I just figured out how to work with the flappy without taking the intake off. I am sure others may have described this before, but I was unable to find it in this same method.

1) Remove air filter assembly, and remove the MAF. I sighted the 7mm hose clamp under the fuel rail just under the knock sensor.
2) place a small but bright drop light on the drivers side of where the MAF went.

3) Looking thru the hole in the intake manifold directly above the engine temp sensor (not temp II, but the water temp sensor), you can see the bottom part of the flappy, the vacuum line and barely the arm that attaches to the ball on the butterfly.

4) with a long screwdriver reach back from the other side, or guide someone else and start lightly tapping around until you see the top of the flappy knob bounce up and down.

5) Once you know where the ball is using a MightyVac, pull vacuum slowly until you get the eye socket of the flappy arm directly on top of the ball. Then lightly tap the eye socket on the ball. until when you tap you can see the top of the flappy knob bounce back and forth.

6) test the flappy with the mighty vac, until you get it right. For me, all of this took about 45 minutes.

You could also see the vacuum line in there, this might be slightly more challenging, but with long forceps you could grab the vacuum line and get it back in place.

One helpful thing was to have a spare flappy actuator to study and think about the process before trying to do this. All and all, I have to say it was a piece of cake compared to taking the intake manifold off again.

Martin Bishop


Yep it *is* possible to get your hand underneath an 87+ intake. My hands are kind of long and thin though. When my flap vac actuator died I thought the vac hose had come undone. I removed the MAF and managed to get the hose
reconnected. I think that if you removed the large elbow between the MAF and the throttle body you'd have plenty of room. A little mirror helps.

John Pirtle
87 a/t 134k


What year is the car ??
If it's a 16V, or even an early 32V, it might be possible (with the aid of a flashlight and small inspection mirror) to use a long flat-blade screwdriver (and/or or a "clawed" pick-up tool) get re-seat the socket onto the ball, but then there's the issue of replacing the "c" clip (if so equipped) that holds the socket onto the ball. Don't know if there's even enough room to try with the later (S4 and up) 32V. Even if the above works, it might be wiser to remove the intake to find out _how/why_ things got disconnected, otherwise you might find yourself stranded in a much less convenient place,
under much less favorable circumstances. Just a thought ... or two.

Best regards,


If you can find someone with small hands, you *can* reattach the vac line to the flap actuator. I *almost* was able to do it myself... Remove the air box and MAF and you can just about get under there. Study some pictures of the actuator (there's one on my website service pages under intake manifold). Use some new rubber hose. Maybe you know a smart child.

John Pirtle
87 a/t 196k