P0246 – Turbocharger (TC) wastegate regulating valve A circuit high

Bojan Popic
By Bojan Popic (Contact Me)
Last Updated 2023-02-03
Master Mechanical Engineer
CodeFault LocationProbable Cause
P0246 Turbocharger (TC) wastegate regulating valve A circuit high
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Wiring short to positive, TC wastegate regulating valve, ECM

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Table of Contents

  1. What Does Code P0246 Mean?
  2. Where is the P0246 sensor located?
  3. What are the common causes of code P0246 ?
  4. Get Help with P0246

What Does Code P0246 Mean?

P0246 is a generic code trouble code defined as a Turbocharger wastegate regulating valve A circuit high. This code is triggered when the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) receives a signal from the wastegate’s solenoid that falls out of the predetermined range.

While some of you already know how the turbocharging system works, we’ll still explain it briefly for those who don’t. The air delivered to the turbocharged engine’s intake is pressurized, which improves its efficiency and power output. But this boost pressure must be controlled at any moment and adjusted accordingly, depending on driving conditions and charging levels. This is what the wastegate is for, as it acts as a relief valve that reduces the pressure when needed. This component is operated by a solenoid controlled by vehicles PCM.

And when the PCM detects a voltage coming from the wastegate solenoid is higher than it should be, it will trigger the P0246 trouble code.

Where is the P0246 sensor located?

The actual position of the wastegate solenoid within the engine bay depends on the make and model of the vehicle. Still, due to the nature of its job, you can always easily find it using this simple procedure. Start by locating the turbocharger, which is most commonly near the cylinder head, on its exhaust side. On top of its housing, you should see a wastegate actuator. This is a metal cylinder with a rod on one side and a vacuum hose on the other.

 And by following that hose, you’ll quickly find the wastegate solenoid. In most cars, this is a small plastic box with hoses and a wiring connector attached to it.

This is how it looks on a Ford pickup truck with an EcoBoost engine.

What are the common causes of code P0246 ?

As said, the P0246 trouble code is always caused by voltage variations from the wastegate’s solenoid. This rules out things like defective wastegates, vacuum leaks, or other mechanical defects as likely causes. Instead, potential failure points that would cause the P0246 code include the following:

  • wastegate solenoid itself
  • wiring that connects it to the PCM
  • all corresponding connectors
  • the PCM, although this is highly unlikely 

To narrow down the problem, you will need a digital multimeter and a wiring diagram for your specific vehicle. Start by checking the solenoid resistance, which mustn’t be zero or infinite, as this indicates a short or open circuit within it. If the solenoid checks out, continue by testing the voltage on the wiring. This should be zero when the ignition is off and either 5 or 12 volts when the ignition is turned on. If neither of these hasn’t revealed a culprit, check if the wastegates solenoid has good ground.

Apart from these general guidelines, several cases specific to particular makes and models should be mentioned here.

A batch of Ford Espaced, Fiesta, and Fusion built between 2016 and 2016 and equipped with a 1.6 GDI turbocharged engine may suffer from a recurring P0246 code. One of the possible causes for this is an incorrectly calibrated wastegate solenoid, which needs to be replaced. This is covered in detail in Ford’s service bulletin TBS 15-0162.

Many Ford pickup trucks equipped with turbocharged EcoBoost engines can have a P0246 code occurring sporadically. Based on the experiences of various car owners, this can be down to poor pin seals within wiring connectors. This allows moisture into the pin, causing electrical connectivity issues.

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