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How To Clean or Replace the MAF Sensor for VW or Audi

Updated on March 26, 2016

The Benefits of Cleaning Your Mass Air Flow Sensor

The more oil and dirt that accumulates on your MAF, the worse it serves its purpose. The dirtier it gets, the less accurate the reading it sends to your ECU (computer). These readings can cause lower gas mileage and a small loss of power.

Cleaning your MAF will not only extend the life of the sensor, but it will also help keep the power level and gas mileage where they should be. So if you feel a lack of power when you hit the gas, or have noticed a change in your miles per gallon, the MAF sensor is the best place to start on your Volkswagen or Audi.

Parts and Labor Cost from the Dealership

A new MAF sensor from the dealership can cost anywhere between $80 and $150, depending on your car's make and model. The labor cost will add on another $150, as VW/Audi estimates the labor time needed as an hour and a half.

Recently, my new GTI needed a new MAF for emissions, as the old sensor was completely dead from the previous owner running the car with no air filter. I bought a new one on eBay for $40 that even came with a 90-day warranty; it has been six months and I've yet to have a problem with it. So if you're willing to trust an eBay product, that is also an option.

Doing this job as a beginner will take you around 30 minutes if you are replacing the MAF sensor, or around two hours (including drying time) if you decide to clean the sensor and put it back in. No special tools are needed for the job. It is very straightforward and easy enough for anyone to accomplish.

So why throw away $300 instead of doing thirty minutes of work?

Testing Your MAF Sensor

If you are already showing a "check engine" light on your dash, or you think you are feeling the symptoms of a bad MAF, here is an easy way to check the problem.

  1. Unplug the MAF harness
  2. Drive around

Yep, that simple. If you unplug your MAF and your car all of a sudden perks up, then the MAF is more than likely the problem, and cleaning the sensor is a great place to start.

Warning: If your check engine light is not already lit up when you try this test, unplugging the MAF sensor will cause it to illuminate. You can easily reset the light by unplugging the negative terminal on the battery for ten seconds (which is what I would suggest), or driving for sixty miles so the car can cycle.

If your check engine light is already on, then this is a great test to try, but before you try it, head to your local auto store and get a free scan. If they tell you that it is an oxygen (02) sensor, than do this MAF test anyway, because an OBDII scanner can give false codes on VW/Audi and this test is a simple way to eliminate other causes for your check engine light.

Tools and Parts for the Job

  • Philips-head screwdriver
  • Vise grip or pliers
  • 91% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), or MAF cleaner
  • 2 trim replacement screws
  • Gallon-size ziplock bag

The tools needed for this job are very simple. You should have most of them in your garage or tool drawer.

One tool that I have not listed is a specialty "tamper proof" five-star Torx bit made by and for VW/Audi. I've not listed it for three reasons.

1) This tool is incredibly hard to find, so it is not worth the price or hassle of ordering it from a VW/Audi dealership.

2) The screws involved can be replaced with Philips-head screws for future convenience.

3) These screws can be removed with pliers and once they're out you'll never have to deal with them again!

NOTE: Some MAFs use a 6-point tamperproof screw. If that is the case you can easily find a bit or screwdriver for those screws at any hardware or auto store for cheap.

The chemical that is used to clean the MAF sensor is completely up to you. There is a large variety to choose from at your local auto parts store, or you can use rubbing alcohol from the grocery store for about a dollar. I always use rubbing alcohol and have never had a problem. It cleans, dries quick, and is cheap. So for the cleaning part of this DIY, I will be using common 91% isopropyl alcohol.

Screws to replace the 5-point Audi Torx screws can be bought at any auto shop. I purchased a small pack of #10 trim screws from AutoZone for $2.29; they look just like the stock screws but with a Phillips-head tip. Another option is to just re-use the 5-star screws and put them back in the same way you took them out.

How to Remove the MAF Sensor and/or Housing

1. Unclip the harness connected to the middle of the MAF. The clip can be removed using your thumbnail. If it won't pop up, try a small screwdriver. Be gentle so you don't break the clip. Once you hear the clip pop, wiggle the harness off of the MAF. (All of the harnesses use the same type of clip, so once you learn how to release one, you can use that technique for coils or any other harness that needs to be taken off for repair. Here's how to replace a VW/Audi harness clip if you break it.)

2. Here you have a choice: you can either remove the sensor from the housing or remove the housing and sensor as a unit. If you still need to remove the 5-point tamperproof screws, I recommend removing the whole unit. Next you will need to remove the two Phillips-head screws connecting the MAF to the air box (on the right side of the MAF). Once those screws are out, disconnect the other side of the MAF from the turbo inlet pipe. Most VWs and Audis use pinch hose clamps, so use your pliers to squeeze the clamp open and slide off the inlet pipe. When putting the MAF back on, you can use a screw-type hose clamp to save yourself some hassle next time.

Slide the wire harness off of the MAF Sensor. Loosen the hose clamp on the left and the two screws attaching the MAF to the air box.
Slide the wire harness off of the MAF Sensor. Loosen the hose clamp on the left and the two screws attaching the MAF to the air box.
 Push the large hose (TIP) off of the MAF housing and you can now completely remove the MAF from your car.
Push the large hose (TIP) off of the MAF housing and you can now completely remove the MAF from your car.

3. If you are choosing to remove the sensor only (which I recommend if you have regular 6-point Torx screws): Unscrew the two bolts in front of and behind the harness plug. Gently wiggle the sensor out of the housing. Skip down to step 6.

