Intake Manifold Runner Valve Buyer's Guide
- Modern intake manifolds deliver varying amounts of air into the engine at low and high RPMs.
- Intake manifolds such as variable intake manifolds, variable-length intake manifolds, or variable intake systems feature an additional mechanism that regular intake manifolds don’t have: runner valves.
- The IMRC valve operates the runner valves, which are butterfly valves that open and close to allow high-pressure intake air into the cylinders.
- IMRC valves are small devices that go on the intake manifold. Connected by an electric harness, they can be a vacuum solenoid or an electrical actuator.
- A bad IMRC valve can trigger OBD-II codes P2004 and P2006, and also cause engine performance issues.
- OE intake manifold runner control valve replacements are priced around $11 to $240.
The intake manifold is a significant part of your internal combustion engine, mainly because it supplies the air-fuel mixture needed for combustion. Intake manifolds have tubes that direct intake air from the plenum to the intake ports. These tubes get called runners for the way gas flows into them with the help of valves. Intake manifolds vary in terms of design that use various runner lengths and internal mechanisms.
Modern intake manifolds deliver varying amounts of air into the engine at low and high RPMs. These intake manifolds are variable intake manifolds and are also called “variable-length intake manifolds” or “variable intake systems.” They feature an additional mechanism that regular intake manifolds don’t have: runner valves that respond to an intake manifold runner valve or intake manifold control (IMRC) valve.
Due to it being small, some car owners overlook IMRC valves when diagnosing an intake manifold problem. Here are some important bits of knowledge on how to know if your IMRC valve is malfunctioning or is at the brink of going bad.
What is an intake manifold runner valve?
IMRC valves are small devices that go on the intake manifold. Connected by an electrical harness, this valve can be a vacuum solenoid or an electrical actuator. The location of where the IMRC valves are installed may vary depending on the make and model of your car. Vacuum solenoids and electrical actuators don’t operate in the same way, so appearance may also differ as design conforms to a valve’s mechanism.
What does the intake manifold runner control valve do?
The IMRC valve operates the runner valves, which are butterfly valves that open and close to allow high-pressure intake air into the cylinders. This process applies across all engine speeds to ensure maximum manifold pressure.
IMRC valves have nothing to do with how your engine processes the air-fuel mixture. What these small pieces of equipment do is to make sure your engine is running in its optimal state without expensive upgrades like turbochargers and superchargers.
Symptoms of a bad intake manifold runner valve
If your IMRC valve begins to fail, it will show symptoms indicating a problem. Just like all other issues in your car, it will trigger the check engine light. A bad IMRC valve can also trigger OBD-II codes P2004, P2006, etc. Apart from these warning signs, you’ll also experience a few performance issues such as:
Increased fuel consumption
You may begin experiencing a drop in fuel economy if you don’t address a bad IMRC valve during the critical phases. This stems from engine misfires as the control valve doesn’t open or close the runner valves to aid combustion. You may also experience a drop in engine power or engine performance, which leads to the next symptoms.
Decreased engine torque
The intake manifold runner valve aids in improving the engine’s low engine speed torque by increasing the speed of the airflow. This helps in eliminating engine knocking by ensuring complete combustion. At high RPMs, larger and shorter paths open up to allow more air to enter the cylinder. If the IMRC valve fails, nothing will control the runner valves and they won’t get the ideal airflow.
Engine start difficulty
Failing IMRC valves cannot properly position the runner valves to attain optimal airflow at varying driving conditions. This also affects ignition as failure to position the butterfly valves can lead to difficulties in starting the engine. You must crank up the ignition a few more times before the engine actually starts.
Engine running rough
Another symptom you may get with a bad IMRC valve is rough idling. It may be accompanied by other symptoms, like engine surging and sputtering. Check your systems with an OBD-II scanner.
Keep in mind that there are numerous online sources that claim to show you how to test the intake manifold runner control valve. If you’re relying on the internet, be sure to make extensive research as most sources are not reliable. For a better outcome and thorough evaluation, bring your car to the mechanic.
The abovementioned symptoms are not exclusive to a bad IMRC valve. However, the intake manifold should be one of the first systems you check should any of these symptoms arise. Make sure you run proper diagnostics (if you’re the DIY type) or contact a mechanic before repairing or replacing a part.
How much is an OE intake manifold runner valve replacement?
OE intake manifold runner control valve replacements are priced around $11 to $240. You can buy yours individually but do keep in mind that mechanics recommend replacing your IMRC valve in pairs. Brand and series also contribute to the price of a part but you’re paying for less considering that OE IMRC valves on our website pass the OEM grade.
Finding the right fit
Finding the right intake manifold runner valve is quick and easy with a filter bar. Simply type in your vehicle’s basic information such as its year, make, and model and enjoy accurately filtered results of all the parts that fit your car. You may even include its sub-model to further narrow down the result. By doing this, you can shorten your search time, which means you can have more time deciding which part to buy.
Quick Ways to Fix a Busted Intake Manifold Runner Valve
If you start to see an error code on your vehicle that reads "Intake Manifold Runner Control Valve stuck open", then this component is most likely busted. To fix this issue, simple follow the steps we have provided below:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Ratchet set
Step 1: Assess the condition of your vehicle's intake manifold runner valve. If this component is in good operating condition, then the runner valves should close with minimal vacuum. Plus, the valves should be capable of holding the vacuum when applied with a vacuum pump.
Step 2: After evaluating the intake manifold runner valve, the next thing you need to do is to disconnect the battery's negative terminal. This ensures your safety while working on the valves and other engine-related parts. Put it aside, ideally somewhere far from the battery terminal.
Step 3: Take out the accessory belt by removing the belt tension with the box end of a wrench. Pull the wrench toward your car's front, until you've removed enough tension from the belt. This should make it easy for you to remove the belt from the alternator pulley.
Step 4: Remove the black dust boot from the alternator through simply wiggling it back off. Then, remove the three bolts that attach the alternator to the accessory bracket and the electrical connector.
Step 5: Detach the vacuum lines from the fuel pressure regulator. Then, remove both of the intake manifold runner valves, as well as the electrical connector on the front valve. Next, squeeze the connector at the back and pull away from the valve.
Step 6: Reach for the valve's arm and remove the white clip on it. Then, remove the two bolts that secure the valve onto the engine. Be extra careful when doing this step, as the power steering fluid lines may get hit by your wrench.
Step 6: Use the new white clip for the replacement valve, and insert it exactly where the old one came out of. Next, insert the new valve's arm into the clip and secure them with the included bolts. Return all the parts that you removed and test drive your car.