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Correct Method To Clean Egr Valve ?

09-14-2005, 08:24 PM
Hello, I would like to know the BEST WAY/METHOD to clean the EGR valve. I did do a search of the forum for egr valve cleaning. some people used carb. cleaner to clean it. others used brake fluid.
I have a 1989 Camry and (thanks to my Toyota dealership) I have a printout of all repairs/maintenance done to it since it was new. according to the printout the EGR valve was never replaced. It definitely needs cleaning as the car is running very sluggish from a dead stop until it gets up to speed. I did clean the IAC valve not too long ago so that shouldn't be causing the problem. anything else I should look for that would cause hesitation taking off from a dead stop?

any help/advice is appriceated. :smile:

09-14-2005, 08:39 PM
I wouldn't do brake fluid.

About any actual cleaner works.
I forget the name of them, but I would take one of those little wire pipe cleaners we all used in elementary school for arts & crafts & clean it out by hand.

Vacuum leaks, check the timing & ignition components.

Use a spraybottle of water to spray into a large port like the brake booster port. On a warmed up & running engine, pull the brake booster port & hold the spray nozzle on the port so it doesn't stall from the large vacuum leak. Spray away... If you spray real fast you can get the engine to slow down. That's pretty much what you want. By the time you get through a 16oz bottle, the combustion chambers are going to be a few times cleaner than they were before.
(Make sure it's a mist. A stream isn't going to do anything)

That's a great free way to clean carbon off the intake valves/combustion chambers.

2 $5 cans of Seafoam are a Godsend. 1/2 a can in with fresh oil, 1/2 a can when you stop to fill up the gas tank. The second can you want to suck/pour 1/3 of a can into an engine port (like the brake booster, or PCV line) with the engine running. (Obviously it will want to stall).

Immediately turn the engine off & let it sit 10 min. When you crank it it will billow smoke. Let it idle for about 10 min until it's smoothed out a bit - then drive it around until it stops smoking. While you drive around, hold it in gears a few times and let it rev up through the redline to make sure you burn everything out.

You want to do a full can like this.

And no, you have no idea what billowing smoke means until you see a warm engine burning carbon & seafoam. Just idling is enough to fill a few city blocks if it's *really* bad LoL!.
People ask what's the difference. Seafoam works better, but water will get more of the coated carbon out of the combustion chamber.

09-14-2005, 10:54 PM
Thanks Toysrme for the advice. I never had to clean/replace an EGR valve before. :uhoh: I wasn't sure if carb. cleaner would damage the valve diaphram. it must be pretty clogged up considering it was never replaced. I don't think the Toyota dealership ever cleaned it as they would just replace it if needed.
Your right about that seafoam smoking while burning off. a friend of mine used it on his 84 monty carlo. poured it down the carb. smoked out the whole neighborhood :rofl:

09-14-2005, 11:03 PM
WOW, I can't believe it. I'm an AF Regular. :rofl: I'm not a newbie anymore!! I actually get 1 star. :cheers: :worshippy

Brian R.
09-15-2005, 02:23 AM
Send me some money, I'll give you another one. :)

09-15-2005, 12:54 PM
I just cleaned the EGR valve in my '90 Camry 3SFE. If you're going to do this get the gasket before you pull off the EGR valve. My EGR was almost completely blocked. It was easy to remove from the back of the throttle body but the nut on the tube beneath it was a pain. I finally thought of using one of those off-set plumber's wrenches. My claw foot sockets just didn't have enough reach.

Anyway, once it was out I soaked the lower portion (not the diaphragm) in carb cleaner and it barely touched it. I ended up picking the hard deposits away (careful not to damage the pin inside) and then finishing off with carb cleaner. It was pretty easy. Afterwords I cleaned out the port to the throttle body (making very sure that no chunks got into the throttle body with a shop vac) and put it back together.

While I had it apart I checked my EGR modulator and found that the rubber exhaust tube going into the bottom of the modulator from the EGR valve was almost completely filled with carbon also. I used a long phillips screw driver to ream it out. I am contemplating SEAFOAMing the diaphragm chamber out but it specs out when I tested it with a vacuum gauge so I put it off until it fails.

