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Tips for Dorman 615-175 Intake Manifold Installation

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by SyberTiger, December 29, 2016.

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    1. SyberTiger

      SyberTiger Active Member

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      I recently completed installation of the Dorman 615-175 aftermarket intake manifold on my 2002 Explorer with 4.6L V-8 so I thought I'd chime in with some tips and answers for those considering use of this part. The part was purchased on Amazon for $140.

      First, you should be aware that while this aftermarket intake manifold works great for a 2002 4.6L it does not work for 2003-2005 models. I do not know what the specifics why this is so but maybe it has something to do with the throttle body.

      When replacing your intake manifold it is a great time to change the spark plugs while you are in there as it is easier with all the "stuff" pulled out of the way. Also, you should consider cleaning your fuel injectors while they are out and at a minimum you should replace two o-rings on each injector. I had my fuel injectors professionally cleaned and tested which included ultra-sound cleaning, replacing the inlet screens, testing the solenoids and verifying spray pattern and metering across the 8 injectors as well as new o-rings. The cost was $80 total for all 8 injectors and while not mandatory I felt it reasonable given the injectors are 14 years old and have 150K miles on them.

      The Dorman intake manifold kit comes with everything you need including integrated gaskets and other spare parts meant for use on other cars. You will be reusing your alternator bracket so discard the new one that comes with the kit.

      There have been questions on this forum about "heated PCV" vs "non-heated PCV" engines. My 4.6L has a heated PCV and the Dorman part supports a heated and non-heated PCV design. You can verify your engine uses a heated PCV design by noting the outlet port and hose that runs from coolant crossover on the intake manifold near the thermostat over to the throttle body. See the following picture:

      [​IMG]

      If your vehicle does not have a heated PCV the Dorman kit comes with a steel pipe plug to cap off the port on the aluminum coolant crossover.

      Getting the old intake manifold off is fairly straightforward and there are a number of other threads on this forum such as THIS ONE that provide helpful info on this job.

      Likely, when you get your factory intake manifold out, you will note a "noise insulator" surrounds the bottom of the old intake manifold. It's has a thin plastic shell which is filled with foam insulator. It will probably be very cracked and decrepit with pieces of plastic shell falling off. The Dorman replacement manifold does not come with a new noise insulator but it is not necessary and Dorman has stated that the old one should be thrown away. I have not noticed any weirdness nor additional noise issues due to not having one.

      You need to clean up the mounting surface of the engine heads. You can use throttle body cleaner or brake cleaner. Be careful to stuff paper towels or plastic bags into the intake ports, coolant openings and spark plug wells on the heads to keep crap from falling into them while you clean. After a good cleaning you may note some pitting on the mating surface which might be due to corrosion. My passenger side under the aluminum crossover looked like this:

      [​IMG]


      Although I believe the integrated gaskets on the Dorman intake manifold would sit just beyond the pitting I used JB Weld and a razor blade to fill in the pits and made sure the mating surface was completely smooth such that the repair looks like this:

      [​IMG]

      One of the concerns that many have with the Dorman aftermarket part is that it includes a coolant port located on the right side back corner. The coolant port is not typically used on the 2002 Explorer 4.6L but is available for other Ford products that use it as part of the cabin heater system. The Dorman part comes with a rubber cap which is removed for the those other Ford products but for the Explorer it remains in place to block the port. Many have reported problems with the rubber cap which generally rots or cracks with time resulting in engine coolant being sprayed all over the inside of the engine compartment. There are various solutions posted which include keeping a extra cap on hand for the eventual failure and spewing of coolant...or, making a better cap using a short piece of quality auto heater hose and plugging one end with a bolt and using clamps. I have another solution which I think is more graceful, permanent and aesthetically pleasing.

      Here is what the unused heater port looks like:

      [​IMG]

      Fill in the port with RTV such as Permatex Ultra Black. Just squirt it in the top port opening then put a piece of tape over the port to hold the wet RTV in.

      [​IMG]

      Then flip the intake manifold over and fill in the port from the bottom side with generous amount of RTV. Push the RTV into the port to make sure all the voids are filled.

      [​IMG]

      When it dries, take the Dorman cap and put it back on but use a better hose clamp.

      [​IMG]

      Another question that comes up is regarding the fuel rail ground plug which is found on the rear passenger side fuel rail bolt/stud. This bolt stud allows the ground plug to snap on but the problem is the Dorman aftermarket intake manifold does not reuse the bolt stud(s) but rather uses four self-tapping studless bolts because there aren't brass inserts in the Dorman manifold to accept the old factory bolts. This means there is no stud sticking up to snap on the ground plug. Rather than snip off the ground plug and add a wire extension to fasten the ground wire to the fuel rail I came up with a solution that is simple, elegant, low cost and allows you to simply plug the ground wire on similar to the factory implementation.

      Pick up an electrical crimp lug and an 8mm scew.

      [​IMG]

      Install the screw, cut off or grind off the screw head then crimp.

      [​IMG]

      This will install under the rear passenger side fuel rail bolt. After you torque down the bolts simply plug the fuel rail ground plug on.

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: December 29, 2016
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    3. SyberTiger

      SyberTiger Active Member

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      Even though I was very careful when unplugging the fuel injector connectors by gently pushing the plastic tabs I noted that three of my fuel injector connector tabs where broken. It's possible the plastic gets very brittle over time with heat so be very careful or else you'll need to come up with a way to hold the connectors on your fuel injectors. I decided to replace all of the connectors at a total cost of about $15. I used heat shrink butt connectors that keep out moisture.

      [​IMG]

      I used the Dorman instructions to torque all the bolt and in sequence.

