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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How Does an Idle Air Control Valve Work? (IAC)

Introduction
An IAC (idle air control) motor is designed to adjust the engine idle RPM speed by opening and closing an air bypass passage inside the throttle body. The cars computer or ECM (electronic control module) receives information from various sensors and will output signals to adjust the IAC motor in or out to adjust engine idle speed by controlling engine idle air. An IAC motor can fail one of two ways, either the motor short circuits and stops working or the motor will develop high resistance and cause the IAC control motor to react slowly, either failure can cause the engine to stall at idle. When a trouble code scan is performed it sometimes won't always detect a failed or weak IAC motor. To check the IAC motor remove the unit, with the wires connected turn the key to the "on" position without starting the engine, the IAC should move in or out. If the IAC motor does nothing it has probably failed, replace it with a new unit and recheck system. Note: while the IAC motor is removed clean (use aerosol carburetor cleaner) the passages the IAC uses to control idle air speed, also inspect the IAC for a build-up on the seating (pointed) end and clean as necessary.

Idle Air Control Valve (appearance will vary)

Common Problems

An IAC motor is highly susceptible to carbon and coking build up; if an IAC goes too long without cleaning it can cause stalling and poor idle quality. Some cars are designed with a large vacuum transfer hose that connects the intake manifold to the IAC (idle air control) motor. If a broken or dilapidated these vacuum lines can cause the engine to lose vacuum which will allow the engine to run rough and die. Inspect all engine and accessory vacuum lines to look for missing, torn or dilapidated lines and replace as needed. Any car that is designed with a magnetic non-motor operated IAC like Toyota/Lexus is subject to carbon and should be cleaned about every 40,000 miles to avoid stalling.

Basic Maintenance

To check the IAC motor remove the unit, with the wires connected turn the key to the "on" position without starting the engine, the IAC should move in or out. If the IAC motor does nothing it has probably failed, replace it with a new unit and recheck system. Note: while the IAC motor is removed clean (use aerosol carburetor cleaner) the passages the IAC uses to control idle air speed, also inspect the IAC for a build-up on the seating (pointed) end and clean as necessary.

Source by: http://www.2carpros.com/how_does_it_work/how_an_idle_air_control_iac_works.htm

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