The error P20BA means Reductant Heater A Control Circuit Performance. This means that the heater in your DEF tank needs replacing. This is dangerous so you need to act quickly once you’ve spotted the issue. You can do it yourself or opt for a mechanic. Either way, you’d need to spend around $400.
Car maintenance is extremely difficult at times and this is one of those instances. Getting rid of the issues caused by P20BA in a 6.7 Powerstroke can be a pain in the neck but don’t worry, I’ll guide you through the entire process.
What Is The P20BA Code 6.7 Powerstroke?
Everything in your car needs to be in good shape for you to have a good driving experience. To ensure this, you need to run frequent checkups on your car. It isn’t very convenient to pop up your hood or go to the mechanic every so often. That’s where a good On-board Diagnostics (OBD) scanner comes in.
This nifty little device will be able to diagnose your car’s engine in a matter of seconds and give you an error code. This error code is called a Diagnostic Trouble Code or DTC. You need to purchase a high-quality one though otherwise, you may regret it.
P20BA is a fairly common DTC that indicates Reductant Heater A Control Circuit Performance. But what does P20BA mean for your vehicle specifically?
As the name “Reductant Heater A Control Circuit Performance” suggests, there is something wrong with a reductant heater in your car. Reductant heater A is the one that is located in the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank in your car and it is super important as it stops this liquid from freezing by keeping it warm in winter.
The error code P20BA shows up when the OBD scanner picks up readings from the Powertrain Control Module (PMC) indicating a spike or decrease in voltage beyond the universally acceptable range.
3 most common Causing Factors Of P20BA code
From my years of experience, I’ve learned one thing to be true in any automobile issue, you should always take preemptive measures. If you fail to do so, you will be faced with some difficult situations and P20BA is no cakewalk, that’s for sure. So, what are the things you need to be on the lookout for?
Never, and I mean never, try to cheap out when buying motor components. I’ve seen this countless times: you save a few bucks on one part and then, a few weeks later, you’re back in the store with a bigger issue that will take you a lot more money to fix. Buy the best reductant heater you can find.
Wear and tear are just the norm in the automotive industry. Cars need to travel for hundreds if not thousands of miles and so, it’s only natural, the components get damaged. This could happen to the heater itself, the harness holding it, the DEF supply line, and in some rare cases, the PCM itself.
The last scenario may seem like a good thing on first viewing as it means there’s probably nothing wrong with your DEF heater. However, it also means that you need to change the PCM and that is a whole lot more expensive.
The wiring in your heater could also come loose, and this would cause it to malfunction. This is highly unlikely though as the heater is tightly secured as you’ll soon notice when I tell you how to replace a DEF heater.
5 Common Symptoms Associated With P20BA
Not everyone checks up on their vehicle with an OBD scanner every week and that is understandable. It is a bit of a commitment. However, you should be worried if you notice any of these issues.
1 – Malfunction indicator lamp lights up
If your check engine light turns on, you should do exactly what the name suggests. Check your engine. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a reductant heater issue but it’s worth looking into.
2 – Black Smoke
Your exhaust gives out smoke anyway so don’t panic at the sight of a bit of gas. What you should be alarmed by is clouds of black smoke the moment you start up your vehicle. The excessive smoke release could be caused by P20BA.
3 – Bad Fuel Economy
This needs you to keep track of your finances. If you notice that your car is running out of the gas way quicker than it usually does, it might be due to your car’s damaged DEF heater.
4 – Performance Issues
A good driving experience is a car enthusiast’s greatest pleasure. Unfortunately, a faulty reductant heater may hamper this sacred experience.
5 – Related DTC Codes
Lastly, if you do hook up your car to an OBD scanner, you may get related codes like P20BB or P20BC. This may be a sign that it is also facing a P20BA-related issue.
Chevrolet is one of the top car manufacturers in the world but that doesn’t their cars are invincible. P20BA is an issue that pops up quite often, especially on the 6.7 Powerstroke. While a Chevy may not use this engine, it isn’t immune to this flaw.
This is a dangerous issue no matter what vehicle it occurs in. Your diesel exhaust fuel might freeze in the middle of nowhere and you’ll be stranded. Once you spot this issue, immediately stop driving. Take it to a mechanic or fix it yourself.
Tools Needed For Diagnosis And Repair
First things first, you need to collect the items you need to properly diagnose and repair your vehicle if you see the p20ba error code.
You must acquire the following things-
1. Reliable OBD2 Scanner
2. High-quality DEF Reservoir Heater
3. Pick tools
4. Socket Ratchet With 5.5 mm and 15 mm extensions
5. 4mm Allen Wrench
7. Safety Gear
How Do I Fix My P20BA Code 6.7 Powerstroke?
So, you’ve decided that you don’t need a mechanic. If you are confident in your skills with a toolbox and an engine, this step-by-step guide should help you replace the DEF heater all by yourself. This guide is for the Ford F250 2013, a truck with a 6.7 Powerstroke but it should work with most vehicles.
We must warn you before you get started: the smallest slipup might cost you a lot more than a simple trip to the chop shop.
Step 1 >> Mis En Place
Auto-repair is a lot like cooking. You are working with hot items, you need a lot of oil and doing it yourself is always a pain in the neck. Nevertheless, the biggest similarity I found is the need for Mis En Place.
