Clean the MAF Sensor!

So I’ve had my 03 XRS now for 2 years and the last couple of weeks, the car felt boggy at WOT. The weather’s been hot & hazy lately so it could’ve been that. Dunno. Possibly. My TRD CAI’s been on for about a year and half so my MAF’s been through hot summers, cold winters and damp fall and springs. So I decided to check it out and clean it.

I did some searches on several forums and there were a few options to go about this. Some methods used canned air, qtips to natural air drying and involved rubbing alcohol, brake cleaner, throttle body/carburetor cleaner to electrical parts cleaners.

I opted for using throttle body cleaner but my local auto parts store carried one that “lubricates”. Not exactly something you want to apply on the MAF. I didn’t want to try going to another store to find another brand so I decided to use a brake cleaner. It’s a substitute but it also indicated on the can that it “does not leave a film or residue”. I didn’t want to use a qtip as well because I didn’t want to physically touch the MAF and risk getting any pieces and strands of qtip getting stuck to the temp. sensor and the 2 hidden wires that are inside the MAF (which is more important).

The brake cleaner spray came w/ a straw but after doing a test spray I found that the force of the spray seemed too strong. I sprayed the MAF in short bursts and kept at least a foot away from the MAF. You could actually see the cleaner dry as quickly as it was applied. I also unhooked the negative terminal on the battery to reset the ECU. I left the MAF to dry for about 15-20min to ensure it was dry.

The 2 wires located inside the MAF was a bit tricky to take a shot of but if you look inside the shaft of the MAF w/ a flashlight you’ll see it.

The visual results are below. The improvement in throttle response is even better. Felt a bit boggy at WOT the first few times out but I guess the ECU relearning the air flow w/ a cleaner MAF, the throttle feels stronger and more responsive. And best of all…so far no CEL.

***Note: The MAF is very delicate and sensitive. Do this at your own risk.

Where’s the MAF sensor?

The brake cleaner I used:


Here’s the side of the dirty MAF that the air hits:

A closeup of the dirty side (notice how it’s all black!):

The other (reverse) side of the dirty MAF that the air doesn’t hit and bypasses (still fairly clean as you can see it’s original amber-like colour):


The side of the CLEANED MAF that the air hits:

A close up of the CLEANED MAF (no more black soot and back to its original state!!!):

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