How to Clean a Saturn EGR Valve


EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valves help reduce the harmful emissions produced by automobile engines. Since Saturn is a relatively new car company (established in the late 1980s), all Saturn vehicles ever built are equipped with EGR valves. EGR valves use a simple design to filter emissions. The design has changed little over the years, which makes removing and cleaning the EGR valve in your Saturn car basically the same no matter what model or year it is.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Socket wrench
  • Socket extension
  • Container
  • Sea-foam treatment
  • Carburetor cleaner (optional)
  • Hand towels
  • Cotton swabs
  • Replacement EGR gasket
  • Disconnect the negative battery cable and locate your EGR valve. Saturn EGR valves are usually located near the intake manifold and throttle body.

  • Carefully pull the two vacuum hoses from the EGR valve. Do not use pliers or any other tool to remove the hoses. Vacuum hoses are fragile, so using a tool may damage them.

  • Unplug the solenoid valve from the EGR valve. Now you will need to loosen the bolts to remove the EGR valve from the vehicle. The EGR valve has three bolts: two in front and one in the rear. The rear bolt may be difficult to access. Use a socket extension to help you reach it. Remove the EGR valve and discard the old gasket.

  • Soak the EGR valve in the sea-foam treatment to loosen up and remove most of the carbon buildup. Let the EGR valve soak for at least a couple of hours, overnight if possible. Soaking the valve in the treatment is optional, but it will help you properly clean the EGR valve. If you do not have time to soak it, see the tips below.

  • Use your hand towel to clean any leftover carbon buildup from the valve. Open the valve and thoroughly wipe the inside. Insert cotton swabs into each vacuum opening to remove any carbon buildup from inside. Reinstall the EGR valve with the new gasket. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not have time to soak the EGR valve, use a carburetor cleaner with a spray nozzle instead. Make sure the cleaner is labeled "safe for catalytic converters," or it may damage your system. Spray the cleaner inside the valve and scrub with the towel and cotton swab; it will eventually come clean, but will take more effort than soaking it will.
  • Do not install your EGR valve without a new gasket. Visit your local auto parts store or Saturn dealer for a replacement EGR gasket.
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