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  #1  
Old 29th March 2011
gso_saab gso_saab is offline
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Default DIY How to clean your Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor

Cleaning the MAF sensor has come up a few times on the forum recently, so I thought I'd post a DIY How To on it. This is an easy job, but like all easy jobs, someone can botch it badly, and a new MAF sensor ain't cheap.

MAF sensors get dirty from the flow of dust, dirt, pollen, and such that slips past the air filter. They really get dirty when people put too much oil on a K&N type filter. The oily sensor then builds up globs of crap. A dirty sensor can contribute to rough idle and lower performance, so we ought to clean them at least every 30,000 miles.

You'll need the following:

1. A T20 Torx bit or screwdriver.

2. A can of MAF sensor cleaner. CRC and Gunk make this; most parts stores have the CRC one for around $7. DO NOT USE CARB CLEANER.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1127582/CRC.JPG

3. A sparkly pink princess wand for dramatic pointing (optional). Those of you with car seats in the back of your Saab probably have one or two of these laying around.

Your MAF sensor is on the intake tube, as indicated by the sparkly wand.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1127582/MAF_Spot.JPG

To remove it, unscrew the two T20 screws. The hardest part is probably removing the clip; here's a close up:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1127582/Clip1.JPG

Push in the small tabs and slide the clip out toward the firewall so it looks like this:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1127582/Clip2.JPG

Then pull down on the wiring to remove it from the MAF sensor. Pull the MAF sensor straight out. It's a tight fit.

The MAF sensor looks like this:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1127582/MAF.JPG

Carefully place it on a dropcloth or old towel away from the engine and the car's painted surfaces. Spray it 5 to 10 times with the MAF sensor cleaner and let it dry via evaporation.

Never use carb cleaner, brake cleaner, degreaser, rubbing alcohol, generic cleaners, or anything else. Don't touch the delicate wires inside the sensor with anything other than the spray. Yes, there are a lot of videos of young guys cleaning their riced-out Integra's MAF sensor with carb cleaner or with a q-tip, but somehow those guys forget to upload the video of them sheepishly ordering a new sensor for $150 a week later.

The MAF cleaner will evaporate in a few minutes, but be sure it's dry before you put it back in. Don't get the cleaner on your skin.

If you like, you can lightly recondition the sensor's o-ring before reinserting it.

Some people recommend doing this every time you clean your air filter. People with aftermarket oily filters ought to do it pretty often.

And that's it. Let me know how this works for y'all.
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  #2  
Old 30th March 2011
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Nice and clear write up!
Very good!
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  #3  
Old 30th March 2011
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Nice writeup. Now, can you attest to the "proven to gain 4-10hp at the wheels"?
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  #4  
Old 30th March 2011
gso_saab gso_saab is offline
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Yeah, I'm pretty skeptical of CRC's HP claim . If you keep your air filter fresh and clean, the MAF sensor will never get too dirty.

People with oiled filters and people who neglect their cars will probably see a big gain from a MAF sensor cleaning.

In way, the state of the MAF sensor is a clue to how well your air filter works. My sensor looked factory clean at 33,000 miles, which is a good sign.
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  #5  
Old 30th March 2011
Cafasco Cafasco is offline
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Great write up! This should be a STICKY!
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  #6  
Old 31st March 2011
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anyone know how to do this for the V6 9-3s?
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  #7  
Old 31st March 2011
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I second that with the v6 cleaning.

I know where the MAF is but don't want to screw anything up cause this stuff can get sensitive.
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  #8  
Old 31st March 2011
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Interesting,

I have been cleaning Air Mass Meters for years with brake cleaner

so would be interested as to why you cant use it now, admittedly old style Air Mass Meters used a hot wire not bead thermistors like our 9-3 uses


and as requested I will sticky this
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  #9  
Old 31st March 2011
gso_saab gso_saab is offline
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I'm glad you guys find this helpful.

For the V6, the MAF will also be between the air filter and throttle body. I don't have a picture handy, but it should be easy to access. Cleaning it is the same: just remove it, spray it, let it dry, and reinsert it.

From what I gather, the newer MAF sensors are much more delicate than the old ones. Some other cleaners are probably okay for the metal and electronic parts but bad for the plastics that house them.
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  #10  
Old 31st March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gso_saab View Post
For the V6, the MAF will also be between the air filter and throttle body.
Actually it's between the air filter and the turbo unit.
Same setup in the 2-litre engine as well.
The output of the IC is connected to the intake manifold (and throttle body).

