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Acura MDX IAT Sensor Replacement Guide
How to check, clean or change the intake air temperature sensor in a 1st generation 2001 to 2006 Acura MDX.

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2006 MDX 3.5L V6 Engine
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Pry Off Round Plastic Cover
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Left Rear Plastic Cap

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically created to assist owners of the first generation (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006) Acura MDX in checking, cleaning or changing the IAT (intake air temperature or "air charge") sensor on the J35A3 or J35A5 VTEC 3.5L V6 engine.

Owners of other Acura or Honda vehicles such as the RDX, ILX, TLX, RLX, TL, CL, RSX, RL, TSX, ZDX, NSX, Integra, Pilot, Accord, Civic, Fit, Clarity, CR-V, CR-Z, HR-V, Odyssey, Element  and Ridgeline may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

A few compatible replacement IAT sensors with their part numbers are as follows: Standard Motor Products AX85, Honda 37880-PDA-E01 and Wells SU6495.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a small plastic pry bar tool, a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratchet, a deep well 19mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet or a standard 19mm wrench.


A few symptoms of a failing or faulty IAT sensor include rough idling, hard starting, stalling, surging, stalling, poor fuel economy (lower MPG), reduced power, detonation (knocking / pinging) and a CEL (check engine / SES service engine soon light) with Honda error code 10 (generic DTC diagnostic trouble codes P0111, P0112 & P0113).
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Pry Off Plastic Bolt Covers
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Four Corner Covers
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Loosen Counterclockwise
For easy access to the IAT, you'll need to remove the plastic engine manifold cover.

There are six round black plastic caps on the cover. The two caps in the middle of the cover are decorative only and do not need to be removed.

Remove the four bolt caps at the corners (front left, rear left, front right and rear right) of the engine cover.

Use a plastic pry bar tool or a small flathead screwdriver to pry out the four caps.

Set the bolt caps aside in a safe place.

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Front Left Bolt
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Rear Right Bolt
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Four Caps & Four Bolts
Remove the four bolts by turning them counterclockwise with the 10mm socket, an extension bar and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Set the four bolts aside in a safe place.

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Lift Off Engine Cover
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Engine Manifold Exposed
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Air Intake & Throttle Body
Carefully lift the plastic cover off the top of the engine and set it aside in a safe place.

Move to the right (driver) side of the engine bay.

Locate the rubber air intake hose and the silver metal throttle body.

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Front of Throttle Body
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IAT Sensor Location
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Push In Release Tab
On the top of the throttle body assembly, you'll see the MAP (manifold absolute pressure) sensor.

(If you need to replace this sensor, check out my 2001-2006 Acura MDX MAP Sensor Replacement Guide.)

Just below the MAP sensor and to the left, you'll see that IAT sensor attached to the front of the throttle body.

Gently push in the release tab on the electrical connector before pulling it straight off.



 

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Disconnect Power Plug
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Disconnect MAP Sensor
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Old IAT Sensor
I also disconnected the MAP sensor in order to move the wiring safely out of the way.
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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Spin Out Old Sensor
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Old Sensor Removed
Loosen the old IAT sensor by rotating it counterclockwise with a deep well 19mm socket and a 3/8" or 1/2" drive ratchet or you can use a standard 19mm wrench.

Once the old sensor is loose, spin it out the rest of the way by hand.

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Gently Clean Old Sensor
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Sensor Port (Hole)
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Spin In New Sensor
My old sensor still seemed to be working perfectly after 11 years and 160,000 miles. I gently wiped it clean with a paper towel and re-installed it.

If you replace the sensor, I recommend buying the Standard Motor Products AX85 IAT sensor since it has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Look into the port (hole) for the sensor on the throttle body to see if there is any carbon deposits that need to be brushed away. If you see excessive build up, you should consider cleaning the throttle body.

Carefully spin in the new sensor a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

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Tighten Clockwise
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Push On Electrical Connector
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Replace MAP Sensor Plug
Tighten the new sensor in the clockwise direction with the deep well 19mm socket to just past hand tight.

The service manual specifies that the IAT sensor should be tightened to 13 lb-ft of torque.

If you unplugged the MAP sensor, push the connector back into place.

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IAT Sensor Installed
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Replace Engine Cover
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Spin In 10mm Bolts
Double check that the IAT and MAP sensors are securely connected and properly tightened.

Carefully lower the plastic cover down into place over the top of the engine.

Line up the bolt holes in the cover with their corresponding holes in the engine.

Spin in the four 10mm bolts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Tighten Clockwise
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Push In Bolt Caps
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IAT Sensor Replaced
Tighten the four bolts in the clockwise direction with the 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet until they are snug.

Try to avoid over tightening the four bolts to prevent from cracking the plastic cover.

Be sure to record the IAT sensor change in your vehicle's service records.

For more, please check out all of my 2001-2006 Acura MDX DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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