P160A – Control Module Vehicle Options Reconfiguration Error (Ford)

Reinier

By Reinier (Contact Me)
Last Updated 2022-07-13
Automobile Repair Shop Owner

CodeFault LocationProbable Cause
P160A P160A – Control Module Vehicle Options Reconfiguration Error (Ford)
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Manufacturer Specific Definitions for P160A

MakeFault Location
BmwManifold differential pressure (MOP) sensor, bank 1 – pressure above upper limit
KenworthP160A - Scheduler integrity error
PeterbiltP160A - Scheduler integrity error
SaabInvalid ECM program
VolvoElectronic throttle system (ETS) – circuit malfunction

What Does Code P160A Mean?

OBD II fault code P160A is a manufacturer-specific trouble code that is defined by carmaker Ford as, “Control Module Vehicle Options Reconfiguration Error”, and is set when the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) detects a communication error between itself and the BCM (Body Control Module) while sending or receiving data about the configuration of systems controlled by the BCM.

The topic of how the various serial communication systems on a modern Ford application work, and how they are integrated into each other is a hugely complex and technical one, but suffice to say that to avoid conflicts between control modules and communication systems, certain control and management functions are assigned to dedicated control modules.

This arrangement effectively splits the overall communications systems, aka CAN (Controller Area Network) systems into more manageable pieces or sections, but to maintain the overall integration of all the communication systems, all the control modules in a given section (of a CAN) system have to be able to communicate both with each other, and with the PCM.

One such sub-system of communication exists between the PCM and the BCM (Body Control Module), which is a kind of generic term for a control module that monitors and controls various systems and components within a vehicle’s body. In the case of Ford applications, the BCM controls too many functions, parts, components, and systems to list all, or even most here but one example would be the effect that the tire/wheel diameter has on how the engine and transmission interact with each other.

For example, the diameter of the wheels is one aspect of the overall gearing of the vehicle, meaning that fitting bigger or smaller wheels/tires has a direct effect on the vehicle’s road speed as a function of the engine speed. Put differently, this means that if the vehicle traveled at say 10 mph per 1000 RPM in first gear, fitting larger wheels than the stock wheels will increase the vehicle’s speed to say 12 mph per 1000 RPM in first gear because the larger wheels cover a greater distance per wheel revolution than the stock wheels. One further effect of this is that gearshift points will change a well since shift points are based on engine speed and load, both of which are altered by the change in wheel size.

As a practical matter, the wheel size is a parameter that is programmed into each vehicle, but for the vehicle manufacturer to save costs by not having to produce an entirely new BCM for each model or variant, the vehicle manufacturer has made the wheel size parameter programmable. Thus, if a car owner wishes to fit larger wheels to the vehicle, he has the option to reprogram or reconfigure the BCM to accommodate the new wheel size to maintain the original interaction between the engine and the transmission.

Similarly, it is possible to reprogram several parameters to maintain the original functions and operation of several systems and/or components. However, these reprogramming procedures can only be performed with Forscan (dealer level) equipment, and while this equipment is available in the aftermarket, reprogramming of BCM parameters by non-professional mechanics often fail for various reasons. Regardless of the cause of the reprogramming/communication failure, though, the PCM will set code P160A, and may or may not illuminate a warning light when it detects such a failure.

Where is the P160A sensor located?

This image shows an example of a Body Control Module, in this case, from a 2016 Ford Ranger application. Note that since the location of Body Control Modules varies greatly between Ford models, it is not possible to provide accurate information on the locations of these modules on all, or even most Ford models.

Nonetheless, some typical locations are under the dashboard, behind kick panels on either the driver or passenger side or inside the center console. However, since these modules are not user-serviceable, we strongly recommend that non-professional mechanics seek professional assistance with the diagnosis and repair of the BCM on any Ford application because of the high risk of inadvertently causing damage to the vehicle’s electrical system.

What are the common causes of code P160A?

Possible causes of code P160A could include one or more of the following-

  • Damaged, burnt, shorted, or corroded wiring between the PCM and BCM
  • Damaged, burnt, shorted, or corroded wiring between the BCM and any reprogrammable part, system, or component
  • Abnormal system voltages a the result of a defective battery and/or faults in the charging system
  • The use of aftermarket parts such as unauthorized performance chips
  • Unauthorized or illegal exhaust system modifications
  • Incorrect or improper reprogramming procedures
  • The use of incorrect or outdated module calibration versions
  • Incomplete reprogramming procedures
  • Failure to maintain the battery voltage with a clean power supply during reprogramming; note that some reprogramming procedures can drain a vehicle battery, which will cause reprogramming that is in progress to abort
  • Failed or failing PCM or BCM, but note that, unlike many other codes, control module failure is a fairly common cause of this code

What are the symptoms of code P160A?

Typical symptoms of code P160A could include one or more of the following-

  • Stored trouble code and one or more illuminated warning lights, depending on the nature of the problem
  • Multiple additional trouble codes may be present along with P160A, depending on the nature of the problem

NOTE: Various types of drivability issues may be present, but be aware that which drivability issues are present is entirely dependent on-

  • the nature of the changes or modifications that were made to the vehicle
  • which parameters are involved
  • which parameters failed to reprogram or reconfigure

Nonetheless, some typical drivability issues may include the following, but note that this list is neither complete nor exhaustive-

  • Gearshifts may be harsh, erratic, or unpredictable
  • The idling quality may be poor or the engine may not idle at all
  • The engine may stall repeatedly or unexpectedly at low engine speeds
  • Random misfires may be present at some or all engine speeds
  • Varying degrees of power loss may be present
  • Fuel consumption may increase dramatically
  • The engine may stumble or hesitate upon acceleration
  • The engine may run roughly at some engine speeds and/or loads
  • The vehicle may not pass a mandatory emissions test

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