4. Once the housing unit is free, take your vise grips or pliers and pinch the sides of the screw connecting the sensor to the housing. (It can be a pain in the a**, but once you're done and replace those bolts you will never have to do it again). Grip it, turn counter-clockwise, re-grip it, and repeat till both screws are out.

5. The sensor is in nice and tight so wiggle it out of the housing.

Holding the MAF grip the sides of the screw tightly turning counter clockwise.
Holding the MAF grip the sides of the screw tightly turning counter clockwise.
Wiggle the sensor free of the housing.
Wiggle the sensor free of the housing.

6. Once you wiggle the sensor out, put it in your ziplock bag and grab a beer. Victory is yours. The hard part is over (if you even want to call that hard!).

7. Fill that bag with rubbing alcohol and shake, shake, shake! If you are dealing with the sensor by itself, and not the housing, you can use a smaller bag with less alcohol, and use q-tips to clean off any left on residue. That's why I recommend taking the sensor out of the housing.

8. Once you're satisfied the sensor's clean, allow the parts to completely dry before re-installing and starting your car.

9. If you were dealing with the 5-point Torx screws, you can put the housing back in using the same method of using pliers on the sides of the screws, or you can replace the screws with the trim screws I mentioned above.

Time for the alcohol bath.
Time for the alcohol bath.

Volkswagen and Audi MAF Part Numbers

(click column header to sort results)
MAF Sensor Part Number  
Engine Code  
Car Model  
06A 906 461 L
AWP, AMB, AWM, AWW
Audi A4, A4 Quattro 01-05, Audi TT, Audi Quattro TT, All GTI, Jetta 1.8T (AWP, AWW engines)
06C 133 471 A
 
Audi S4 00-02 2.7T, Audi A6 Quattro 01-04 2.7T & 3.0, Audi FWD 02-05 3.0, A4 Quattro 02-05 3.0
06A 609 461 M
BEA
Audi TT 225
07D 906 461 X
 
X R32, W8 Passat, Touareg 3.2 V6, Audi 3.2TT
06A 906 461 A
 
2.0L Golf, Beetle

If you can add to my list, or have any corrections, please post a comment or send me an email.

K&N Filters, CAIs, Short Rams, and MAF'S

This is always a huge debate.

Do K&N filters ruin mass air flow sensors?

In my opinion yes and no. An over-oiled K&N filter will definitely coat, and in the long run ruin, your MAF sensor, costing you a $100-$200 part. But a lightly-oiled K&N filter lets more air travel through your engine while still trapping dust and dirt particles, with no harm at all to your MAF.

I have used K&N filters in stock air boxes, short ram air intakes, and regular cold air intakes (CAIs) and I have never had a problem with them ruining an MAF sensor. To avoid problems, take one simple step: clean your MAF every 5-10 thousand miles. That preventative maintenance should be done no matter what type of filter you are using, oil or paper.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Alex  6 years ago

      Is it an option to use methylated spirit to clean the mass air meter?

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Alex,

      I know some people use methylated spirits with no problems, others say that the small quantity of acetone in it can slowly eat away at the plastic and rubber parts.

      I always use isopropyl alcohol just cause it's easy to find, cheap and does the job.

      I've never had a problem with it.

      You can also use electrical contact cleaner or a MAF cleaner from an auto parts store for around five bucks a can.

    • profile image

      Dan 6 years ago

      Just spent two and a half hours stripping down, cleaning the MAF with electrical contact cleaner, drying and building back up. You know what? It only worked! I had to make my own tool out of an old screw driver to get the star drives out on the sensor itself and had to make do with a sandwich bag which leaked like a wet tissue but apart from that, all good! Definitely worth trying it, only cost me 4 quid for the contact cleaner and my time.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Dan,

      I'm glad it helped out. Next time you're stuck with leaky bags try just using a tupperware container, just hold the sensor and swish it around for a few. I've also had my fair share of leaks when using those generic ziplock bags.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      drea10 6 years ago

      I have a question on the houseing, can the filter then be replaced? Also the housing unit is connected to the inlet pipe, I noticed this pipe inside has an oil film and further down the pip there is a black part that sticks up from the top that has another part attached to it, than another hose hooked with a clip. This "part" has oil leaking from the connection. Is this oil supose to be in the inlet pipe? And the very next part hooked to it do you know what this part is called? Mine is on a 2000 beetle 1.8t

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Drea10,

      If you are talking about the wire mesh on the housing I would just give it a good clean with rubbing alcohol. If it's damaged you should be able to find a housing online or at a junk yard for fairly cheap.

      I believe the part your mentioning is the Diverter Valve or N75 valve (do a google search on those two and you should have your answer), oil will always get blown back through your system and even pools up a bit in your intercooler. So if it's just a thin layer I really wouldn't worry about it, but I would tighten the hose clamp and check for holes in the hose if oil is blowing out.

      The stock diverter valve is pretty prone to breaking so if it is on the way out I would suggest getting an after market diverter valve and replacing it yourself. The N75 will also fail after awhile but unless your car is chipped I would just stick with the stock part #.

      I hoped that helped. If you have more questions feel free to send me an email or leave it in the comments.

    • profile image

      Peter 6 years ago

      Great write up. I was told by my repair shop the MAF was bad because the readings from it were wavering. Cleaning sounds very straightforward. But, is there a point that it makes more sense just to replace it? My Audi 2.7t has 85k 2003. In other words, is it more appropriate just to replace the MAF in high mileage cars?

      thanks again

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Peter,

      If you have the money to replace your MAF every time that it starts to go bad then by all means replace it. And I must say that you are pretty lucky to get up to 85K on the original MAF.