My NOXs dropped from 1400 to 750 and I passed the emissions inspection.


09-16-2005, 09:55 AM
I cleaned the one on my 88 couple years ago since it failed NOx. The exhaust gas return tube (metal) was completely clogged by very hard black stuff (carbon deposit), as well as a rubber hose, and the EGR entry port on the intake manufold. I just dig the carbon deposit out, make sure all tube/hoses are clean and the valve moves freely.

I returned to have emission re-inspected, the computer can't measure any NOx and issue a warning that the exhaust gas is "diluted". The techs checked all my emission hoses and exhaust pipes making sure there is no leak or modification and retest. Same thing. He said I have a super low emission engine.

09-19-2005, 03:11 PM

I didn't try cleaning that vertical metal tube going into the bottom of the EGR valve. How did you clean it? Did you disconnect it? If not, how did you keep the residue from dropping down? Or did it matter?


09-19-2005, 08:52 PM

I didn't try cleaning that vertical metal tube going into the bottom of the EGR valve. How did you clean it? Did you disconnect it? If not, how did you keep the residue from dropping down? Or did it matter?

the exhaust gas return tube (metal tube) attaches to the bottom of the EGR valve. The other end of the tube attaches to the engine via the same way. it is tough to get at but can be removed.

I finally had time/good weather to clean the EGR valve on my 1989 Camry. it was 75% cloged up with carbon deposits. I removed the EGR valve from the car still attached to the metal tube as a unit. once out, then I separated the valve from the metal tube. the exhaust gas return tube (metal tube) had practically no carbon buldup in it. :confused:

The EGR valve, the EGR entry port on the intake manifold, the rubber exhaust tube (that runs between the EGR valve and the EGR vacuum modulator) all had carbon buildup on them and were cleaned thoroughly. I reinstalled the EGR valve but my car still hesitates when taking off from a dead stop. :mad: I will keep on investigating on why this is happening.


04-06-2006, 09:47 AM
WOW, I can't believe it. I'm an AF Regular. :rofl: I'm not a newbie anymore!! I actually get 1 star. :cheers: :worshippy


I'm a AF Enthusiast now after 100 posts. :cheers:

I got only one more lousy star.:frown: oh well, such is life.

This forum is terrific. I have learned so much about my car and have saved alot of money in the process. :) thanks to all that have participated. keep up the good work.



12-21-2007, 11:50 AM
Were you ever able to find the hesitation problem. I have the same thing and took in to the dealer He told me my problem was a throttle position sensor which he kindly replaced for $350. Still have the problem then he gave me story about the EGR valve on these being designed poorly and that is the problem. He has some guy who says it needs to be modified by boring it out to allow more EG flow. Sounded like crap to me so I am looking around for some help.

08-13-2008, 01:26 PM
Hi there -

I've been reading about removing and cleaning an EGR valve. I have a '99 Camry that I would like to attempt this on.

I've investigated how to remove the EGR valve, but the one thing I'm stuck on is removing the vacuum hoses. My only hesitation is that these things are practically welded onto the valve itself - I cannot pull them off easily - in fact I'm pulling on them quite aggressively and they won't budge.

I don't want to rip them (I'm not sure if they would rip anyway) - but any advice how to remove them without destroying them?

Any advice much appreciated -

Mike Gerber
08-13-2008, 03:15 PM
Try twisting them from side to side as you pull. Hopefully that will break them loose.


08-13-2008, 03:58 PM
Thanks Mike -

should I expect I'll need to use some pliers to aid along? Or should I expect I can just twist and pull off with my hand? I ask because I don't want to pliers to rip these things to shreds at the ends.


Mike Gerber
08-14-2008, 03:45 PM
Thanks Mike -

should I expect I'll need to use some pliers to aid along? Or should I expect I can just twist and pull off with my hand? I ask because I don't want to pliers to rip these things to shreds at the ends.


I would try with just your hands for the exact reason that you stated. If that doesn't work, then you have no choice but to try a pair of pliers.


