Throttle Body and IAC Cleaning

Originally by TJWalker of CherokeeForum & JeepForum

dirty IAC

The Idle Air Control (IAC) is mounted on the back of the throttle body (front for ’87-’90).

The valve controls the idle speed of the engine by controlling the amount of air flowing through the air control passage. It consists of a stepper motor that moves a pintle shaped plunger in and out of the air control passage. When the valve plunger is retracted, the air control passage flows more air which raises the idle speed. When the valve plunger is extended, the air control passage flows less air which lowers the idle speed.

Over time and miles, the IAC can get carboned up which can have an adverse affect on idle quality. Cleaning the IAC may restore proper function and is an easy procedure to perform and good preventive maintenance so it is never a bad idea. This should be part of a normal tune-up procedure and whenever idle/stalling issues are present.


dirty renix throttle body

  1. Remove the air filter cover, associated hoses and the rubber boot that goes from the air filter cover to the throttle body. Remove the IAC with a Torx driver (2 bolts; one can be kind of hard to get to). On ’91 and later, it may be easier to just remove the whole throttle body. Be sure to use a new throttle body to manifold gasket when reinstalling.
  2. “Gently” wiggle out the IAC from the throttle body. Gasket/O-ring on the IAC can be re-used if it is not damaged
  3. Clean the IAC with a spray can of throttle body cleaner; inexpensive and available at any place that sells auto parts. Throttle body cleaner is recommended rather than carburetor cleaner as it is less harsh, safe for throttle body coatings and oxygen sensors. Use cleaner, a rag and a toothbrush and or Q-Tips. Be gentle; don’t twist or pull on the pintle that protrudes from the IAC as it is fragile and you could damage it.
  4. Thoroughly spray clean and flush where the IAC seats in the throttle body with the same spray cleaner.
  5. It is also a good idea to clean the entire throttle body bore itself, the butterfly valve inside of the throttle body and it’s edges, and all associated linkage as long as you have things disassembled.

dirty chrysler throttle body

Revised 1-31-2016

11 thoughts on “Throttle Body and IAC Cleaning”

  1. Cold start, when I unplug the iac should I get a variants in rpm? Also when I engage the ac the rpm does not increase.
    I know old school cars did…

  2. Love all of your tips and this website you made. I have been having an issue for the past year since installing a bored throttle body. My 88′ keeps going through IAC’s every 2 months, 1500 miles +/-. It will start acting up like high idle then sky rocketing idle on start ups and wont come down. Take out and clean and no fix. Replace and it will be back working fine for only 2 months or so again. Any ideas?

  3. Any idea why my iac would stay closed? I’ve been trying to figure out this problem for months now. Replaced with brand new part. Tried it with two other known working iac from my other 89 cherokees. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Hey Cruiser. I’m cleaning my Throttle body and IAC and noticed the TPS is loose…Is there a way to pre-set this when I put it back together so the jeep will run. Then I will adjust it according to your tip about adjusting…

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