What Does P0231 Code on 6.0 Powerstroke Mean? [How To Fix]

P0231 is a generic diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that may often be logged on to 6.0 Powerstroke. It happens for multiple reasons and it can lead your vehicle to various troubles. So, when you notice the code on your vehicle, the first duty is to know what the code p0231 means on Powerstroke 6.0. 

The p0231 code on 6.0 Powerstroke means the fuel pump has a low voltage in the secondary circuit. Generally, the main reason for the p0231 is a bad fuel pump relay which causes inadequate power to the fuel pump. 

So, what are the other causes, and how can they be fixed? Let’s dive into the following sections and see the other common causes and how to fix them. 

What Does p0231 Code Mean On 6.0 Powerstroke?

The OBD-2 diagnostic trouble code p0231 on the 6.0 Powerstroke stands for fuel pump secondary circuit low voltage. This code is usually related to the fuel pump. 

In the 6.0 Powerstroke, the fuel pump works electrically. It is powered by some fuses and relays. When the ignition switch is turned on, the ECM activates the fuel pump relay to deliver power to the fuel pump.

This power is supplied through the secondary circuit. The PCM continuously monitors this feedback circuit and analyzes the voltage. If the PCM detects that there is insufficient voltage to pressurize the fuel system, the DTC code p0231 will be activated. 

Here’s a breakdown of the code to understand what each digit means:

  • P = Powertrain (Transmission and Engine)
  • 0 = It defines the code as generic or global
  • 2 = It means the problem with fuel and air metering or injector circuit
  • 31 = Identifies the exact problem ( In this case, low voltage in the secondary fuel pump circuit) 

How Serious Is Code p0231 On 6.0 Powerstroke?

Since the code p0231 on the Powerstroke 6.0 is related to the fuel system, it can cause various serious issues for the vehicle. The internal engine can be damaged because of insufficient power supply. 

Furthermore, the engine may stall or sometimes stop starting. Engine misfires can also happen when the p0231 code is activated. 

What Causes Code p0231 On 6.0 Powerstroke?

For specific causes, the 6.0 Powerstroke may display the code P0231. Among them, the most potential causes are the following:

  • Defective fuel pump relay
  • Damaged fuel pump harness
  • Blown fuel pump fuse
  • Loose or broken connectors
  • Open fuel pump secondary/feedback circuit
  • A bad fuel pump
  • Faulty Engine Control Module (ECM) 

Other Symptoms Of Getting p0231 Code On 6.0 Powerstroke

The most common symptom of getting the p0231 code on a Powerstroke 6.0 is the engine light turning on. Some other potential symptoms may include:

  • No start condition for the engine
  • Engine start stalling
  • Inadequate fuel supply
  • Engine misfire

How To Fix p0231 Code On 6.0 Powerstroke?

As we mentioned above, the p0231 code on 6.0 Powerstroke can be triggered for several issues. So, if you want to correct the code, you have to check the possible causes listed above and then go for the possible fixes listed below:

1. Replacing faulty fuel pump relays

In a 6.0 Powerstroke, fuel pump relays are designed to supply power to the fuel pump like in other modern vehicles. When a fuel pump relay fails to deliver enough power, the p0231 fault code appears on the computer. 

So, whenever you notice this code, the first duty is to check the relay and replace it if it is bad. Here are the steps to follow while replacing a bad fuel pump relay: 

  • Step 1: Disabling the power supply 

First of all, turn the ignition switch off and remove the key from the ignition. Then open the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable so power can’t flow to the fuel system. 

  • Step 2: Look for the fuse box 

Now, locate the fuse box where all the fuses and relays are mounted. The fuse box is usually located underneath the hood, just in front of your vehicle. Remove the fuse box cover. To do so, pry the screws and bolts out that hold the cover in place and detach the cover. 

  • Step 3: Locate the fuel pump  relay

After that, figure the fuel pump relay out as there are multiple relays and fuses located. 

If you’re not sure which one is the fuel pump relay, you can take help from the diagram on the fuse box or the owner’s manual as well. 

