Is it possible to diy adjust the air flow meter of the mentioned car? if so, how and what do i need?

Opel Vectra A 2.0 1994 engine: 20NE


The AFM box was sealed and clean. I just opened the plastic pipes and also i've checked the air filter. I've checked the spark plugs, and their wires, ignition coil, gas pressure, cylinder compression, injectors,... and it seems that they're working fine. It has a 10 pin ALDL connector, but i'm far from civilization and the closest repair shop with the tech 2 diagnostic tool is at least 400 km away from me. I want to add that i want to do the paper clip method for finding about probable fault codes, do you recommend it?

and i attach a pic of the AFM, i don't know if the condition of the graphite of the AFM board could be a problem or not, if so, do you have any recommendation for the restoration?

Thank you

AFM & 10 pin ALDL socket

  • Why do you wish to adjust the air flow? Oct 5, 2020 at 23:00
  • Because of the bad idling, I've checked the other units and they're working fine.
    – paul
    Oct 5, 2020 at 23:39
  • What have you done to clean the air flow meter? Oct 6, 2020 at 0:32
  • What do you mean by "other units?" What specifically have you done? Does the vehicle have an OBD port? If so, what trouble codes are presented? Oct 6, 2020 at 1:00

2 Answers 2


You don't adjust the air flow meter, the meter's job is to give accurate air flow readings to the engine computer to it can adjust the fuel-air mixture. If the air flow meter isn't delivering accurate information to the computer then it needs to be cleaned/repaired, not adjusted. Most allow no type of adjustment anyway. It may be it just needs a clean, how to depends on the type, it's also possible it has broken beyond repair and needs replacement.

However, a rough idle could be many things: idle control valve, low fuel pressure, vacuum leak, faulty oxygen sensor, etc. Cleaning the air flow meter makes perfect sense, but you should check the computer for codes before spending loads of time tracing things.

Edit: the picture added to the post shows a pretty badly scraped sensor ... plate? Thingy? Not sure what you call it, but it's the part that the sensor arm makes contact with. It works on the principle that the voltage drops the more graphite (assuming it is graphite) it passes through. However, over time the friction rubs off the surface, leaving bare spots where contact is lost. When contact is lost the air data drops, causing the wring fuel-air mixture. I had a similar problem on my Porsche 944S, I resolved it by bending the contacts in a bit. Yours is a different construction though, so that might not work. I diagnosed there were issues by using a continuity test, and listening for dropouts as I moved the sensor arm.

You may have a similar problem, and that's how I'd test first. If you have a drop in continuity at low air flow it may be your issue, if you don't then it is still working. You can also run a voltage through it and probe for fluctuations as you move the arm.

There are some alternate fixes which may work if your sensor has bad patches:

  1. Use a pencil to replace missing graphite. It sounds nuts but it apparently works. I don't image it will last forever, but it could be a useful temporary fix, and help diagnose your issue
  2. Resurfacing compounds: these replace the original surface better than rubbing a pencil
  3. Relocate the contacts to a different part of the arm, so they touch different parts of the plate. This may or may not be achievable depending on the sensor arm construction

If it was me I would, since it's open already, give it a thorough cleanup and test it using the methods above. If there's dropouts try the pencil trick and see if it works. See how long the fix lasts

One thing: make sure you seal the sensor up again, you don't want grit getting in there. If it was sealed before do it again with high-temperature silicone.

  • Thank you, how should i do it without messing with AFM?
    – paul
    Oct 6, 2020 at 10:09

If your engine is non-catalized (20NE as you say), it should have a trim to ajust the %CO at idle.

A wrong trim can cause bad idling.

Anyway you should do the paper clip test and check if there are any error codes saved.

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