Mis En Place is a French cooking technique that suggests you prepare everything you need for a dish beforehand. This is also what you should do when fixing a car. You can’t just unfasten the supporting bolts and run to get your prying tools in the middle of your job. That’s a surefire recipe for disaster.
Instead, neatly arrange all the tools I mentioned beforehand in an orderly manner near you. You must be able to access them immediately.
Also, suit up. Wear protective gear such as proper footwear, gloves, and goggles. It’s very easy to injure yourself when working with cars.
Step 2 >> Removing The Skid Plate
Now, we’re on to the difficult part. I’m not going to lie to you: this is a lengthy process. You need to unfasten plenty of bolts so get ready for an intense arm workout.
You will have to remove the following items. You can remove them in a different order but I found that this was the easiest way. Experiment at your own risk.
1. Two 13mm bolts near the driveshaft on the driver’s side.
2. Two 13mm bolts on the rear side.
3. Five fasteners on the frame rail side
4. Two 13mm bolts near the fasteners
5. A nut on the rear cab mount
6. A bolt on the leaf spring perch
7. A nut close to the axle
When removing the last bolt, support the skid plate with your knees so it is easier to remove. It also helps give your skid plate a gentle landing.
Step 3 >> Remove The DEF Tank
You thought arm day was over? Guess again. There is a lot more unscrewing left to do. Now, you need to remove the DEF heater itself.
To do that, you need to open the fuel door where your DEF filler neck is situated. Remove the 5mm bolts holding it in place and open the cap on top of it and the accompanying safety collar. Now, you can pull the filler neck out from under the car. Make sure you put the cap back on to stop any oil from leaking out.
Now you need to take your torch and find all the connectors on the DEF tank. Disconnect the biggest connector and pry the rest open with your picking tools. The biggest connector links all of them together so you don’t have to disconnect each wire separately. Don’t even touch the injector hose yet.
Remove the four 13mm bolts on each frame of the DEF tank to remove it. Make sure you are directly under it so you can softly place it on the floor rather than letting it freefall.
Now that you can see the connections to the injector hose, gently pinch them open. Your tank is now free.
Step 4 >> Replace The Heater
This is less complex than the previous two steps but that isn’t saying much. To replace the heater, you have to remove the old one first.
Start by removing the connectors to free up the module on your tank. Use picking tools if anything is too tight. Using your Allen wrench, remove the 4mm Allen bolts on the module to remove it.
Next, open the lock ring and the gasket to reveal the centerpiece. Rotate the centerpiece till you hear a click. At this point, you should be able to pick up your broken DEF heater. Check if you bought the right heater by matching it with this one.
If you picked out the right one, congratulations, you can slot this new heater into your DEF tank.
Step 5 >> Reassembly
Verbally, this is the shortest step. In reality, this is going to take you the most work. You need to put everything back where you put it. That’s it. Trust me when I say it’s much easier said than done, though.
Step 6 >> Take Her For A Spin
Double-checking is something a lot of people forget to do for some reason. Check if you are still getting errors with your OBD scanner. If it’s A-Okay, take your car for a test drive. This last step ensures that everything is in order.
some Common Mistakes When Diagnosing The Issue
Acting without properly analyzing a situation often leads to errors.
These are some very common miscalculations that I’ve seen lead to a misdiagnosed P20BA:
- Wrong setup of the OBD2 reader
- Failing to maintain ideal conditions during diagnosis
- Misreading the DTC
How Much Does It Cost To Solve The Error Code?
Cars are an expensive hobby. Even if you don’t buy a garage full of expensive Lamborghini and Ferraris, simple repairs can cost you a bit. The same goes for a P20BA fix. I created an expense chart for the process. Please note that these
prices are only an estimate as they vary greatly from area to area.
|What You Need||Why You Need It||Estimated Cost|
|DEF Reductant Heater||To replace the faulty one||$200|
|Tools (Optional)||If you decide to do it yourself but don’t have the necessary equipment||$200|
|Mechanic (Optional)||If you want professional services||$150|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To identify and solve this error code properly, you need a good OBD scanner. I found that scanners from TOPDON, Launch, and Autel are the most reliable options on the market.
The best bet is to go to an auto repair shop you’ve been to before and can trust wholeheartedly. If you don’t have any good mechanics in your phone book, go online.
We are lucky to be living in the age of the internet where everything is one click away. That said, you do need to be very careful if you decide to find a mechanic online. Thoroughly analyze reviews of the mechanics you consider so you can make an informed decision.
While P20BA is pretty common, it certainly isn’t the most popular one. At the very least, it’s not as recurring as P0420 or P0174. The Department of Motor Vehicles in Delaware was kind enough to compile this list to help you quickly decipher the most popular codes.
The 6.7L Powerstroke is a monstrous engine. It is incredibly powerful and it will more than do the job for any heavy-duty task you have. It was used to test military fuels in this report. That says it all.
11-16 Powerstroke Repair DTC P20BA >> Check out the video below:
All in all, the P20BA is an issue that needs to be dealt with as soon as you possibly can. You need to be extra careful if you own a 6.7 Powerstroke as a P20BA Code 6.7 Powerstroke is super common.
I highly suggest going to a mechanic for the fix as it is a lot easier, faster, and sometimes, even cheaper.