      [​IMG]

      While I was in the area I replaced the timing chains and the valve cover gaskets. The vehicle started right up, without hesitation and idled smoothly. The next day I drove the vehicle 500 miles without incident. My gas mileage went way up from where it was prior to the intake manifold replacement. At 75 - 80 mph I got around 19.5 mpg which isn't bad for a 4x4. At 55 mph I was getting 21.5 to 22 mpg.

      I was previously having intermittent fast idling problems that would pop up every 4 to 6 months despite all my efforts cleaning the IAC, MAF and throttle body every time the idle would slowly creep up to 2,000+ RPM. I'm hoping the new intake manifold resolves that issue. The reason why the manifold was replaced was due to leaking coolant discovered on top of the engine and in the #8 spark plug well but I have a theory that the manifold was also leaking around the cylinder intake ports thus causing weird vacuum issues that the computer may have been working to resolve thus causing the idle to increase over time.

      The other positive I noted was the "clean" smell of the exhaust while idling. Prior to the manifold repair I was getting horrible fuel mileage and the exhaust fumes were noxious due to either unburned fuel or the inability of the cat converter to deal with the situation. No lie...you and literally take a big gulp of exhaust and there is no smell whatsoever.
       
      Last edited: January 23, 2017
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    4. shucker1

      shucker1 Elite Explorer

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      Nice write up and good attention to small detail.
       
    5. IPcamper

      IPcamper Elite Explorer

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      I am reviving an old discussion to say "Thank You" for a great write up. I just replaced the intake manifold on my 2002 Mountaineer, 4.6 V8 and your write left no surprises.
       
    6. fordysenior

      fordysenior Active Member

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      I would also agree to fill that port to block it off -- my original cap that came with the Dorman, and it's stupid clamp that came with the Dorman part, went shooting off one day under hard acceleration. The vehicle overheated and shut down. I limped off the freeway, went to a gas station for repairs since home was too far away, and they put a new cap on with proper clamp. That was about two years ago. Just three days ago, that cap split and coolant went everywhere. Once again, no where near home. I limped it off the road, again. Blocking that port is a very good idea. I wish I had.
       
    7. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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      I installed that part(or very similar) on a grand marquis and had a vacuum leak. In some cases the intake gaskets straddle the locating divots on the head from the old gaskets, letting in lots of air. The divots are visible in the picture with the blue circle and square.

      Dorman has a few revisions of this intake and some require you to fill those voids with RTV. Not all are documented as such, good to double check that. Not sure if it affects the Explorer 4.6L heads but good to do a test fit to be sure.

      . Verify fuel trims after installation.
       
    8. SyberTiger

      SyberTiger Active Member

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      What are you using to verify the fuel trim?
       
      Last edited: January 24, 2017
    9. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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      Forscan or Torque will do.
      Check Long term fuel trim for bank 1 and 2 at idle.
      Should be under 10, better 5-6 or less.
       
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    10. rocco123

      rocco123 Active Member

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      After 3 years my rubber cap rotted out and leaked bad. The rubber is not meant for contact with coolant. Replaced with a small section of plugged 3/4 " coolant hose.
       
    11. SyberTiger

      SyberTiger Active Member

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      I understand that some folks are using a short piece of heater hose then using a stainless steel bolt and hose clamp to plug the hole. I hope anyone that is getting ready to replace their intake manifold with the Dorman part stumbles across this thread so they can RTV it prior to installation as outlined above.
       
    12. rocco123

      rocco123 Active Member

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      If I did it over again I would RTV it, but if coolant gets to the rubber cap I assure you the rubber will crack in a short time. I even bought a kit with several size caps to repair the leak and they were no different than what came with the intake. That's when I opted for heater hose.
       
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    13. fordysenior

      fordysenior Active Member

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      Rocco -- since I just had the problem, I'm thinking of replacing the cap as you mention. My coolant level is where it is supposed to be. When I remove the cap, will I lose some coolant, assuming the engine is cool.?
       
    14. rocco123

      rocco123 Active Member

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      You may loose a little, but it's worth doing. The supplied cap just ain't up to the job and you are certainly saving yourself the problem of it leaking down the road. If you don't replace it with good heater hose, you should at least keep a spare cap for when it does blow. I had one in my truck when mine blew in the parking lot at work and used it as a temp fix until I replaced it with a hose
       
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    15. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    16. 07gtman

      07gtman Active Member

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      very nice job on this post thanks.
       
    17. jk7294

      jk7294 New Member

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      I will have to go back and do a better plug job on that coolant passage. One question I have is what is that ground for? I just cut it and put a connector on it and it is OK, but I wondered what it was for. I also wondered what the differences between The "W" 4.6 and The "R" are. I know the W is WIndsor and R is Romeo plants, but what and why the differences are I do not know.
       
    18. davidmmm69

      davidmmm69 Elite Explorer

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      QUESTION FOR YOU? WHERE DID YOU TAKE THE FUEL INJECTORS IN ORDER TO HAVE THEM CLEANED?
      I AM GETTING READY TO ATTEMPT THE SAME THING AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY MY INJECTORS.
       
    19. SyberTiger

      SyberTiger Active Member

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      I used Precision Auto Injectors right down the road from me so it was easy for me to pull them off, drop them off, then pick them up the next day. They have an eBay store too. If you can't wait to mail them in and wait for the return maybe see if you can buy some from him with a deposit then when they get yours you'll get your deposit back. The owner was very helpful and answered a lot of question. He also sent me the video of my injectors getting cleaned then tested.
       
    20. davidmmm69

      davidmmm69 Elite Explorer

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      THANK YOU
       

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