, which of course, is no good. Something else to think about is there's gonna be an area for fluid to get down inside this area. And of course, while you're cleaning it, if you were to have it tilted in this direction and fluid came down into the circuit board area, well, you can just imagine what would happen. So, with all that said, you definitely don't wanna go pushing on your butterfly like this while you're trying to clean it. Let's set this aside.

So, now it's time to move along to actually cleaning this. And like I said before, you don't wanna hold it like this so that the fluid that we're spraying in can make its way down into that circuit board. Hold it like this, like this, or even like that, but definitely not like this. Go ahead and use some throttle body cleaner. And we're just gonna coat this whole area right like that. Let it sit for a little bit. Do the other side. It's gonna hang out and do its job. We'll let it sit. Give it a little scrub. When you do this, you wanna use something with soft bristles. You don't wanna use any type of metal bristles because we don't wanna scour the actual metal of the throttle body itself. Like I said before, be very careful not to push on that butterfly. Let's get this as clean as possible. Okay. That looks pretty good for now. Let's go ahead and do the other side. Now, let's go ahead and wipe this down with a nice, clean rag. This is gonna let us know if we missed any spots. If you did, just go ahead and clean it down again. Let's just do the same to the other side now.

So, now we've got the front side and the back side of this cleaned. As you can tell, the butterfly looks great. The area all around it, where the air is gonna get drawn in, is nice and clean and it's not black. You can technically clean these without actually removing them from the vehicle, but what's the odds that you're gonna be able to get out all the debris on the outside and, of course, on the backside? Now, if for some reason you did decide that you want to try to clean this on the vehicle and you had the electronic throttle body, what you could try to do would have somebody inside the vehicle put the key in the on position but not running, step on that accelerator nice and slow. That's gonna open up this butterfly. And then, of course, you can try to spray it, give it a nice wipe with all your brushes and your rag and everything and clean it out the best you could. Is it probable that you're gonna get everything on the back side? Well, I would say probably not. That's why I always choose to remove it. Another reason why I choose to remove the throttle body from the engine to clean it is because imagine if I had it still attached here, I'm spraying everything, I'm scrubbing everything and then spraying it some more, where's all that debris gonna go? Into my engine.

Now, before you go ahead and put your throttle body back on the engine, you wanna make sure that the seal where it's supposed to mount onto is nice and clean and clear of debris. If it looks like it has crud on it like this one, make sure you brush it away from the hole because you definitely don't want any dirt inside of the system. I'm just gonna take a little finger full of oil and put it right along that seal. And then, of course, we're gonna reinstall our throttle body. We're gonna snug it up and then we'll torque it to manufacturer's specifications. It's important to make sure that you torque them to the manufacturer's specifications. If you under-tighten them, there's a possibility that you could draw unmetered and unfiltered air into your intake and, of course, that's gonna cause engine issues. If you over-torque them, well, you could crack a plastic intake, which of course, also, engine issues.

Okay. Friends, once everything is cleaned, torqued, and put back together fully, you're gonna go ahead and recalibrate your throttle body. Typically, when you do that, you wanna go by your manufacturer's specific procedure. On most vehicles, though, typically, what you can do is go ahead and put the key in the on position without the vehicle running. After you've done that, go ahead and take your foot and put it straight down on that gas pedal all the way down to the floor. Let it sit there for approximately 5 to 10 seconds. After that, go ahead and slowly release that accelerator pedal, wait until it completely retracts, and then, of course, turn off the key, restart the vehicle, and then take your vehicle for a road test.

Hey, friends. So, that's what I've got for you on cleaning your throttle body on your vehicle. If you have a throttle body that looks like this, it's gonna take a little bit longer to clean up. But more than likely you'll be able to get it to look pretty good. If not, of course, you can check us out at With that said, I hope you liked the video. If you did, smash on the like button for me. It would mean the world. While you're at it, go ahead and subscribe, ring the bell that way there you can be kept up with all of our latest content. Thanks.

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