      To answer your question, I don't think there is a point (besides for complete failure of your MAf) to replace it. If you can clean the oil off of the sensors and your MAF reads like new again, why spend 100-200 on a new MAF when you can clean your old one?

      Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Peter 6 years ago

      It worked!

      I must admit I was skeptical that cleaning would work but was also pressed for time heading out of town. So, bought a can of CRC MAF cleaner for $6. The MAF simply snaps onto the air filter housing. I left the MAF in the housing and followed CRC's instructions: 20 short blasts/squirts. Let it dry (30 sec) and put it back in. I figured for $6 bucks and 10 minutes, it was worth a shot. And it if it not work, I would order a new one.

      About 60 miles later and two restarts, the CEL went out and I am really surprised by the additional amount of power. Low end pick up is far better. Far better than I had hoped. I am a believer.

      In you comment, you said: "if your MAF reads like new again..." Are you suggesting taking the car to shop and

      getting a VAG-COM check of the MAF? Or, can I assume that the MAF is fine if the CEL is off and pick up is great?

      CRC suggests cleaning each time you change the air filter. I live in dusty Colorado and change my AF every 20K. A couple extra minutes to spray the MAF looks like cheap PM.

      At this point, I will keep cleaning until until cleaning no longer works. Let me know if you think otherwise.

      Again, thanks for our informative article and saving me $145.

    • profile image

      Peter 6 years ago

      Rereading my post, I should have said, I took the MAF and its housing off the air filter, but left the MAF screwed into its housing when I cleaned it. With the spay can, I could see no benefit from removing the MAF from the housing.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Peter,

      I'm glad you went for it and it worked. Yes I was saying you can check your maf readings with vag-com but as long as your car is driving better and no check engine light then your fine.

      Instead of waiting 60 miles for the car to cycle and the CEL to go out you can always reset it just by unplugging the negative battery cable for a few seconds.

      The only benefit I see from removing the sensor from the housing is to really get in there with some q-tips and give it a good cleaning and I just find it easier to undo the two screws to pop it out when I clean it. Either way I'm glad it helped.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • profile image

      Owen Smith 6 years ago

      I wish I had known about this 3 years ago. I would have been cleaning my MAF every 10,000 miles. I recently had my timing belt break and my engine had to be rebuilt. Ouch! just before that happened my check engine light came on. The shop that did my repair replaced the CAM sensor ($295) to see if that was the issue with the check engine light. Of course it did not resolve the problem. i took my car to another mechanic and he couldn't figure it out either. He had me reset the computer a few times but the check engine light kept coming on after about 60 miles.

      I found your post a few months back but I didn't proceed right away because I didn't necessarily want to replace any screws or buy a new expensive tool to disassemble the MAF Housing. Luckily i was digging around in my old computer tools and found the exact star bit that I needed to do the job.

      Last Friday on my lunch break I bought some Isopropyl and some ziploc bags and started in on cleaning the MAF sensor. Such a simple job and some canned air made for quick drying. I reassembled everything before leaving for the day and drove home. To my surprise, the acceleration was incredible. i don't remember it being so good. After driving about 60 miles, the check engine light has gone off! I am a believer!

      Now, every 10,000 to 12,000 miles I will change my air filter and clean the MAF at the same time.

      Thanks for this post!

    • profile image

      Christen 6 years ago

      Hi I have a 01 vw beetle and my MAF has gone down the drain and I'm wanting to replace it, but I want to replace it myself. But my car manual says that a MAF needs to be programmed, is this true?

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Christen,

      No it is not necessary to have the maf programmed. Once you put the new one on unplug the negative battery terminal for about 20 seconds. That will reset the error code on your ECU and then you are good to go.

      Even if you don't reset the error code, after your car cycles (about 60 miles) it will reprogram itself and clear the code.

    • profile image

      Christen 6 years ago

      Hi this is Christen again, I can't seem to find any stores with MAF sensors, do you know of any stores that carry them, and also do you have an estimate of how much it will cost? Thanks so much!

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Christen,

      I don't think you will be able to find the maf at any store. Your best bet would be to buy it from the Audi/VW dealership, they will have them at the parts counter. Besides for that you can always order one online if you trust the source, just make sure it's new or refurbished any part number with an "X" at the end means it's refurbished.

      As for the price it fluctuates depending on your engine but a new MAF will be anywhere between 100-200 dollars.

    • profile image

      ClutchMD 6 years ago

      All I can say is Thank you! I followed the above post and no more low RPM limp mode. Performance increased. You not only resolved my issue but I also learned something. Only have 55k miles on a tuned VW GTI. MAF Sensor will become part of my regular maintenance. Thanks again for the great post.

    • profile image

      Christen 6 years ago

      Thanks for the advice! Your the only person who seems to know anything about beetles...

    • Writen4u profile image
      Author

      Writen4u 6 years ago

      No problem.

      If I can help I will, but some of these problems I get asked I have no idea of what could be wrong.

      Thanks.

    • profile image

      Fahim 6 years ago

      Excellent write up! If only there were more people in this world like you, sharing their knowledge on the internet to help others. How very un-selfish of you.

      I thank you sir.

      Your friend across the pond in London.

    • profile image

      john n 6 years ago

      I have a 2001 1.8 audi tt. I cleaned the MAS. should I also clean the screen mesh that is in the housing. It has a lot of black stuff on it. I put everything back together and the engine runs great again. thanks.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Hi john,

      Yes you can clean the screen so none of that dirt and grime get back on the sensor. Next time you pull it out just put the whole housing into a bag of alcohol and give it a good clean by shaking it up.

