where would my MAF element be located? i know that is kinda dumb but i really know nothing much about this engine.
I am not familiar with the 3VZE engine used in about 65% or so of the 1988-95 Toyota 4-Runners/pickups but I assume the AFM (Air flow meter as Toyota calls it,Honda calls it MAF sensor) is located above the air filter in the air filter housing.
Buy a can of throttle body cleaner and use it on the AFM housing and I suggest using it on your throttle body as well.
Lots of city miles combined with low octane fuel & no Techtron fuel additive (cleaner) creates excessive throttle body carbon build up (gunk) so throttle body must be cleaned.
To clean the throttle body remove the air intake hose and examine the intake and throttle body for excessive carbon build up if found then buy a can of throttle body cleaner labeled "safe on oxygen sensors, TPS's and catalytic converters" do not use carb cleaner make sure your engine is fully warmed up prior to using as when the throttle body is hot it dissolves the carbon easily and quickly.
The labels usually specify to park the vehicle at ground level (0 degrees, no inclination) and have the engine running but I disagree I instead park the vehicle on a hill facing down and shut the engine off and hold a rag below the lip of the throttle body and poor the stuff and use a tooth brush. You can also use "Sea Foam" the best engine cleaner:
available in Canada through UAP/NAPA Auto Parts Stores.
Repairs TV's,VCR's,home/car audio out of my apartment