VW Jetta TDI intake manifold cleaning

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The procedures outlined in this article were performed on a 1999 Jetta TDI MK IV. Examine your engine, look at these photos and study the locations of the components you may need to move during this maintenance task. Read completely through this guide at least once prior to starting so you are not surprised, or left with questions in the middle of the job.

TDI manifold cleaning 01.jpg


The following are pictures of all the tools used for this project, for reference.

TDI manifold cleaning 14.jpg
  1. Water and towel-less hand cleaner (Use often, no need to put dirty finger prints everywhere).
  2. Magnetic parts bowl to hold the parts you remove
  3. Hammer to bash (GENTLY) heat shields with (a mechanics best friend)
  4. Prying tool (didn’t actually use this)
  5. Long regular head screwdriver to be used with the hammer
  6. Smaller and well (ab)used regular head screwdriver to use for scraping gunk with.
  7. Screwdriver with changeable heads
  8. Notepad and pen (so I could write this article)
  9. Flashlight
  10. Small adjustable wrench
  11. 10 open/box wrench
  12. 6 open/box wrench
  13. Small hook type tool to scrape gunk with
  14. Magnetic socket inserts (these can really help you prevent loosing bolts under the car)
  15. Magnet on a wand (a mechanics 2nd best friend)
  16. Inspection mirror (to find those pesky bolt holes behind the engine)
  17. Allen wrench set (metric) with the ball ends
  18. Allen wrench set (metric) on a 3/8 socket base
  19. 10 hex socket
  20. Water pump pliers (used these on some hose clamps)
  21. Hose pinching pliers
  22. Pliers (again for hose clamps)
  23. ¼ and 3/8 drive mini ratchet things
  24. ¼ and 3/8 drive socket extensions long and short
  25. ¼ and 3/8 drive universal joints
  26. ¼ and 3/8 ratchet wrenches
  27. 3/8 stubby/flex handle ratchet wrench (this WILL fit those tight places. Highly recommended!).


  1. Begin by removing the Upper engine cover. Note the location of the items listed: 1. Fresh air intake from your air filter. 2. CCV unit. 3. EGR valve. 4. Anti shudder valve. 5. Air supply from intercooler. 6. Intake manifold.
    TDI manifold cleaning 02.jpg
  2. Disconnect the hose leading from the CCV to the fresh air intake. There is a small lip that seals it so pull hard.
  3. Remove the 2 metal clamps that hold the rubber hose from the Intercooler pipe to the EGR. Do not get excited and start scraping at crud out of the EGR at this time. If you loosen the crud now it may easily fall down the intake manifold and into a cylinder.
    TDI manifold cleaning 03.jpg
  4. Pull the rubber hose off the inlet to the turbocharger.
  5. Remove two #5 cap screws that attach the thing shown in the photo from the intake manifold.
  6. Pull the vacuum line off of the EGR. The clip may become damage, however the hose will probably stay put without it.
    TDI manifold cleaning 04.jpg
  7. Remove two #6 cap screws from the exhaust supply line leading from the exhaust cooler to the EGR. Don’t loose the thin metal gasket.
    TDI manifold cleaning 05.jpg
  8. Remove 3 #5 cap screws that hold the EGR to the intake manifold. The bolt in the 7 o’clock position is in a tight location due to a # 6 cap screw holding the exhaust line from the last step to the EGR itself. I was able to remove this bolt with a #6 ball end Allen wrench. Again, do not get excited and start scraping crud out of the intake manifold.
    TDI manifold cleaning 06.jpg
  9. Remove two #6 cap screws that attach the exhaust supply line to the exhaust cooler [G]. Again do not loose the gasket. Also disconnect the coolant hose [H]. Either clamp or raise this hose above the radiator level to prevent draining of radiator fluid.
    TDI manifold cleaning 07.jpg
  10. Clamp the lower coolant line going to the exhaust cooler. Now remove the smaller coolant hose attached to the top of the cooler.
    TDI manifold cleaning 08.jpg
  11. Remove three #10 hex bolts that hold the exhaust cooler to the intake manifold. Tie the exhaust cooler so it is up and out of your way.
    TDI manifold cleaning 09.jpg
  12. Remove six #6 cap screws that hold the intake manifold to the engine block. The 2nd bolt in from the left hit a heat shield on its way out. You may have to bend the heat shield a small amount by bashing it (gently) with a hammer and long tool such as a screwdriver or punch. Do not loose the gasket as you pull the intake manifold out.
    TDI manifold cleaning 10.jpg
    TDI manifold cleaning 11.jpg
  13. This is the intake manifold. Make note of where the six bolts are, as you will not be able to see them as you remove or replace them. I do not have my manual yet, but I would recommend the following pattern to tighten these bolts when reinstalling 531246. (That pattern may change as soon as I get my manual).
    TDI manifold cleaning 12.jpg
  14. The gunk I cleaned out of my EGR valve and intake manifold.
    TDI manifold cleaning 13.jpg
  15. To clean out this gunk I scraped out as much as I could with hand tools, and a foot long piece of stiff wire. Once the big stuff was gone I used brake cleaner to help loosen the rest. The gunk came out easily as it was rather moist (think of the stuff in a day old coffee filter). If yours is very thick, or hard you may need to soak it overnight, or as some have suggested bring it to a glass bead machine.