02-08-2009, 09:39 PM
Hey all -

I had originally posted some questions about removing the vacuum hose(s) from the EGR valve on my 1999 Camry - thanks for the responses.

I never really did proceed with replacing the EGR valve (this was back in August!) - but now I'm trying again. I mastered the removal of the hoses - but I'm really having trouble getting at the two bolts (I think 10mm?) that connect the EGR valve to the metal exhaust tube that comes up to meet the bottom of the EGR valve.

I'm soaking those bolts with plenty of liquid wrench and the like and will be trying again in the next few days - but man those bolts are very difficult.

I have also read that the EGR valve can be removed while still attached to the metal exhaust tube (aka remove the whole tube at it's connection point to the engine itself)

I see where that tube connects - with a very large nut. This nut also seems very difficult to get at.

In short - I'm at a loss for removing the EGR valve - very frustrated because it's seems like such an easy 1 for 1 replacement.

I will be picking up a Chilton's manual, but any tricks or other advise greatly appreciated.

One specific question: what tool(s) would be best to get the 10mm bolts turning on the bottom of the EGR valve? Most things I try seem to slip so much.

Thanks -

02-09-2009, 11:42 AM
I removed the valve and tube as one piece. Undo the large nut holding the tube to the engine. Then remove the TB bolts and pull the valve free from the TB. The tube end won't come out easy, but it will with enough patience and wriggling. You'll be able to tackle the bolts underneath the valve easier once it is out of the car and in a bench vise, though not really necessary unless it is plugged or significantly encrusted.

While it is out, check the valve for smooth operation using a hand vacuum pump. And as mentioned before, have a new gasket on hand for reinstallation. Hope this helps!

02-09-2009, 07:19 PM
Thanks jdmccright -

That nut that fits the metal tube to the engine: It seems a bit daunting to access that. On this particular vehicle (99 camry) - should I expect I can get at that with a combination wrench? Are there any other parts that need to be removed first to provide access to do this?

I don't want to give up on this - but a bit more confirmation will go a long way.

Conversely - I almost more fearful that I won't be able to fit it back on and/or tighten properly - given the constriction. Is that fitting literally as simple as fitting the tube back in and tightening up the nut? Again if I had easy access I would just go for it - but I don't want to get myself into trouble given the difficult access.

Also - I haven't had a chance to pick up Chilton's yet. Do you know the size of that nut?

Again - sorry for all the questions. Many thanks!

07-13-2011, 01:02 PM
if i take the small rubber hoses off of my EGR valve (96 camry 4cyl), should i feel any suction because I dont (the little hoses between the egr modulator with the filter and the EGR valve itself. not feeling any suction ???

so i sent the SeaFoam thru a larger vacuum hose close to the air filter, as well as 1oz with 1 gallon of gasoline. my EGR is showing a check engine status of P0401 egr insufficient flow.


11-02-2011, 04:04 AM
Ok this is for all you I was trying what you are and I found out that if you get a can of carb cleaner with a small stra and just to help you take off the long hose and with the engin running spry it till it start to die on you than give it a min to get back to good idial do that three or four times than kill it and spry it just to help let it sit for a bit than run it and see if that helps it did on my 1983 chrysler new Yorker .

11-02-2011, 10:20 AM
Spraying into the vacuum hose going to the EGR doesn't direct the cleaner into the EGR valve. It is sucked into the intake manifold and never touches the valve of the EGR. I imagine you had some varnish in the carb or throttle body that was removed when this got sucked in.

Spraying cleaner into the hose barb of the EGR valve also will not work since this is the vacuum actuator part and is air tight separate from the valve by a rubber diaphragm...the cleaner's solvent may even warp or damage the rubber.

Removing the valve is the best way to direct the cleaner onto the encrusted valve itself. With it off the engine, I have filled the tube with cleaner and let it sit then get a slim metal wire (spring steel from old windshield wiper rubbers works great) or bottle brush and scrub/chip away the crud.

Once it is clean enough for the valve to move, test it by applying vacuum with a hand pump. If it leaks down, the valve's diaphragm has an air leak and needs to be replaced.

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