How to Clean Your EGR Valve?

Cleaning the EGR valve of your vehicle can resolve several engine performance issues you might be experiencing while driving your vehicle. Therefore, it is amongst the top reasons why it is necessary to know how to clean your EGR valve. Knowing how to do this properly will help prevent severe damages to your vehicle due to a clogged EGR valve, plus it will save you from the repair cost of changing your entire valve.

Your vehicle’s EGR valve is an important engine component responsible for reducing the pollutants that come out from the exhaust of your vehicle. This helps to depreciate greenhouse gasses in the air that can be harmful to you or your environment. This is all part of the manufacturer’s design to make the gas-powered vehicles environmentally friendly.

The duty of this component in your vehicle’s system is to help to drastically lower the harmful effect of the gases produced as combustion takes place in your vehicle.

What is an EGR valve?

The ‘Exhaust Gas Recirculation’ (EGR) valve is a major component in your vehicle’s system. It links the exhaust manifold to the intake manifold. It is regulated by the in-built step motor or a vacuum system. The main purpose of the EGR valve to control the emission of Nitrogen Oxides produced by the end-product of a complete combustion process in your vehicle.

how to clean egr valve without removing it

The engine of your vehicle burns diesel or fuel at high temperatures, and in some cases, it burns at a very high temperature. When this temperature gets above 2400 degrees Fahrenheit, your system will most likely produce a gas known as Nitrogen oxides, which cannot be avoided at that temperature. The intake manifold of your vehicle’s engine sucks the air from the environment to aid the combustion process.

When you start the engine of your vehicle, the EGR valve starts functioning simultaneously. Slowly, this valve regulates the escape of the by-product through the exhaust. Once the engine stops operating, the EGR valve will come to a closed state, and this will prevent the flow of gases from the exhaust. The valve then recirculates the gases into the combustion chamber, which lowers the temperature of the combustion reaction. Because the temperature is not enough to allow combustion to take place, there will be no release of toxic gases.

Why clean the EGR valve?

During the recirculation process, the recirculated gases can accumulate on the inner surface of your EGR valve. With time, this can form a dark, thick, and hard wall of carbon deposits, and this can lead to blocking the passageway of the valve. This is part of the major reasons that make cleaning the EGR valve in your vehicle very important.

Most mechanics recommend that you should clean your vehicle’s EGR valve and its various passages at an interval of about 45,000 miles. This will help safeguard the EGR valve and prevent your vehicle from exhibiting symptoms like the engine knocking at low speed or stalling, rough idling, producing strong gasoline fumes while driving, or illuminating your engine check light. All these are signs of a failing EGR valve. Also, if you have a failed EGR valve in your vehicle’s exhaust gas recirculation system, it will make the gases produced from the exhaust of your vehicle toxic and harmful to your health when inhaled.

Removing the dirt, debris, or grease from the passages of your vehicle’s EGR system will prevent the EGR valve from getting clogged, and this can really improve your vehicle’s performance. Regular maintenance of this valve can also help prolong its durability, and this can reduce the chances of the valve getting damaged or faulty. In addition, it can also help save the cost of purchasing a new valve for your vehicle.

You need to know that cleaning the EGR valve of your vehicle does not only for your own benefit. It safeguards the environment by preventing the release of harmful gases from your vehicle, which also helps in protecting the health of others around you. So you see that your EGR valve is worth cleaning.

How to clean the EGR valve?

Cleaning the EGR valve of your vehicle is something you can handle. You do not need to hire a mechanic’s services to assist you in carrying out this process. First, you need to get the right mechanic toolset at a close reach, the best EGR valve cleaner, and also some elbow grease. Once you have gotten that, you now need the right approach that will ensure you successfully carry out this procedure, which is outlined below:

Step One

The first and right approach is to put on your safety kit and always remember that in any mechanical procedure, you are to carry out on your vehicle, safety is of utmost priority. Then park your car on a flat and level surface. Make sure it is put on park mode. Turn off your engine and take off the negative terminal of your vehicle’s battery. An underhood work light can be helpful when doing this during the dark hours of the day.

Step Two

Now you find the location of the EGR valve in your vehicle. The position of the EGR valve in vehicles differs. This depends on the model of your vehicle. Most old vehicles have a controlled unit, it looks like a flat, round metal disk, and a hose is connected to the top. Modern vehicles are designed with an electric vacuum-controlled valve; it has a small sensor on the top. You will also notice an electrical harness that connects this sensor to the electrical system of your vehicle.

Other modern vehicles are designed with digital valves that are controlled electronically. They might appear as a cylinder or block that is accompanied by electrical sensors and harness. It is best to check the manufacturer’s manual to know the kind of EGR valve fixed in your vehicle. You will also be able to locate the exact location of the EGR valve under the bonnet of your vehicle. However, in most vehicles, the EGR valve can be found that the side or top of the vehicle’s engine.

The manufacturer’s manual can also provide a picture location of the EGR valve. If you no longer have the manual, you can contact us to help you locate the valve in your vehicle, or you can try checking those automotive resources online, which can be of great help in locating the valve.

