The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Broken Vacuum Elbow - CEL 231-232

2011-03-04 - Robert Arnold

Given time, your 5-cylinder engine may develop a vacuum leak, which can result in a check engine light (CEL) codes 231-232.

This common problem may be from a vacuum elbow on the passenger side of the intake manifold that has deteriorated. Simply replacing this piece solves the problem; the getting to it is the challenge. Fear not DIY’er access is merely a fuel rail away.

To get at it, pull off the fuel rail cover and disconnect all the injector connectors and move the harness out of the way. Additional access at this point can be gained by removing the throttle bell crank cover via the T25 that secures it. Remove the two bolts holding the fuel rail in place. Spray a small amount of lubricant on the lower sealing o’ring of each injector and gently pry the fuel rail away from the intake manifold making sure the injectors stay with the rail and don’t stay in the manifold. Later model cars have a capture bracket on the lower edge of the rail to prevent this.

Once the elbow has been pulled off the side of the intake nipple (a long screw driver works well for this) push the elbow and the line it is attached to up between the #1 and #2 intake runner. This will allow approximately 1-2 inches of the line to be exposed including the elbow itself. Using a razor blade, gently cut the elbow off the plastic line, be careful not to damage the line itself.

Install the new elbow with some good old-fashioned spit. Seriously, don’t use a lubricant since turbo pressure may push the elbow off the plastic line.Be sure to transfer the green spring clamp (if equipped) and reinstall the elbow on the nipple. Extended needle nose pliers work well for this, open the pliers so that the jaws are not quite as wide as the diameter of the clamp. Push the elbow on using the power steering pump as your leverage point and the hinge of the pliers as the fulcrum. Again, natures’ lubricant should be used.

Clear any codes and test drive. The engine management system may take some time to adjust adaptations if your scanner is not able to clear them.