Cleaning the GM Electronic Throttle Body (4.8L, 5.3L, 6.0L)

Cleaning the throttle plate and throttle plate bore on the 4.8L, 5.3L, and 6.0L GM electronic throttle body is one of the most important routine maintenance services that should to be done on your GM pickup or SUV. Why?...

Well, when gum and other oil and carbon deposits form behind the throttle plate and accumulate to the point that they may interfere with the throttle plate movement and strip the plastic gears that make up the Throttle Actuator Motor that opens and closes the throttle plate.

In this article, I'll show you how to do it and offer some specific tips to get the job done without head-aches and/or complications.

In case you're needing more info on GM's Electronic Throttle Control... these articles may help:

TPS Sensor

  1. GM Electronic Throttle Body Circuit Descriptions and Testing Tips.
  2. P0120 TP Sensor 1 Circuit Malfunction (with Electronic Throttle Body).
  3. P0220 TP Sensor 2 Circuit Malfunction (with Electronic Throttle Body).
  4. Resistance Specifications of the TAC Electronic Throttle Body.

APP Sensor 1

  1. How To Test The GM Accelerator Pedal Position (APP) Sensor 1.
  2. How To Test The GM Accelerator Pedal Position (APP) Sensor 2.
  3. Resistance Specifications of APP Sensor 1, APP Sensor 2.

En Español Puedes encontrar este tutorial en Español aquí: Cómo Limpiar el Cuerpo del Acelerador Electrónico (GM 4.8L, 5.3L, 6.0L) (en: autotecnico-online.com).

Symptoms Of A Dirty Throttle Body

These are the most common symptoms of a dirty electronic throttle body:

  1. Sticky gas pedal sensation felt as a hesitation when you accelerate the engine.
  2. rough idle.
  3. Failure of the Throttle Actuator Control (TAC) motor drive gears.
    1. In extreme cases, the deposits can become so built up that the throttle body plate will become stuck, striping out the plastic gear drive of the TAC motor.

Just as changing the oil in your GM pick up or SUV is a must do service... cleaning the TAC throttle body is just as important.


Basics Of Cleaning The Electronic Throttle Body

Cleaning the electronic throttle body is not hard to do. But you do need to take some very important precautions:

  1. The cleaning spray that you use must not contain Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK).
    1. This means that you can not use most (if not all) brands of carburetor cleaner spray.
    2. Methyl ethyl ketone is not corrosive for metals, but attacks certain plastics and materials including natural rubber, nitrile rubber, polyvinyl chloride, Viton®, certain acrylics and celluloses.
    3. These are the materials most of the components on the intake manifold, plastic plenum, and the insides of the electronic throttle body are made up of on your GM vehicle.
    4. Other Names for MEK: 2-Butanone;  Butanone;  Methyl acetone;  Butan-2-one;  Methylpropane-2;  Butanone-2;  2-oxobutane;  3-Butanone;  Ethyl methyl ketone;  Methylethylketone;  Ethylmethylketone
  2. The recommended throttle cleaner is the: CRC 05078 Throttle Body and Air-Intake Cleaner - 12 Wt Oz.
  3. You should NOT use any type of scraper tool or screw driver to scrape of the deposits that have accumulated on the throttle plate or throttle bore.
    1. Physically scraping the deposits will leave gouges in the soft aluminum metal the throttle body is made up of and this will affect idle quality.

Let's jump to the next page and get cleaning...