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Solving idle problems part 5 - Cleaning the MAF wire
First off you may be asking, what is a MAF? The MAF stands for Mass Airflow Sensor. The MAF is the sensor that tells the ECM (engine computer) how much air is entering the engine at any give time. The computer then in turn uses that info to calculate the air/fuel ratio, and timing tables.
So it obviously stands to reason that a MAF sensor that isn't properly working would definitely make your idle rough. The fact is that not only will it make your idle rough but it could cause a whole other list of problems including bad fuel mileage, and lack of power.
Mustang MAF location
Picture 1



As the air flows through the sensor some air flows through a sampling tube (picture 2 "A") with a heated element in it. This element (aka "wire") is cooled by the air and the computer reads how much voltage it takes to keep it at temp which in turn tells it how much air is entering the engine.
The problem arises when that wire gets dirt and (mostly) excess K&N air filter oil on it. This causes an error in the voltage reading and the computer sets the wrong air/fuel ratio tables for the type of driving you are doing. The only thing to do when this happens is to clean the wire!
Mustang mass airflow sensor
Picture 2


1. What is needed?
- This is kind of hard to say for sure because it all depends on the year/model you have. Usually its nothing more than a screwdriver to remove a clamp or two and something to remove a few bolts that hold the MAF in place. No matter which year you own you will need a security torx bit 20 to get the sensor off of the actual MAF tube.
- A can of carb cleaner - one Q-tip

How to do it
First off remove the negative battery cable. WARNING: Always remove the negative battery cable first and put it back last.
Since removing the MAF sensor varies depending on the year of Mustang you own you'll basically need to figure out how to remove it yourself...LOL
Once you have it out of the car it will look something like picture 3 unless you have a modular car then it probably has a black plastic MAF.
Take the sensor off of the tube by removing the two torx screws (picture 3 "A").


Picture 3

Mustang MAF
Picture 4


Once you have the sensor out you need spray the carb cleaner on the end of a Q-tip and gently....no very very gently clean the wire (picture 4 "A") on the sensor with the Q-tip. Be super careful because this wire is very fragile.
Let it air dry and put everything back together again. Reconnect the negative battery, start the car and take it for a ride.
Enjoy your new steady idle!!!

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your car or to yourself while working on your car. You work on your car at your
own risk. If you don't know you can do this yourself, bring it to a mechanic who can.
Any modifications, repairs or maintenance can be very dangerous, so be careful!