Community Member Credit: greghome

At one point on the Maxima message boards in late 1999 there was a lot of talk about increasing airflow through the Maxima intake by removing the screen from the Mass Airflow (MAF) Sensor. The screen is not a secondary filter as one might suspect. Its purpose is to “straighten” airflow going into the throttle body. The theory is that removing the screen will allow increased airflow and thus, more horsepower. Being a logically thinking person, the science behind the theory sounded good to me, and I am willing to give anything a try that sounds reasonable so…. I removed the screen from the MAF sensor (this process is irreversible!!) and ran with this mod for almost a full year. While I did not notice any harmful effects from removing the screen, I can say for certain that this mod does not increase horsepower in the slightest, and might possibly even screw up the MAF readings. Read on.

For comparison purposes, here are two Mass Airflow Sensors from a 4th-Generation Maxima. The one on the right has had the screen removed for (presumably) higher airflow. The one on the left has the screen intact.

The way the MAF sensor works is that it measures the airflow through a very small opening in the center of the sensor and sends a variable voltage out its electrical connector to the ECU. The ECU is programmed with the diameter of the sensor and computes the total airflow into the throttle body based on the flow through the center section. The reason for the screen is to ensure that the airflow going into the center portion of the sensor is straight and smooth so that the ECU’s computation will be accurate. If the flow is not smooth then the ECU computation of total flow through the barrel will be off. In my opinion, removing the screen will quite possibly allow a more turbulent airflow through the MAF sensor than without the screen.

In spite of my theories as to why the screen is there and what (I believe) could happen if it is removed, I still noticed no detrimental effects from removing the screen. However, since there was also no tangible benefit from this mod I chose to re-purchase a new MAF sensor and re-install it with the screen in place.


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