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The intake on an engine may be made up of a lower intake manifold and an upper intake manifold or plenum. The lower intake manifold is a cast aluminum or molded plastic chamber bolted to the cylinder head of the engine. The intake manifold must be tightly sealed to the cylinder head(s) using a gasket in order to prevent air, oil, or engine coolant leaks.
Internal or external leaks. Due to constant temperature expansion and contraction of engine parts or overheating, the gasket’s ability to seal properly can be ruined, resulting in problems such as:
Yes. The principal concern with a leaking intake manifold gasket is potential damage to the engine, depending on where the leak is. Although the vehicle will generally be safe to drive, you should schedule service as soon as possible to minimize the chances of additional costly damage. If the leak involves coolant, it could lead to engine overheating damage or the coolant could contaminate the engine oil, which can damage the engine bearings. If there is an air leak to the cylinders, it can cause lean operation which could overheat the catalytic converter.