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Throttle Body Cleaning Question

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Old 05-09-2011, 01:49 PM   #1
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Default Throttle Body Cleaning Question

'04 F-150 5.4 4x4 136,000 miles

I've heard that we should be cleaning our throttle bodies. At 136,000 miles, I bet mine has never been cleaned (bought it at 134k).

I have the Ford Workshop Manual, which clearly says "CAUTION: The throttle body bore and plate area have a special coating and cannot be cleaned"

I also have a can of CRC Throttle Body & Air Intake Cleaner, which says "Safe for use on coated throttle bodies"

It's interesting (to me) that FOrd doesn't say "use a throttle body cleaner that's safe for coatings". They just say it can't be cleaned.

You guys are using throttle body cleaner with no problems?

-Island Truck
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:31 PM   #2
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Just get a can of TB cleaner and an old toot brush and clean away. Ford doesn't want you to clean the TB so they can sell you a new one. They do have a coating on them that helps minimize the carbon buildup so get something safe for coated throttle bodies. Usually a good idea to pull the negative battery cable while your doing it so the PCM can account for any changes the cleaning caused.
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kevhead75 View Post
Just get a can of TB cleaner and an old toot brush and clean away. Ford doesn't want you to clean the TB so they can sell you a new one. They do have a coating on them that helps minimize the carbon buildup so get something safe for coated throttle bodies. Usually a good idea to pull the negative battery cable while your doing it so the PCM can account for any changes the cleaning caused.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:29 PM   #4
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They do have a coating on them that helps minimize the carbon buildup so get something safe for coated throttle bodies.
INCORRECT !

The coating is sprayed on the back side of the throttle plate in order to make a better seal at closed throttle. They want all of the air at idle to go thru the IAC and none of it past the throttle plates. Closing the plate further could result in it becoming locked in the bore.

Cleaning the coating off of the back of the throttle will allow air past it at idle and under certain conditions ice could form, locking the plate.

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Usually a good idea to pull the negative battery cable while your doing it so the PCM can account for any changes the cleaning caused.
How could the cleaning cause any changes unless the minimum throttle angle screw was moved or the TPS was moved.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:14 PM   #5
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INCORRECT !

The coating is sprayed on the back side of the throttle plate in order to make a better seal at closed throttle. They want all of the air at idle to go thru the IAC and none of it past the throttle plates. Closing the plate further could result in it becoming locked in the bore.

Cleaning the coating off of the back of the throttle will allow air past it at idle and under certain conditions ice could form, locking the plate.

How could the cleaning cause any changes unless the minimum throttle angle screw was moved or the TPS was moved.
You are not 100% correct on the coating you self bud.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:07 AM   #6
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I cleaned mine a few months ago while troubleshooting a rough/low idle. Use a soft toothbrush or a rag and you should be fine, just don't scratch it up.

Last edited by bigbrokah; 12-28-2011 at 01:11 AM. Reason: added 'don't scratch it up'
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:07 AM   #7
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i would get somethin made for coated throttle bodies, BUT YOU DONT NEED MUCH SOLUTION. spraying alot can cause a big problem for the engine, spray some on a rag or cloth to clean it. dont just spray it like your takin out a wasp nest
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoldwizard1 View Post
INCORRECT !

The coating is sprayed on the back side of the throttle plate in order to make a better seal at closed throttle. They want all of the air at idle to go thru the IAC and none of it past the throttle plates. Closing the plate further could result in it becoming locked in the bore.

Cleaning the coating off of the back of the throttle will allow air past it at idle and under certain conditions ice could form, locking the plate.

How could the cleaning cause any changes unless the minimum throttle angle screw was moved or the TPS was moved.
The 04 and up does not and IAC valve. So this is incorrect. The drive by wore system allows the pcm full control to adjust idle at all times by moving the butterfly. As for removing the battery cable, do it. Always do it. It's a good practice whenever you mess with anything electrical on the newer vehicles.

As for the op's question. At 136k she could surely use your attention. Use a cleaner thats safe for the finish. Hell even some dawn on a moist rag will work fine without harming anything. Use common sense and don't saturate it. I doubt cleaners safe for the coated surface were around when the manual was written and hence the advice.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:58 AM   #9
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First off, if the truck is idling/running fine, then leave it alone!

I would not recommend the use of a toothbrush, but instead would simply spray the backside and butterfly valve with throttle body cleaner; it's made for this function and will not remove any special coatings.
In watching several of the Saturday morning car shows, they have recommended this as a "tuneup" to help illiminate rough idle issues. And they too do not recommend any cleaner but those specifically designed for throttle bodies. And no scrubbing utensel!

Remove the throttle body first of course. It's an easy, 20 minute proceedure. I too would disconnect the battery; only because it forces the PCM to "re-learn" it's idle, which will get better on a dirty throttle body that's been cleaned. After re-installation, drive the truck for 20 minutes to a half hour.

Last edited by Bucko; 12-28-2011 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:02 PM   #10
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The 04 and up does not and IAC valve. The drive by wire system allows the pcm full control to adjust idle at all times by moving the butterfly.
Yep !

One of the reasons for "drive by wire" was eliminating the IAC.

Second was, you eliminate the cruise control actuator.

Eliminating those parts and the associated brackets, cables, etc. almost paid for the drive by wire system.
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