P1500 – Vehicle Speed Sensor Intermittent (Ford)

By Tapley Mitchell (Contact Me)
Last Updated 2019-09-30
ASE Mechanic

Trouble CodeFault LocationProbable Cause
P1500 Fuel Pump Relay Electrical Circuit Malfunction (AUDI, VOLKSWAGEN)
Idle Speed Control Valve Stuck Open (BMW, MINI)
Starter Signal Circuit (BUICK, CADILLAC, CHEVROLET, GMC)
Alternator Terminal Circuit Conditions (CHRYSLER, DODGE, JEEP)
Vehicle Speed Sensor (FORD, LINCOLN, MERCURY)
Vehicle Speed Signal Malfunction (HYUNDAI)
No Vehicle Speed Signal to TCM (KIA)
Starter Signal Circuit Malfunction (LEXUS, TOYOTA)
Vehicle Speed Signal Intermittent (MAZDA)
Alternator FR Terminal Circuit (MITSUBISHI)
Battery Voltage Too Low / High (SAAB)
Radiator Fan Relay 1 Circuit Malfunction (SUBARU)
Engine Starter Signal Circuit Malfunction (SUZUKI)

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What Does Code P1500 Mean?

If you have P1500 in your Ford vehicle, there is a problem with the VSS circuit. This sensor tells the computer how fast the car is moving. This information is used to determine if the transmission is working properly, monitor the engine power output, as well as signal the dash to inform you how fast you are going. If this sensor is not functioning correctly, you may notice a number of things that will act up. 

The reason that this is a manufacturer specific code and not a generic P0500 code, is because Ford may use up to three vehicle speed sensors. There may be one in the transmission that is referred to as the OSS or output shaft speed sensors, as well as the transfer case, and the rear axle. This depends on the specific model and year. Regulations require the manufacturers to have the standard code, which will refer to the OSS found on the transmission. If you are getting the p1500 code, you may want to start with the rear axle sensor. 

There is a TSB related to OSS sensor failure code P0722 which could be related to your TSB 13-6-8 discusses causes that may be related to this code. This code is about the transmission shift solenoid wiring harness, that shorted out easily and caused a variety of codes including P1500, P0722, P0721, P0720, and P0722. The solution is to replace the pigtail connector with a stronger revised pigtail that solves the problem.

What are the symptoms of code P1500?

  • Speedometer not functioning properly
  • Engine running rough at speeds
  • Limp Mode (this is when the engine is limited to prevent damage to other components)
  • Power cutting out especially on downshifts or under load
  • Transmission shifting abnormally.

How do you troubleshoot code P1500?

The first place to start is by looking up any Ford TSB (technical service bulletins) that may be related to your specific year and model. There may be a bulletin that provides a common fix for your issue. However take caution that if there is a bulletin, the suggested repair may not be the fix, it is just the most likely repair. Be sure to check out the possible causes before moving forward with your repair.

The vehicle speed sensor uses a reference voltage (5V) from the ECU then uses a magnetic pulse that increases in frequency with the speed of the vehicle. You are going to need a wiring diagram for your specific year and model. This will allow you to see wire colors, and what voltage should be on each wire. If you do not have the voltage at the VSS connector, look for broken wires to the plug. If you do have reference voltage check the signal wire to the ECU and ensure that there is continuity.

Once you have made sure the wiring is in proper order, inspect the sensor to ensure that the gear is tight, and spins freely, and smoothly, Look for visual damage on the sensor, chipped or worn gear teeth (if applicable) dirty magnet, loose pins in the connector, or anything that can indicate that the sensor is malfunctioning. If you are in question of the sensors integrity and have found the wiring to be OK, the other causes are much less likely and a lot more expensive. At this point it is time to consider replacing the VSS.

If you have several other codes, or engine driveability issues, check your electrical systems and ensure the components are good. If you find them to be OK as well you may need to replace the ECU. Access to the vehicles’ ECU with a dealer approved program may be needed to read the speed output and compare against individual wheel speed sensors, transmission gears, and engine RPM.

Other Manufacturer Specific Definitions for P1500

Starter Signal Circuit (GM)
Vehicle Speed Sensor (Ford)
Starter signal - circuit malfunction (Toyota)
Fuel pump relay - circuit malfunction (Volkswagen)
Fuel pump relay - circuit malfunction (Audi)
ECM – internal fault (BMW)
Starter Signal Circuit (Buick)
Starter Signal Circuit (Cadillac)
Ignition switch, cranking signal/system voltage -circuit malfunction (Chevrolet)
Alternator -circuit malfunction (Chrysler)
Alternator -circuit malfunction (Dodge)
Alternator -circuit malfunction (Eagle)
Vehicle Speed Signal Malfunction (Hyundai)
Alternator Terminal Circuit Conditions (Jeep)
Vehicle speed signal – malfunction (Kia)
Vehicle speed sensor (VSS) (Land Rover)
Starter signal – circuit malfunction (Lexus)
Vehicle speed sensor (VSS) -circuit intermittent (Lincoln)
Vehicle speed sensor (VSS) -intermittent fault (Mazda)
Vehicle speed sensor (VSS) -circuit intermittent (Mercury)
Idle Speed Control Valve Stuck Open (Mini)
Generator system – circuit malfunction (Mitsubishi)
Battery voltage too low/high (Saab)
Engine coolant blower motor relay 1 – circuit malfunction (Subaru)
Starter signal – circuit malfunction (Suzuki)

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