Error Code P0154 is described as Oxygen Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected Bank 2 Sensor 1. This code appears when the PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other brands) remains at or close the 0.450 set voltage point.
It’s also a generic powertrain code, meaning, all vehicles equipped with OBD-II will have this trouble code. Specifications on the definition and troubleshooting vary depending on the make and/or model of the vehicle.
The O2 (oxygen) sensor plays an important role for the engine to run properly; it sends information to the PCM of the oxygen content/level of the exhaust. The PCM then uses this information to regulate the fuel in the engine and keep a good air fuel ratio as it regulates the amount of fuel released to the engine. There’s a four wire sensor, with the PCM providing reference/signal voltage of around 0.5V to the sensor, as well as ground.
The other two wires are for the heater element of the O2 sensor, and it works by allowing the sensor to warm up faster, and ultimately get the engine to enter closed loop faster, reducing startup emission. This heater element is supplied (usually) with 12V feed from power distribution center and ground.
When the O2 sensor is working properly, it will switch from high voltage (rich exhaust) to low voltage (lean exhaust) rapidly (2 to 3 times per second) when the engine enters a closed loop. Rich exhaust produces high voltage, while lean produces low. If the O2 sensor fails to switch back and forth as fast as it should be, or for some reason is stuck (in either high or low voltage), this will lead the PCM to trigger the Check Engine light and register the Error Code P0154.
As said earlier, this code, as with other error codes, will activate the Check Engine light. And depending on the type of the vehicle, rich or lean codes may also be present aside from P0154. The most common symptoms however, include:
- Engine hesitation upon acceleration
- Excessive fuel consumption
- Poor idle or won’t idle at all
- Misfire idle or at highway speed
- Black smoke coming out of the tailpipe
- Start and stall
Possible causes of this error code include:
- Damaged or faulty Bank 2 Sensor 1 Oxygen Sensor
- Ground or short to voltage on signal circuit
- Holes near the exhaust of the O2 sensor
- Open or high resistance in signal circuit
- Broken, burnt or frayed wiring due to excessive rubbing on exhaust components
- Intrusion of water or oil at the Oxygen sensor connector
- Loose terminals or broken lock on O2 sensor connector
- Fouled oil or coolant O2 sensor
How to Check
As with most error codes, an OBD-II scanner is required to record all present codes and freeze frame data.
After recording the data, you can proceed by checking the wires that leads to the O2 sensor. Look for any signs of broken or exposed wires. These things should be repaired or replaced as necessary.
Then, check whether these wires are rubbing against exhaust components, which what usually causes them to fray and break.
From there, check the wiring of both water and oil saturation at the connector. Fix any leaks as necessary. The O2 sensor must also be replaced.
Check the exhaust around the O2 sensor and look for holes as these things can lead to improper readings of the O2 sensor.
Pay attention to the engine for escaping air and check for broken vacuum lines.
Check the tailpipe for oil or coolant in the exhaust system.
Run the vehicle to take O2 sensor to its operating temperature. Then, use the OBD-II scanner to see whether the voltages are properly switching through the live data stream. If they are not, then that’s a tell-tale sign you have to replace your sensor.
If the sensor voltages are properly switching however, then the problem in the O2 sensor must be intermittent, which suggests a problem in the wires leading to the sensor.
While viewing the live stream data, watch out for slow or no response from the O2 sensor, as this indicates it needs replacement.
How to Fix
Repairs are pretty basic and straightforward for this error code. Of course, you need a thorough diagnosis before conducting any repairs. Some of the possible fixes include:
- Repair any broken, bare or shorted wires
- Repair any leaks in the vacuum
- Replacement the exhaust if leaks are discovered
- Replacement the O2 sensor bank 2 sensor 1
This code obviously affects the drivability of the vehicle; it is dangerous for vehicles to misfire and cut off at highway speed, thus, it is considered as a serious problem and should be fixed ASAP.