The Idle Air Control (IAC) is a bi-directional motor driven by two coils. The purpose of the IAC valve is to control engine idle speed, while preventing stalls due to changes in the engine load. The IAC valve, mounted in the throttle body, controls bypass air around the throttle plate. The PCM controls engine idle speed by adjusting the position of the IAC motor pintle. The PCM pulses current to the IAC coils in small steps (counts) to extend the pintle into a passage in the throttle body to decrease air flow. The PCM reverses the current pulses to retract the pintle, increasing air flow. This method allows highly accurate control of idle speed and quick response to changes in engine load. If RPM is too low, the PCM will retract the IAC pintle, resulting in more air being bypassed around the throttle plate to increase RPM. If the RPM is too high, the PCM will extend the IAC pintle, allowing less air to be bypassed around the throttle plate, decreasing RPM.
During idle, the proper position of the of the IAC pintle is calculated by the PCM based on the battery voltage, coolant temperature, engine load and engine RPM. If the RPM drops below a specified value, and the throttle plate is closed (TP sensor voltage is between 0.20-0.74), the PCM senses a near stall condition. The PCM will then calculate a new IAC pintle position to prevent stalls.
If the IAC valve is disconnected and reconnected with the engine running, the idle RPM will be wrong. In this case, the IAC has to be reset. The IAC resets when the ignition switch is cycled ON and then OFF . When servicing the IAC, it should be disconnected or connected with the ignition switch OFF in order to keep from having to reset the IAC valve.
The position of the IAC pintle affects engine start up and the idle characteristics of the vehicle. If the IAC pintle is fully open, too much air will be allowed into the manifold. This results in high idle speed, along with possible hard starting and a lean air/fuel ratio. A Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) may set. If the IAC pintle is stuck closed, too little air will be allowed in the manifold. This results in a low idle speed, along with hard starting and a rich air/fuel ratio. Again, a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) may set. If the IAC pintle is stuck part way open, the idle may be high or low and will not respond to changes in engine load.
Removal & Installation
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Detach the electrical connector from the IAC valve.
- Remove the 2 attaching screws and remove the IAC valve from the engine. Remove the O-ring from the housing.
- Use a new O-ring, install the IAC valve and tighten the retaining screws to 18 inch lbs. (2 Nm).
- Attach the electrical connector.
- Connect the negative battery cable.
- The PCM will reset the IAC valve the next time the ignition switch is turned ON and then OFF .
- Start the engine and allow to warm to operating temperature to check idle quality.
As with most all engine control sensors used in your vehicle, a thorough and proper test can only be performed by a qualified technician using a scan tool to read the data stream from the PCM. There are a few items a non-professional should check before taking the vehicle to a qualified technician for diagnosis and repair.