LLT V6 Intake valve cleaning with walnut blasting - Chevy Traverse Forum: Chevrolet Traverse Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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LLT V6 Intake valve cleaning with walnut blasting

My 2009 traverse has 98,000 miles on it and I decided to do a deep valve cleaning. I have done the CRC spray before and have found it to have little effect. I had views the valves before and after using the CRC spray as directed and did not see any noticeable reduction in carbon on the valves. After this I realized it would take more mechanical means to remove the 98k miles worth of buildup. I had seen people use walnut shells to blast valves on other engines but I could not find much on cleaning the valves on this motor other than the CRC spray method. So I decided to purchase a media blaster from harbor freight and a box of walnut shells and give it a shot.

I removed the intake manifold and below are some of the before pictures:


At first I didnít think it looked that bad but after looking closer I noticed the some of the valves had a thick layer of buildup and on some the had a thick ring around the edge of the port and others that had large globs of carbon on the stem.

It took a lot of work to get the carbon off, the blasting itself would not do it all, I had to scrape and scrub the valves to finally get through. I would blast for a few minutes, spray CRC and let it soak then scrub with a brush and blast again. After about 6 hours I had all valves cleaned. The amount of work it took to get the carbon off I do not see any way that spraying valve cleaner in the intake alone could ever get the valves clean. Below are after photos:



Make sure to identify what cylinder has the valves open and tape that one off. Once the other 5 are clean, bump the starter to close the valves in that cylinder and clean that cylinder. Be sure to clean all cylinders out very well before rotating the engine so you do not suck in any wall it shells.

Once it was all done, I was very surprised at how much more power the car had. I truly did not expect that much improvement. It was certainly time well spent to do.
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Below is the link to the media blaster I used:

https://m.harborfreight.com/portable...kit-37025.html

Below is the link to the walnut shells I used:

https://m.harborfreight.com/25-lbs-f...dia-92155.html

I used a plastic sink supply line hose on the end of the blaster to get the length I needed to get down in the port to blast the valves. Below is the link:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/3-8-in-O...DL-F/100552807

I used a bench grinder to reduce the diameter of the large end so it would fit in the end of the blaster gun once I removed the porcelain top that comes on it.

Hope this information helps anyone who decides to try this procedure.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 07:59 AM
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Good job. 6 hrs. wow. I have not looked at mine. it is a 2009 with 110k miles.
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-25-2018, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Below is a video with some more info on what I did. I donít do videos so itís not that great but thought some may find it helpful.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 04:18 PM
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Pretty impressive work, I'll be checking out the video at home when I'm off work...

I wonder if now that you've done this, would using the CRC DI cleaner prevent buildup or slow it down enough to be worth it?

Also, what made you decide to do the cleaning? A code pop up making you think it was time? Mine has 92k and I'm really putting this off because I don't have the time with 3 kids.

Current Vehicles:
-2015 Pilot EX-L AWD
-2014 Traverse LT2 AWD
-1961 Impala 2 Door Sedan 283 3MT

Family Muscle:
-1969 Camaro SS 350 4MT
-1957 210 2 Door Wagon (project)
-1939 Ford 3 Window 2 Door (project)

Past Vehicles:
-2008 Sonata SE V6
-2012 Silverado LS 4.8 4WD EC
-2011 Rogue SL AWD
-2006 Accord Sedan EX-L K24 5MT
-2012 Tacoma DCSB V6 6MT 4WD
-2011 Civic Si Sedan
-2001 Pathfinder VQ35 5MT 4WD
-1997 Pathfinder VG33 4AT 4WD
-1999 ML320 4WD
-1997 Accord LX Sedan F22 4AT
cintocrunch is offline  
post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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I think that now that the valves are clean the CRC would probably do the trick to keep them clean if I did it every 10 to 15k miles. I re piped my catch can to the vacuum line side of the PCV system so I hope to stop most of the oil from getting in the intake. So hopefully they stay pretty clean without it. I previously had it on the breather end of the PCV system to catch the sludge from getting in the intake tube but that stopped for the most part when I redid the PCV mod (previously did not drill the holes big enough.).

If you donít have any current issues you could do a regimen of CRC every 10 to 15k now and that would stop it from progressing and likely get better over time.

I was having a couple misfires after it sat for a few days which got me thinking about it since I knew it was a problem. Plus when I did the plugs I could see how bad they were. I try to fix the know problems ahead of them becoming a bigger issue. I previously did the wave plates and replaced the throttle body before they broke. Next will be the timing chains but Iím waiting until I hit 120k miles since I have the extended coverage that will cover it.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 08:50 AM
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I've been having many discussions with a coworker that has an Audi about catch cans and whether to install them... from what I understand Chevy improved the orifices on the dirty side (opened them up like you did drilling them out) which should hopefully slow down the flow enough to let the solids stay in the engine and not get in the intake tube... We have a big driving trip to Disney (from MD) coming up in February, I figured I would see how everything looks when we get back, right now we have no issues and just in case something fouls a plug or whatever I'd rather that happen after the trip.

For my information, which catch can setup did you use? Obviously the price variances are HUGE so trying to figure out where the best cost/benefit ratio is has been difficult while researching. I had pretty much settled on just the basic Elite E2 catch can, no dual port exit or clean side separator.

Current Vehicles:
-2015 Pilot EX-L AWD
-2014 Traverse LT2 AWD
-1961 Impala 2 Door Sedan 283 3MT

Family Muscle:
-1969 Camaro SS 350 4MT
-1957 210 2 Door Wagon (project)
-1939 Ford 3 Window 2 Door (project)

Past Vehicles:
-2008 Sonata SE V6
-2012 Silverado LS 4.8 4WD EC
-2011 Rogue SL AWD
-2006 Accord Sedan EX-L K24 5MT
-2012 Tacoma DCSB V6 6MT 4WD
-2011 Civic Si Sedan
-2001 Pathfinder VQ35 5MT 4WD
-1997 Pathfinder VG33 4AT 4WD
-1999 ML320 4WD
-1997 Accord LX Sedan F22 4AT

Last edited by cintocrunch; 12-28-2018 at 08:55 AM.
cintocrunch is offline  
post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-29-2018, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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I got a knock off version of this:
Moroso 85481 Air/Oil Separator for GM Truck https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004K964KM..._agbkCbHCMX433
I donít see the one I got available anymore but the design is identical to the one in the link.

From what I can tell, below is how the sludge gets in the intake tube:

The hose between the front valve cover and the intake tube is actually there to let air into the engine. The barb on the back valve cover goes to the high vacuum side of the intake which is where gas is sucked out of the motor and pulled into the intake. Between the two they should create a cross flow of air through the engine block. In the original design, the holes on the barb were not big enough to remove enough gas out of the block so when pressure from blow by builds up, the flow of air on the intake tube side changes from providing makeup air into the block to letting gas blow out which is when you get the sludge buildup. Drilling out the holes allows more air flow to be pulled in by the vacuum side which prevents the pressure from building up and blowing out into the intake tube.
The oil mist that burns on the valves for the most part comes from the vacuum/barb end. With the PCV mod and catch can on the intake side, the intake tube was bone dry but the inside of the intake manifold was still coated with oil. I have switched my catch can to the vacuum side and Iíll report back after a while on how much oil it catches.
brfatboy.3 is offline  
post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 08:32 AM
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Definitely keep this thread updated with how switching the catch can does...

From reading the threads it sounded like in '13 the PCV "valve" was updated with larger holes, I haven't pulled mine to see if they are clogged at all but that was supposed to prevent suspended solids from getting into the IM. So if the dirty side is working right the fresh air side should only reverse flow during high RPM events, otherwise your catch can on the fresh air side should be catching almost nothing.

Current Vehicles:
-2015 Pilot EX-L AWD
-2014 Traverse LT2 AWD
-1961 Impala 2 Door Sedan 283 3MT

Family Muscle:
-1969 Camaro SS 350 4MT
-1957 210 2 Door Wagon (project)
-1939 Ford 3 Window 2 Door (project)

Past Vehicles:
-2008 Sonata SE V6
-2012 Silverado LS 4.8 4WD EC
-2011 Rogue SL AWD
-2006 Accord Sedan EX-L K24 5MT
-2012 Tacoma DCSB V6 6MT 4WD
-2011 Civic Si Sedan
-2001 Pathfinder VQ35 5MT 4WD
-1997 Pathfinder VG33 4AT 4WD
-1999 ML320 4WD
-1997 Accord LX Sedan F22 4AT
cintocrunch is offline  
post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Posts: 44
In a single tank of gas (roughly 300 miles) this is what the dirty side catch can had in it:
The second picture is after it settled out a little. There were some droplets of water in the bottle before I drained the catch can in to it but I shook it out as well as I could. I will dry a bottle out for the next time. Looks like about 90% of it is water and the other 10% is oil.
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