    • profile image

      Corrie 6 years ago

      I just replaced my maf sensor and I was wondering if you knew why my ASR light came on and won't go off? is this a bad thing?

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Corrie,

      I would try unplugging the maf and making sure it is plugged in all the way also reset the code by taking the negative terminal off the battery for a few seconds. If it still is on it could be a few different problems, one of which could be that your maf is to bad for a cleaning. Your best bet at that point would be to get a free scan at an auto parts store so you can narrow down the broken part instead of wasting money on sensors and a new maf.

      Sorry I just noticed you "replaced" your maf sensor. Was it new from a reliable source? It's bad but some people like on ebay just pull a maf out of a junk yard car stating it works when really they have no idea.

      It's not a bad thing to drive with the light on, it just means your anti slip regulation is turned off.

    • profile image

      Corrie 6 years ago

      I bought the part new from a good source. I have been meaning to replace it for a while and just finally did.

      The only thing that I can think of is that when I first replaced it I forgot to plug it in. drove up the street and back and popped my hood, out of habit and that's when I realized I never plunged it in... I am a moron I know.

      Could that have something to do with it?

    • profile image

      kevin 6 years ago

      thanks for the diy, i did this myself today and i noticed that i do not have a thermistor where the maf has a little pic of one. on a 2003 gti 20ae 1.8t are they supposed to have a thermistor? thanks

    • profile image

      dale 6 years ago

      I like the format here great site..need a little help..cleaned my maf on 95 jetta after that it runs really rough when trying to put in gear shakes and dies,,any ideas. Thanks

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Kevin,

      Not all mafs have that little resistor on them, yours is located on the intake manifold next to the trottlebody, it's called the IAT sensor. You can clean it by unplugging it, unsrew the 5mm allenhead bolt and pull it out, wash with alcohol.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Corrie,

      More than likely that was the problem if you forgot to plug it in. If the light is still on unplug the battery to reset the code. If it comes back then you now there is something else wrong.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Dale,

      You might want to change spark plugs and clean your throttle body. Usually that helps with a rough idol. Also sometimes a Sea Foam treatment helps. Some people are for it and some are against doing it. I've always done it and have never had a problem, but you will probably want to do your own research.

    • profile image

      J.Nolan 6 years ago

      What a great post! I bought a 1999 Audi A6 which was in limp mode. It is a beautiful flawless auto other than it would only run in third gear. I knew absolutely nothing about Audi's and had no idea of the repair cost! I have had the car just sitting for the last 4 months until this evening when I stumbled onto your blog. What the heck, went outside and unplugged the MAF sensor and behold the car was no longer in limp mode. I am currently cleaning the MAF sensor with alcohol and if it works great if not I will pay $100 to buy a new one. I assumed I was going to have to pay between 1 to 2 thousand dollars to find and fix this problem after reading other blogs. Thanks to your blog and detailed instructions even if I buy the MAF sensor I will have a total of $3,000 invested in one of the most beautiful cars I have ever owned! Needless to say I cannot thank you enough! I am now one very happy Audi owner!

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      J.Nolan,

      I'm glad I helped and I hope that fixes the problem. These cars can get extremely expensive taking them to the shop for just little problems. The internet is a wealth of info for fixing your car, so save yourself some cash fixing it yourself and don't forget about free car scans at auto part stores to help diagnose problems.

      Thanks.

    • profile image

      Gobb 6 years ago

      Thanks again for another DYI. Did mine yesterday. Pretty painless in most part. Grabbing a hold of the tampered screw was a bit of a challenge. Once you get it going though..it's smooth sailing. Also, i did the alcohol bath since I couldn't tell which part was the actual sensor. I'm planning to service MAF again every time I clean my K&N. Thank U again.

    • profile image

      morgan 6 years ago

      i have an 01 audi s4 thats throwing multiple codes that point all towards the MAF and the spark plugs. (my system is running too rich with random missfires in the cylinders) when i took my car to an auto shop to get it scanned the guy told me to unplug the Mass Air Flow sensor and to drive around without it to see how it affected it... my question is can i leave it unplugged without hurting anything? it did make a noticeable difference but it made the "ABS" light come on and not to mention the plug is flopping around under the hood scares me. thanks for taking the time to help other people out.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Morgan,

      Unplugging the maf is a good way to check if that is the problem and it seems that it is your problem. You don't want to leave it unplugged and ignore it, that could cause further damage to your engine in time. For a few days it's not going to kill your car but I would recommend cleaning it or buying a new maf as soon as you can.

    • profile image

      morgan 6 years ago

      im not very good at fixing things so im kinda worried about the tamper resistant screws.. when i took my car to o rileys auto shop the guy that helped me unplug the MAF BROKE the clip on the plug.. and broke the clip that holds the MAF housing to the airbox.. he zip tied it shut so its not leaking but now i have to figure out how to go about removing the MAF so that i dont make any mistakes like someone with actual car experience did.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Morgan,

      It sounds like he made more mistakes than you would have. I'm not sure what clip your talking about that holds the maf to the airbox, if you mean the hose clip just replace that one with a metal screw type hose clamp. As for the Maf plug clip if it stays secure on the maf I wouldn't worry about it if it's coming off you will need to replace that, it should be part # 4B0-973-724 $30. but check with your local VW parts center. Pretty much the guy broke the only think you needed to worry about breaking so don't worry about taking some screws out. In the future don't let some random person at the auto store tinker with your car, they don't care if they break it because it's not their job and you'll be stuck with the bill. Good luck.

