Intake Manifold Gasket Replacement

Upper Intake Manifold
How to Replace an Intake Manifold Gasket

An intake manifold is located on the top of a V6 and V8 engine. On an inline 4 or 6 cylinder, it is bolted on the side of the engine. The primary purpose of the intake manifold is to deliver air and fuel to each of the engine’s cylinders. Once delivered, the cylinders can ignite the fuel and air and run. On some vehicles, the intake manifold not only delivers air and fuel to the engine, but also it has chambers inside that coolant runs through to help keep the engine cool. As a result, the gaskets between the intake manifold and the cylinder head or heads can deteriorate and fail. Thus, the intake needs removed and the gasket replaced. You will be dealing with fuel and grease so dress with protective clothing, eyewear and gloves. Make sure the engine is cold, preferably allowed to sit overnight. Before you begin park your car on a level surface with the parking brake on, engine off and in park.

Lower Intake Manifold
Tools Needed to Complete this Job

1. Socket set with Ratchet

2. Screw drivers

3. Intake gasket set

4. Drain pan

5. Shop Towels

Intake Manifold Removed

NOTE: Some older engines will have the distributor mounted on the intake. Make sure to note-mark the position of the rotor under the distributor cap before removing it. It must go back in the same exact position for the engine to run properly.

Step 1 - Make sure the vehicle is on a flat surface, in park, and the parking brake applied.

Step 2 - Disconnect the negative battery cable. Make sure NOT to touch both battery terminals at the same time with a wrench.

Step 3 - Once the engine is cold, drain the coolant from the radiator into the drain pan.

Step 4 - Remove the air filter assembly and all wiring and vacuum hoses from the top of the intake manifold. Also, remove the upper radiator hose from the thermostat housing. NOTE: To help you reassemble, make sure you mark where all hoses, wires, and other components belong.

Step 5 - Once everything is removed from the top of the intake and you have access to it, remove the retaining bolts from the intake manifold. They will be located along the sides of the intake bolting it to the cylinder heads. (note: on some models the valve covers will need to be removed to access intake manifold mounting bolts).

Step 6 - When all the bolts are removed, the intake is ready to come off the engine. Chances are it will still feel snug on the engine. You may need to tap on it with a rubber mallet or gently pry it off.

Step 7 - Once the intake is off, make sure to dry any coolant that runs into the engine.

Step 8 - Properly clean all of the old gasket material from both the engine and the intake itself.

Step 9 - Remove the new intake manifold gaskets from the package. There will be four gaskets on a V8 or V6. Two of the gaskets (the shorter ones) will be placed at the ends of the intake. The longer gaskets will be for the sides.

Step 10 - Take the smaller gaskets and place a quality gasket sealer product on the side that will be against the engine block. Place the gaskets in place and allow a little time for them to dry in place. Then, place more of the gasket sealer on the other side of the same (shorter) gaskets.

Step 11 - Place the long gaskets in place on the intake itself . To help hold them in place, place two bolts through the intake and the new gaskets on each end of the intake manifold. This will help hold the gaskets in position and the bolts will both guide the intake into the correct position and not allow the gasket to move once the intake is on the engine and use sealer as needed.

Step 12 - Following the manufacturer’s recommendations to torque the intake to the proper tightness (torque specifications) and tighten them in the sequence recommended. Must start from the center and work towards the outside in a circular pattern.

Step 13 - Once you properly tighten everything, begin replacing the hoses, wires, and any other items removed from the top of the engine. Also, replace the upper radiator hose and tighten it.

Step 14 - Next, refill the radiator with a quality coolant and the correct type for your vehicle.

Step 15 - Carefully replace the negative battery terminal, start the engine, allow it to warm up to operating temperature, and check for leaks.

Intake Manifold Gasket Replaced
Best Practices

  • Replace the thermostat under the thermostat housing.
  • Install new engine coolant
  • Change Engine Oil and Filter
  • Use gasket sealer on coolant ports
If further technical assistance is needed, our certified car repair technicians are ready to answer your car questions. For manufacturer specific repair information visit - Car Repair Manuals

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Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2013-08-16)