The Powerstroke engine is known for its power and performance on the road, but it can still experience problems, which trigger error codes when they occur.
P00 codes are diagnostic trouble codes that help identify issues with the engine control system. One of these codes is P0046.
The P0046 code on the 6.0 Powerstroke indicates a problem with the boost control sensor of the supercharger or turbocharger. This sensor feeds the engine information about the position of the turbo or supercharger and the amount of boost pressure being generated.
In this article, I’ll walk you through how to diagnose and fix the problem. Let’s get started.
1. Identify the Cause of the Problem
Before attempting to fix the car, you must determine the exact problem with the boost control sensor. This helps you know what to do to remove the error code.
Below is a summary of the diagnosis process:
- Check your turbo and exhaust manifold for boost leaks.
- Check if the boost tubes are in good condition. If they aren’t, you’ll need to replace them.
- Check if the map sensor is working fine. While this sensor rarely fails, you shouldn’t automatically assume it’s not the problem.
- Check the variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) for issues.
- Check that the wiring to the turbo is done well.
Any of the issues above could be the cause of an out-of-range reading in the turbocharger, which triggers the P0046 code.
Once you’ve diagnosed the cause of the P0046 code, proceed with the appropriate repairs to fix the issue and prevent the code from recurring.
It is crucial to properly diagnose the issue before attempting any repairs, as this will ensure that you fix the problem correctly and avoid causing further damage to the vehicle.
Below is an explanation of how to fix each of the common causes of the P0046 code on the 6.0 Powerstroke engine.
2. Replace the Turbocharger Position Sensor If It’s Broken
A faulty boost pressure/ turbocharger position sensor in the engine can feed the engine incorrect information about the position of the turbocharger and the amount of boost pressure being generated.
As the turbocharger position sensor is a critical component of the engine’s boost system, its failure can cause the engine to misfire and trigger the P0046 code. This should be resolved as soon as possible as it can lead to other problems if not addressed with priority.
To fix the problem:
- Locate the sensor and disconnect it from the electrical wiring.
- Install the new sensor and reconnect the wiring.
- Start the engine and check if the code persists. If it’s gone, your problem is solved.
3. Seal Any Leaks or Replace Leaking Parts
A boost leak occurs when there’s a hole or another issue with the boost system that causes air to leak out, reducing the amount of boost pressure available to the engine.
If this happens, it might feed the engine computer incorrect information about the amount of boost pressure generated by the turbo or supercharger. This can trigger code P0046.
To solve this problem:
- Inspect the boost system for any leaks that might be interfering with the boost pressure.
- If you notice any leaks, replace or seal the necessary parts.
- Ignite the car and check if the error code persists. If it does, move to the next step.
4. Replace the Powertrain Control Module if it’s Faulty
The PCM, or Powertrain Control Module, is the computer that controls the 6.0 Powerstroke engine.
It receives information from various sensors on the engine and uses that information to control various engine functions, such as fuel delivery and ignition timing.
A faulty PCM can send wrong instructions to the engine, which could trigger the P0046 code.
After ascertaining that the PCM is the issue, disconnect and unmount it. Install its replacement and reconnect the electrical connectors. Ignite the vehicle and check if the error code still appears. If it does, move to the next step.
5. Unclog the Intercooler if it’s Clogged
The intercooler is a part of the boost system in the engine responsible for cooling the air that is compressed by the turbo or supercharger. This helps increase the amount of oxygen available to the engine for fuel combustion.
The intercooler is like a radiator for the air that goes into the engine. Just like a radiator uses coolant to cool down the engine, the intercooler uses air to cool down the compressed air that goes into the engine.
If the intercooler gets clogged, it can’t cool down the air properly. This can cause the engine to stall and trigger the p0046 code.
Check the intercooler and ensure there’s no debris buildup that may interfere with airflow into the turbocharger. In case of any, clean the pipes.
6. Replace the VGT Actuator if it’s Not Working Properly
The VGT actuator controls the movement of the vanes inside the turbocharger, which helps to regulate the amount of boost pressure generated. A faulty VGT actuator can’t move the vanes properly, triggering the P0046 code.
If the VGA actuator stops working, the best course is always to replace it with a working one. You can also consult your mechanic to see if it can be repaired without needing a replacement.
7. Remove and Reinstall the Wastegate if It’s Stuck
The wastegate controls the amount of boost pressure generated by the turbocharger and prevents the engine from being damaged by excessive boost pressure.
It opens and closes to regulate the air getting into the turbocharger, which helps keep the boost pressure from getting too high.
If the wastegate stops functioning correctly, it causes a buildup of pressure in the engine, which triggers the P0046 code and might destroy the engine.
To deal with a stuck wastegate, you’ll have to remove and reinstall it.
8. Fix Any Faulty Wiring
The electrical system in the engine carries electricity to different parts of the engine, like the turbocharger and the VGT actuator. If there is a problem with the wiring, it can cause problems in the distribution of power in the engine.
Check the wiring and ensure all the connections are in good condition. In case of any frayed or disconnected wires, you’ll need to do a replacement as necessary.
How Much Will It Cost To Fix the P0046 Code?
The cost of repairing the problems that cause the P0046 code can vary depending on several factors, as discussed below.
The Severity of the Problem
The cost of repairing the problem will depend on how severe the issue is. For example, if the issue is a simple boost leak that’s easy to fix, the repair may be relatively inexpensive.
On the other hand, the repair will be more costly if the problem is a failed turbocharger or faulty PCM.
The Cost of the Parts That Need To Be Replaced
In severe cases, some parts might need to be replaced to resolve the problem. For example, if the problem is a faulty VGT actuator, the repair cost will depend on the price of the replacement actuator.
In some cases, the replacement parts may be relatively inexpensive, while in others, they may be pretty costly.
The Labor Involved in the Repair
The total cost of repair will also depend on the amount of labor involved in the repair. If the problem is a simple boost leak, it won’t cost much. .
However, if the problem is a failed turbocharger that requires the engine to be removed and disassembled, the labor cost may be much higher.
Most mechanics charge upwards of $70 an hour for these jobs, so ensure you’re prepared with enough money.
The Impact of the P0046 Code on the 6.0 Powerstroke
If your car shows the P0046 code, you need to fix it as soon as possible because it impacts the overall experience of using the vehicle. It also exposes the car to other issues that may build up and potentially destroy the engine.
For starters, the code may significantly limit the performance of your engine. If the engine cannot generate enough boost pressure, it may not be able to produce as much power as it can.
This can make the vehicle feel sluggish and unresponsive and make it difficult to accelerate or climb steep hills. In extreme cases, the engine may not be able to generate enough power to move the vehicle at all, which can be dangerous if it occurs while the vehicle is in motion.
In addition to impacting the engine’s performance, the P0046 code can affect fuel efficiency. If the engine cannot generate enough boost pressure, it may not be able to burn fuel as efficiently as it is designed to, increasing the cost you incur for fuel and lowering the vehicle’s range.
To use the car without worrying about these factors, it’s essential to diagnose and repair the underlying problem as soon as possible to restore the engine to its proper functioning and avoid further damage.
In conclusion, the P0046 code on a 6.0 Powerstroke engine mainly indicates a problem with the turbocharger boost control circuit. There are different Powerstroke years, but the problems are more or less the same.
It’s important to troubleshoot and find the exact problem before going forward with repairs.