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Question. I recall the intake manifold had three inset rubber gaskets around each intake hole and at a quick glance, my normal spares place do not appear to stock these. Could I put a secondary bead of red gasket sealer near the outer edge of the actual gasket if I do pick up a leak? I have a tube of the stuff I used on the valve cover.
If you do have/find a leak on the intake runners, I would suggest rather get the proper gaskets - sure you could use a liquid sealer but the actual gaskets have a way better chance of permanently sealing the flanges because of the bulk of the material.............. also note that any air leak on the valve cover will/could also cause a intake air leak via the PCV system.

Just so its asked - do you have a proper dipstick present in the sump? ............any other vacuum hoses to do with emissions all connected? ................brake booster working and vacuum pipe to THAT connected and not cracked or leaking?
 

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Discussion Starter #62
Good afternoon all. (Dear Diary)

Yesterday I attempted to find an air-leak. My logic before had been that if there was an air leak the revs would have been consistently high - which it was not. Copious quantities of spray around the hoses, valve cover, throttle flange and intake manifold later and no difference to the horrible idle. I don't know what made me do it but just before I gave up I sprayed some carb cleaner directly into the throttle expecting the usual reaction - and didn't get one. Eureka. I didn't have an air leak - I had a catastrophic air leak. So big that even the additional "fuel" made no difference whatsoever. So I got the gaskets for the intake manifold this morning, stripped, cleaned and reassembled the thing and it is finally idling well enough for me to finish the oil change. (actually, it is idling very nicely indeed). I hope I don't need a seal for the TB anytime soon as these are just not available anywhere - even Renault France. I have no idea if the original problem has been resolved by a good service - I have cleaned and put the original TB back on - only a good 8 - 10 cycles on the road will tell. If the original issue still exists I will swap the TB and see what happens. In the mean-time thank you all so much for your advice. Next job - loose exhaust mountings and a dead drivers side window.
 

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Glad it eventually did indeed turn out to be an intake air leak .............. just goes to show how sneaky these darn things can be - imo the giveaway was the fact that the TB did indeed compensate for temperature by attempting to lower the idling speed as far as it could ............ one just need to appreciate that its got a limited range of compensation right at the lower range of idling ONLY
I have cleaned and put the original TB back on - only a good 8 - 10 cycles on the road will tell.
I would try this .............. you can have it reliably revert to what it should be within less than a minute and no driving

Switch on headlights, remove the battery negative, leave it off for about an hour, come back and reconnect battery negative, switch off headlights, switch on ignition but dont start, leave it like that for about a minute WITHOUT TOUCHING THE THROTTLE, then start engine again WITHOUT TOUCHING THE THROTTLE .............

For future reference when somebody else will have to suffer the same ............... can you post your throttle position and intake manifold pressure now after the TB has been aligned ala the above recipe and the engine is nice and warm and idling constantly at around 750rpm spec please?
 
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