It looks like this.

enter image description here

enter image description here

There are two reasons I suspect the idle air control might be faulty.

  1. When you start the engine the RPMs shoot straight up to 4000 for a second or two before going down to normal.
  2. When coming to a stop sometimes the idle will drop down to 500 or less for a second. Sometimes the engine almost stalls because of this.

I've read the problem might be a faulty idle air controller. I've read some of them you can soak in gasoline and some you can clean out with carb cleaner. But I don't know if you can do that with mine and I don't want to ruin it.

Alternatively, if it can't be cleaned would you ever use one from a junkyard? I know they're only $30 new but I'm going to shoestring budget here.

1 Answer 1


Yes you can clean it out, but as always, there are some things to be aware of in the process.

  1. Use carb cleaner, not gasoline. Do this not only because it will work better, but for safety reasons as well. Brake cleaner would work well, too.
  2. When cleaning, you're only cleaning the pocket end (end away from the electrical connection). What you'd be doing is cleaning any varnish or carbon buildup around the valve itself. Do not submerge the IAC in any liquid.
  3. When cleaning, do NOT move the valve by hand. This will most likely destroy the motor (or gearing) which controls the valve.
  4. Be careful when removing the IAC so as not to ruin the gasket. If what I'm seeing is right, the gasket should be rubberized (not rubber, but the soft, pliable gasket type). It should be reusable, however, don't be surprised if you can't reuse it (ie: it might get damaged in the removal process). I realize you are on a budget, but don't skimp on getting a new one of the old one is trashed. You'll have bigger issues if you try to reinstall it and you have a constant air leak here.
  5. Not only clean the IAC, but in and around the intake manifold where the IAC resides.
  6. Clean the throttle body inlet and butterfly. You've gotten this far; go all in at this point.

Don't be surprised if, after cleaning, it still does the same thing. It could be the motor/gearing inside the thing is going bad and getting sloppy. It sounds as though it is actuating (or moving) the inlet valve very slowly, which is causing your issues. Cleaning this is a great first step. You could possibly get by with getting a used one from a junkyard, however, more than likely, anything you get there of this type will most likely either be in the same shape yours is, or very close to it. To me, for a part like this, you'd just be wasting money in the long run.

  • 1
    Use throttle body cleaner. After cleaning reset idle strategies, disconnect battery for 15 min, connect back, Before starting be sure all accessories are off, ac, heat etc) Start car and do not touch anything (gas pedal steering wheel etc), let idle for 15 minutes. I have had problems with aftermarket IAC valves, suggest buying it from Ford dealer.
    – Moab
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 16:19
  • Cleaning it out with brake cleaner did make a noticeable improvement. It's not 100% but it's about twice as good as it was (2000 rpms).
    – user875234
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 16:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .