If you’re having vacuum issues, the engine keeps stalling, coolant leaks, or poor engine performance, the intake manifold may be the culprit.
And, the most likely thing to go wrong with the intake manifold is the gasket. That’s because the gasket only lasts 50,000-75,000 miles under normal wear.
The average cost of replacing an intake manifold gasket is $350-$700. Here, parts cost anywhere from $20-$150 and the rest is labor. That’s because taking the intake manifold off can be quite a bit of work– meaning you’ll normally pay for 2-4 hours of labor.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of intake manifold gasket replacement cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
|Supplier||Intake Manifold Gasket Cost||Labor|
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How Much Does an Intake Manifold Gasket Replacement Cost?*
Normally, the largest cost factor in replacing an intake manifold gasket is the cost of labor.
Here, it normally takes about 40 minutes to get the intake manifold off and then an additional 1-3 hours to clean the manifold and get it back on.
Of course, the gasket itself can be expensive. High end and rarer manifold gaskets can cost several hundred dollars. However, on average, a full kit will cost $100 or less.
|Vehicle||Intake Manifold Gasket||Labor Cost|
|Jeep Wrangler (JK)||$14.99-$76.99||$100-$270|
|Chevy Silverado 1500||$3.49-$138.99||$120-$286|
*Note: Prices are estimates and were correct at the time of writing (June 2022). Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.
Intake Manifold Gasket Replacement Cost Factors
In most cases, the largest cost factor in replacing an intake manifold is labor.
That’s because cleaning and putting a new gasket on your manifold can take some time.
However, there are other factors that may impact total costs.
Make and Model of Vehicle
The make and model of your vehicle will impact costs in several ways. One example is the cost of the original factory part.
It also impacts the availability of parts and how easily you or your mechanic can buy them.
In addition, some vehicles are easier to take apart than others. If you have a vehicle where it’s very easy to take everything apart – the job will go a lot faster than if you have to take a lot of things off the manifold before you take it off.
Cost of Part
Intake manifold gaskets can range in cost from a few dollars to well over $200. Normally, this cost difference depends on the brand, the material, and the performance rating.
For example, the cheapest manifold gaskets are normally made of felt or asbestos; more expensive ones are made of neoprene, silicone, natural rubber, or even cork.
The brand also impacts the cost a lot. For example, if you buy OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), you’ll often pay the top rate listed.
On the other hand, if you buy an aftermarket brand, you can normally get a full gasket for under $25.
Cost of Labor
The cost of labor is normally the largest factor in replacing your intake manifold gasket. Here, it normally takes 30-40 minutes to get the gasket off in the first place.
Then, you’ll have to clean the intake manifold, remove the old gasket, and get everything back on. The full job normally takes 2-4 hours.
Most mechanics charge around $100 an hour in labor, although this rate ranges from $15-$210+. Therefore, depending on where you’re at and which mechanic you go to, rates can vary significantly.
5 Symptoms of a Bad Intake Manifold Gasket
If your intake manifold gasket is going out, you’ll normally notice issues with the fuel injection system.
That means reduced fuel efficiency, decreased engine power, and sometimes issues like misfiring and stalling.
Of course, you might also see coolant or even oil leaks, although that varies by vehicle.
1. Engine Power Issues
If your intake manifold isn’t sealed properly, it could cause changes in the vacuum pressure inside the manifold. In addition, it could introduce new air or reduce the amount of air in the air/fuel mixture used in the fuel injection.
When that happens, your vehicle will lose power, decreasing acceleration, towing power, and ability to maintain speed while driving up hills.
You probably won’t notice this issue until it’s quite bad, however, it is always a good sign something is going wrong with the fuel injection.
2. Engine Misfiring
If your engine is misfiring, it normally means something is wrong with the fuel injection system. In this case, the extra air entering through the gasket could cause issues in the fuel/oil mixture resulting in occasional misfires.
In addition, you could be getting misfires because of issues relating to coolant or oil leaks. If coolant is dripping into the fuel injection, your engine will misfire.
More importantly, it could actually permanently damage the fuel injectors or even the pistons if the cylinders fill with coolant and the system hydro locks.
If your engine is stalling, it could mean there’s a vacuum leak, which is easily caused by a bad gasket. On the other hand, the same issue could be caused by the air/fuel ratio being off. Both issues can result from a blown gasket.
However, stalling can originate from dozens of other issues. Therefore, it’s important to inspect other parts of the fuel injection, the starter motor, and the spark plugs as well.
4. Coolant Leaks
Coolant leaks under the intake manifold may result in liquid pooling under the engine or from under the gasket. You might also see white smoke coming from your engine, which usually means coolant is being burned off in the combustion chamber.
In addition, if coolant is vanishing and you don’t know why, it may be because of a coolant leak in the intake manifold. For this reason, it’s always important to inspect your system.
5. Increased Fuel Consumption
The same issues that cause engine power problems will cause your fuel consumption to go up.
If you notice you’re using more gas than usual, it’s a sign to take a look at why. Often, the culprit is with the fuel injection and the combustion system.
How Do You Replace an Intake Manifold Gasket? 14 Steps
If you have the time and motivation to replace an intake manifold gasket yourself, you can save most of the cost of the job. However, you should be prepared to spend the better part of the day on the work.
Otherwise, this is a relatively straightforward job and you can do it yourself providing you have the time.
Things you’ll need:
- Wrench set
- Ratchet and socket set
- Flat screwdriver
- Pliers/needle nose pliers
- Gasket scraper
- Brake cleaner
- Replacement tee for your vacuum line
- New intake manifold gasket
- Gasket lubricant
Take a photo of your engine or use masking tape and colored markers to mark where the air intake lines, the plenum, the air filter, and the lines go.
This will be extremely helpful in putting everything back later.
- Then, use a wrench to remove the air filter.
- Find the snap clamps on the back of the fuel lines. Some fuel lines also use wrench clamps.
- Remove the throttle links. Most can be taken off with a flat screwdriver.
- Remove the air filter container.
- Loosen the nuts holding the intake manifold.
- If you have an older vehicle, remove the carburetor.
- Remove the distributor nuts.
- Remove the intake manifold.
- Inspect the gasket and if it’s old, cracked, or dirty.
- Use a gasket scraper to carefully remove the old gasket. You’ll want to be careful not to damage the manifold or the engine block.
- Thoroughly clean both the intake manifold cover and the block and remove any loose bits of the gasket.
- Replace the new gasket with a light coating or lubricant or not as described in the instructions on the gasket.
- Replace the intake manifold.
- Put everything back in place in reverse order.
From there, you can start your car up and test it. Of course, if coolant was low, you should top that up first.
If you still have questions about replacing your intake manifold gasket, these answers should help.
How to tell if intake manifold gasket is leaking?
In most cases, you’ll only really notice the intake manifold gasket leaking if there’s fluid coming out from around the gasket.
You might also notice issues if you are exhausting white smoke. On the other hand, the leak could be a vacuum leak.
In this case, you’ll see issues with everything on the vacuum system. Your engine might also lose power while consuming more fuel.
Can you drive with a bad intake manifold gasket?
While you may be able to drive with a bad intake manifold gasket, it increases the risk of damage to your engine.
For example, both coolant leaks and poor air/fuel ratio can cause permanent damage to the cylinders and the fuel injection.
Therefore, if you do have a gasket issue, it’s important to fix it as quickly as possible.
How long do intake manifold gaskets last?
Most intake manifold gaskets will last around 50,000-75,000 miles.
However, your gasket could fail sooner, especially if it’s subjected to harsh conditions, or you don’t change coolant very often. In other cases, the gasket can last much longer.
Why do intake manifold gaskets go bad?
Age, coolant leaks, vacuum leaks, and valve intake issues can all cause issues with the intake manifold gasket.
Unfortunately, the gasket is made of rubber – which means it will break down if subjected to temperature changes, liquids, or other corrosive materials.
Over time, your gasket will also naturally become more brittle and may almost dissolve into the intake manifold. That’s one reason why cleaning off the old one is so much work.
You have to clean off hardened bits of rubber that have melted into the metal cover.
Replacing an intake manifold gasket is an intermediate repair. Normally, intake manifold gasket repair costs range between $250 and $350. However, if you choose to do the work yourself, you could drop that to as little as $30-$80 for a new gasket plus a day of your time.
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