P0021 Ford F150 | Meaning, Causes, Symptoms And Solutions

Ford F150 is undoubtedly a great truck to own. Receiving the title of best selling trucks in the US for multiple years just proves its competence. However, a great truck can still be hit with faults/ issues.

The code P0021 means that bank 2 intake camshaft is acting in advance. When your Ford’s ECM detects that the bank 2 intake camshaft is more advanced than the ECM ordered it to be. When this happens, the system recognises the issue and triggers the P0021 code on your Ford F150.

Throughout this article, we will be going through the ins and outs of this code and how you fix this code. Therefore, we advise you to read the whole article.

What does code P0021 mean on Ford F150?

The Engine Control Module (ECM) monitors the camshafts through the help of oil control valve (OCV) which is also known as VVT control solenoid valves. VVT is responsible for increasing the performance of the engine while regulating the exhaust valves.

Variable Valve Timing (VVT) also monitors the timing of the camshaft through the help of cam phasers. When the bank 2 intake camshafts are in advance than what the system signals it to do/ normal requirements, P0021 is triggered on the Ford F150.

Here is a quick breakdown of the code P0021.

  • P= Powertrain, this refers to the engine or transmission system fault
  • 0= This refers to a generic OBD code
  • 0= This refers the whole system
  • 21= This refers to the specific fault. In this case, the advancement of the bank 2 intake camshaft

Common symptoms of a P0021 Ford F150 Code

Just like any disease has some indicators, so does this P0021 code. Now, we shall be discussing some of the common symptoms you will face when your F150 gets hit by this code.

illuminating/ Flickering of the Check Engine Light

This is a common symptom for many of the DTC fault codes. What this does is signals the driver that there is a fault in the system. When your Ford gets this code, the light will start flickering or stay on for you.

Hard/ Rough Start of the Engine

When your Ford has P0021 code, one of the symptoms is the rough initiation of the engine. Unlike a normal performing Ford, the revving up of the engine will be a different experience. 

You may experience abnormal vibration of the car, weird engine noise etc. The hard start can come with a surprise, oftentimes injuring the driver and the passengers.

Rough running experience of the engine

During your drives, you might feel uncomfortable and uneasy due to the unnatural vibration caused by the engine. This can be because of the camshaft not working in sync with the others, thus causing the bad experience.

Stalling/ Noises from the engine

Noises coming from the powerhouse of the vehicle is never a good sign. Therefore, this symptom just strengthens the weight of the above statement. If you were to hear weird noises coming out of your engine while you are driving or starting your car, your Ford might have P0021.

Decreased Fuel Economy

Because of the engine not working in proper sync, your engine will not be able to use the fuel efficiently. Therefore, it will be able to channel less  power throughout the system and thus, more fuel will be used.

If you notice that your Ford F150 is using up more fuel than it was supposed to be, you should quickly diagnose your Ford to find the fault.

What are some potential causes of a P0021 Ford F150 code?

There are certain causes which initiate the code P0021 on your Ford F150. We will be giving you a quick list of the potential causes of this code.

  • Dirty engine oil
  • Incorrect density of engine oil
  • Failed camshaft variable valve timing (VVT) control solenoid
  • Camshaft phaser is in advanced position
  • Clogged oil passageways in the oil control valve (OCV) that leads to the bank 2 camshaft
  • Continuous flow of air of the variable valve timing (VVT)

How to diagnose and fix the P0021 Ford F150 Code?

We have finally reached the section where we discuss in detail about the fixes of the code. We will be accessing the problem the way a professional would have done so.

Just like a professional, we will first focus on the diagnosis of the code. Once we have successfully identified the code, we will be proceeding onto the solutions of the code P0021 for your Ford F150.

Diagnosing the Fault Code

In order to diagnose the fault code, you will need a DTC scanner. The DTC scanner will be able to show you the exact fault in your system through the form of codes.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to diagnose the code.

