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Howto: Fix Vacuum Leak At The Intake Manifold Runner Control (Vulcan)


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24 replies to this topic

#1 Angrod

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:06 PM

So this problem seems to plague a lot of 2004 - 2007 Vulcan engines. There are a lot of places where a vac leak can occur but this one seems to stump people. The symptoms usually include hard starting when cold, surging/erratic idle and hesitation on acceleration. My car was exhibiting the first two and was probably on its way to the third. After spraying starter fluid and checking all vacuum hoses I couldn't find any leaks. Then, while searching online, I found a topic on the other site that explained this problem and I decided why not put up a howto here?

Before starting it's always good to make sure you have the correct engine :P (only 2004 - 2007 engines have this part). The engine should look like this:
Posted Image

You will need the following tools and supplies:
1/4" drive ratchet,
6mm (7/32") socket,
T30 torx bit,
flat head (standard) screwdriver,
a new gasket
(OEM part # 87072 S91 or the gasket from an oil filter will work [Bosche 3312 filter or similar - i used one from a Motorcraft FL-400s]).
Recommended tools:
Socket extension(s) at least 3" long.
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The part in question is this thing here (red arrow):
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Apparently this part goes by a couple names - the Intake Manifold Runner Control (IMRC) and the Intake Manifold Tuning Valve (IMTV). I will be using the former as it seems to be more descriptive of its function.

To start, first remove the top piece of engine cowling on the passenger side by removing the clips - be careful! Use the screwdriver to help pry them off (yellow arrows in pic above - 1 clip is out of frame). Also be careful of the vacuum hose marked with the green arrow. Don't break it or the car will have a fit (I believe it controls the evaporative emissions system).

Next you must remove the three screws holding the lower cowling on (see yellow arrows in pic below). This is where a socket extension would come in handy as there is very little space between the cowl and the metal under the windshield.
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Now that the cowl is removed you have access to the screws holding the IMRC on, as well as the PCM and the cabin air filter (under the windshield behind the strut tower).
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Disconnect the wire harness to the IMRC. It has a small push clip on the firewall side. Push it in and pull the harness off. You should be able to do this with your thumb and index finger.
The screws for the IMRC are diagonally opposite each other and require a T30 torx bit. The lower one might be a tad difficult to reach.
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Remove the screws and pull the IMRC out. Mine fell out (see pic) with very little effort. Not good for a vacuum seal!
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Once it's out, check the gasket for white and black spots. Black spots indicate where air is getting past (arrows in first pic below) and white spots are dried out (arrow in second pic). Orange flaky stuff is from deterioration.
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Next, use the screwdriver to (carefully) remove the old gasket. Once out of the groove it should slip right off.
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Now you need to remove the gasket from the donor oil filter (or if you have the OEM replacement just grab that and skip to the part about installing the new gasket.)
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The new gasket should be the same size around as the old one. If it's thicker around (like mine was) you will need to cut it so that you can get the IMRC back in the manifold.
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Next, slide the new gasket on the part and seat it in the groove. If it doesn't sit flat it might need trimmed or you might need a slimmer gasket :ph34r:.
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It might be a good idea to lube the new gasket before reinstalling the part with some sort of grease or lubricant (not wd40!!) I used heavy weight gear lube as it was all that was available.
Now you can reinstall the IMRC (be sure to align it). It might take some pressure (not excessive!) to get it on but that's good! It means you have an air-tight seal.
Posted Image
Now all you have to do is reconnect the wire harness and reinstall the cowling.

And that's it! The car might drive funny the first time after this fix but that is because the fuel trims are now incorrect. The computer will adjust them over the next few times you drive the car.

Note: This fix is only temporary and will most likely wear out. The best thing to do would be to replace the bad gasket with another OEM one. But if you are cheap like me (and the Ford dealer is closed) this will work fine.

Posted Image
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#2 Spridget

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 02:11 AM

Good write-up. Clever fix with the oil filter gasket.
Suck, squeeze, bang, blow. Repeat.

#3 fonicsmonkey

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 07:22 AM

Some people who have used the 'oil filter gasket' as a replacement, eventually had to go back and install the correct OEM gasket. Something to keep in mind if the symptoms reoccur. Also, 'the device' is called the IMRC (intake manifold runner control) :thumbs:

#4 Brian_05_SEL

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 08:53 AM

On 04+ Vulcans, Ford's service literature sometimes calls it the Intake Manifold Tuning Valve (IMTV).

