How To: Clean The MAF Sensor

Discussion in 'How-To's' started by TheSilverShredder, Dec 6, 2008.


  1. TheSilverShredder

    TheSilverShredder FEOA Donator

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    When I bought my car, it had a very erratic idle, and lost power around highway speeds of 55-65. I took it into the shop, for what was a 100 dollar repair. This was a lesson learned the hard way because, like most other car repairs, it can be done MUCH cheaper yourself.

    I got the how to from
    http://www.fordf150.net/howto/clean-maf ... sensor.php

    "The Mass Air Flow sensor is a very delicate sensor. It uses two wires to measure the amount of air flowing into the engine. The two wires are heated (by electricity) and the more electricity used to heat them tells the ECU how much air is flowing past them.

    Between very fine dirt and the trend towards oiled filters it's very important to clean the MAF. Cleaning the MAF has so many benefits it's unreal. Between reducing pinging, increasing mileage, and preventing it from burning out (saving yourself $$$) there's no reason to not clean the MAF sensor once every 6 months. Also clean it shortly after installing or reinstalling an oil filed air filter.

    You don't need many tools. As a matter of fact, a screwdriver and the pictured stuff is all you'll need:
    [​IMG]
    You'll need a flat head screwdriver. Those are Safety Torx or Tamper Proof Torx bits. You can buy a whole set like I did or just get size T-20.

    Now, it's time for an important note. You see that big red aerosol can? It's ELECTRICAL CONTACT CLEANER. This is the only thing you should use to clean your MAF. Only ELECTRICAL CONTACT CLEANER. No windex, no carb cleaner, no brake cleaner, no rubbing alcohol, and no Q-Tips.

    Step 1: Open the hood and locate your air box. If you can't find it...please stop right now and have a friend clean your MAF for you.

    Step 2: Open the airbox and move the assembly up to give you room to work.

    Step 3: Locate the plug on the bottom and move the grommet down to give you room. See picture.
    [​IMG]
    Step 4: Take the flathead screwdriver and pop the four tabs holding the assembly in.

    Step 5: Reach in and disconnect the wiring harness from the MAF. Don't rip the wires or anything!

    Step 6: Remove the assembly. Locate the MAF and remove the two screws
    holding it in.
    [​IMG]
    Step 7: Spray the living daylights out of the wires. Do NOT touch them. ABOSOLUTELY DO NOT TOUCH THEM. Those wires are very small and delicate. If you break one of them....it's a $150 mistake.

    Step 8: The installation is the reversal.

    Do this once every 6 months and your MAF will continue to be clean and your performance won't suffer."

    Our MAF sensor is connected to the airbox on the right:
    [​IMG]

    I hope this helps others. I wish i would have known this information before I had to dish out $100!
  2. RoadWarrior

    RoadWarrior FEOA Member

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    Rubbing alcohol is fine as long as it's not the green stuff with methyl salicilicate and wintergreen oil in it. The plain clear stuff should just be isopropyl and whatever dilution of distilled water.

    Perversely, some contact cleaners may not be suitable for MAF cleaning as they have a switch and contact lubricant included. This is usually a silicone based oil and some cans will say "with silicone" but you're gonna have to check.

    Also the big no-no is chlorinated hydrocarbons, these attack plastics, many brake and carb cleaners don't actually have these in nowadays, when it says "sensor safe" you can pretty much bet it's chlorine free and is fine on a MAF.

    So... if I can't be bothered getting the MAF out of the housing, I just unbolt the whole unit and spray it with the non-chlorinated brake cleaner (Brake cleaners are usually a safer bet than carb cleaners if you know they are non-chlorinated because they won't have any paraffins or mineral spirits in which might leave an oily residue)

    If I can be bothered taking it out, our MAFs fit just right into the neck of a gatorade bottle, so I take a clean bottle, put half an inch of clear isopropyl rubbing alcohol in the bottle wedge in the MAF and shake the hell out of it.

    But as noted, the important thing is NO CONTACT, no q-tips for sure.

    Edit: actually the can shown in the photo looks like dangerous stuff to put on your MAF, the clue is it says "cleans and protects" protects means it leaves some crap on there. Gonna go and see if I can find that specific MSDS....

