Does a Carbon Clean help on an EA113 engine

Does a Carbon Clean help on an EA113 engine? If you have a TFSI, TSI, or any other direct-injection engine then this is something to have a look at. Carbon build-up on the intake valves and the ports is something you just can’t get away from. Talking to the experts they will tell you to do a carbon clean every 50000km. Is that really necessary you may ask? Well check out the rest of this post and it will answer your question.

So I have a 2011 Golf 6R with 158000km on the clock. I bought that car at 82000km and the previous owner never did a carbon clean. As I have done carbon cleans myself on my previous MK5 GTI I know what it takes to do the job. I did it twice and I told myself never again.

My Golf R started feeling lazy and had the occasional misfire. This is one of the symptoms of having excessive carbon buildup on your valves. Why would carbon buildup make the car misfire? The port area around the valve gets reduced with the carbon. This means the amount of air entering a cylinder is less than what the ECU thinks is going in. This causes the fuel mixture to vary on the cylinders and may run rich to the point of misfires.

What other symptoms is there for carbon buildup?

There are several issues that can be related to carbon buildup:

  • Rough Idle
  • Detonation
  • Leaking Valves
  • Power loss
  • Misfires
  • Engine check lights

What is the best way to get the ports cleaned

I would not recommend you try to do it yourself. This is one of those jobs you give to an expert to do. I looked around and found a company here in Cape Town that had the right equipment for the job. The company is called Racing Technik. I phoned them and had a lengthy discussion with the owner Carl van der Walt. He explained to me how they do a carbon clean using walnut shell blasting. Carl also recommended getting the injectors serviced while the intake was stripped off. What they do with an injector service is to rinse out all the deposit buildup inside the injectors and nozzles. They do a multiple-stage injector cleanup of which the last stage is a flow and spray pattern test.

It is recommended to have the injectors serviced every time you do carbon clean this way you will always have the engine running as it should.

First update after removal of intake

One of the things that I was really impressed by was the updates that were given by Carl. The first update he sent was of the condition of the intake ports and injectors were.

1.) Intake Port Cylinder 1
2,) Intake Port Cylinder 2
3.) Intake Port Cylinder 3
4.) Intake Port Cylinder 4
Injectors after removed from the head

As you can see from the pictures it wasn’t looking good. The engine was well overdue for a carbon clean. This is a service that is not given by the agents.

Second Update

The second update was the service of the injectors. They have a 3 stage system where they do ultrasonic cleaning flushing and reverse flushing the injectors to remove all dirt and carbon from the nozzles and seats returning the injectors to a state that is as good as new.

1.) Stage 1 of cleaning
2.) Stage 2 of cleaning
Dirt that comes out of injectors
3.) Final phase is the spray test

Third and final update

The following update was sent just before they started assembly on the Golf 6R.

1.) Cleaned intake on Cylinder 1
2.) Cleaned intake on Cylinder 2
3.) Cleaned intake on Cylinder 3
4.) Cleaned intake on Cylinder 4
5.) Cleaned injectors

The nice thing about the walnut shell blasting is the shells are hard enough to remove the carbon from the ports but not hard enough to damage aluminum. Before the injectors were reinstalled they were fitted with a new seal kit.

Conclusion on carbon clean experience

I must say that dealing with Racing Technik was the best experience I ever had. If you are in the Cape Town area and want to get your direct injection intake cleaned please contact Racing Technik. This is a must if you want your engine to run to full potential with the best fuel consumption.

My Golf felt like a different car after I got it back from Racing Technik. Unfortunately, I could not do a before and after dyno run to show how much power you actually lose with carbon build-up.

What could be done to slow down carbon buildup in the intake ports?

Firstly, I am going to explain why carbon build-up occurs on direct injection engines. For emission purposes, the engine blow-by or engine breather is directed into the intake system. This gas always has a certain amount of oil residue in it. On the port injection engines, the fuel that is injected into the port acts like a steam cleaner. This causes a washing effect that washes off the oil residue from the ports and valves. On the direct injection engines, the vapor goes sit on the hot surfaces and bakes on there, and over time layer by layer, it builds up into chunks of carbon deposits.

There are 2 things that will slow down the carbon deposit buildup:

  • Oil Catch can: With a oil catch can most of the oilwater deposits that will get backed onto the valves will be caught in the catch can and the air going to the intake system from the breather system will be clean. The only oil that will still be in the air stream is what is intoduced by the turbo(s). There is always some amount of oil that gets into the air stream, that is just the way that turbo’s work. Some is worst than others.

Catch Can Systems

  • Watermeth Injection: With a watermeth injection kit you intoduce vapour mixture into your intake system that acts like a steam cleaner, it will wash off a certain amount of oiliness in the intake system but as it does not spray constanly baking will happen. This is why I say it will recude the buildup but not stop it.

Watermeth systems

Why does some of the later Direct Injection cars not have Carbon buildup issues?

There are some of the later Direct injection engines that don’t have carbon build-up issues. One of those is the VW Golf 7R, the manufactures started going with direct and port injection, this giving you the best of both worlds. You have all the features that make a direct injection engine great plus the washing of the intake ports and extra fueling capabilities of the Port injection.


If you have a direct injection engine and want it to be in tip-top shape, then get a carbon clean done by professionals every 50000km. It is worth every cent…

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