Engine 94 Cobra, runs real rough. But runs better with MAF unplugged


Sep 11, 2005
Yay Area, California
Moved to the correct section..... (94-95 tech), sorry guys.

My 94 cobra is experiencing some weird issues. The car runs rough as it stands and when it warms up it will try to cut off and if it does wont start. But what is stranger when the MAF sensor is unplugged it will run better, but the end result is the symptom before. It will try to cut off and if does it wont start. I notice a good deal of white smoke when I drive it was well. The only mods are, Cold Air intake, GT40x heads and TFS Stage 1 cam. Any ideas or things I should look at? Any advice, help, tips, links appreciated.
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Active Member
Apr 3, 2012
Dallas, Tx
If im not mistaken a sign of a bad MAF sensor is that the car runs better when its unplugged. Sounds like you need a new MAF...


StangNet's favorite TOOL
SN Certified Technician
Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
Don't guess and throw money, parts and valuable time and energy at a problem, Test and Diagnose to find the right answer. The computer will tell you what is wrong most of the time.

Step 1: Clear the existing computer diagnostic codes to eliminate spurious results
Step 2: Dump the codes to see what you get
Step 3.: Post the code dump numerical results and I will give you 5.0 Mustang specific code definitions and fixes.

How to clear codes.

Clear the computer codes by disconnecting the battery negative terminal and turn the headlights on.

Turn the headlights off and reconnect the all sensors including the MAF and anything else you may have disconnected. Then reconnect the battery negative cable.. This clears all spurious codes generated when you disconnected the MAF and ran the engine. This does not fix the code problems, it just gives you a clean slate to start recording what the computer sees happening.

Run the car for at least 30 minutes of driving and dump the codes.

Dump the codes: Codes may be present even if the Check Engine Light (CEL) isn't on.

Dumping the computer diagnostic codes on 86-95 Mustangs

Revised 26-July-2011. Added need to make sure the clutch is pressed when dumping codes.

Codes may be present even if the check engine light hasn’t come on, so be sure to check for them.

Here's the way to dump the computer codes with only a jumper wire or paper clip and the check engine light, or test light or voltmeter. I’ve used it for years, and it works great. You watch the flashing test lamp or Check Engine Light and count the flashes.

Post the codes you get and I will post 86-93 model 5.0 Mustang specific code definitions and fixes. I do not have a complete listing for 94-95 model 5.0 Mustangs at this time.

Be sure to turn off the A/C, and put the transmission in neutral when dumping the codes. On a manual transmission car, be sure to press the clutch to the floor.
Fail to do this and you will generate a code 67 and not be able to dump the Engine Running codes.



If your car is an 86-88 stang, you'll have to use the test lamp or voltmeter method. There is no functional check engine light on the 86-88's except possibly the Cali Mass Air cars.

The STI has a gray connector shell and a white/red wire. It comes from the same bundle of wires as the self test connector.

89 through 95 cars have a working Check Engine light. Watch it instead of using a test lamp.

The STI has a gray connector shell and a white/red wire. It comes from the same bundle of wires as the self test connector.

WARNING!!! There is a single dark brown connector with a black/orange wire. It is the 12 volt power to the under the hood light. Do not jumper it to the computer test connector. If you do, you will damage the computer.

What to expect:
You should get a code 11 (two single flashes in succession). This says that the computer's internal workings are OK, and that the wiring to put the computer into diagnostic mode is good. No code 11 and you have some wiring problems. This is crucial: the same wire that provides the ground to dump the codes provides signal ground for the TPS, EGR, ACT and Map/Baro sensors. If it fails, you will have poor performance, economy and driveablity problems

Some codes have different answers if the engine is running from the answers that it has when the engine isn't running. It helps a lot to know if you had the engine running when you ran the test.

Dumping the Engine Running codes: The procedure is the same, you start the engine with the test jumper in place. Be sure the A/C is off, and clutch (if present) is pressed to the floor, and the transmission is in neutral. You'll get an 11, then a 4 and the engine will speed up to do the EGR test. After the engine speed decreases back to idle, it will dump the engine running codes.

Trouble codes are either 2 digit or 3 digit, there are no cars that use both 2 digit codes and 3 digit codes.

Your 86-88 5.0 won't have a working Check Engine Light, so you'll need a test light.
See AutoZone Part Number: 25886 , $10

Alternate methods:
For those who are intimidated by all the wires & connections, see Actron® for what a typical hand scanner looks like. Normal retail price is about $30 or so at AutoZone or Wal-Mart.

Or for a nicer scanner see Equus - Digital Ford Code Reader (3145) – It has a 3 digit LCD display so that you don’t have to count flashes or beeps.. Cost is $30-$36.


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