    • profile image

      99jetta 6 years ago

      I cleand the maf, and the throttle bo, but then the cel came on, It wasent there before I did this I checked the wires and everything is pluged in, I reset it but it just comes back on. When i start the car the cel fashed once. What could be the problem?

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      99jetta,

      If you had no codes before you did this, the first thing that comes to mind would be a throttle body alignment. Did you do one after you plugged the TB back in before you started the car? If not, try clearing the code again, then put your key in the ignition and turn it on without starting your car, if you have the hood open go listen to the TB it will be making a high pitched sound, once it is done you can start the car after that you may have to unplug the battery one more time. (it's all written somewhere in that TB DIY).

      Tell me if that solves it.

    • profile image

      morgan 6 years ago

      thank you. tomorrow i have off work so im going to find a way to get the 5-star or 6 star screws off. it looks like an allen head wrench will fit but it has the indention in the middle so i have no tools that fit it.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 6 years ago

      Morgan,

      Count the little points on the screw, if there is six points you can buy the bit or screwdriver at any auto shop for around $5. Just ask for a six point security bit. If it's only five points the only place I have been able to find it is online which is why I offer the method of removing them with pliers and replacing them with trim screws. I should have a DIY for fixing the broken maf clip up in a couple days it it ever quits snowing out here.

    • profile image

      Marnie 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great instructions!

      I have a manual 2000 Jetta GL. The car has been "bucking" or "jerking" while accelerating. It occurs in all gears and at all speeds. From what I have read online, it seemed like a dirty MAF might be the cause by cleaning it didn't seem to help. Any other suggestions? The problem has been going on for a few months and I've taken it to a few mechanics (including a VW specialist) but they can't figure it out. There are no lights on the dash to indicate a problem. The only other issue that I have had with the car is with a fuse that has blown twice; I don't know if that is related.

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      Marnie,

      Sorry For the late reply.

      Have you tried scanning the car with vag-com and seeing if it is causing any codes that are being stored without causing a check engine light? I don't know what engine you have but if it's the 1.8t maybe it could be your n75 valve is on it's way out, also check for vacuum/boost leaks and change your spark plugs if they are old maybe it's missfiring. Besides for that I don't know what else to recommend. Maybe somebody else will chime in with a helpful hint.

    • profile image

      daniel 5 years ago

      Thank you for great posting. Where is exactly the MAF sensor located in the 2001 Audi A4 Quatro? I have looked all over the internet, but I was not able to find it. I wish I could find the picture pointing to the MAF sensor. I need to clean or replace it because of the P0171 code and my car won't pass emission test because the O2 sensor is not ready. And I have already replaced the O2 sensor myself and mechanic replaced the hose and pipes.

      Thanks

    • Writen4u profile image
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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      Daniel,

      If you have the 1.8t A4 your maf should be more to the left side of the engine bay next to your air intake, as opposed to the right side on a VW 1.8t. If I see my neighbor outside I'll take a look at his car for an exact location.

      Try removing any of those plastic covers near the air box and it should be in that vicinity..

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      I was looking on the left side of the engine under the plastic covers at the air intake that goes to the engine, but still I could not identify the MAF sensor. I will keep checking this post for when you can locate the exact location. Thank you for checking it out for me.

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      nemo 5 years ago

      Hi I have cleaned my maf in a golf 3gti, now the car adoesnt want to start, everithing was connectd right, could it be a setting?

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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      Daniel,

      Google maf sensor location and your vehicle, you will see a picture. It is located in the front left of the car under a plastic cover.

      Nemo,

      I have no knowledge of the mk3 gti. On a mk4 the car still starts and runs without the maf even plugged in. If you disconnected your battery to reset the fault code, maybe you forgot to reconnect it properly.

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      Ken 5 years ago

      Hello,

      I just discovered these great instructions and am looking to try this on my 2006 VW Touareg in the next couple of days. Question about the cleaning in alcohol and drying. How long should you leave the sensor in the bag of alcohol and how much shaking should be done? How do you recommend allowing the sensor to dry, naturally over night or with a hand towel.

      Thank you so much for this great resource

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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      Hey Ken,

      If you are taking the sensor out of the housing you will be able to see the dust and oil build up on it. So for time really your just trying to give it a good rinse like you would swishing listerine around in your mouth. If your shaking the whole housing around in alcohol just give it a good shake for a minute or two and most of the residue should come off.

      As for drying just shake the sensor of any remaining alcohol and it will be completely dry in a few hours. Alcohol dries very fast, you can also rub the housing and screen down with a towel to get off any stuck on oil.

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      Ken 5 years ago

      Thank you, thank you for the quick reply. I'll give it try this evening.

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      Ken 5 years ago

      I followed this directions, and I am pleased to report that my MIL warning light has gone out and I can now pass my admission test. The only variation I did was I did not have to remove the housing as I was able to remove the MAF sensor without doing that.

      I can not thank you enough for this information as I was going to take my car to the dealer before I discovered this blog. Considering parts and labor, you likely saved me $400. Thank you!!!

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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      Ken,

      Glad it helped. With all these dealer fees I'm saving people I need a way for people to send me a dollar! I'd be rich by now!!

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      Terry 5 years ago

      We have a 1990 V8 Quattro. It starts and runs fine, when you try to back it out of the garage it wants to die out. It runs nice out on the road, just runs poorly at idle speeds in gear. Took it to a local dealer who changed the air filter and turned up the idle speed for $500 (very bad experience)any ideas on this one????

