There is the possibility of switching from VAM to MAF, which involves finding the proper resistance MAF sensor, and then the pipe to fit it in. It would offer better airflow, and would be more than a match for a "better" VAM/VAF. It would take some time and thought, but I know it's possible as it's just a resistor. The VAM is a mechanical potentiometer with the air flapper moving the pot's wiper....simple stuff. The MAF is just a thermistor that's cooled by air...technically more reliable if it doesn't get gunked up, and also faster acting, with far less restriction. Maybe see if a 2nd gen, or 3rd gen SPI MAF works out..chances are those would be pretty direct fit with the proper resistance.
I don't know. It's probable, but you might want to visit a junk yard and grab a 2nd gen MAF to see how it fits. At the worst it would need a little modifying to fit. By then, just use a 2.0 SPI one as it's 4mm larger in diameter, and should still work fine for replacing a VAM.
Probably not even close, although that's a moot point since the pins themselves will likely be the same. It should be a two wire connector, three at most, and it doesn't matter which way it's connected since it's just a resistor. At the most you'd have to splice the wires together (solder and tape...DO NOT just twist...that is extremely stupid) to make it all fit. Grab the harness for the MAF off a 2nd gen as well, and it should all go together nicely....this is my theory at least.
yeah. that sounds kind of risky. i was gunna try to recalibrate the stock vam; but i couldn't figure out how to do it. i thought you slipped the top of it and there was like a dial in it. how do you calibrate it?