DIY decarbonize your engine - (Updated!)

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

So you've hit that point where your car is starting to feel a little sluggish or what of your automotive clients have come to your shop complaining of poor engine performance or even the dreaded check engine light. Upon inspection you see that your O2 Sensor or normal tune-up job has turned into a little more time consuming process when you realize that the engine has a good amount of carbon built up on the intake valves. What's that team? Basically you're going to need to make a few hard life choices.. 1. Try some of that miracle juice at your local Walmart or Auto Store and pray it actually cleans some of the carbon, without draining any of the dreaded liquid into your engine. Use Seafoam and hope your not passing un-burnt carbon through your engine. Or do it the right way and take your time and do an engine thanking Walnut Blast job on your intake valves, make them all nice and purty again and show everyone why your car was the beast it once was.


Walnut Blaster
Walnut Blasting using a 3Denton Auto Tool

Obviously you're going to need a few things to make this happen, but in all reality its a worthwhile investment because your vehicle is going to need this done a few times during its lifetime. Now its time to scream out "LETS GO SHOPPING!!" and head to your local Harbor Freight, because if you want a deal on this setup The Freight is where to go..


Total cost for the whole project should be around $50 assuming you have an air compressor and shop vac. If you don't have an air compressor I bought this one and it worked perfectly. The blaster and media can be used for other projects. This should just take a trip to harbor freight and home depot/lowes.

  • Air compressor. Ideally 1.5 horse power or higher and 6 gallons or higher. Less is fine, but you will have to take more breaks for it to recharge.

  • Shop vac with 1-1/4 hose connector.

  • Socket set and torque wrench. Need up to 17mm socket.

  • These adapters, bother normal and mirrored.

  • Portable abrasive blaster kit from harbor freight.

  • 25lbs Fine walnut shell media (Do NOT use sand). This should be almost double what you need.

  • Air Blow Gun with 2 ft. Extension from Harbor Freight. Item 68257.

  • Watts A-827 1/2-in x 1/4-in Brass Pipe Fitting or similar

  • Watts A-390 1/2-in x 1/2-in Barb Fitting or similar

  • Electrical tape

  • A female air compressor fitting like this one

  • 4 Intake manifold gaskets. Part# 11617528340 for the N14 as well as many other engines. Check realoem.com to find what part number you need. This is not required, but they are cheap and if you have a high mileage mini it’s a good idea to change them out.

  • If you are not very flexible a mirror is handy.


The List for The Freight:

  • 1-2 - Bags of Walnut Shells.. Depends on your engine size.

  • https://www.harborfreight.com/25-lbs-fine-grade-walnut-shell-blast-media-92155.html

Walnut Shells from Harbor Freight
  • 1 - Media Blaster (Abrasive Blaster)

  • https://www.harborfreight.com/portable-abrasive-blaster-kit-37025.html

Media Blaster from Harbor Frieght
  • 1 - Shop Vacuum - (Pick your place here everyone has these cheap now-a-days)


  • 1 - 3Denton Auto Shop Vac Adapters (Check out our Store area for various models, we cover a lot of makes and models, and if you don't see your car available, just contact us and we'll create you a custom quote to make you one specific to your vehicle.)


You'll see a great video post by milanmastracci of YouTube, that talks about the walnut blasting process of a Mini Cooper. This is the same process you'd use on your own car and it also highlights that the best method of cleaning your valves is truly using a walnut blasting adapter. The one he used for his vehicle is a combination of Metal and Plastic. We sell ours between 1/3 to 1/2 the price of this unit and yield the same results as well as the ability to reuse our adapter more than once when you take care of the adapter. He has also posted a list of similar products to purchase to help complete the job as well.



With all of this great information you should be to successfully complete your job saving you $600 - $1200 depending on where you got and what type of vehicle/engine you have.


Be sure to check out the guide below.. Its a great write-up on how to decarbonize your engine.


DYI Walnut Shell Blasting SS 3-27-13
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