Mass Air FLow Sensor

Hi , my daughter and boyfriend are saying her 97 Acura needs a mass air flow sensor and that the part alone is around $300 or so.
Before I bring it to a garage, was wondering if someone could tell me what
this is, and how much they usually cost.
I'm pretty mechanically inclined, though I don't know cars very much... is this something I could install?
Pete
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ECU how much air the engine is breathing in, so the ECU can make a decent guess about how much fuel to inject. The ECU then uses the signal from the O2 sensor to finely control the fuel/air mixture. MAF sensors (also called AMMs for Air Mass Meters) are fairly delicate and are not an uncommon failure. Symptoms range from the engine running very badly to intermittent severe jerking. In the '97 I'm sure the Check Engine light is lit and the code(s) point to the MAF.
$300 is not an unusual price for a new MAF, but it is still outrageous. I'm sure it is something you can install without too much inventive language, and wrecking yards are a good source of a replacement at a much more reasonable price. I recommend going to a yard that pulls the part and maybe tests it, and offers the part with a 30 day warranty. If it works for a week or two it should work for years. Call around for the best price. Note: handle it like eggs or like a hard drive. Remember, I mentioned it is fragile. If you don't drop it or let it roll around in the trunk on the way home you should be okay.
Any service manual for your daughter's car should have enough detail for this job. Your local library is a good place to start, and if they don't have it an auto parts store probably does. Haynes makes a manual for the Integra in that year, but if it's another model you may have to shell out for a "real" manual from www.helminc.com or wing it. Once you get the replacement part there shouldn't be any surprises.
BTW - You do have metric wrenches and sockets?
Mike
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Thanks Mike, yep, I have metric wrenches and sockets. This must be the same part I had to replace on a car quite a while back. Can't remember the details, but it was running rough, and there was this wide short (6-8inches maybe?) plastic tube with wires coming out of it placed in the middle of the longer plastic tube that air went into before it went to the engine (I'd say carb, but there was no carb on the car).
In trying to check things out, I noticed if I fiddled with this short big short tube, the car would react - run ok, run rough, etc. So I tried banging it a couple of times, thinking maybe dirt was on something within it... nope, in fact I made it worse... I think that cost me a bit over $100 - this was like 10 or 15 yrs ago. I remember the mechanic saying O2 sensor, and to not touch it again. :-)
I'll check the yards around here - hopefully they have them and test them out - I don't mind replacing with new if I have to, but yeah, $300 seems overkill for what it is.
She has a CL... I think I'll pop the hood, see if I can spot it, and if I can get one from a yard, I'll gently replace it.
Thanks for the info! :-)
Pete

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sure you'll recognize it.
Mostly there is no way to clean the sensor. Many of them use a thin platinum wire (that's why it is delicate) to measure the air flow. The circuit works by heating the wire and measuring the amount of heat it loses to the air stream. Typically the circuit also heats the wire initially to burn off contaminants.
Mike
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You don't have a MAF. Honda does not use them.
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TeGGeR

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It doesn't have a MAF??? That is what the diagnostic tool at the auto parts store pointed to. I'm going by info passed onto to me - I didn't see the readings myself...
What would be the equivalent name/part in the Acura then?
Pete

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Also, you mention 'MAP'. I think the term used was 'MAP' .... can you tell me the difference?
Pete

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MAF = Mass Air Flow sensor. Some automakers use these to directly measure the density of the air entering the engine. Honda does not use these. I believe the reason is that they are prone to fouling and thus producing false readings.
Honda does it differently. Honda *calculates* the density of the air by using the MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor), TA (Temperature Air sensor), and PA (Pressure Air sensor)
The MAP sensor reads the actual depression in the manifold, independently of ambient air pressure. The PA sensor measures ambient air pressure.
By comparing manifold and ambient air pressures, and knowing the temperature of the air in the intake manifold, the actual amount of air can be determined mathematically.
Was there an error code that indicated the MAP was nad? How does anybody know it's bad? What are the symptoms?
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Just found out: I WAS WRONG. The very latest Hondas DO use a Mass Air Flow sensor!
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But not in his 97... The MAP sensors in these models were also prone to failure. My sister's 99 civic had hers replaced twice on recalls.... So far on my 98 I have been lucky, no replacement required. But I've heard people have problems on all of the 96-00 Hondas, I'm sure the Acuras follow suit.
t
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