Ford Fusion
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Ford Fusion Throttle Body Problem Guide

Chandler Stark

Meet Chandler

Chandler is an automotive expert with over a decade of experience working on and modifying cars. A couple of his favorites were his heavily modded 2016 Subaru WRX and his current 2020 VW Golf GTI. He’s also a big fan of American Muscle and automotive history. Chandler’s passion and knowledge of the automotive industry help him deliver high-quality, insightful content to TuningPro readers.

For many years, the Fusion was a reliable contributor to the Ford lineup. Unfortunately, quality control issues that led to numerous recalls and technical service bulletins led to the Fusion’s eventual downfall. One of the most common failures is the Ford Fusion throttle body. Ford equipped the Fusion with a variety of different engines, but many of them suffer from faulty throttle bodies. In this article, we cover everything you need to know about the Ford Fusion throttle body and its common problems.

Ford Fusion
Credit: Alexander Migl/Wikipedia

Introduction to the Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion lasted for 15 years as a part of the Ford lineup. It is a mid-sized, four-door sedan, with a front-located engine and either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. It is the successor to the Ford Contour, and was rebadged as the Lincoln MKZ and Mercury Milan. There were two generations of the Ford Fusion. The first generation lasted from the 2006–2012 model years, and the second generation lasted from the 2013–2020 model years. Ford developed the Fusion on their global platform. The first generation is on the CD3 and the second generation is on the CD4.

During its time, the Ford Fusion was a relatively diverse sedan. While the first generation only had two engine choices of moderate power (160–220 horsepower), the second generation really let loose. In the second generation, you could get anything from a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to a twin-turbo sport sedan.

Unfortunately, the Fusion did not make it past the 2020 model year. A lack of enthusiasm and constant recalls and TSBs spelled its end. Still, there are still millions of Fusions on the street today, and they will likely remain around for quite a while on the used market.

What engines does the Ford Fusion use?

The Ford Fusion had two generations, and each generation had its own set of engines. For the first generation, the options were the 2.3L and 3.0L Duratec engines. Also known as the Duratec 23 and Duratec 30. The Duratec 23 is an inline-four while the larger Duratec 30 is a V6. Ford rated the Duratec 23 at 160 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque, and the Duratec 30 at 221 horsepower and 205 lb-ft of torque, inside the first generation Fusions.

In contrast, the second generation had a whopping six different engine options. These included the 1.5 EcoBoost, 1.6 EcoBoost, 2.0 EcoBoost, and 2.7L EcoBoost engines. As well as the Duratec 25 and Duratec 20 engines. All of the second generation engines have inline-four configurations except the 2.7 EcoBoost, which is a V6.

Power ranges from a low of 141 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque in the early Duratec 20, to 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque in the twin-turbo V6 2.7 EcoBoost. The 2.7 EcoBoost was only available in the Ford Fusion Sport from 2017–2020. It was by far the most powerful engine option.

How does a Throttle Body work?

Before we get into the symptoms, causes, and solutions for Ford Fusion throttle body failure, first let’s talk about what a throttle body does and how it works. Throttle bodies are incredibly important parts of an engine’s intake system, and if they fail it can spell serious disaster.

Regardless of if the engine is turbocharged or naturally aspirated – and the Ford Fusion offers both choices – it has a throttle body. The throttle body connects to the intake manifold, and regulates the amount of air that can enter in the engine.

On naturally aspirated engines, the throttle body sits between the intake manifold and the air intake tubing. With turbocharged engine options, the throttle body connects to the intercooler piping, which is fed by the air intake and turbochargers.

Throttle bodies are relatively simple devices that use a butterfly valve to control airflow. The more airflow necessary the more the valve opens, and the more it wants to restrict the more the valve is shut. At idle, the valve will be mostly shut. While at wide open throttle, the valve will be as open as possible.

As you can probably tell, having an issue with regulating the airflow into the engine is pretty serious. That’s why it’s important to make sure that if your throttle body is failing or has failed to replace it as soon as possible.

What does drive-by-wire mean, is it good or bad?

With regard to throttle bodies, you have probably heard the term “drive-by-wire,” but what does it mean? Drive-by-wire (DBW) refers to how the throttle body receives its information about how air to allow in. On older throttle cable systems, the accelerator pedal controlled a cable which was connected to the throttle body. On modern DBW systems, the information from the accelerator pedal to the throttle body is transmitted electrically. Hence the term drive-by-wire, meaning electrical wire.

While older DBW systems were sometimes slow to respond and were very prone to failure, newer systems are much more reliable. Not all of the kinks have been worked out – thus this article – but newer systems are wholeheartedly better than those from the ‘90s and early ‘00s. Still, with the use of sensors/electrical wires, the number of potential fail-points drastically increases on DBW vs cable systems.

Ford Fusion Throttle Body Failure Symptoms

  • Check Engine Light (P2100–P2139)
  • Rough idle or high idle
  • Lack of acceleration/power
  • Engine stalling
  • Car unable to start
  • Car thrown in limp mode

There are several symptoms that would indicate that your Ford Fusion throttle body is failing. The most obvious would be a check engine light ranging from P2100–P2139. These codes all relate to the electronic throttle control system (ETCS), also known as the drive-by-wire (DBW) system.