    Edit2: Yeah I know the can sayyyyys it leaves no residue, but looking at this ... http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:t2 ... =firefox-a
    I'm intensely suspicious of the "Synthetic isoparaffinic hydrocarbon" that's 5-10% of the ingredients. Those are heavily used as lubricants and in "Vanishing oils" that appear to dry and leave an "imperceptible" film of lubricant on a surface....
  3. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    Good post but I disagree with the quote from the other site
    CRC, the makers of the contact cleaner this person says to use, also makes a product specifically for cleaning. Stands to reason this would be preferred. Maybe it came out after the article.

    [​IMG]
  4. TheSilverShredder

    TheSilverShredder FEOA Donator

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    Thanks for the extra info guys, I'm sure it will help somebody down the road, like i said, I wish i knew this before i had to dish out $100, lol.

    I like on the MAF can "PROVEN to Gain 4 - 10 Horsepower at the Wheels!"
  5. EscortLX97

    EscortLX97 FEOA Member

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    Thats because of a clean MAF reads better the amount of Incoming Air.
  6. RJ285

    RJ285 New Member

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    Anyone have pics of the GT MAF?
  7. pextor

    pextor Moderator Staff Member

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    the GT uses a VAF, vane air flow meter. it's basically a potentiometer with a flap that moves as more air comes into the engine.

    a little reading for you:

    http://www.aa1car.com/library/vaf_sensors.htm
  8. white-lightning

    white-lightning FEOA Member

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    The '96 OBDII Gt did have a maf.
  9. pextor

    pextor Moderator Staff Member

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    sweet, didn't know that!

    makes sense, since it had OBDII.
  10. RJ285

    RJ285 New Member

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    I wondered what the heck that trap door thing was for. Thanks for the info.
  11. 94escortwagon

    94escortwagon New Member

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    Thanks "TheSilverShredder" and "EscorGo" for contributing to this thread. It really help me out.
  12. chrisanthony14

    chrisanthony14 New Member

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    hey guys..it seems like my 96 escort MAF is screwed down with a screw on the top left that does nto have a pattern head to screw on to..
  13. chrisanthony14

    chrisanthony14 New Member

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    Thanks for the insight.

    I'm wondering if its ok to use this:

    http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/4 ... leaner.jsp

    they have the same one but regular thats non-chlorinated and does not say abs sensor safe.

    Which one do you suggest i use?

    thanks chris
  14. RoadWarrior

    RoadWarrior FEOA Member

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    Hi, sorry wasn't around, but I've used that "Certified" stuff before, no issues. I usually buy that one rather than the cheaper one, but I can't remember why at the moment, I think it's because it's nearly double the fill for only a buck or so more.
  15. FordEscorter

    FordEscorter New Member

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    how can you tell if you maf is dirty?
  16. TheSilverShredder

    TheSilverShredder FEOA Donator

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    Car will normally have bad idle speeds and lack of power on highway/in general. What's happening is the car thinks its getting a different amount of air than what it is, so it causes lean/rich issues.
  17. 94escortmodsman

    94escortmodsman New Member

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    you can tell if it's dirty by, after cleaning it, you notice an increase in power! :D
  18. needWheels

    needWheels FEOA Member

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    Sorry to bump an old topic but I noticed there is a video demonstrating this on youtube where the car looks suspiciously very much like a 2nd gen escort :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd640ImE9Ec

    Just don't use the carb cleaner that guy used.

    and if you use the CRC MAF cleaner that most auto stores have, note that it's incredible flammable

    http://www.crcindustries.com/ei/content ... x?PN=05110
    looks like it's 75% hexane
    http://www.crcindustries.com/faxdocs/msds/5110.pdf


    I was looking at the CRC electric parts cleaner which is non-flammable but it's chlorinated which I remember is bad for the MAF ?

    http://www.crcindustries.com/ei/content ... x?PN=05018
    it's over 95% tetrachloroethylene
    http://www.crcindustries.com/faxdocs/msds/5018.pdf

    Note that CRC electronics cleaner is virtual the same as their MAF cleaner
    http://www.crcindustries.com/ei/content ... x?PN=05103
    it's about 5% less hexane but also is plastic safe/leaves no residue
    http://www.crcindustries.com/faxdocs/msds/5101.pdf
    but for some reason contains 20% of something very close to r134a
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,1-Difluoroethane

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