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This article gives detailed instructions on replacing the mass air flow sensor (MAF) in a BMW vehicle with the N52 6 cylinder engine. Even though we used a 2006 530xi to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any BMW vehicle with the N52 engine including most 2004-2013 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, X1, X3, X5, and Z4 models minor modifications to the repair steps.
A BMW Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF) replacement in your N52 6 cylinder engine can help cure rough idles and clear instrument cluster error lights.
One of the most misunderstood components of the BMW engine intake system is the mass air flow sensor, often referred to as the BMW MAF sensor (or the "hot-film air mass meter" for those hardcore mechanics). The mass air flow sensor is part of the engine's air management system that includes all of the components involved with delivering metered fresh air to the cylinders. It is located on the intake pipe directly downstream from the intake muffler (air filter box).
The BMW MAF sensor is in charge of calculating how much air is entering the engine through the air filter element. This data is sent to the engine control module (the ECU...or sometimes referred to as the DME on BMWs) where it is used to adjust the amount of fuel being sprayed into the cylinders by the injectors. This delicate balance of measuring airflow and adjusting fuel delivery is what makes the BMW N52 six-cylinder engine so economically efficient and run so smoothly.
BMW Mass Air Flow Sensor Symptoms
Obvious signs that your BMW MAF sensor is failing are a rough idling engine (especially when warm) and poor acceleration. It will also (usually) cause a Service Engine Light (SEL) to appear in the instrument cluster. For those home mechanics with a diagnostic scanner, a bad mass air flow sensor will normally throw one of the following error codes: 2D15 or 2D16.
Since the rough idling and poor performance issues can also be attributed to other problems with your BMWs engine, it is best to diagnose your N52 six-cylinder before replacing the mass air flow sensor.
Replacing the BMW MAF is an extremely simple process that takes about ten minutes to perform in most affected vehicles. We strongly recommend attempting to clean your MAF prior to purchasing a new one with CRC Electronic Cleaner...some times dirt can accumulate on the internal element causing it to malfunction. That being said if your BMW's N52 engine has 120,000 plus miles on it, then it makes better sense just to replace the entire sensor with a new one.
N52 Engine - All BMW Models
1 Series E81 (02/2006 — 12/2011)
1 Series E87 (03/2005 — 02/2007)
1 Series E87 LCI (01/2006 — 06/2011)
1 Series E88 (11/2006 — 10/2013)
1 Series E82 (12/2006 — 10/2013)
3 Series E90 (02/2004 — 08/2008)
3 Series E90 LCI (07/2007 — 12/2011)
3 Series E91 (02/2004 — 08/2008)
3 Series E91 LCI (07/2007 — 05/2012)
3 Series E92 (05/2005 — 02/2010)
3 Series E92 LCI (09/2009 — 06/2013)
3 Series E93 (09/2005 — 02/2010)
3 Series E93 LCI (09/2009 — 10/2013)
5 Series E60 (07/2004 — 06/2007)
5 Series E60 LCI (11/2005 — 05/2010)
5 Series E61 (07/2004 — 02/2007)
5 Series E61 LCI (11/2005 — 03/2010)
5 Series F10 (02/2009 — 06/2013)
5 Series F11 (11/2009 — 05/2013)
5 Series F18 (08/2009 — 08/2013)
5 Series F18 LCI (10/2012 — 04/2014)
6 Series E63 (02/2004 — 07/2007)
6 Series E63 LCI (05/2006 — 07/2010)
6 Series E64 (03/2004 — 07/2007)
6 Series E64 LCI (05/2006 — 07/2010)
7 Series E65 (06/2004 — 07/2008)
7 Series E66 (07/2004 — 07/2008)
7 Series F01 (06/2008 — 06/2012)
7 Series F01 LCI (07/2011 — 05/2015)
7 Series F02 (09/2007 — 06/2012)
7 Series F02 LCI (06/2011 — 05/2015)
X1 E84 (09/2008 — 08/2011)
X3 E83 LCI (02/2006 — 08/2010)
X3 F25 (07/2009 — 03/2012)
X5 E70 (02/2006 — 03/2010)
Z4 E85 (10/2004 — 08/2008)
Z4 E86 (10/2005 — 08/2008)
Z4 E89 (01/2008 — 08/2011)
View the detailed parts diagram for this repair.
