The intake manifold is an important engine component without which a car cannot function properly.
It is responsible for the precise distribution of air into the engine cylinders for combustion. Therefore, combustion in the engine is not possible without an intake manifold.
In addition, if the intake manifold fails, the vital functions of your car deteriorate and the performance of the car decreases.
Inside the intake manifold are gaskets that seal the air from the coolant flowing nearby. When the seals inside the intake manifold wear out, you will experience some symptoms.
If you pay attention to these symptoms, you can save a lot of money in the long run.
Signs of a Bad Intake Manifold
The most common problem with the intake manifold is a blown gasket. Since gaskets are made of steel and rubber and are relatively thin, they can break very easily.
When the engine is running, the gaskets are under real pressure, and over time they can deteriorate to such an extent that the car feels the effect. Normally a gasket has to be replaced after 50,000 to 70,000 miles if everything else is working well. If it fails, you’ll see a number of signs.
Some newer cars have swirl flaps in the intake manifold that can fail. In this case, you often have to replace the entire intake with a new one!
You can find intake manifolds at Amazon, but make sure you choose the right model for your car engine. You can find them here: Intake Manifolds
1. Engine Overheating
The intake manifold gasket seals the air from mixing with the coolant chamber. If the seal fails, the coolant starts to leak; the first effect is felt by the engine, which starts to overheat due to the loss of coolant. You will see this while driving when the temperature gauge rises on your dashboard. It is advisable to see the mechanic as soon as this happens, as an overheated engine can seize up and stop working completely. In emergency situations, topping up the coolant can cause your car to run for several kilometres longer. Learn more about overheating here: Overheating car engine.
2. Loss in Engine Performance or Misfires
When the intake manifold fails, the fuel and air ratio is affected. We all know how important the air-fuel mixture is for efficient combustion, so any effect on this mixture can affect your car’s fuel consumption. You will find that you burn more fuel and fill the fuel tank more often. Not only that, you will also feel that your car is not accelerating properly and that the engine has hiccups. Whenever this happens, you should visit your local mechanic to have your car checked.
3. Leaking Coolant
If the intake manifold fails, the coolant starts to leak from it. To inspect the leak, you must look under the vehicle or around the intake manifold. Any coolant leakage unnecessarily destroys the performance of your vehicle.
Cleaning & Repairing the Intake Manifold
Although the intake manifold is visually visible, all problems associated with the manifold are inside, so you can’t repair or clean anything without opening half the engine. However, for the sake of all petrol heads reading this, we will tell you how best to clean the intake manifold and its gasket.
Things you will need:
Necessary tools to remove the intake manifold
Removing the Intake Manifold
The intake manifold is a bundle of pipes that normally connect the engine at the top. It is hard to miss, but it is often very difficult to dismantle, so it is better to have this part done by a mechanic. But if you are competent and qualified enough to open the intake manifold, do it! When you have opened the manifold, first take out the gasket and check if it has a crack somewhere. If so, it is a cracked gasket that can be easily replaced but not repaired.
Also check for signs of cracks in the intake manifold from which it could draw in air. If your intake has swirl flaps inside, check the swirl flaps in the manifold, and if they are broken, you will need to replace the entire manifold.
Cleaning the Intake Manifold
To clean the intake manifold and gasket, you must first wash them with water. After washing the intake manifold and its parts with water, let them dry. Once the parts are dry, grease all joints and reassemble the intake manifold.
Always be careful not to allow dirt or other contaminants to enter the intake manifold. Use a blower if necessary. Finally, reassemble everything and place the intake manifold back where it belongs. All this is easier said than done, so use extreme caution when handling heavy engine components.
Intake Manifold Replacement Cost
Chances are that you are in the majority and dismantling the intake manifolds is not your thing. In this case you need a mechanic to help you out. Mechanics have the right tools and motivation to repair a bad intake manifold.
However, remember that dismantling an engine requires a lot of hard work, so you have to expect exorbitant labour costs.
In general, labor costs should be around $150 to $300, but that depends on the make and model of your car. As we mentioned above, the most common problem with a defective intake manifold is a broken gasket. These steel and rubber plates are not repairable, so you will have to replace them with new ones. Fortunately, gaskets are not very expensive, and a gasket should cost you about $80 to $120.
Once your mechanic has successfully disassembled and reassembled the intake manifold, it’s time for you to take a look at the performance of your vehicle. It is quite possible that your mechanic will do the repair and the problem still exists, so it is necessary to drive the car and check it before you give him the money. First add fresh coolant to your radiator until the radiator is filled to the brim. Secondly, start your car and let it heat up.
When the temperature reading remains stable for a good 10-15 minutes, try driving off and accelerating. If the temperature indicator rises, the problem still exists, which means that the mechanic will have to repeat the tedious process. Otherwise, there may be another burst seal in the system that needs to be replaced.