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How-to: Mass Air Flow cleaning for the MKIV Volkswagen

A first in our long overdue How-To series!

Please bookmark, digg or download the PDF (180k) for your convenience!

Vehicle performed on: 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle 1.8T
Other models: MKIV 1.8T’s (All models), Audi TT’s, Audi A4’s

What you need:

Philips-head and/or Flathead screwdriver
Arc joint pliers
Electric cleaner
MAF cleaner
Beverage of choice (Diet Mtn Dew for us. Ommegang if it was later in the day!)

Time: Noob – 1.5hrs, Experienced: 30-45min

Legal: We are not responsible for any problems you encounter during this how-to.

This is a very simple process. If you’ve been experiencing hesitations, rough idle etc, your MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor may be the culprit. If you have a CEL, this could be it. Within the housing sits the sensor (need pic). This can become dirty or if running an oiled filter like K&N. Some say that these filters do not effect the MAF, however I ran one and had gone through 3 MAF’s. I’ve since moved on to a mod’d OEM air-box running the OEM paper filter and have had no issues.. - How-to: Mass Air Flow cleaning for the MKIV Volkswagen

Take a swig of beverage.

Step 1:

Depending on your set-up, I find it easier to take the air-box out as well. I am running a Forge T.I.P which is a heck of a lot stiffer than OEM so just pulling the MAF out is a pain.

You will have 2 philips-head screws to the rear of the air-box. These along with the tabs hold the cover down. - How-to: Mass Air Flow cleaning for the MKIV Volkswagen

Leave in place for now. If you do take out, unlock the SAI hose, just under MAF. * See pic above

Take a swig of beverage.

Step 2:
Gently press tab to unlock and pull plug off MAF. Tuck up and out of way. - How-to: Mass Air Flow cleaning for the MKIV Volkswagen

Take a swig of beverage.

Step 3:
There are two (each side) philips head screws that hold the MAF to the air-box. Remove these. Unlike the air-box, these come out completely. Since they are a bit of a pain, I recommend putting a rag under your work area. If you do drop one/both they will fall here rather than into the engine area. - How-to: Mass Air Flow cleaning for the MKIV Volkswagen

Take a swig of beverage.

Step 4:
Loosen clamp around neck of TIP (Turbo Inlet Pipe). Just push this down the pipe and out of the way. * See pic above

*If you have the OEM tube, you will have one of those self squeeze clamps. They are a nightmare/dangerous and I suggest switching to a normal clamp like I have. You will need a very large set of arc joint pliers.

Take a swig of beverage.

Step 5:
Slowly pull MAF off/out of air-box and then out of TIP. This is one of those figure it out on your own. What I mean is that it’s semi-tricky and you just have to wiggle/play it out. DO NOT DAMAGE ANYTHING!

Take a swig of beverage.

Step 6:
Take cleaner and spray the sensor, screen* and plug area. It will dry fast and you can wipe any extra off. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL.

* The screen is to control air flow/turbulence across the sensor.

That’s it.

Take a huge swig of beverage.

Step 7:
Reverse order. Make sure all is snug and bolted down. You don’t want any air leaks.

Take this time to look over your engine too. This is a great way to learn and examine your car.

While pulling the MAF plug off, I noticed the red plastic didn’t look right. Looking closer it has started breaking off, becoming brittle? - How-to: Mass Air Flow cleaning for the MKIV Volkswagen

Our 1.8T’s run very hot. If your still running the cloth VAC lines, inspect them for drying/cracking. Another big CEL among 1.8T owners. If possible, buy some silicone hose and replace all. Silicone is indestructible when it comes to engine heat.

If you do loosen you air-box cover, take this time to look at the filter. Shake it out but do not let dirt get on top of the filter, MAF sensor side. I usually bang straight down on flat surface. OEM filters are very cheap to replace at your oil change interval. Hopefully with a 1.8T your running a synthetic oil and at a 5k or more change depending on driving habits and environment.

Let us know if this How-to helped out in the comments. We are planning many more.

the 1.8T dub crew

Legal: We are not responsible for any problems you encounter during this how-to.

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  1. oneighturbo says:

    @jamie – I am not super familiar with TDI issues however there are some similar things to look at between the 1.8T and a TDI.

    Things to look at:
    stuck actuator
    vacum leak
    hose leak
    n75 valve

    Two great resources to bookmark

    Good luck and post back on your findings to help others out.

  2. jamie spencer says:

    i noticed a massive drop in power in my golf gt tdi (115) x reg, i got a new maf installed by a garage 4wks ago… it was perfect.. now its gone again? any solutions?

  3. kdfvwman says:

    Great article!
    on a 1998 VW Golf, 2 liter engine the MAF sensor seeems to be defective,
    on accelleration there is anoticable lack of opower, then
    multiple cylinder missfires show up in OBD II trouble codes.

    cleaning the MAF made the symptoms worse.

    looking at the hotwire there seems to be a irregularity.
    (tough to see withn the naked eye).
    Have ordered a new one , hope this fixces this problem.
    any Ideas?

  4. oneighturbo says:

    @GTIZZ – I tried looking but wasn't coming up with anything great. I would suggest and of the major auto parts stores wuld carry it, like here in the states.

    Is shipping the issue from an online store in the states?

  5. GTIZZ says:

    Thanks for the post! Anyone knows where we can buy the MAF Cleaner in Canada?

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