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How-to: Cleaning your MAF Sensor


88pathoffroad
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How to clean your mass airflow sensor, for all 1987-1989 VG30i and Z24i engines, as well as 1990-1995 VG30E engines.

 

The purpose of this article is to let people know how to clean their MAF sensor because it robs engine power when it's dirty. Cleaning the MAF sensor often solves idle or driveability problems, as well as giving better fuel mileage.

 

The VG30i and KA24i engines both utilize a throttle body injection setup instead of the multi-port fuel injection used in the VG30E engines. The MAF sensor on a VG30i is on the driver's side of the TBI unit under the air cleaner. The MAF sensor on a 1990-1995 is located just before the rubber intake tube on top, just after the air filter box on the driver's side.

 

VG30i engine, sans air cleaner. Also missing a few things I took off. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. 4-cylinder engines may differ in appearance, but the TBI unit is the exact same from 87-89.

mafengine_zpsf3c76555.jpg

 

This is the mass airflow sensor located on the driver's side(right side from front of vehicle) of the throttle body injection unit(TBI). As you can see, it's got one wiring plug and harness, and three mounting screws.

mafsideview_zps68fe7596.jpg

 

Unplug the wiring harness. The end plug has a tricky little wire snap-on retainer clip that you have to carefully pry out of it's groove before the plug comes off.

 

This is what the TBI unit looks like after you unscrew the three screws with a large flat-head screwdriver, then gently pull the MAF sensor out while twisting a bit. Try not to use a Philips screwdriver on these, they strip out very easily and are probably threadlocked to begin with and very tight.

mafsideoff_zps33358891.jpg

 

A rubber o-ring keeps the MAF sensor sealed in there tight. My o-ring stuck inside the TBI when I took it off, so I carefully pulled the o-ring out and rolled it over the tip of the MAF sensor so I could reinstall it correctly.

 

These are the heater wires of the MAF sensor. They are the delicate bits that make it work. If you damage either one of these wires or it's missing, you'll need a new MAF sensor.

mafwires01_zps7cf20469.jpg

mafwires02_zps4a83fc89.jpg

 

MAF Connector

mafconnector_zpsd876e6e0.jpg

 

Carefully clean both these wires with rubbing (isopropyl)alcohol and a q-tip(ear swab) or carb cleaner. Be gentle, or you're going to damage the wires. They are very thin.

 

After cleaning, a bit of light oil on the o-ring helps get it reinstalled easily. Push the MAF sensor in until it seats fully, being careful not to bump the heater wires while you're inserting it. Reinstall the three screws, plug the wiring harness back in and make sure the retainer clip is reinstalled OK, reinstall your air cleaner and enjoy.

 

 

PICS FOR 90-95 VG30E engine!!! (Thanks, Precise1!)

 

Stock air filter box: if you can't find this, stop now!

026-Copy_zpsbc79ca2f.jpg

 

MAF sensor wiring clip retainer wire: easiest removed with a pointed item by pushing forward on the end of the side of the clip.

027_zps25731f25.jpg

 

Up close view of VG30E MAF wires: They are no more than 1/4" from post to post, so be gentle!

036_zps170e29d0.jpg

 

MAF housing, sensor removed on side of stock air filter box: As it would be oriented if mounted.

053-Copy_zpsa94bd5cd.jpg

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Yup, I made a pair of 3/8" spacers for the TBI out of polyethlene. Easy to work with, takes heat up to 260 degrees or so, but no results yet on power gains. I was trying that to see if it would improve gas mileage and allow for better fuel/air mixture ratios by spacing the injectors up a bit higher than stock. The longer metric studs were damn expensive to buy, too, like $2.50 each.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the write up 88! I finally got around to doing this last night, probably one of the easier things I've done on the pathy! Hoping to suck every mile I can out of each gallon :-)

 

Get this though! My truck idles A LOT smoother, and I don't have any engine stutter @ 45mph anymore! :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

i just got done cleaning mine. well, i didnt get the result i was looking for, to say the least. my truck wont stay running without holding my foot on the throttle, the check engine light is on, and now i can't go past 2800rpm's. why is it that something breaks when i do it? the wires are perfectly in tact and everything is cool with the MAF. can anyone explain?!?!?!?! :confused:

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  • 3 weeks later...
I cleaned mine on my 95 and it's exactly the same, the only difference is the location of it. It's bolted on right after the air box. The cleaning procedure is exactly the same, as the MAF looks identical to 88's.

mine has two screws and the thing is only about 2"x3".. it looks bigger in the pictures. the little filaments looked shiny but i swiped them anyway..

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Kevin, When you figure out how to get yours off let me know. The guy I bought mine from must have been screwing around with it cause now the bloody thing is completely pooched. :oops: Theres no way I'm getting the Bottom Screw off unless I try Dremeling a slot for a flat head but I wasn't about to try that cause with my luck.... well... Lets just say if it wasn't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all. :furious: Let me know how you do it if you do.

 

Dowser.

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  • 4 weeks later...

i got a .7 mpg increase after i cleaned my MAF on a 96 SE with 103 k miles .. i have never bought a car under 100 k miles and the first thing i do is throttle body clean up, new plugs and oil and MAF cleaning .. and i always got an increase in highway mpg ..from 27 to 29 mph on a 92 prelude, si, from 30-34 mpg on a 88 camry dx ..

 

its so easy on the r 50, sits right on top of the air box tube housing ..1 min to get it off .. unplug sensor .. remove 2 screws .. 2 minutes to clean it with an alcohol swab ..

 

on the pathy, right now im getting 17.5 mpg on highway mostly cruise control, and 14.5 - 15-5 mpg in city driving ..

Edited by IndianRider
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Well, I just cleaned my MAF on a 95XE so I took some pictures to add here. Unfortunately, I can't get 88's pictures to show so I can't compare them. What seems odd to me is that Simon cleaned his 95 and said it was exactly the same as 88's (other than location), yet 88 mentions 3 screws and an O-ring. Mine has 2 screws and no hint of an O-ring, not even a mark or groove that I could see. :shrug: Definitely feel free to chime in !!

Anyway it wasn't really dirty but I think maybe it runs just a hair smoother ? No real difference for me. Here is the little clip that needs removing...

 

B

post-28-1132619148.jpg

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Ok, no problem and thanks for clearing that up Simon, I thought there my have been different types... Good that there is not !

 

The location and the tools I used. I couldn't find my right angle screwdriver so I just used a hex bit and a wrench. It worked perfectly and they were tight ! A 1/4" drive ratchet would work fine also...

 

B

post-28-1132619342.jpg

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And just for good luck, the housing....

This is an easy job with no issues other than not stripping the screws on removal, and being gentle with the MAF wires. Try my trick, and you'll have no problems ! Hope this helps. :beer:

 

B

post-28-1132619842.jpg

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Mine has 2 screws and no hint of an O-ring, not even a mark or groove that I could see.  :shrug: 

Hey, Precise1, if you look at the pic of the MAF sensor you posted, the O-ring is right at the base of the black plastic tower where it meets the wide, flat plastic part.

 

I just cleaned mine Sunday and it didn't look dirty at all either, but it helped take care of my high idle problem :beer:

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Hmm, there didn't seem to be one there, it looked like a solid piece of plastic to me... I could be wrong as I was busy being paranoid about those tiny elements (unnecessarily so)... :D I'll take your word for it, I'm not pulling it apart again just to look !! ;)

 

B

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