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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      Terry,

      I have an idea, Google.

      First off the dealer ripped you off by $480 to change a $20 air filter and up your idle speed.

      Second this is an article on cleaning MKIV Maf's not a problem solving forum. If I were you I would post your question (with a lot more detail if you want help) on vwvortex, or audizine, Hope that helps for a place to start.

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      Terry 5 years ago

      Thank you

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      shakeel 5 years ago

      Hi.

      I have a vw bora year 2000. I want to clean the MAF sensor. But where I live I cannot have the isopropyl alcohol nor the maf cleaner. Is it possible to clean it with a carburetor spray cleaner or ethyl alcohol or do you have any other suggestions? Thanks

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      shakeel 5 years ago

      I disconnected the wiring of the MAF of my vw bora 1.9 TDI this morning and now the car is running much faster than before and is feeling much lighter. Before I had to accelerate up to 2500 rev/min in the second gear in order to activate the turbo. Now the turbo is on as soon as I start driving on the first gear.Is it safe to leave the MAF disconnected and for how long?

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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      Shakeel,

      Go ahead and use ethyl alcohol, it will clean it the same. Unhooking the maf is more for testing to see if it is the problem, I wouldn't recommend just leaving it unhooked while driving it around. I don't think it would cause any short term problems but long term your car will start running rich/lean and the ECU will not be able to properly calculate how much gas it should be spitting out.

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      shakeel 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot.

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      shakeel 5 years ago

      Hi.

      I wanted to know if it is safe to use a hair dryer to dry the MAF sensor after cleaning it with alcohol.

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      Leah J 5 years ago

      My CEL has been on for a couple of weeks, dealership finally found the issue to be MAF sensor shorted out and the connections are corroded. Totally cost for parts & labor $784, ouch. Hopefully I'm in the right place asking these questions. I'm a serious novice at car repair but could I replace the MAF myself for cheaper than the dealership? As for the connectors, I have no idea what that means. Would really appreciate any help you can provide, you've done a great job for others!

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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      Leah,

      If the connections to the maf sensor are corroded and broken and that's what they are replacing, then yes you could do that on your own. You would have to buy a wire repair kit from VW and a new connector (the part number for the connector should be in my (replacing wire harness connectors DIY)). As for the wire repair kit you should be able to find it online or at the dealership parts counter. It should be a pretty easy job for a novice

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      Ikenna 5 years ago

      Hi,

      i want to clean my MAF, but i cant find MAF cleaner here in Nigeria. The only solvent in Nigerian Markets is Carburretor cleaner. Is it safe to clean with carb cleaner. What about fuel (PMS). Is it also safe to clean with it? My 505 V6 MAF is so dirty and contaminated with oil that i fear if is not completely dead. But i want to clean it first and see if it can still work. The car has been hard starting, stumbling, running rich & emitting black smoke for a very long time now. I have checked & replaced nearlly all the sensors or components that can cause such symptoms, but the problem persisted. I even replaced the injection ecu yesterday, but its still doing the same. But since my MAF is very very dirty with dirts and oil, i believe it might be the culprit. But what to clean it with is now the problem. Only carb cleaner is what is available here. So can PMS (fuel) do the MAF cleaning work safely?

      Ikenna.

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      Writen4u 5 years ago

      You can use rubbing alcohol from the grocery store. It is sold everywhere, It is what is used in the diy.

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      Chad 5 years ago

      hello,

      I have a 2002 VW Jetta, and it won't start. I had a diagnostic run on it a few weeks ago for something else, and the MAF was one of the things that came up. I didn't think anything of it, but now I think it's biting me in the ass. I'm about to clean the MAF now with the rubbing alcohol. Let's hope it works. Great writeup.

      Thanks!

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      Tolli 5 years ago

      Had to give props on this one. A $1 bottle of isopropyl alcohol and about 40 minutes is all it took for me to get back smooth acceleration and power in my Audi TT.

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      Ben 4 years ago

      Hello,

      Just wanted to say thanks for a great how-to - I'd been having problems with my 2001 Golf for the past few months... and your post was real helpful and it worked a treat. I also followed your how-to for replacing the temperature sensor... that was even easier!

      Cheers mate,

      Ben (Melbourne, Australia)

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      Ravi 4 years ago

      Great write up with nice explanation and pictures.

      I tried this earlier today and it worked for me.

      Just to update on removing the sensor, on my Audi A4 B5, the sensor had 2 6 point security screws. I used a small flat head screw driver to break the little notch inside the star. Breaking it out basically turns this screw to a regular torx. So I need to replace the screws.

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      Writen4u 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tip Ravi. I'll have to try that next time.

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      Joel Portugal 4 years ago

      Thanks for that DIY. Is very useful for me. My car is a Golf mk5, so it's very identical and easy.

      To remove the MAF sensor was very easy. I didn't need anything more than a very small and simple screwdriver. I held the screwdriver between the little notch and 6 points of safety and was just unscrew! Very simple actually. I don't need do break/replace anything ;)

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      thehaggis 4 years ago

      Cheers mate, great walkthroughs, I'm currently working my way through them :-) thanks again.

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      david chapman 4 years ago

      my car ( 03 starts very roughly on cold/chilly mornings. the CEL is on, and i have a no name CAI. i have had the code checked a number of times and it keeps coming up the same, mass air volume. woulld cleaning the MAF help these problems?

