| P132B – Turbocharger/Supercharger Boost Control ‘A’ Performance Problem (Ford)
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Table of Contents
- What Does Code P132B Mean?
- Where is the P132B sensor located?
- What are the common causes of code P132B?
- What are the symptoms of code P132B?
- Get Help with P132B
What Does Code P132B Mean?
OBD II fault code P132B is a manufacturer-specific trouble code that is defined by carmaker Ford as, “Turbocharger/Supercharger Boost Control ‘A’ Performance Problem”, and is set when the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) detects a failure, defect, or malfunction the turbocharger’s boost control system.
While many, if not most car manufacturers have developed engines with both direct gasoline injection and forced induction via turbochargers, Ford has developed a system known as “Ecoboost”, which combines forced induction, direct fuel injection, and variable valve timing. As a practical matter, the technical implementation of these three systems is somewhat different on Ford applications than on other vehicle makes, which allows small-displacement Ford Ecoboost engines to develop significantly more power while using less fuel than directly comparable engines from other manufacturers.
Nonetheless, in terms of practicalities, the turbochargers on Ecoboost engines largely work in the same way as turbochargers on any other vehicle make, and also fail for much the same reasons. Exhaust gas drives a turbine wheel, which is connected to a compressor wheel, which compresses the intake air just like any other turbocharger.
Just like on any other forced induction engine, the boost pressure increases as the engine speed increases, and depending on both the size and displacement of any given Ecoboost engine, the maximum allowable boost pressure is both strictly defined, and precisely controlled with a microprocessor that controls a wastegate, or pressure relief mechanism built into the turbocharger via a vacuum controlled actuator.
In terms of operating principles, a dedicated boost pressure sensor in the intake manifold monitors the actual boost pressure continually. In a fully functional boost control system, the boost pressure sensor relays input data about the boost pressure to the PCM, and when the boost pressure reaches the maximum allowable threshold, the PCM commands the vacuum-controlled actuator to open the wastegate, which vents excess exhaust pressure into the exhaust system. This has the effect of slowing down the turbine wheel, thereby reducing the boost pressure.
By opening or closing the wastegate as required, the PCM will match the boost pressure to the engine speed and load to a) prevent engine damage through premature combustion of the air/fuel mixture, and b), maintain the boost pressure at a level that is calculated to ensure peak engine performance, while using the least amount of fuel. Moreover, by combining precise boost control with equally precisely controlled variable valve timing, the efficiency of most Ecoboost engines is increased to the point where exhaust emissions are about 15 percent lower than comparable engines (of other manufacturers) under similar operating conditions.
So while Ecoboost engines are measurably more efficient than non-Ecoboost engines, the Ecoboost system is not without faults and/or drawbacks. This is particularly true of V6 Ecoboost engines; while inline engines have only one turbocharger, V6 variants have a turbocharger on each bank of cylinders, with the most common problem on these engines being the boost control actuators. In theory, both turbochargers should spin at the same speed and therefore generate the same amount of boost, but in practice, defects, faults, and malfunctions in the boost control system often cause the turbochargers to spin at different speeds. See the section on “Symptoms” for more details.
Since effective and accurate boost control is crucially important for proper engine operation, the PCM monitors the boost control system continually. Thus, when a fault, defect, or malfunction occurs that affects the proper operation of the boost control system, the PCM will recognize that it cannot control the boost pressure effectively, and it will set code P132B and illuminate a warning light as a result.
Where is the P132B sensor located?
This image shows a turbocharger from a 2012 1.0L Ford Ecoboost engine, but there are several noteworthy things about this particular example, but before we get to specifics, let’s look at what the arrows mean-
- The yellow arrow indicated the vacuum-controlled boost pressure actuator
- The orange arrow indicated the pushrod (mechanical linkage) between the actuator and the wastegate in the turbocharger
- The red circle indicates the attachment point where the pushrod connects to the wastegate’s control arm
In this example, the attachment point is a simple arrangement of locknuts, which indicates that this is an aftermarket turbocharger. On OEM Ecoboost turbochargers, this connection point is always enclosed in a cage that is painted to prevent tampering with the adjustment of the pushrod. This adjustment is crucially important for the correct operation of the turbocharger, but in many cases, car owners (and even professional mechanics) attempt to correct some types of boost control issues by adjusting the pushrod.
Not only does this never work, but also tampering with this adjustment almost always requires the replacement of the entire turbocharger, since these turbochargers are not serviceable. Therefore, if you ever notice that the adjustment of the pushrod on an OEM Ecoboost turbocharger had been disturbed, it is certain that somebody had attempted to correct an underlying issue with the boost control system.
What are the common causes of code P132B?
Some common causes of code P132B could include one or more of the following, but note that not all of the issues and problems listed below will set code P132B or other boost control issues –
- Damaged, burnt, shorted, or corroded wiring and/or connectors anywhere in the boost control system
- Damaged, defective, or malfunctioning MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor
- A damaged or malfunctioning vacuum actuator
- Damaged or malfunctioning vacuum actuator control solenoid
- Rotted, damaged, or dislodged vacuum lines in the boost control system
- Damaged or leaking turbocharger wastegate
- Damaged or worn rotating parts in the turbocharger
- Any problem, defect, malfunction, or condition that could cause the turbochargers on v6 Ecoboost engines to rotate at different speeds, including engine vacuum leaks and mechanical damage to one or both turbochargers
- Major restrictions in the intake system, such as dirty, clogged, or damaged air filters
- Failed or failing PCM, but note that since this is a rare event the fault must be sought elsewhere before any control module is reprogrammed or replaced
What are the symptoms of code P132B?
Typical symptoms of code P132B are largely similar across all applications, and could include one or more of the following-
- Stored trouble code and illuminated warning light
- In some cases, multiple additional codes that may or may not relate directly to the boost control system may be present along with P132B
- Depending on the nature of the problem, severe power loss may be present at all engine speeds and loads
- Fuel consumption may increase significantly
- Premature ignition of the fuel (knocking) may occur under acceleration
- Since Ecoboost turbochargers are liquid-cooled, coolant leaks may be present in some instances of mechanical damage to Ecoboost turbochargers
- Whistling sounds may occur upon deceleration, which sounds are typically indicative of a boost pressure leak
- The engine may stumble or hesitate upon acceleration
- The engine may stall repeatedly or unexpectedly at low engine speeds
NOTE: All, or most of the above symptoms could also be present on V6 Ecoboost engines, but loud “whooshing” noises upon deceleration combined with a noticeable loss of power upon acceleration almost always indicate the fact that the two turbochargers are not rotating at the same speed. Be aware though that diagnosing this condition sometimes not only requires the use of advanced diagnostic equipment but also expert-level knowledge of the inner workings of the Ecoboost system.
WARNING: As with all Ecoboost turbochargers, the wisest course of action is to seek professional assistance with diagnosis and repair. This is because the complex operating principles and control systems of these turbochargers leave plenty of room for non-professional mechanics not only to make misdiagnoses and potentially expensive mistakes but also to inadvertently cause damage to the engine where there was none before.
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