P0012 Ford F150 – Meaning, Symptoms, Causes & How to Fix

If you notice a loss of engine power, rough idling, or rattling sound coming from your car’s engine along with the check engine warning light, it may be caused by a faulty or damaged camshaft.

When your car gives off these signs, we recommend you perform a diagnostic scan using a good OBD II tool. This article looks at the meaning, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and fixes of the P0012 in your Ford F150.

What Does the Code P0012 Mean?

The P0012 in Ford F150 is defined as Intake (A) Camshaft Position Timing-OverRetarded (Bank 1). It indicates a problem with the camshaft positioning. 

A camshaft is a part of the engine system. It is a rotating shaft that starts off the valve and intake for every cylinder in the engine.

P0012 Code Ford

In addition, it operates by constantly rotating, causing the cams to push on the valves uniformly alongside the firing from spark and pistons movement.

The camshaft makes use of a sensor called the camshaft position sensor. It functions as a gauge for the vehicle speed and finds out the position of the cylinder in correlation with the crankshaft position.

During the normal working condition of a vehicle, the crankshaft and the camshaft are meant to move in uniformity. It is achieved with the assistance of a timing belt or chain. The constant movement ensures that the valves open and close in correlation with the positions of the piston. 

Furthermore, when the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) detects the Crankshaft and Camshaft are not moving uniformly. The camshaft now assumes a retarded position against the camshaft timing. When this happens, the P0012 code is thrown.

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The symptoms that come with the P0012 trouble code include the following:

1. Loss of Power

The camshaft is an important part of the engine combustion system. It helps to regulate the level of fuel input and also the exit of exhaust gases. When the camshaft moves in a retarded position, then the level of fuel input will be affected, leading to a drop in engine performance.   

2. Rough idling 

Another obvious symptom of the P0012 trouble code is rough idling. The engine’s performance is highly dependent on the position of the camshaft. An off-camshaft position will affect the control of exhaust gases, fuel, and ignition, causing the engine to either stall or idle roughly when running.  

3. Check engine warning light

Also, the trouble code will trigger a check engine light. It shows that something is wrong with the engine system and should be checked immediately.  

4. Hard to start 

When the camshaft movement is displaced, it will be hard for the engine to start. The camshaft controls some important aspects of the engine’s performance, including ignition, fuel input, and exhaust exit. 

When the rotation of the camshaft is off or retarded, there will be a problem with adequate delivery for spark and engine start. 

It is important to understand that the camshaft timing has nothing to do with the ignition timing. 

5. Increased fuel consumption

When the camshaft movement is off, the fuel input will be bad. The camshaft’s position will determine the fuel input level and how badly retarded the movement is. 

In most cases, the fuel consumption increases significantly with the P0012 code.

6. Rattling engine sound  

The camshaft is constantly rotating as the engine runs; once there is an off movement, there is a good possibility that it may collide with other parts of the engine. This will result in an annoying rattling engine sound.

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What May Cause the P0012 Code?

As with most other trouble codes, a P0012 will come up as a result of something going wrong. What are the main causes? Let’s find out!

01. Damaged timing chain

The timing chain performs the function of linking the camshaft and the crankshaft. Also, the timing chain determines the timing of the camshaft during rotation.

When the timing chain gets lost or worn out, you can expect a disruption in the cam timing. 

02. Motor oil

The camshaft depends on the oil to function properly. If there is not enough oil lubricating the parts, it could cause the camshaft to overheat and go out of position. 

In addition, it is important to consider the right oil viscosity for your engine to avoid engine problems. 

03. Failing camshaft variable timing solenoid

The camshaft variable timing solenoid is an important part of the working process of the camshaft. It controls the level of oil flow into the camshaft, which depends on the engine speed.  A failing camshaft variable timing solenoid will result in a P0012 code.

04. Wiring problem

When there is a problem with the wiring connection, especially the connection with the ECM, the ECM will be unable to regulate the camshaft movement. When this happens, the movement of the camshaft is prone to becoming displaced.

05. Faulty ECM

The ECM is an important electrical component that monitors and controls the engine parts, including the camshaft.

When the ECM is faulty, it could cause the camshaft to rotate unmonitored.   

How to Diagnose the P0012 Code

To properly diagnose the P0012 code in your Ford F150, you should check your car for the abovementioned symptoms. If your vehicle displays most of these symptoms, a sign of the P0012 trouble code, you should proceed to scan your vehicle.

Also, check the electrical wiring to the camshaft variable timing solenoid, connected sensors like the camshaft sensor, and any other electrical issues. 

Check your vehicle’s oil level to ensure it is at the required level. Check your engine’s oil requirement and ensure it is the same as the oil you use.

You can also use the OBD-II scan tool to scan for the code P0012 and other related codes. When this is done, a professional can perform a manufacturer-specific scan for the code and make necessary fixes.

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How to Fix the P0012 Code

How you fix the P0012 trouble code depends on the root problem. Once a proper diagnosis is made and the code’s cause is found, it will be easier to fix.

Below are some of the ways you can fix a P0012 code. 

  • Change the motor oil to the right one for your engine 
  • Replace or fix the wire going to the ECM or camshaft variable timing solenoid  
  • Repair or replace the timing chain
  • Replace the ECM of your vehicle if faulty 
  • Reset the trouble code and test the vehicle 

Final Thoughts 

The P0012 trouble code is a code that you should treat with great urgency. It deals with the position of the camshaft, and if not fixed quickly, it could affect other parts of the engine.

Furthermore, the code can be confusing to diagnose because it has many causes. It would help if you took care in diagnosing the cause, as a mistake can make you incur extra costs.