It is a well known problem that the airmassmeter (MAF) can be the cause
of a lot of problems. In most cases where the engine runs bad, the
reason is a bad MAF sensor. Unfortunately, the Alfa Romeo diagnostic
system can't tell that this is the problem.
Before you go to the garage with your problem or buy a new MAF, it can
be a good idea to clean it first. The MAF is very easy to
replace/remove/install. If this works, it can save you some money
because the MAF sensor is a bit expensive. It costs about €525 here
in expensive Norway. But beware that this is a chanse to take.
You can also make things worse if things go wrong as the sensor is
The problem is old oil and dust on the measurer thread that gives
rubbish measurements. A bad MAF will give the engine either to much
or to little fuel because the readout is wrong.
There are two Torx screws and they are a special kind with a little
pin in the middle, so you might need a special tool. Remove the cable
plug and then unscrew the two torx screws. Then gently pull out the
To clean the thread you can use electronics cleaner (a type that leaves
no remains) and spray it into the little hole on the end of the MAF (1).
It will then go trough and out the little hole under the MAF (2).
Alternatively you can just put the MAF in Isoprophylalcohol. Then gently
blow it dry or just let it dry for some minutes untill it is completely dry.
Now reinstall it and see if your car drives like it should. If it does, you
might have saved a bunch of money. If not, you should book an appointment
at your local garage.
This trick does unfortunately not work for everyone, but it did for me.
This article is based mostly on the great article in www.vagcars.dk
(YES, they use the same Bosch MAF as our Alfa Romeo's).