Step Three

Once you have been able to locate the valve, the next step is to remove it to be properly cleaned. You have to be very careful with the process as there might be hoses, accessories, and engine parts that can make it not easy to reach. You will need to gently remove the obstacles on the way before you can begin to remove the EGR valve.

If a vacuum hose accompanies the valve, ensure you disconnect the hose. This hose is very thin, so it can easily get damaged if not handled properly. Inspect the vacuum hose for any cracks, splits, hardening, or softening. If you notice any of these signs, then you need to replace the vacuum hose.

Ensure you unplug the electrical connectors that might be connected to your valve. Spray lubricants on the various bolts to make it easy for you to unscrew. Allow the lubricant to settle for a few minutes so it can penetrate the accumulated rust on the surface of the bolts. Then, take-off the valve’s mounting bolts. The mounting bolts on the EGR valve vary for some vehicles. Some may be designed with two while others four.

Also, inspect if your vehicle’s EGR valve has a pipe that is connected to the exhaust manifold. If it is, disconnect it. Now you remove the valve and also the gasket. Examine the state of the gasket. If you notice any cracks or uneven wear, you will need to replace it, or you can also take the option of recycling it.

Step Four

For this step, please make sure your gloves and safety glasses are well-positioned. You can also put on a mask. This is because you are going to remove carbon deposits from the various sections of your EGR valve. Doing this can cause the release of certain gases that should not be inhaled.

Now get a genuine Chrysler EGR system cleaner and apply it to the carbon deposits. Another option is to use a carburetor cleaner. If this cleaning solution comes in contact with any the electrical parts or components, make you clean it off immediately.

Use a brush and a scraper to remove the accumulated carbon. Make sure you also remove the carbon on the surface of the valve and its entry and exit terminals. You can also clean the carbon deposit on the piston, the EGR system’s pipe, and some other ports. Completely clean off the carbon with a soft brush and use a clean cloth to wipe off the surface. You might need to repeat this process a couple of times to ensure no more carbon deposits are left. Please avoid mounting or gouging sealing surfaces.

You have difficulty in removing the accumulated carbon with a brush. You can try soaking the valve in the genuine Chrysler EGR system cleaner for some minutes. Remember, do not allow the plastic or electric components to be immersed in the solution.

If you are guessing that there are carbon deposits in your intake manifold, you can spray the EGR valve cleaner on it. But it is best to take a look at the cleaner’s manufacturer manual if you are allowed to do this. A different type of cleaning solution might be needed.

Step Five

Immediately after you are done cleaning, you can begin to couple back the EGR valve and the other components into the system. Make sure these components are fixed at the appropriate places. If you need to change your gasket, now is the best time to do this. Tighten the bolts and reconnect your vacuum hose and the pipes or any other components.

Reconnect your vehicle’s battery and start your engine. You can check your engine indicators for any signal. If none, you did a good job. Well-done! The only way to very certain is to take your car for a drive. You should not notice any sound or stalling of the engine. You are also not supposed to perceive gas fumes.

How to clean the EGR valve without removing it?

After using your vehicle for a long time, carbon starts to accumulate deposits in the EGR valve, reducing the ability of the valve in performing its function as an exhaust gate attendant. These carbon deposits accumulate until the EGR valve stops functioning. This can lead to a variety of drivability problems, none of which are desirable. When this error occurs, there are two main solutions: clean or replace the EGR valve.

how to remove egr valve

Here is an easy process that will aid you on how to clean your EGR valve without removing it:

Step One

The aerosol must be pulverized between the air filter and the intake manifold after the airflow sensor. If your vehicle does not have an airflow sensor, then you have to spray the EGR valve cleaner directly to your air filter but first, clean the air filter from dust or debris.

Step Two

Run your engine till it reaches its normal temperature of use. Carefully disconnect the air intake pipe and maintain idle between 1500 and 2000 rpm. Spray three or four bursts of the genuine Chrysler EGR system cleaner or your preferred EGR valve cleaner additive at a minimum of one second into your air intake pipe. During the pulverization, the rpm can go up or down, and fuel or diesel knocking can increase. This is due to the addition of liquid and the change of air/fuel ratio.

Step Three

Change the engine speed from 1000 to 3000 rev/min during one minute. Repeat the operations: engine speed between 1500 and 2000 rpm. Then apply three or four bursts of the EGR valve cleaner into the air intake manifold. One minute of acceleration between 1000 and 3000 rpm. Then pause after ten times. You can stop when the valve cleaner is consumed.

Step Four

Turn off your engine. Gently refit the air intake pipe. You can add an additive to your fuel or diesel. Drive for 10 miles while regularly increasing engine speed to 3000 rpm. Driving a long distance at high engine speeds of up to 50km should improve the cleaning. You can remove your EGR valve to ascertain the effect of this process.
If a fault indicator is displayed on your vehicle’s dashboard, you can ask a mechanic to erase the fault code with a car diagnostic tool.

Benefits of EGR valve cleaning?

EGR valve reduces the combustion temperature of the running engine from around 750 ° C to around 400 ° C, which noticeably reduces the nitrogen oxides emitted. Many modern diesel vehicles today also have an exhaust gas recirculation cooler. This exhaust gas recirculation cooler also lowers the temperature of the exhaust gases used before they re-enter the valve.