  1. Plug in the DTC scanner into the dashboard of your Ford F150.
  2. Scan the system and note down the codes that show up on the scanner.
  3. Reset the system and take your Ford out on a test drive.
  4. After the drive, rescan the system and check if the code prevails. If it does, then proceed onto the next step.

Now that we have successfully diagnosed the code, we shall proceed to fix the fault code P0021 on your Ford F150. There are multiple methods of fixing this code. We shall look into all of them one by one.

1. Changing the oil

Having the perfect viscosity for oil is pretty important. Going without oil changes for months can lead to dirty oil which will eventually damage the other components. Let us look into the solutions.

  1. Find the drain plug line. You will find it underneath your car. Once you find it, open it.
  2. Place a tray or a container underneath it to collect the oil stored within the line.
  3. Beside the drain plug, you will find an oil filter. Replace it with a new one. Remember to add a generous amount of oil/ grease around it before installing it.
  4. Buy new oil from the local store and add it through the oil cap.

This method is a very easy one and anyone can do it. Therefore, this also makes the cost of this fix relatively cheap. You shouldn’t need more than $100 dollars.

Here is a video showing you the steps if you need further clarification: 

2. Replacing the camshaft solenoid

The camshaft solenoid is necessary as it helps to rotate the camshafts when the intake and exhaust valves open and close. Faulty solenoids can lead to engine malfunction and significant drop in the fuel economy.

The solenoid can be pretty costly and can take upto a thousand dollars to repair. Here is a guide on how to replace the solenoid.

  1. Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery.
  2. Locate the camshaft you are trying to replace. 
  3. Remove the air intake plumbing line.
  4. Remove the power steering reservoir and pull out the plug of the sensor. 
  5. Lastly, destroy the plastic lid slightly using a screwdriver and take out the solenoid. Replace it with a new one.
  6. Reinstall everything back into its place.

3. Cleaning the clogged OCV 

The OCV lines help to instruct and adjust the oil flow according to the Ford’s requirements. Clogged or dirty OCV lines could eventually hinder the instruction process, causing the system to receive wrong signals and instructions.

Most of the time you do not need to replace them. Rather cleaning does the job. Therefore, getting an OCV cleaner from Target or any automotive store should not cost much.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to replace the clogged OCV lines.

  1. Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery.
  2. Remove the electrical harness connection which will let you access the OCV.
  1. Wiggle it out from its place.
  2. Spray clean the OCV, as a lot of debris hinders its performance.
  1. Reinstall it back and test the car by going out on a test drive.

4. Relying on a professional/ mechanic

You do not need to pressurize yourself to do everything by yourself. Handling a sophisticated item such as your precious Ford F150 can be quite overwhelming. Therefore, you might get nervous and mess up some of the steps.

In order to prevent any of that, you can contact a professional by going to your nearest automotive store. He/ She will be able to diagnose the problem and fix it with ease.

It can be a bit costly as you will need to add the labor costs alongside the replacement costs. But at least, your Ford F150 will be in safe hands.

How To Prevent A P0021 Ford F150 Issue From Happening In The Future?

Now, we shall be sharing some tips and advice so that you can prevent this fault code from appearing in your Ford F150. We advise you to follow these instructions from time to time as it may save you tons of money.

  • Do not dilute the oil you are buying for your car
  • Contact a professional and ask for the best oil for your model
  • Always buy from a trusted automotive store or from a branded store
  • Take your Ford F150 for a regular maintenance check.
  • Avoid driving your F150 on bumpy, off-road tracks.
  • Do not leave your car in your garage. Take it out for some frequent drives.
  • Always prefer to ride your car at medium speed and avoid high speeds.


We hope that this article was insightful for you and helped you learn much about your Ford, as well as about the fault code P0021. We will always advise you to own a DTC scanner with you all the time.

One more advice that we will give is learning some fixes. Always relying on a professional can be a good thing. However, it can be quite draining for your pocket. Therefore, picking up a handful of tricks can save you a handful.

We believe that you were able to completely get rid of the fault code P0021 from your Ford F150. After fixing the code, remember to rev up your engine and take your beast out for a ride!

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