Gunk in the (intake?) manifold

[I was crafting this message when it vanished. I don’t know if it has gone out so I try again.]

I own and love my 2004 Prius. At 70K I brought it the dealer for service. I know, like and trust them. I was told that, among other items, I had oil buildup in the (intake) manifold. The tab was $200+. I said yes. I returned today, 15K later, and was again told that I had gunk and to clean it out. I declined. Some years ago my parents owned a Taurus. I don’t recall the mileage but was informed by the dealership to the gunk cleanup. Did it but wasn’t sure it was necessary.

Thus, the question: Is this a real problem? If so, frequency of cleanup. Or is this a profit center?


The Piv

B. It’s a profit generator. Nothing more. There is, and never was, any “gunk,” or oil, in your intake manifold.

Ask the dealer to explain how any oil could possibly have gotten into the intake manifold. Take notes so you can post their lies here later. We all need a good laugh now and then.

The only thing the intake manifold carries is AIR, which is drawn in through a filter. And don’t let them tell you it’s from the EGR valve (Exhaust Gas Recirculation), either. That’s BOGUS.

Also please ask them to show you a requirement or recommendation for this “service” in the factory maintenance schedule that came with the car. Not the dealer’s recommended service, the FACTORY recommended service. If you, or the dealer, can find a listing for this I will pay for the next one.

Skip this “service” and save your money. There are other worthless things they’ll try to sell you, too. Read and follow the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. It’s all you need.

I agree that most of the time cleaning of the throttle body is not required, sometimes it is even a bad thing to do. I doubt that cleaning of the intake manifold is ever needed. However, oil can and does get into the intake manifold sometimes. It comes from the PCV system. It’s usually only really noticeable when the rings are going bad, and there is too much blow-by for the system to deal with.

I highly doubt you have bad rings or blow by. I totally agreee with the replies you’ve gotten so far. I’m only wondering now if you still (and how much) trust your dealer? They are all profit centers. I don’t care how good friends you are with the service writer, they are there for one reason, to make money. There are just different levels of honesty to be found amongst service writers. If they are not selling services, they are not making money. BTW, they do have a manufacturer training in customer service so they learn how to be your “friend”. That is why they all show the level of concern for your safety and well being when discussing your car issues. I only wish that a 20/20 or 60 Minutes crew would do an under cover investigation on every new car dealer service department and only then would the different level of honesty (or dishonesty) be truely known. Why do I sound negative? Because I’ve been there and done that. I have several friends who are ex-service writers as well who agree the money is great, but the constant pressure and stress from the general manager to increase profits (at less than honorable techniques) was unbearable. Mechanics on the other hand run the gambet of totally honest, to totally dishonest. I’d like to think there are many more totally, hard working honest mechanics than the dishonest ones. If you find one you like and trust, give him all of your business. Recommend him to your friends.

What did the Dealer do to earn your trust?what did they do to make you like them?

The only thing I can add is when I was with Honda we had a campaign (recall) to clean EGR passeges in the intake manifolds.I think we cleaned and enlarged them (2003) I can’t remember the model.

OTOH, I had a van with 67,000 miles when the CEL came on. The dealer said it was carbon in the EGR return ports. They cleaned them out and the CEL was off for a couple of months. I took it back, they cleaned it for free. This went on for about 6 months. I believe that the EGR return ports were clogged because they reamed them out for free three times. They finally suggested that I get a new intake manifold, but they could never explain why a new manifold would not get clogged. Ohh, but I digress… I believe that it is possible to get “gunk” in the EGR return ports (if that’s what this is), but just cleaning it out is not a good answer. If they have no other suggestions and the CEL never comes on, I’d tell them to take a hike.