Includes detailed part diagrams, part numbers and links to purchase all of the required components needed to complete this repair.
Before starting this repair, you must have the following required parts.
All N52 engines
The MAF controls the amount of fuel that goes through the injectors based on the volume of air coming through the intake. If your vehicle is giving you a MAF code, replace it immediately to ensure you get the best gas mileage and performance.It is common for this part to fail slowly and cause poor fuel mileage and hampered performance. When it fails completely, the vehicle will stutter and stall as it falls into a limp mode. One way to check if your MAF is bad is to unplug the connector before starting your car. If it idles well (compared to a previous poor idle), your MAF needs replaced.
As mentioned above, the mass air flow sensor on the N52 engine is conveniently located on the air intake pipe next to the intake muffler (air filter housing). Care should always be taken when disassembling your intake system...cracking a pipe or fitting can cause vacuum leaks.
Locate and identify the BMW MAF. It is located on the intake pipe just downstream of the intake muffler.
Remove the lid from the intake muffler. In most models, plastic latches hold the lid in place.
Using a metal pick, GENTLY lift the plastic retaining tab on the BMW mass air flow sensor plug. Unplug the mass air flow sensor.
Part # 11-72-1-438-814 - This unit monitors air flow going into the EVAP pump. Fits: BMW E46 325i M54 2.5L, BMW E46 325Ci M54 2.5L, BMW E46 325xi M54 2.5L, BMW E46 330Ci M54 3.0L, BMW E46 330i M54 3.0L, BMW E46 330xi M54 3.0L, BMW E53 X5 M54 3.0L, BMW E60 530i M54 3.0L, BMW E60 M5 S85 5.0L, BMW E60 525i M54 2.5L, BMW E63 M6 S85 5.0L, BMW E64 M6 S85 5.0L, BMW E83 X3 M54 2.5L, BMW E83 X3 M54 3.0L
Part # 13-62-7-566-990 - The MAF controls the amount of fuel that goes through the injectors based on the volume of air coming through the intake. If your vehicle is giving you a MAF code, replace it immediately to ensure you get the best gas mileage and performance. It is common for this part to fail slowly and cause poor fuel mileage and hampered performance. When it fails completely, the vehicle will stutter and stall as it falls into a limp mode. One way to check if your MAF is bad is to unplug the connector before starting your car. If it idles well (compared to a previous poor idle), your MAF needs replaced. If you let this maintenance part go, your fuel economy will suffer as too much fuel is going into the engine and not being burned. A great way to give your vehicle an efficiency boost. Genuine BMW part means this replacement is of stock quality. Fits: BMW E60 550i, BMW E63 650i, BMW E64 650i, BMW E65 750i, BMW E65 B7 Alpina, BMW E66 750Li, BMW E70 X5 xDrive50i, BMW E71 X6 50iX, BMW E71 X6 xDrive50i, BMW F01 750i, BMW F01 750i xDrive, BMW F02 750Li, BMW F02 750Li xDrive, BMW F02 750LiX, BMW F07 550i, BMW F07 550i xDrive, BMW F10 550i, BMW F10 550i xDrive, BMW F12 650i, BMW F12 650iX, BMW F13 650i, BMW F13 650iX
Part # 13-62-7-551-638 - The MAF controls the amount of fuel that goes through the injectors based on the volume of air coming through the intake. If the MAF is damaged or has not been maintained correctly your engine will not run efficiently, robbing you of performance and gas mileage. Fits: BMW E60 528i, BMW E60 528xi, BMW E70 X5 xDrive30i, BMW E82 128i, BMW E83 N52 3.0L, BMW E88 128i, BMW E90 328i, BMW E90 328xi, BMW E91 328i, BMW E91 328xi, BMW E92 328i, BMW E92 328xi, BMW E93 328i, BMW Z4 sDrive30i
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