Does cleaning the Mass flow sensor really help? - Fuelly Forums

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Old 09-14-2017, 04:15 AM   #1
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Does cleaning the Mass flow sensor really help?

Hello everyone!
I currently am driving a 2001 Ford Explorer. After looking around for various ways to improve mileage, i came across this blog that claims that cleaning this sensor might be one of the best ways to improve fuel economy (https://www.city-cars.org/how-to-sav...while-driving/). This sensor hasnt been cleaned since ive owned the car, maybe 8 years now. Is it really as easy and effective as they state or are they out for lunch?
Also if you have any other tips i'd love to hear them!

Curtis
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:40 AM   #2
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Welcome. According to this video (for my Honda Jazz) it looks easy enough. How effective it is is another matter.
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:21 AM   #3
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After a bit more research i guess the purpose of the sensor is to " measures the amount and density of the air entering the engine so the computer knows how much gasoline to inject into each cylinder."
So i guess the author www.city-cars.org/how-to-sav...while-driving/ might have a point, it would effect the amount of fuel injected in. My guess is that a newly cleaned sensor would read better than one that hasn't been cleaned in 8 years. It would be cool to actually see a comparison on consumption before and after cleaning though!
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:27 AM   #4
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Well you're the man to do the comparison. Try it and let us know how you get on. The cleaner fluid is available here.
https://www.amazon.ca/CRC-05110-Mass...sensor+cleaner

Realised I had misread the price of that. Thought it was 6.76! You can buy Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner in the UK for that sort of price!!
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:14 AM   #5
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Apparently cleaning or replacing the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve can do wonders too.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:55 AM   #6
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Properly diagnosing the problem saves a lot of time, money and frustration.

Hot wire mass air flow sensors may respond to "cleaning" but only if they have a level of accumulation that would affect the resistance value across the hot wire.

A car run without an air filter would rapidly accumulate matter on the hot wire, creating an insulation factor that would make the wire less susceptible to heat loss and make the ECU "think" the air mass value is lower.

Proper symptom diagnosis is critical, particularly if there is no fault that reaches the threshold of a MIL indicator light.

What are the symptoms you are trying to correct? Best first step is to check the various forums for members experiencing the same symptoms, paying particular attention to the posts by those whose experience is obvious.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:36 AM   #7
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Don't think Curtis has any symptoms. He has just read that cleaning the MAF sensor can improve mpg. Am I correct, Curtis?
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:22 PM   #8
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You know what they say about if it ain't broke.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:26 PM   #9
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The mass flow air sensor is located after the air filter. If the air filter has been regularly changed, and the air box is squeaky clean after the air filter (which it should be), then there is no reason to clean the sensor.

You are probably thinking that if it doesn't need cleaning, why is there a product that cleans the sensor? Before putting in the K&N high flow air filter in my car, my mechanic said that some people have issues with aftermarket filters, and the theory is that they let through some of the dirt with the air. My car is 11 years old and I have been driving with the K&N air filters for 5,000kms without any issues so far. My air box is located on top of the engine and easily removable, so I wash the dirty side of it and dry it before putting it back together every 4 months. I also shake the air filter to remove any dirt from it.

When it comes time to wash the K&N air filter, it is recommended that after washing and drying, to apply a thin film of K&N oil. Some people clean the filter after 50,000miles, even though it's not necessary. Sometimes they put too much oil on the filter after cleaning, which will coat the mass flow sensor and ruin it. I always had BMC or K&N air filters in my sport bikes and never had any issues with the mass flow sensor, even after cleaning the filter and coating it with a thin layer of K&N oil.

Some people believe that you should also clean the fuel injectors on an old car to improve throttle response. If you are in North America, then it is very likely that the fuel doesn't contain any dirt, so I don't think cleaning the injectors will do anything.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:58 PM   #10
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The K&N air filter oil on the Insight I bought, wiped out the 02 sensor at 36k miles.
Read about the off road use in heavy equipment where those megabuck diesels showed immediate problems when the oil analysis information returned and they went back to OE.

My air filter is fine at 37 k miles. I hardly ever drive on anything but pavement. I did hit it with my leaf blower, reverse flow, but it will be fine for at least another 37 k the way I drive.

I am a huge fan of Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner. I've seen it do miracles on injectors that would not even run a cylinder at low speed and Techron cleaned it perfectly in 20 miles using a higher concentration than recommended. I buy a case at Costco for about $3.50 a bottle. A bottle every 10k miles keep my mileage the same as it was after the first 5k miles.

I would definitely try the Techron in any car that I drove for 8 years, cheap insurance, with proven results.

Bought a 92 Sentra with 180k miles. Died every time you came to a stop. Cleaned the IAC (idle air control valve), 15 minute job. Added Techron injector cleaner, drove it home from my buddies shop (20 miles). Ran perfectly thereafter until I sold it for $1200. Bought it for $300.
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