In addition to a check engine light (CEL), or sometimes even if a CEL doesn’t show up, there are several other symptoms you might experience. Since the throttle body controls the amount of air entering the intake manifold, if it is failing your engine will struggle to maintain the correct air-to-fuel ratio to stay running smoothly.

This can result in a rough or exceptionally high idle, a lack of acceleration, engine stalling when coming to a stop, the engine failing to start, and the engine potentially being thrown into limp mode where performance is severely limited.

Importantly, since there are so many sensors associated with the ETCS/DBW system, a failing sensor can mimic the problems of a failing throttle body. Usually, if a sensor fails you will see a CEL, but not always. Make sure you verify the correct CEL before making any repairs.

Common Causes of Throttle Body Issues

  • Dirt and debris in and around throttle body
  • Wear and tear from high mileage
  • Failing ETCS/DBW system sensor(s)

By far, the most common cause of Ford Fusion throttle body failures is dirt and debris in the unit. Both the inside and outside of the throttle body can become dirty, and both can cause problems. If the outside of the throttle body gets too dirty, it can affect the electrical connections on the outside and potentially cause punctures and leaks. If the inside gets too dirty, the butterfly valve can become gummed up and damaged, or fail to open.

Additionally, throttle bodies can fail from high mileage. After 150,000 miles, many people complain about throttle body failure. This is often due to the problem above, related to excessive dirt and grime, but throttle bodies are also just known to fail by themselves.

Finally, oftentimes the throttle body itself is actually fine, and it’s a sensor within the ETCS/DBW system that is causing issues. This can range from the accelerator pedal sensor, to the throttle position sensor, to even an oxygen sensor. That’s why it’s crucial to verify the CEL and check any associated sensors first, before proceeding with any repairs to the throttle body.

How to fix a failed Ford Fusion throttle body

The first step to fixing a failed Ford Fusion throttle body is to make it is actually the throttle body that is faulty. As we mentioned before, oftentimes accelerator or TPS sensors can go haywire and malfunction, mimicking issues with the throttle body. If that’s the case, fixing the throttle body won’t help if the sensor is not replaced.

After you have narrowed down the problem to the throttle body, the first step is going to be cleaning it, inside and out. For many people, simply getting rid of the built up dirt and grime will fix any throttle body problems. After cleaning the throttle body all electrical connections should be inspected to make sure they are not compromised.

A last resort is to replace the throttle body with another one. It’s important to make sure you get the same sized throttle body, as getting one too small or too big will cause issues with air delivery into the engine. Luckily, taking a throttle body on and off is not too much of a hassle. This YouTube video shows how to replace a throttle body on a 2006–2012 Fusion.

Ford Fusion Throttle Body FAQ

Do all Ford Fusions have throttle bodies?

Yes. All Ford Fusion engines have a throttle body regardless of the configuration or aspiration.

How does a throttle body work?

Throttle bodies regulate the amount of air that enters into the engine. They sit between the air intake and the intake manifold, and use a butterfly valve to restrict airflow into the manifold. The throttle body opens according to the accelerator pedal position, which is relayed electronically from the pedal to the throttle body.

What are common symptoms of failing throttle bodies?

The most common symptoms of a failing throttle body are: Check Engine Light (P2100–P2139), rough idle or high idle, lack of acceleration/power, engine stalling, car unable to start, and/or the car being thrown in limp mode. Usually, a check engine light will come on, but that is not always the case. If you are having these symptoms but there is no CEL, there could still be a problem with the throttle body.

What are common causes of failure?

The most common causes of failing throttle bodies are dirt/debris in and around the throttle body and high mileage. The dirt/debris can cause the external electrical connections to fail, and internally it can gum up or damage the butterfly valve.

Are throttle bodies expensive to replace?

Throttle bodies are typically not too expensive to replace. It does not take very long, as it’s pretty straightforward, and most replacement throttle bodies should be under $100.

How serious is the issue?

Failing throttle bodies can present serious issues for the engine. If your engine cannot accurately regulate the amount of air flowing into it, it is prone to running either too lean or too rich fuel mixtures. These can cause issues ranging from engine knock to poor gas mileage. If you have a failing throttle body, it’s best to get on top of it as soon as possible.

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  1. I have intermittent wrench light on my 2011 fusion se. (4 cylinder) No codes show up on test. I am reluctant to pay
    $150 for diagnostic at Ford dealer, as my past experiences at the service center have been questionable.When the warning light comes on, the car runs rough. Do I ignore the light, or keep driving it as it is intermittent.

    1. Peggy – I’d avoid dealerships and find a good independent mechanic shop. What code reader were you using? The engine should store any codes that were present – it’s sort of hard to diagnose a problem like this without knowing a bit more about what the code is since that seems to be the cause of the problem. It could also be something simple like misfires popping up from bad spark plugs or ignition coils.

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