Issue with idle, also Air Flow Meter and Idling, please explain the logic
My car: 1977 280Z with an engine and tranny from a 280ZX
The problem: From a cold start, the car is unable to hold an idle 95% of the time. I need to crank it multiple times before the car is able to hold idle. Once it does hold idle, the car seems to drive fine (I have taken 3 short 5-mile trips without any problem).
What I can immediately tell it needs: The boot in front of the air flow sensor is torn, needs new spark plugs, and a fuel filter.
What I was told by a mechanic: My mass air flow sensor is defective.
Since there isn't any movement of air when the car isn't moving, can someone explain to me logically how a defective mass air flow sensor would prevent the car from initially starting and holding idea.
Also, would any have any suggestions on how I can trouble shoot this or should I go ahead and replace the mass air flow sensor? Thank you