What is a Coldwire Sensor?

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Coldwire Sensor:

The GM LS engine series (as well as others) use a coldwire MAF system (produced by AC Delco) that works similarly to the hot-wire MAF system; however, it uses a further “cold” resistor to live the ambient air and supply a reference for the “hot” resistor element accustomed to measure the airflow.

The mesh on the MAF is employed to smooth airflow to make sure the sensors have the most effective chance of steady reading. It’s not used for measuring the airflow as such. In situations where owners use oiled-gauze air filters, it’s possible for excess oil to coat the MAF sensor and skew its readings. Indeed, General Motors has issued a Technical Service Bulletin, indicating problems from rough idle all way to possible transmission damage resulting from the contaminated sensors.

To clean the fragile MAF sensor components, a selected MAF sensor cleaner or electronics cleaner should be used, not carburetor or brake cleaners, which may be too aggressive chemically. Instead, the liquid phase of MAF sensor cleaners and electronics cleaners is usually supported by hexanes or heptanes with little to no alcohol content and use either dioxide or HFC-152a as aerosol propellants.

The sensors should be gently sprayed from a careful distance to avoid physically damaging them and so allowed to thoroughly dry before reinstalling. Manufacturers claim that an easy but extremely reliable test to confirm correct functionality is to tap the unit with the rear of a screwdriver while the car is running, and if this causes any changes within the output frequency then the unit should be discarded and an aftermarket replacement installed.

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