  • Step 4: Remove the bad relay 

Once you locate the fuel pump relay, firmly grab the old relay and put it out. If you feel it is hard to remove the relay, you can use a pair of needle nose pliers so you can easily pull it out. 

  • Step 5: Insert the new fuel pump relay 

After removing the old relay, plug in the new fuel pump relay in the same way you removed the old one. Finally, you’re done. 

So, cover the fuse box cover with a new one and reconnect the battery cable. Then turn the ignition switch on and check if the trouble code is fixed. 

2. Replace blown fuel pump fuses

If you find the fuel pump relay is fine, the p0231 code on the Powerstroke 6.0 can be caused by blown fuel pump fuses. So, check if they’re active.  Otherwise, replace them as necessary. 

To check and replace a fuel pump fuse, here are the instructions you can follow: 

  • Step 1: Disconnect the ground battery cable

Before attempting further instructions, take the negative battery cable off to disconnect the power supply to the ignition and fuel system. 

  • Step2: Locate the fuse box 

The first thing to do is to find the fuse box. In a Powerstroke 6.0, the fuse box is normally situated in the engine compartment just under the hood. 

  • Step 3: Locate the fuel pump fuse 

After locating the fuse box, you’ll see there are several fuses of different colors. To find out the fuel pump fuse, check the fuse box diagram or the driver’s manual. You can also search on Google. But in most cases, the fuel pump fuse is  blue or yellow. 

  • Step 4: Remove the faulty fuel pump fuse 

Once you find the fuse, it’s time to take it off. To do so, you can use a fuse pulling tool or a small pointy nose plier. Hold the fuse with the tool and pull it out. 

After removing the fuse, make sure that the fuse is blown. There will be a metallic strip inside the fuse body. If the strip is broken, the fuse needs to be replaced. 

  • Step 5: Install the new fuel pump fuse 

If the old fuse is blown, install a new fuse in the same place in the same way you removed the old one. Before installing the new one, compare it with the old one to see if it is the right size. Once you finish the installation, turn on the ignition switch and see if the code is clear now. 

3. Repair fuel pump harness 

The fuel pump harness plays a significant role in supplying power to the fuel pump. As a result, if the fuel pump harness is damaged, the voltage can be lower while delivering through the feedback circuit. 

So, replace the harness, when you find it faulty. To do so, go through the following guidelines:

  • Start by disconnecting the battery first and then disconnecting the wire harness from the fuel pump. 
  • Remove old wire harness and conduit. 
  • You’ll need to remove a foot of the wire harness and some of the old wire harness before you start cutting. 
  • Make sure that it is staggered with about a 3-inch stagger. Use the right size of connector for each wire. 
  • Twist the wire. 
  • Crimp the vehicle wire with the new wiring harness. Make sure that you’ve got good cramping. 
  • Shrink the insulation with a heat gun
  • Insert the conduit you removed before and re-tape the wires

4. Repair connectors

The power supply can also be destroyed if the bolts or connectors are loose or broken. So, visually inspect if there are any loose connectors found in the fuel line. 

If you notice anything like that, tighten the connectors and make sure they’re working properly. Then start the engine and check to see if the problem is solved. 

5. Replace the Faulty fuel pump 

Once you replace the faulty fuel fuse or relay but still get lower fuel pump voltage on the 6.0 Powerstroke, it means the fuel pump is bad. In this case, you have to replace the pump with a good one. If you want to do the job yourself, here’s the procedure to follow: 

  • Step 1: Ensure your safety

Working in the fuel system of a car can be very serious as fuel can create various harmful issues to the car or the human body as well. So, work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves and safety glasses. 

You should also disconnect the negative battery cable and relive the fuel pressure. Also, make sure that the ignition switch is off.   

  • Step 2: Locate the fuel pump 

In a 6.0 Powerstroke, the fuel tank is located inside the fuel tank. So, locate the fuel tank first and then take the fuel pump out. 

  • Step 3: Clean the fuel tank

Drain out the fuel from the fuel tank so that the tank doesn’t feel so heavy and is easy to work with. To do so, using a siphon is the easiest way. 

