What Does A MAF Sensor Do? (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 Ford E150, E250, E350)

The Ford E-Series van comes equipped with a mass air flow (MAF) sensor. It's a critical component of the engine management system. As such, it keeps the engine running optimally and efficiently.

In this article I'll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the MAF sensor.

APPLIES TO: This tutorial applies to the following vehicles:

  1. Ford E150: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996.
  2. Ford E250: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996.
  3. Ford E350: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996.

What Does A MAF Sensor Do?

The mass airflow sensor's job is to measure the amount of air that the engine is breathing when it's running.

With this information, the fuel injection computer can calculate the correct amount of fuel to inject into each cylinder.

What Happens When A MAF Sensor Goes Bad?

A bad mass air flow sensor won't send any engine air intake information to the fuel injection computer.

In the next section, I'll go into some of the specific symptoms you'll see when the MAF sensor fails.

What Problems Can A MAF Sensor Cause?

A bad MAF sensor will cause one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Bad gas mileage.
  • Lack of power.
  • Black smoke coming out of a tailpipe.
  • Check engine light is illuminated by one or more MAF sensor trouble codes.
  • Rough idle.
  • The engine may start and immediately stall.
  • Extended engine cranking (the engine has to be cranked a long time for it to start).
  • The engine may not start.
  • On OBD I vehicles, the check engine illuminated by one of the following trouble codes:
    • 157: MAF Sensor Circuit Low Input
    • 158: MAF Sensor Circuit High Input
    • 159: MAF Sensor Circuit Voltage Higher Or Lower Than Expected
  • On OBD II vehicles, the check engine illuminated by one of the following trouble codes:
    • P0102: MAF Sensor Circuit Low Input
    • P0103: MAF Sensor Circuit High Input
    • P1100: MAF Sensor Output Voltage
    • P1101: MAF Sensor Output Voltage

How Can You Tell If A MAF Sensor Is Bad?

The only way to find out if the mass airflow sensor has failed (or not), is to perform a MAF sensor diagnostic test.

See the next section to find out more.

How Can I Find Out If The MAF Sensor Is Bad?

As mentioned in the earlier section, to find out if the MAF sensor is bad or not, you'll need to test it.

Thankfully, testing a mass air flow sensor isn't hard and you don't need any expensive diagnostic equipment.

The MAF sensor diagnostic test involves the following steps:

  • Check for MAF sensor trouble codes with a code reader or scan tool.
  • Confirm that the MAF sensor is receiving 12 Volts.
  • Confirm that the MAF sensor is receiving Ground.
  • Confirm that the sensor's MAF voltage signal increases/decreases as the engine is accelerated/decelerated. This test is done with a multimeter.

If the MAF voltage signal does not increase/decrease as you accelerate/decelerate the engine, then you can conclude that your E-Series van's MAF sensor is bad and needs to be replaced.

Testing the mass airflow sensor is something that you can do without having to take it to an automotive repair shop (but you can).

I've written a tutorial on how to test it with a multimeter, you can find that tutorial here: How To Test The Ford Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor (at: easyautodiagnostics.com)

Can I Drive My Van With A Bad MAF Sensor?

Depending on the severity of the symptoms the bad MAF sensor is causing, you may not be able to safely drive the vehicle.

Even if it's possible to drive your car (with a bad mass air flow sensor), you should avoid doing so.

More Ford E150, E250, and E350 Tutorials

You can find a complete list of tutorials for the full-size Ford E-Series vans here: Ford 4.9L, 5.0L, 5.9L Index Of Articles.

Here's a small sample of the tutorials you'll find:

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Ford Vehicles:

  • E-150
    • 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
  • E-250
    • 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
  • E-350
    • 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996