Also, Exhaust gas recirculation is one of the most effective measures to reduce pollutants from internal combustion engines. According to experts, the process can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 50 percent. There is no better solution to the exhaust gas problem for the classic combustion engine, especially the diesel.

FAQs

Q: Should I clean or replace the EGR valve?

Suppose the vehicle continues to be used despite a defective EGR valve, pollutant emissions increase, which is environmentally harmful. In addition, further exhaust ducts can then become clogged.

Here it is worthwhile to have the workshop check whether cleaning is a sensible option. However, knowing how to do this yourself can save you the cost of cleaning your EGR valve. This might not be a permanent solution to the problem, it can temporarily ensure that the symptoms mentioned above disappear.

If the EGR valve already shows strong coking i.e., soot stuck on the material which means that the valve flap can no longer be closed or remains open, a change is the only sensible solution. If the function of the valve is not restricted and there is no other defect such as breakage or crack in the component, it can be worthwhile to loosen the parts carefully and to clean the valve thoroughly.

Q: Can you drive with a bad EGR valve?

Since the EGR valve, with its actuating mechanism, is located in the flow of the exhaust gases, it is the most sensitive component of exhaust gas recirculation. Due to the soot contained in the exhaust gas, the adjusting mechanism of the EGR valve becomes dirty over time, which can lead to the EGR valve no longer being able to open or close properly. If the valve cannot close properly, the resulting lack of fresh air under full load results in a loss of performance and black smoke from your engine.

Also, if the EGR valve is stuck in the closed state, it is possible that no symptoms can be recognized while driving. Also, when the exhaust gas is measured, a significantly increased amount of nitrogen oxide is then recorded. In addition, a dirty EGR valve (which inevitably also means contamination in the intake system) can result in increased fuel consumption.

Another indication of a defective EGR valve is a stored error in the error memory. This does not necessarily require a position sensor on the EGR valve that detects the set points that the valve has not reached. If the EGR valve is defective, other sensors can also strike, such as pressure or temperature sensors, which record lower or contradicting values due to the lack of exhaust gas.

Q: Where can I spray my EGR valve cleaner?

Take away the flexible host that is found between the turbocharger or intercooler and the air intake manifold. Continue to move the engine on idle. Shake vigorously before use. Spray the product for two whole seconds into the air intake manifold. Do not under any circumstances spray the liquid into the turbocharger or the intercooler!

First, to clean the affected valves and system, bring the engine to operating temperature and then switch it off. Take-off your air intake hose and kick-off your engine at a constant rpm of 2000. Continuously, apply the system cleaner on the EGR valve from a distance of about 20 cm into your vehicle’s manifold until about half of the spray bottle is used up, and the engine runs smoothly again.

In the case of stubborn incrustations, allow the EGR valve cleaner to take effect for a while. Attach the suction hose so that the electronic engine control can adjust itself. Drive a few kilometers to remove the soot deposits. If necessary, repeat the process.

Q: What happens if I disconnect my EGR valve?

The main cause of the failure of an EGR valve is coking, which means that the component will usually work again if it is thoroughly cleaned. However, cleaning is only recommended to a limited extent because, depending on the vehicle, the turbocharger, and, if necessary, the drive shaft must also be removed to remove the valve. The assembly effort drives up the costs, and the EGR valve itself is comparatively cheap.

Deactivating the EGR valve is not recommended for the same reason because, of course, the valve has to be removed and cleaned beforehand before it can be deactivated. You also lose your car’s operating license and may be liable to prosecution for tax evasion. Deactivation to increase performance is also illegal if the vehicle is to continue to use public road traffic.

Q: Does removing EGR increase power?

The answer is no! When the EGR is intact, the engine pulls through better. The injection nozzles (injectors) remain clean. Fuel consumption will also decrease. The intake tract remains clean and does not coke (since only fresh air is supplied), and finally, the diesel particle filter is less sooty.

But when the EGR is removed: Burned exhaust gases are fed into the intake tract and burned again, which in the long run cokes the entire intake system and can clog the intake ducts by up to 80%, which means that the engine has almost no air to breathe. And also, the engine is losses power; the nitrogen level increases.

The engine runs in emergency mode, black smoke comes out of the exhaust, the fuel consumption increases significantly.

Q: How do I know if my EGR valve is working?

The following symptoms prove that your EGR valve is working: poor performance of your vehicle’s engine, the engine has a rough idle, increased fuel consumption, the persistent smell of gasoline fumes, and engine management light turning on.

Final Words

Most motorists are unaware of the significance of the EGR valve to their vehicle system, but by now, you should know the importance of this valve in the proper functioning of your vehicle’s engine. Most importantly, it benefits your environment. So, it is a lot relevant you know how to clean your EGR valve properly. Hopefully, you now understand how easy the cleaning process of this valve is. If your vehicle is exhibiting any of the symptoms of a clogged EGR valve, why not try cleaning the EGR valve yourself and get your engine running at its peak.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

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