  • Step 4: Remove the filler neck from the tank

When there is no fuel in the tank, remove the clamps from the filler neck. Now remove the fuel tank straps. While doing this, make sure that the tank has enough support, lower it carefully. Now disconnect the fuel hoses and electrical connections.  

  • Step 5: Remove the bad fuel pump

Once everything is removed, it’s time to detach the fuel pump from the fuel tank. To do so, loosen the retaining rings and bolts that hold the pump to the tank. Now remove the fuel pump from the tank.   

  • Step 6 : Install the new fuel pump

After removing the old fuel pump, compare it with the replacement one. If it matches all the specifications of the old one. If you have the right one, install it in the right place and reconnect the retaining rings and bolts. 

You should also reconnect the fuel hoses, electrical connectors, and fuel tank straps. After that, position the fuel filler lines back in place and reconnect the battery negative cable. Then fill the fuel tank with gasoline and start the engine to see if the fuel pump is working. The code p0231 is solved.    

6. Replace bad ECM

When you find all the suspects are clear but your car’s computer is showing the code p0231 on Powerstroke 6.0, your car may have a bad ECM. Commonly, the ECM becomes severely damaged and gives you wrong information. 

So, whenever you face this kind of problem, replace the faulty engine control module without any delay. Below is the easiest ECM replacement procedure: 

  • Disconnect the battery connection to the vehicle
  • Locate the ECM. In a 6.0 Powerstroke, you’ll find it in the engine compartment just behind the battery on the driver’s side. 
  • Now disconnect the electrical connections from the ECM body
  • Loosen the screws with a socket wrench and plug out the bad ECM. 
  • Install a new engine control module and insert the bolts tightly to assemble it in place correctly.
  • Reconnect the electrical connections with the ECM body
  • Finally, reconnect the battery connection back and start the vehicle to see if everything is working the right way.      

How Much Does It Cost To Fix 6.0 Powerstroke p0231 Code?

The total cost of fixing the 6.0 Powerstroke p0231 code depends on two main factors. 

They include the diagnosing cost and the replacement cost which include the labor cost and parts cost. The diagnosis cost for the code will be 1 hour of labor, and the labor cost can be anywhere from $65 to $135. 

So when it comes to replacing the parts, the cost will depend on the part you’re changing. If you replace a bad fuel pump, it will cost between $350 and $849, while the replacement cost of a faulty ECM is more than $800.

Can You Drive Your 6.0 Powerstroke With Code p0231?

In most cases, you can’t drive your Powerstroke 6.0 with the code p0231 as it can disable the engine from getting started. The engine may also misfire or stall after a few minutes if it gets started. 

The engine may start if the problem is with the bad ECM or because of an open circuit, but this is not recommended. It can cause your car further damage. 

So, when you diagnose this problem in your car, first of all, fix the code and then attempt to drive the car with full safety. 

FAQs

Do you want to know more about the code p0231 on Powerstroke 6.0? Well, here are some other common questions with short answers that may come frequently to your mind.  

What other DTC codes are related to fuel pumps?

P0231 is one of the most common trouble codes that come with a bad fuel pump. The other possible DTC codes related to fuel pumps will include p0232, p0201, p0267, p0268, p0087, and p0030.  

What causes continuous P0231 on the 6.0 Powerstroke?

Getting the code p0231 on a 6.0 Powerstroke is very common. But when you get the code continuously, it may be the result of blown or damaged wiring anywhere in the fuel system.  

Where is the fuel pump relay on the 6.0 Powerstroke?

In the 6.0 Powerstroke, the fuel pump relay is mounted in the engine compartment. More specifically, it is situated inside the control panel relay box.

Conclusion

It’s common for the fuel pumps and other components related to the fuel pump to fail. So, it is also very common to get the p0231 code on a 6.0 Powerstroke. The problem should be solved asap as it can cause your car to have various side effects.

But it won’t be so easy to be done as multiple issues can be responsible for detecting the code. So, make sure that you don’t leave any parts related to the code without checking. Besides, don’t replace any part without checking it properly. 

So, if you’re not comfortable with these things and you don’t have enough patience, leave it to a DIY specialist. But fixing the problems yourself will be a great experience too.

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