Nice job figuring out the fix, Angrod!
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#5 fonicsmonkey

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:37 AM

On 04+ Vulcans, Ford's service literature calls that the Intake Manifold Tuning Valve (IMTV).

Nice job figuring out the fix, Angrod!


I believe the 04 service manual that I own refers to it as the IMRC. I remember looking for the name of it one day for somebody on TCCA a year or two ago...I never have seen it called the IMTV...but now I and others know it has a couple names...I wonder if the literature got changed for the 2005 manual?? My parents have the car and book now...so looking isn't as quick and easy as it used to be :lol:

#6 Angrod

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 11:55 AM

So it goes by a couple names eh? I'll just settle for IMRC and be done. It seems to be the most descriptive of the function. I've changed the writeup to reflect this info as well as added a note at the bottom.
Posted Image
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#7 Jeff K

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 03:27 PM

Glad you got it fixed! Great writeup! I am sure this will help others with that vac leak.
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#8 mikedia45

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:25 PM

awesome post!

do you have any recommendations on where to spray starter fluid to diagnose other potential leaks? pictures would definitely help! thx.

#9 Bull Geek

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:50 PM

Spray around the upper and lower intakes as well as around the PCV.
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#10 greyvulcan

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 08:47 PM

Symptoms get worse when it's cold outside. My car threw a P0174 code, idled erratically and would knock off when letting foot off the gas when coming to a stop. Had code for almost a year before symptoms became apparent.

This post led me directly to the problem -- many thanks, Angrod.-- didn't have time to remove the cowl etc. and didn't have runner control seal (gasket) or cabin filter on hand (might as well change it if you are going to open this area up). So reached around with the T30 bit and hand locked both screws down. Worked! Perfect idle etc. Probably will still change the seal out when I get to it, may be dry rotting causing the cover to loosen -- who knows? Oh yeah, after being directed to this area by this post, wife started car, heard air sucking hiss from component and pushed in on the cover, knew this was the culprit when engine perked up.

#11 2005silverse

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 02:44 PM

i wonder if this is causing my po300 i've been chasing ,i dont think i ever looked at this as being the problem , what do you think guys?



#12 Angrod

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 03:16 PM

i wonder if this is causing my po300 i've been chasing ,i dont think i ever looked at this as being the problem , what do you think guys?



Try spraying some starter fluid in the area with the engine running and see if the idle changes. You could also try spraying fluid around the intake manifold gaskets and around vacuum hoses, especially the pcv hose.

Of course the problem might not be from a vac leak.
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#13 2005silverse

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 10:44 AM

i tested this yeaterday ,the gasket is leaking ,intake mani gasket is not leaking nor are any other vaccum lines ,i odered the oem gasket from ford
i hope this fixes it (fingers crossed) if not i'll have to start looking at injectors or fuel pump

#14 double--negative

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:41 PM

Good write-up. I have to do this tomorrow on my '04. About a month ago this started happening and it has random codes. Sometimes it is catalyst below efficency, today it's too lean on bank 1 nothing else. Also, as of 3 days ago, it's bogging down and acts like overdrive is out.

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#15 Mel

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

I think this is the cause of the knocking noise and cold start up I have on my car.

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#16 Mel

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:05 AM

Im getting tired of throwing money into this car without knowing the issue.

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#17 ragajungle

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:07 PM

thanks for this write up.

#18 clarkpaul

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:28 PM

Great post! Thank you very much.
I found part number 87072-S91 at the Ford site for the Intake Manifold Air Valve Assembly Seal

#19 miqe47

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:55 PM

  • I have been chasing this same problem for over a month. two repair shops want to charge me $600 + to replace the upper manifold and then say, that is just a good place to start but that might not fix it. are you kidding me, $600 and its still the same? I'm getting about 9-10 codes. I'm going to replace the OEM gasket myself and see what happens. it a lot cheaper than $600... if anyone has anymore ideas or suggestions. I've had to drive in town only, the car runs but not very fast, sometimes it will get up to 50mph but mostly its more like 40mph and the take off is very slow.
if anyone has anymore ideas or suggestions, i'm all ears.... thankls

#20 GSD

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:31 PM

Very informative post...ours is having all the symptoms,and now you've helped me narrow it down after having replaced the coil and plugs....the plugs needed changing anyway.




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