Ah, the good old Manifest Destiny, giving all Americans the right to expand and spread across our noble land, in search of their own slice of the American dream.
Er… what I mean of course is that the manifold gasket is a very important part of the vehicle’s engine. Yes, this is a car site, not a history one.
But as important as the intake manifold is, one of the first questions many people have is:
What is the intake manifold?
That’s a fair enough question actually, as the intake manifold plays a huge role in the engine, but it’s not a component that everyone is familiar with. This is mainly because while your gaskets can fail from time to time, the intake manifold itself is quite durable.
The intake manifold is basically a big multi-chambered component. It is connected to the air filter at one end and the engine cylinders at the other. The job of the intake manifold is to deliver the fuel-air mixture into the cylinders that the engine needs to run.
So it’s not an understatement to say that the intake manifold does some pretty important work. In this article, while we’re not here to talk about the intake manifold itself (we’re real kidding, huh?), But to take a look at the intake manifold gaskets.
In particular, how can you tell when they have broken down and need to be replaced.
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What are the intake manifold gaskets?
Hey? Oh yeah, before we move on to the next stage, we better cover what exactly the intake manifold gasket is.
There are actually a number of gaskets on your vehicle’s engine. They can be made of various materials such as paper, rubber, and metal, and sometimes even a combination of two or more of those materials.
You will find them everywhere a seal is required on the engine. In other words, where two components meet, you will find a joint that will help them come together and work together.
As we mentioned earlier, the intake manifold is a component that connects to the engine’s cylinders. It is at that connection that you will find the intake manifold gasket.
Why is it such a big deal when this board works?
It is possible to argue that the intake manifold gasket is the most important gasket in the engine. This is because it provides a seal at the point where the gasoline-air mixture that the engine runs on is inserted into the engine.
The gas is like food for the engine, while the air with which it mixes is like the blood in the veins. The gas is suspended in the air so it can move to where it is needed. When the intake manifold gasket malfunctions, the blood and power supply is cut off.
Needless to say, this is bad news for your car and it will have a huge impact on performance.
A secondary factor to consider is the fact that the intake manifold gasket also helps keep the coolant in the engine block. So again, when it fails, coolant can start to rain under your car and the coolant on the asphalt isn’t doing much to keep the engine temperature in check.
In fact, spoiler alert, it’s not doing anything.
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How to know if the gasket is bad
There are five telltale symptoms of a broken joint, or at least a joint that isn’t long for this world:
- Acceleration loss
Due to the role that the intake manifest plays with the engine, when the gasket is malfunctioning, one of the big clues can be the fact that acceleration will suffer.
This is because, as we discussed earlier, the intake manifold is responsible for injecting the fuel-air mixture into the engine’s cylinders. If you remember, we described it using a very interesting metaphor of food and blood, remember?
Well, to take that metaphor a little further, imagine that you are running and getting more and more out of breath. The more you struggle to breathe, the harder it is to maintain a fast running pace, right?
(Also, how about you put down the hot dog and get off the couch every now and then huh?)
The same applies to your engine. When you’re struggling to get enough air and fuel (because the gasket allows both to leak), you’ll have a hard time running, as you would expect.
- Bad fuel economy
Have you noticed that you have visited the gas station more often? It could be because you’re driving …