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Thread: Finally did my own carbon clean on the RS4

  1. #1

    Default Finally did my own carbon clean on the RS4

    So during our last lockdown v5.0 I decided to have a go at carbon cleaning and thought I'd share some crappy photos and briefly document my experience.

    I wasn't sure if the previous owner ever had this done, however I didn't perceive any symptoms of excessive carbon buildup - No misfires, codes, smooth idle, 5500rpm kick, etc... but with 94k on the clock it was worth checking. So I took my time removing the manifold and found this:

    Hard carbon deposits around the valve stems which had to be manually picked off, thankfully the top of the valves, intake ports & separators only had a thin coating.


    Following other guides I'd seen online, I made sure each valve was closed before spraying the port with some upper engine cleaner, allowing to soak, then using a heap of rags, wooden picks, cable ties and abusive language to manually scrub everything clean. In the pic below you can see the valve on the left side almost done before a final clean:


    The most time consuming part was manually scooping out the goo that the engine cleaner had turned the remaining carbon into.
    If I ever do this again I might invest in a walnut blaster as I spent almost 8 hours cleaning and my back has only just recovered!

    Finally, I fitted new intake gaskets and managed to get the manifold back on without breaking anything


    There must have been some engine cleaner still in the manifold judging by the plume of smoke that came out the exhaust when I first started the car, but after a brief drive this cleared and she's now running better than ever. I've definitely noticed an improvement in the upper rev range and from 5k rpms there seems to be a lot more power.

    Some things I noted during the manifold removal & installation:
    -The single use hose clamps are an absolute pain to remove and have been replaced with these hose-clamp.jpg

    -The Cyclonic Oil Separator is connected by 3 T30 torx bolts with the bottom one almost impossible to get to. You have to remove so much other stuff to get to it that I left it off when the manifold went back on. The oil separator's still secured firmly and I haven't had any issues leaving this single bolt off. It will save a heap of time if I ever remove the manifold again

    -Check the intake flaps, shaft & screws. After hearing stories of these coming loose I was thinking of removing them, but mine were secured firmly with no movement on the shaft they're connected to so I decided to leave them in for now.

    On a scale of 1 to professional mechanic (10), I'm probably around a 3 so this was quite an intimidating job to tackle.
    From start to finish the whole process cost me around 12 hours, 2 cans of upper engine cleaner, 4 hose clamps, 2 manifold gaskets and a pair of badly scraped hands, but I'm glad it's finally done
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    Last edited by petermca4; July 28th, 2021 at 02:06 PM.
    B5 1.8T quattro |
    B5 1.8T quattro gp |
    B5 S4
    B7 RS4 |

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Thanked: 3


    Well done mate. Kudos for doing it yourself, makes it worth it in the end!

    My RS4 is at the shop getting this done as we speak - wasn't confident enought to attempt it myself, maybe I will one day.

    Keen to get it back and feel the power difference!

    Good to hear your flaps and screws are still solid. I'm getting mine removed just for piece of mind. A few have fallen victim to it recently... there's one at the workshop my car's at with a suspected failure (metal found in the cylinder).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 1980
    Back in Sydney (again!)
    Thanked: 618


    Nice one. It would probably be one that I might have tackled in the future (yearly can't hurt, right?!!), but with the supercharger I have on top, it's a whole different ball game

    Great results, and as above, it's a better feeling when you can do it yourself, even after all the time and pain.

  4. #4


    Nice work mate, methinks I will hit up the old man to assist with doing this ourselves :)
    Current: 2006 B7 RS4 Avant in Imola

    Previous: 2004 A4 1.8 Turbo Quattro

    APR Stage 1 | Bilstein PSS9 Coilovers | Remus Exhausts | 18" RS6 Reps | Brushed Alum Mirrors | Phatbox | RS4 Pedals | RS4 Gear Knob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 1980
    Back in Sydney (again!)
    Thanked: 618


    another 4 weeks lockdown leaves a lot of time to fix things that might go wrong

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