GM Firebird 1982-1992 Repair Guide

Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) System


See Figures 1, 2 and 3

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Fig. Fig. 1: Common crankcase ventilation valve flow

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Fig. Fig. 2: Crankcase ventilation valve cross section

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Fig. Fig. 3: PCV location-4 cylinder engine

The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system must be operating correctly to provide complete removal of the crankcase vapors. Fresh air is supplied to the crankcase from the air filter, mixed with the internal exhaust gases, passed through the PCV valve and into the intake manifold.

The PCV valve meters the flow at a rate depending upon the manifold vacuum. If the manifold vacuum is high, the PCV restricts the flow to the intake manifold. If abnormal operating conditions occur, excessive amounts of internal exhaust gases back flow through the crankcase vent tube into the air filter to be burned by normal combustion.

Incorrect operation of the PCV system can cause multiple driveability symptoms.

A plugged valve or hose may cause:

Rough idle
Stalling or slow idle speed
Oil leaks
Sludge in engine

A leaking valve or hose would cause:

Rough idle
High idle speed

If the engine is exhibiting any of these conditions, a quick check of the PCV valve can be made. While the engine is idling, pull the PCV valve from the valve cover, place your thumb over the end of the PCV valve and check for vacuum. If no vacuum exists, check for a plugged PCV valve, manifold port, hoses or deteriorated hoses. Turn the engine OFF , remove the PCV valve and shake it. Listen for the rattle of the check needle inside the valve. If it does not rattle, replace the valve.

The PCV system should be checked at every oil change and serviced every 30,000 miles.

Never operate an engine without a PCV valve or a ventilation system, except as directed by this test procedure, for it can become damaged.