The mass airflow (MAF) sensor on the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 3.5L Chevrolet Malibu, can be tested using only a multimeter (that can read Hertz frequency).
With the results of your test you'll be able to conclude if the mass airflow sensor is defective or not.
Contents of this tutorial at a glance:
- Symptoms Of A Defective MAF Sensor.
- TEST 1: Making Sure The MAF Sensor Is Getting Power.
- TEST 2: Making Sure The MAF Sensor Is Getting Ground.
- TEST 3: Testing The MAF Signal With A Multimeter.
- MAF Sensor Signal Oscilloscope Waveform.
- Where To Buy The MAF Sensor And Save.
- More 3.5L V6 Chevy Malibu Tutorials.
You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar El Sensor MAF (2004-2008 3.5L Chevrolet Malibu) (at: autotecnico-online.com).
Symptoms Of A Defective MAF Sensor
The mass airflow sensor is a key component of the fuel injection system on your 3.5L V6 Chevy Malibu.
It plays a critical role in helping the fuel injection computer find out how much air is entering the engine as the engine runs.
Since the MAF sensor is connected directly to the fuel injection computer, when this bad boy fails the computer is going to set a MAF trouble code and light up the check engine light on your Chevy Malibu's instrument cluster.
You're going to see one of the following trouble codes:
- P0100: Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Circuit Malfunction.
- P0101: Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Circuit Range/Performance Problem.
- P0102: Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Circuit Low Input.
- P0103: Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Circuit High Input.
Besides a MAF sensor trouble code, you're also going to see a few other symptoms. Although by no means a complete list, you'll see one or more of the following:
- Rough idle and the engine may stall.
- Bad gas mileage.
- A heavier than usual exhaust smell or black smoke coming out of the tailpipe.
- Lack of power when you accelerate under load.
TEST 1: Making Sure The MAF Sensor Is Getting Power
The very first thing that we're going to do is to make sure that the pink with black stripe (PNK/BLK) wire of the MAF sensor connector has power when you turn the key on.
The pink with black stripe (PNK/BLK) wire is identified with the letter B in the photo above. It gets power from fuse 6 (EMISSION 1 10A) of the under hood fuse box.
This power is in the form of 12 Volts and we'll do a simple multimeter voltage test to check for its presence in the pink with black stripe (PNK/BLK) wire.
IMPORTANT: Don't probe the front of the mass air flow sensor connector or you'll damage the connector and/or the female terminal inside of it. To check for voltage, you'll need to use a back probe or a wire piercing probe. You can see an example of this test tool here: Wire Piercing Probe Review (Power Probe PWPPPPP01).
These are the test steps:
Place your multimeter's dial to Volts DC mode.
Connect the red multimeter test lead to the pink with black stripe (PNK/BLK) wire identified with the letter B (see image above) using the appropriate tool.
Connect the black lead of the multimeter to the battery negative terminal.
Turn the key on but don't crank or start the engine.
The multimeter should register between 10 to 12 Volts DC.
Let's examine your test results:
CASE 1: The pink with black stripe (PNK/BLK) wire has 12 Volts. This is the correct and expected testt result.
Now that we know that the pink with black stripe (PNK/BLK) wire is feeding the MAF sensor with power, our next step is to make sure that the black with white (BLK/WHT) stripe wire is feeding it with Ground. For this test go to: TEST 2: Making Sure The MAF Sensor Is Getting Ground.
CASE 2: The pink with black stripe (PNK/BLK) wire does not have 12 Volts. Without power the MAF sensor on your 3.5L Chevy Malibu isn't going to work.
The most likely cause of this missing power is a blown fuse (fuse 6 -EMISSION 1 10A) of the under hood fuse box. Check the fuse and if it's blown, replace it with a new one and retest.