Error Code P061F 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 typically applies among Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Mazda, Toyota, Ram, 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 input and output signals of the throttle actuator controller are subjected to self-test and are monitored continuously by the PCM and other related controllers. The TCM (transmission control module), TCSM (traction control module), and other controllers are subject to interaction with the throttle actuator controller.

When Error Code P061F appears, this means the PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other vehicles) has determined an internal performance error with the throttle actuator controller. Other controllers may also see an internal PCM performance error (in throttle actuator controller) and cause this code.

This code is exclusive in vehicles with DBW (drive by wire) throttle system.

Instead of cable operated throttle, most vehicles equipped with the OBD-II system now use DBW system. This is both to improve fuel efficiency and decrease exhaust emissions, while also promote more efficient interaction with stability and traction control systems, and helps in optimizing the accuracy of the cruise control system.

While being controlled by the PCM through electric throttle actuator motor, the DBW system uses one or more APP sensors (referred as pedal position sensors) and multiple TPS. These sensors are supplied with 5V (typical) reference and a ground signal.

Both TPS/APP sensors are generally potentiometer type. The resistance of circuit voltage varies depending on the position of the TPS or APP. Each individual sensor completes a certain circuit, they’re actuated either by the pivoting fulcrum extension on the accelerator pedal or throttle plate shaft. As these contacts of sensors are moved across a circuit board, sensor resistance changes, resulting in variations in circuit resistance and signal input voltage in both the PCM and other controllers.

APP sensors are attached to the accelerator or pedal bracket inside the cockpit of the vehicle. From one APP sensor, the PCM and other controllers get an input signal (to open or close the throttle plate) whenever the pedal is depressed or released. For the second APP sensor, on the other hand, the PCM and other controllers receive signal to determine what degree the throttle plate must be opened or closed.

The PCM controls the actual position of the throttle plate through the throttle actuator motor via APP/TPS input signal. The APP sensor provides the desired degree of throttle, while the TPS provides the actual degree. The PCM then makes the necessary adjustments by moving the throttle actuator motor in the right direction.

There’s a separate signal from the TPS, which is the input to the PCM (and other controllers), which reflects the position of the actual throttle. Onboard controllers monitor the signal from both APP sensors and TPS and then compare the actual throttle position with the desired throttle position.

Every time the ignition is on and the PCM is energized, both the APP sensor and TPS self-tests will commence. Aside from running the internal controller self-test, the CAN (controller area network) also compares signals from each individual module to ensure that each controller is running properly. These tests are simultaneously performed.

If the TPS or APP sensor inputs exceed their maximum degree of variance as set by the manufacturer, an APP sensor or TPS code will be stored while simultaneously activating the Check Engine light. Normally, the PCM will go to Limp Mode, which results to decrease in engine acceleration. Also, if the PCM sees a discrepancy between any onboard controllers, which indicates internal APP sensor or TPS error code, it will store the Error Code P061F. In some cases, multiple failure cycles may be necessary to confirm the problem, depending on the perceived severity of the condition.

Common Symptoms

This code activates the Check Engine light and registers the code to the vehicle’s memory system. Other symptoms include:

  • Multiple drivability issues like erratic or harsh shifting (for transmission engines)
  • Hesitation upon acceleration
  • Limited or no acceleration
  • Rough idle or stalling
  • Increase in fuel consumption
  • Inoperative cruise control
  • Stuck throttle (at any RPM)

Possible Causes

  • Defective DBW actuator motor
  • Insufficient control module ground
  • Open or shorted circuit or connector in CAN harness
  • A defective Throttle Position Sensor
  • Defective APP sensor
  • Defective controller
  • Controller programming error
  • Open or shorted circuit between PCM and TPS/APP sensor

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 PCM power supply codes are present, then obviously, they don’t need to be rectified before attempting to diagnose this code.

Many preliminary tests can be performed prior to make sure a controller is defective. A diagnostic scanner, DVOM (digital volt/ohmmeter), and reliable vehicle information is needed for the 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 can 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.

Follow the testing procedures specified for testing the throttle actuator motor using the scanner and DVOM. DBW aren’t usually sold separately, which means you may have to replace the whole assembly.

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

Depending on your diagnosis, possible repairs include:

  • Replacement of blown fuses
  • Replacement and reprogramming of defective controller
  • Replacement of DBW assembly
  • Replacement of APP sensor or TPS

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

Testing the system ground integrity is important. This can be done by connecting negative test lead of DVOM to ground, and a positive test lead to battery voltage.