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      david chapman 4 years ago

      sorry 03 20th AE GTI

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      Writen4u 4 years ago

      Why not take the ten minutes and clean it and see if it helps? Nothing is going to help if you have vacuum leaks.

      What are you scanning your car with? Did you pressure check it?

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      jiggy 4 years ago

      Thanks for this. My A4 has been to the dealer 4 times to fix a rough idle. Unfortunately I just had to pay for new O2 sensor which didn't fix the problem. Once in a while I could smell eggs when shutting down the car, they wanted to swap the Cats next at $2300. Today I cleaned the MAF sensor and the problem is fixed. Now I just have to find a way to get a refund for the O2 work that was done.

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      ben 4 years ago

      I went to autozone to get the code on cel it gave me p0113 now I was told this was air intake temp sensor this is on a mk3 jetta 1999 I was told this was the MAF sensor is that true or is it something else , I am now cleaning the MAF hoping that this is the problem

      thank you

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      Writen4u 4 years ago

      I'm not sure about the MKIII, but you should probably get your car scanned by someone with a vag-com. Those generic scanners can give false readings on our cars. I was told once I had a bad 02 sensor and it turned out to be the maf. Hopefully a good cleaning will clean the fault and you'll have your answer.

      Everything online says p0113 it your Intake air temperature sensor. some mafs have them built in (little resistor on the maf sensor) and some are separate sensors screwed into the intake manifold. on the 1.8t I know it is separate and I don't have my 2.0 here to check and see if it is the same. So you can also see if you can find yours and clean it as well. They are only around $10-20 to buy a new one (a lot cheaper than a maf).

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      Fred 4 years ago

      Great instructions. I have a 2008 Audi A6, when I first start it in the morning or when it has been parked for a while and start to drive, it jerks for a minute and then runs smoothly. I also tried just reving the engine when I first start it in the morning it sounds like the engine is hesitating for a few minutes. I was wondering if this has something to do with a dirty MAF before I start working on cleaning it. Thank you for your help.

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      jiggy 4 years ago

      my issue ended up being a bad EVAP valve, $40 part. Lesson, clean you MAF and replace EVAP every 75,000 miles.

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      Ryan 4 years ago

      Does anyone know the size of the MAF wiring harness? I need to replace mine and the audi dealer said they need the correct size of the wires as they are different for every car?

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      Writen4u 4 years ago

      Ryan- They have wire repair kits with the pins attached and you only really need about a foot of wire. Cut off the old wire near the plug, get the pin out, replace with your new pin and crimp the wires back together. If you are actually replacing the whole wire back to the ECU I think your only choice would be to pull the wire and buy the appropriate size from an auto parts store or a used engine harness from someone and pull out the wires you need.

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      ralphg 4 years ago

      Thanks. Worked great. Saved me 150 dollars. Took about an hour take a beer or two.

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      Jonathan 3 years ago

      Hi there! glad I stumbled upon this how to page.. I tried cleaning my MAF sensor in my 2000 VW Passat as well as taking out the entire air box and the hoses to clean out all the dirt and sand. After putting it together my car seemed to be running better but 86 miles later my CEL and emissions workshop came back on. I had read somewhere about cleaning the MAF sensor with denatured alcohol rather than rubbing alcohol due to higher alcohol content so i'm going to give that a try.. anyways why do you think my light came back on? Could the sensor be trash? It is the original sensor and I have 140,000 on the car.. Thank you!

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      Writen4u 3 years ago

      Try and get it scanned, if it is running better you may have fixed one problem that created another. You really should not have any dirt or sand past your air filter.

      If it is your maf that shows up bad after a scan, well sometimes the only thing you can do is replace the maf. On a side note, if you are a VW purist make sure you spend the $150 for the bosch maf from the dealership, if you just want your 2000 passat to run, get a $30-$50 Chinese maf from ebay. Same maf, just does not come with the bosch stamp.

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      Moses Mvula 3 years ago

      Hi, what a surprise,

      I don't know what to say or how to say it. My vehicle is a VW Golf GTi,1.8T 2001 model. I had a number of problems before and i dont remember how many Mechanic i have been too of late and costed me lots of money, and now was almost thinking of selling my Black Beauty. So my last option was to follow and every step i learn t on www.writen4uhubpages.com, I cleaned the MAF, which was very dirty, cleaned the TB which was extremely dirty, cleaned the IAT Sensor which had a lot of oil stuck on it, i also cleaned the FPR, and also changed the Con Paper Air Filter and replace spark plugs and used BOSCH Super plus FR 7DPP+ GERMANY +24 , and also change the Engine Oil, vw Fuel Filter. Guess what? The car moves extremely smooth than ever before and has improved fuel economy . On one single Full Tank tank i am able to do 980km with the AC on, almost 1000km, Amazing.

      Many thank to Hud DIY Auther for sharing wonderful ideas on internet, something which has saved me lots of money. This site is really Awesome

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      Writen4u 3 years ago

      Glad my articles helped, now if I could only figure out what's wrong with my GTI!!

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      andy 3 years ago

      No no no cheap Maf over a bosch u will have nothing but trouble

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      Writen4u 3 years ago

      One of my cars has had a cheap one in it for over two years now, and my other car has had one for over a year with no problems.

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      Sage 3 years ago

      Wow. I just checked in on this site and noticed that you have been commenting to people since there years back. And now, the latest comment was just 2 months ago. That's crazy. Just thought I'd say that.. Hehe. And yes I've replaced my MAF so that's how I found this page.

