The engine idle speed is controlled by the idle air control (IAC) valve. The IAC valve is on the
throttle body. The IAC valve pintle moves in and out of an idle air passage bore to control air flow
around the throttle plate. The valve consists of a movable pintle, driven by a gear attached to a two
phase bi-polar permanent magnet electric motor called a stepper motor. The stepper motor is
capable of highly accurate rotation, or of movement, called steps.
The stepper motor has two separate windings that are called coils. Each coil is fed by two circuits
from the powertrain control module (PCM). When the PCM changes polarity of a coil, the stepper
motor moves one step. The PCM uses a predetermined number of counts to determine the IAC
pintle position. Observe IAC counts with a scan tool. The IAC counts will increment up or down as
the PCM attempts to change the IAC valve pintle position.
Idle Control Valve Picture