Error Code P061E is defined as Internal Control Module Brake Signal Performance. This is a generic trouble code, meaning it applies to all vehicles equipped with the OBD-II system, especially those made since 1996 up to present. It’s particularly common among Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Ram (Cummins), etc. Specifications on the definition, troubleshooting, and repairs, of course, vary from one make and model to another.

The job of the Internal Control Module processor is to monitor various controller self-test duties and overall internal control module accountability. The engine torque calculation system input and output signals are subject to self-test and are constantly monitored by the PCM and other controllers. The TCM (transmission control module), TCSM (traction control module), and other controllers are bound by the interaction with engine torque monitoring system.

When Error Code P061E appears, that means the PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other vehicle makes) has detected an internal performance error in the brake signal circuit. Other controllers can also detect an internal PCM performance error (with RPM monitoring system) and could contribute to this error code.

The PCM and other controllers monitor the brake signal (also referred as stop lamp) through input signals coming from the brake pedal sensor. The brake signal circuit plays a very important role in many control systems used in OBD-II equipped vehicles. The Cruise Control system and Transmission Torque Converter Lockup system are just two of the many common systems associated with it. PCM and other controllers get input signals from stomp lamp and use these inputs to activate and deactivate various functions accordingly. Brake signal inputs are usually limited to either ON or OFF.

Every time the ignition is On and the PCM is energized, the internal engine brake signal circuits starts its self-test. Aside from running internal controller tests, the CAN (controller area network) also compares signals coming from each module, ensuring all controllers to function correctly. These tests run simultaneously.

If the PCM sees an internal error in the brake signal circuit, it will activate the Check Engine light and register the Error Code P061E. Depending on the severity of the condition, it may take multiple failures for the Check Engine light to light up.

Common Symptoms

  • Delayed or harsh transmission (for automatic transmission vehicles)
  • Inoperative stop (brake) lamps
  • Engine shutdown when vehicle is coming to a stop (in drive)
  • Insufficient torque converter lookup, resulting in transmission damage

Possible Causes

  • Defective stop (brake) lamp switch
  • Damaged PCM
  • PCM programming error
  • Insufficient control module ground
  • Open or shorted circuit or connectors in CAN harness
  • Open or shorted circuit between PCM and brake light signal

How to Check

This code is quite a challenging problem to diagnose, and many times, it involves reprogramming issues. Thus, without the right tools and reprogramming equipment, it will be impossible to replace a defective controller and complete the repair.

If the ECM/PCM power supply codes are present, then obviously, they don’t need to be rectified before attempting to diagnose this code. Also, if there are codes for brake lamp switch/signal codes present, then they must be diagnosed first.

Make sure you follow the step-by-step guide for diagnosis provided by the manufacturer for testing brake lamp switches. An oscilloscope can be helpful when it comes to testing electromagnetic sensors. Failed components must be replaced.

Many preliminary tests can be performed before making sure a controller is defective. A diagnostic scanner, DVOM (digital volt/ohmmeter), and reliable vehicle information is needed for diagnosis of this code.

The first step is to connect the scanner to the vehicle diagnostic port and retrieve all stored codes, including their freeze frame data. You need to write down this information, just in case the problem proves to be intermittent. After writing down all pertinent information, clear the codes and then take the vehicle for a test drive to see if the code resets, or if the PCM enters readiness mode. If the PCM does the latter, then you have an intermittent problem, which is more difficult to diagnose, as it means you would have to wait for the problem to develop more before you can successfully diagnose.

If the code resets, however, then continue with your preliminary diagnosis.

When trying to diagnose this code, refer to your information source or TSB (technical service bulletin); looks for signs and symptoms parallel to the stored code. Search for the year, make, model, and engine of your vehicle. If you are able to find the right TSB, then you may get the best diagnostic information for your problem.

Use vehicle information source to obtain component locations, connector face views, connector pin-out charts, wiring diagram, and diagnostic flow chart related to your vehicle’s error code.

Then, use the DVOM to the test controller power supply fuses and relays. Next, test and replace any blown fuses as necessary. Fuses must be tested with circuit loaded.

If all fuses and relays are running well, check whether the controller related wiring and harness are in order. You may also want to check chassis and engine ground junctions. Again, use your vehicle information source to obtain ground locations as related circuits. Test ground integrity using the DVOM.

Then, check the system controllers for any signs of water, heat, or collision damage. Any controller that is damaged, especially by water, is considered defective and must be replaced.

If controller power and ground circuits are intact, then there’s a good chance the controller is defective, or there’s a programming error in the controller. Thus, controller replacement requires reprogramming. In some cases, you may want to get aftermarket reprogrammed controllers. Some vehicles and controllers require on-board reprogramming that may be done only through the dealership or a qualified shop.

How to Fix

  • Replacement of defective stop (brake) lamp switch
  • Repair or replacement of open or shorted circuit or connectors in CAN harness
  • Repair or replacement of shorted circuit between PCM and brake light signal
  • Replacement of defective controller
  • Replacement of PCM (rare)

Unlike most codes, this code is likely caused by a defective controller or a programming error in the controller.

Test the integrity of the system ground by connecting the negative test lead of DVOM to the ground, and the positive test lead to battery voltage.