Last edited by chris_de_ze; 31st March 2011 at 03:29 PM.
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  #11  
Old 31st March 2011
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My bad.
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  #12  
Old 31st March 2011
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okay not sure how to clean it, but to access the MAF on the V6, you
1. remove top of the airbox and filter,
2. undo the two torx screws that hold the intake pipe to the radiator support,
3. disconnect the crank case breather and secondary air injection hoses
4. disconnect the harness from the MAF (the MAF itself is the section of pipe that the harness is connected to
5. undo the 2 clamps that hold the MAF to the two sections of pipe before and after it
6. slide off each section of the rubber pipes (one comes from the air filter, the other goes to the turbo)

assembly is the reverse of disassembly (make sure when installing the maf back in that it flows in the correct direction)

after taking it off i'm not sure how to clean it though. there is no exposed wire or anything like the 2.0 one. its basically a honeycomb section of pipe with the sensor buried in it, and the sensor is not removable from this pipe section.

the tools required are the exact same as would be needed to remove the air filter.
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  #13  
Old 31st March 2011
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Added to the how to post.
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  #14  
Old 1st April 2011
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Cleaning the V6 tube-style MAF sensor is the same basic process: remove it, douse it with the MAF cleaner spray, and let it dry completely before reinstalling it. Like the other kind, this kind shouldn't be touched or swabbed directly.
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Old 2nd April 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gso_saab View Post
Cleaning the V6 tube-style MAF sensor is the same basic process: remove it, douse it with the MAF cleaner spray, and let it dry completely before reinstalling it. Like the other kind, this kind shouldn't be touched or swabbed directly.
Noted. Thanks
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  #16  
Old 2nd April 2011
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Pics fixed.
BTW, great writeup, definitely a sticky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gso_saab View Post
Cleaning the MAF sensor has come up a few times on the forum recently, so I thought I'd post a DIY How To on it. This is an easy job, but like all easy jobs, someone can botch it badly, and a new MAF sensor ain't cheap.

MAF sensors get dirty from the flow of dust, dirt, pollen, and such that slips past the air filter. They really get dirty when people put too much oil on a K&N type filter. The oily sensor then builds up globs of crap. A dirty sensor can contribute to rough idle and lower performance, so we ought to clean them at least every 30,000 miles.

You'll need the following:

1. A T20 Torx bit or screwdriver.

2. A can of MAF sensor cleaner. CRC and Gunk make this; most parts stores have the CRC one for around $7. DO NOT USE CARB CLEANER.


3. A sparkly pink princess wand for dramatic pointing (optional). Those of you with car seats in the back of your Saab probably have one or two of these laying around.

Your MAF sensor is on the intake tube, as indicated by the sparkly wand.


To remove it, unscrew the two T20 screws. The hardest part is probably removing the clip; here's a close up:


Push in the small tabs and slide the clip out toward the firewall so it looks like this:


Then pull down on the wiring to remove it from the MAF sensor. Pull the MAF sensor straight out. It's a tight fit.

The MAF sensor looks like this:


Carefully place it on a dropcloth or old towel away from the engine and the car's painted surfaces. Spray it 5 to 10 times with the MAF sensor cleaner and let it dry via evaporation.

Never use carb cleaner, brake cleaner, degreaser, rubbing alcohol, generic cleaners, or anything else. Don't touch the delicate wires inside the sensor with anything other than the spray. Yes, there are a lot of videos of young guys cleaning their riced-out Integra's MAF sensor with carb cleaner or with a q-tip, but somehow those guys forget to upload the video of them sheepishly ordering a new sensor for $150 a week later.

The MAF cleaner will evaporate in a few minutes, but be sure it's dry before you put it back in. Don't get the cleaner on your skin.

If you like, you can lightly recondition the sensor's o-ring before reinserting it.

Some people recommend doing this every time you clean your air filter. People with aftermarket oily filters ought to do it pretty often.

And that's it. Let me know how this works for y'all.
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  #17  
Old 18th June 2011
jim808 jim808 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titansaab27 View Post
okay not sure how to clean it, but to access the MAF on the V6, you
1. remove top of the airbox and filter,
2. undo the two torx screws that hold the intake pipe to the radiator support,
3. disconnect the crank case breather and secondary air injection hoses
4. disconnect the harness from the MAF (the MAF itself is the section of pipe that the harness is connected to
5. undo the 2 clamps that hold the MAF to the two sections of pipe before and after it
6. slide off each section of the rubber pipes (one comes from the air filter, the other goes to the turbo)

assembly is the reverse of disassembly (make sure when installing the maf back in that it flows in the correct direction)

after taking it off i'm not sure how to clean it though. there is no exposed wire or anything like the 2.0 one. its basically a honeycomb section of pipe with the sensor buried in it, and the sensor is not removable from this pipe section.

the tools required are the exact same as would be needed to remove the air filter.
Bought some MAF cleaner today and was planning to do this on the v6. Can't the MAF just be removed from the pipe by removing the torx pin head screws? Anyone know what size they are?
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  #18  
Old 18th June 2011
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Yes, on the V6 you can unscrew and pretty much pull it out. Not sure about the size of the torx head screws.
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  #19  
Old 18th June 2011
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First Aero owner to do it, post a quick pic of the V6 one as you remove it....I am repainting the living room, so I might not be first...


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  #20  
Old 26th June 2011
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thanks for this thread.

I follow exactly the instruction and got it done!
Better idling is true!!
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