So it had to happen at some point, the first real problem with van occurred recently, one which resulted in reduced power, shuddering and black smoke from the exhaust. Basically the Movano was off the road until I could diagnose and fix the problem.
My first instinct was to check the fuel situation, as it felt like fuel starvation when driving. I inspected the fuel filter and noticed there were some bubbles travelling along the fuel line into the engine, so I bled the fuel filter just to make sure. This made no difference to the problem, so I had to turn my attention to somewhere else.
As the mass air flow meter (MAF) is right on top of the engine, I thought I would have a look at this next. I knew from experience with other vehicles that if you disconnect the MAF it forces the ECU to accept a default value, and if the performance/running of the engine improves, then the mass air flow meter is at fault.
So what does a MAF meter do?
The mass air flow measures the amount of air flowing into the engine. The ECU can then calculate how much fuel to add. If the MAF sends the wrong signal, then the ECU can over or under fuel, and the result is the loss of power I was feeling. In my case, it was clear from the black smoke from the exhaust that the ECU was over-fueling – the black smoke being un-burnt diesel.
When I disconnected the MAF, all hesitancy, black smoke and reduced power disappeared.Being pretty confident that I had found the fault, I started to look at how much it was going to cost. Prices ranged from £30 – £150, but the general consensus online was that it was false economy to buy the cheap Chinese copies, as they tend to fail after a few months.
So I opted to buy the mass air flow meter from my local Euro Car Parts. The meter was an original equipment (OE) item, and not a cheap copy, hence why it cost me over £100! They had it in stock, so I chose the convenience of getting it straight away, rather than wait for delivery from an internet retailer.
You can of course try to source it a bit cheaper by doing an Ebay search for Movano mass air flow meter.
Note: Its worth mentioning that the Renault Master and Nissan Intestar are the same as the Vauxhall Movano – so some parts are generally interchangeable. As you can see from the photo above, the new MAF came in a “Renault Genuine Parts” box.
So with the new mass air flow meter in my hand, it was a simple 5 minute job to swap it for the old one. All that is needed is to loosen off a jubilee clip and remove the air pipe, and undo 2 torx screws. The MAF then just pulls out of the air filter housing, as you can see from the video and photo above.
Then it was off for a short test drive, and I am pleased to report everything was back to normal. The old MAF had been on the van from new, and had covered just over 100,000 miles, so I guess it was time for replacement. Overall, I am happy to have had an easy fix, because I was expecting to have to take the Movano to a garage to have the fault codes read in the ECU – but thankfully this time I didn’t have to!
If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments below, or just comment on the video page on YouTube.