      -TurboMK4-

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      Writen4u 3 years ago

      And still goin' strong!!

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      Awais 3 years ago

      Great write up. Does MAP sensor cleaning similar?

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      Writen4u 3 years ago

      My 1.8t actually has a bad map sensor right now. I tried cleaning it but it made no difference. I think with maps once they're gone they're gone, but you could always give it a try if you have a lot of oil running through your intercooler.

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      Powerline Auto Recyclers 2 years ago from Seymour, MO

      Just a note to the several questions, do not use brake/carb cleaner on your MAF. These chemicals break down plastics and will coat the diode inside the MAF assembly which will throw off the reading.

      If you cannot get electrical or MAF cleaner, and you must use brake/carb cleaner, ensure it is non-chlorinated.

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      Eddie 2 years ago

      Thanks for the great page. I just finished cleaning my MAF after being told that I needed a new one. I was skeptical it would work because when I pulled my MAF it looked like it was right off of the assembly line. I talking show room clean. So I soaked it as instructed and reassembled the thing. The whole time it was soaking the battery was disconnected so that the computer would reset. So I took it for a spin but the celebrate never went out. Now I'm not saying that this was a failure, in fact I believe that you have solved my problem. I say this because even though the celebrate is still on, my gas mileage is now awesome. This is based off of the displayed mpgs on the dashboard. Before I cleaned my MAF I would never see readings above 15 to 17 mpgs. Now after taking the car out for a quick test drive I'm clocking 25 to 28 mpgs. So something happened obviously. So now do you have any recommendations as to the celebrate light? Do I need to go get it reset or will it just go off on its own?. Keep in mind that I had the battery disconnected for an hour or more. Also, when I have the door open and the key in the on position, the throttle body does not reset. But the interior lights don't come on with the door open either. It is a 1999 Passat 4 cylinder. Thanks again for a great post.

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      Writen4u 2 years ago

      I'm glad it at least helped your gas mileage. I guessing a celebrate light is a check engine light? You will need to get the car scanned as it could be hundreds of things as to why it is still lit up. Turn the key to the on position (position before actually starting the car) for the throttle body. The door lock module could be going bad. The lock modules before 2003 were pretty prone to failure. Good luck.

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      SteveyC 2 years ago from Selby

      Hello and thank you for the great advice in your column. I've not taken the car for a run run yet, however I've noticed that it is idling a little faster so that seems like good news. The reason I'm getting in touch is that having scoured though the pages of comments and your information I can't see anything regarding what appears like terminals for a resistor at the side of the MAF sensor, there doesn't appear to have ever being one in there and I just wanted to know what's it for...? Thanks again for a great post.

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      Writen4u 2 years ago

      Hi SteveyC, the terminal post on the sensor are for the intake air temperature. My 1.8t has the IAT separate from the maf and it is located on the trottlebody, whereas my 2.0slow has the resistor built directly into the maf. It all depends on the car and engine. So if you look at your throttle body you will see a 2 wire plug, that sensor is held in with a 5mm bolt that is your IAT you can pull it out and clean it like your maf as well. Hopefully that answers your question. Thanks for the comment.

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      Peter S. Kim 11 months ago

      Has anyone tried this using Denatured Alcohol instead?

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      Writen4u 11 months ago

      Hi Peter,

      Personally I have never used it, but I don't see how using denatured alcohol would have any adverse effect compared to rubbing (isopropyl or ethyl) alcohol. I'm currently pulling a rich code myself and if I have some handy in the garage I will try it on my maf.

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      Chris 6 months ago

      My 2010 GTI recently started displaying a MIL and a quick Autozone scan mentions errors of the intake running lean and a performance issue (I do not have the exact codes in front of me). The computer recommended a new MAF, so I cleaned the whole thing according to your steps and disconnected the battery.... However the light is still there.

      The car runs fine with a few minor hesitations at low speeds which seem to go away. I unplugged the MAF harness to see if there was a difference in performance and didn't notice anything different - although there were no hesitations.. But could have been due to car being warned up.

      Could it be that the MAF needs to be replaced completely? Also note that I had to have my intake completely replaced 2x since owning the car.. Once at 25k and another at near 100k. I have 153k miles on the car now running the same MAF I believe.

      Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!!

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      Chris 6 months ago

      I have the codes in front of me now:

      P0441 Evaporative emission system incorrect purge flow

      P1827 System too lean at idle bank 1

      P2015 Intake manifold runner position sensor/switch circuit range/performance bank 1

      P2279 Intake air system leak

      I am hoping this does not warrant yet a 3rd intake manifold switch as I fear this one will not be under warranty. Switching the MAF would be a whole lot easier..

      Thanks!

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      Writen4u 5 months ago

      Chris, I do not really know about the 2010 model or what engine you have but if cleaning the maf does not help it may need to be replaced. I would recommend getting your car scanned with a proper vag-com so you know the codes are accurate as generic scanners can throw false code. Also pressure check the system as you likely have a vacuum leak somewhere in your system (i'm guessing around your breather/PCV hoses or SAI hoses) among other spots. But only a guess.

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      danny 3 months ago

      hi would you by any chance know what resistor should be on the maf ive just took my sensor oout as the car seems to be a bit laggy and there is no resistor is it 1k ohm .5w or 10k ohm .5w

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      Writen4u 4 weeks ago

      Hi Danny.

      A little late on the reply but for future searchers, some mafs have resistors and some do not, I believe the 2.slow has the resistor as it works as the temperature sensor (IAT) whereas the 1.8t has the temperature sensor plugged into the throttle body.

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