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F150 Mass Air Flow Meters Explained

By:  Zach Wright  / Jun 21 2019
F150 Mass Air Flow Meters Explained

Your F150’s engine is a symphony of parts working together to deliver strong low-end torque and solid to mid-range power. One of the most crucial parts in the whole orchestra is the mass air flow meter. The mass air flow meter is essential to keeping your fuel injected F150 running smoothly and powerfully. This guide will go over everything you need to know about your mass air flow meter and how to upgrade it.

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A smaller part of your overall intake system, the mass air flow sensor is what monitors the volume of air going into your engine. If you're looking to make the most of your incoming air, upgrading to a more accurate sensor and a tune is a must.

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What is an F150 Mass Air Flow Meter & What Does it Do?

A mass air flow meter is part of your truck’s intake system that measures the amount of air coming into the engine. It relays this information to the rest of the engine so it can make adjustments to the amount of fuel coming in and the timing of the engine. Depending on how much and how dense the air coming into your engine is, dictates how much fuel your engine is going to receive in a cycling of the engine. 

The mass air flow meter is comprised of a metal housing that is the diameter of your intake tubing with a space for a sensor, the size of a pack of gum, to fit in. On one end of the sensor there will be a female plug where your truck’s wiring can plug into it.

How Does an F150 Mass Air Flow Meter Work?

Mass air flow meters have a thin wire that heats up a resistor, detecting how much air is flowing into the engine. This reading varies based on the density and volume of air coming into the engine. Once the reading is detected, your F150’s computer sends a message to the fuel injectors, telling them how much fuel to push into the engine.

Why Should I Replace My Stock F150 MAF Sensor?

When you upgrade different engine components and start sucking in more air, you will want to upgrade the mass air flow sensor to accommodate for the increase in air. The stock mass air flow sensor may get overloaded by the influx of air being pulled into the engine, not giving you an accurate reading. If you are not getting an accurate intake air reading, then your engine can’t properly adjust the amount of fuel being fed into the engine, giving you less than optimal performance.

Should your stock F150 mass air flow meter fail, you may want to consider replacing it with an aftermarket mass air flow meter. Aftermarket replacement parts can often be cheaper than the OEM replacement as well as more durable.

Benefits of Upgrading Your F150's Mass Air Flow Meter

Benefits of upgrading your truck’s mass air flow meter include:

  • Increased accuracy in air reading
  • Improved engine performance
  • Improved fuel economy

Speaking generally, most of the benefits of upgrading your MAF can be wrapped up into saying it will support more reliable performance. Allowing your engine to more accurately gauge what is going on will help your F150 to perform at the peak of its potential.

How Hard is it to Replace an F150's Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Replacing the MAF sensor on your Ford truck is a relatively easy task. All you need are a few basic tools like a screwdriver and wrench, and you can have it all swapped out in about 30 minutes to a 1 hour. You do not need ​much mechanical know-how to take on a job like this. Just follow the instructions, take your time, watch a YouTube video or two, and even the most novice of skill levels will be able to knock this out. 

How Much Would it Cost for a Shop to Replace My F150's MAF Sensor?

This question varies depending on the shop, but you can expect to spend anywhere from $50-$200 getting a piece like this replaced on your F150. The biggest cost you will have with this is buying the MAF sensor itself, but if you are cutting out going through a middleman like a shop to buy it, you will save yourself some money.

Do I Need to Tune My F150 if I Upgrade the MAF Sensor?

If you are not increasing the size to a larger diameter sensor, then you will not need to retune your F150. However, if you are increasing the size of the sensor/intake tube, then you will need to tune your F150. If you don’t tune your F150 to account for the change(s) in intake air flow, then your truck’s computer will think something is wrong. 

What Else Should I Upgrade When Replacing My F150s MAF Sensor?

When you’re replacing your F150’s MAF sensor you may want to also consider upgrading:

  • Intake
  • Fuel injectors 
  • Spark plugs

If you are replacing your MAF sensor you will want to consider upgrading the other supporting parts as well, if you haven’t already. 

The intake is what draws the air into the engine, so replacing it with a larger intake will require a larger MAF sensor. This will deliver a nice uptick in power and throttle response.​

With a larger intake and MAF, upgrading the fuel injectors is a logical next step in the modification process. If your engine is sucking in more air, you will want to feed it more air. This combo will make sure your engine isn’t starving for fuel when it is in the higher RPMs, allowing it to keep pulling strong through the midrange and high end of the power band. 

If you are upgrading the fuel injectors on your F150, you should also replace the spark plugs. Replacing the spark plugs on your truck is an essential maintenance item to begin with, but if you are already in there replacing the fuel injectors, it makes sense to also just replace the spark plugs. If you’re bringing in all of this extra air and extra fuel, you’ll want to make sure you are making a spark that is sufficient enough for your engine. 

Do All F150s Have a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Not all F150s have a mass air flow sensor. Only newer, post-2000 fuel injected F150s have a MAF sensor. Older F150s with carbureted engines do not have a mass air flow sensor.

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