P081E: Excessive Clutch B Slippage

Is your scanner showing P081E?
No worries. We'll show you what it means and how to deal with it.

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OBD Codex, Administrator

P081E: Excessive Clutch B Slippage

DIY Difficulty Level
Repair Cost
Can I Still Drive?
Yes (Short-term only)

What Does The P081E Code Mean?

If your vehicle has stored a code P081E, it means that the powertrain control module (PCM) has received a data input signal from the input and output speed sensors which indicates that the clutch is slipping excessively. The denotation clutch B indicates that the vehicle is equipped with a clutch (pedal) position sensor (CPPS) which functions similarly to a throttle position sensor (TPS).

The transmission control module (TCM) may be a stand alone unit but is most commonly integrated into a single housing with the engine control module (ECM). This is called the PCM.

The PCM utilizes input signals from multiple engine and transmission sensors to calculate the maximum allowable degree of transmission (clutch) slippage. Clutch disc and pressure plate wear, as well as mechanical failure, may lead to excessive clutch slippage. Discrepancies in CPPS voltage may also result in a P081E being stored. The PCM uses voltage input signals from the transmission input speed sensor and transmission output speed sensor, as well as the position of the clutch pedal, to determine if the clutch is functioning within the parameters for maximum allowable slippage.

Often when the friction material on the clutch disc is worn down below a certain level, the clutch begins to slip. This condition is usually accompanied by the distinctive odor of burnt friction material.

If the PCM detects a degree of transmission (clutch) slippage that exceeds maximum allowable parameters, a code P081E may be stored and a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) illuminated. Multiple ignition cycles (with a failure) may be required for MIL illumination.

What Are The Symptoms Of The P081E Code?

Symptoms of a P081E trouble code may include:

  • Transmission slippage
  • Harsh gear engagement
  • Clutch engagement occurs near the top
  • Strong odor of burnt friction material

What Are The Potential Causes Of The P081E Code?

Causes for this code may include:

  • Bad CPPS sensor
  • Worn clutch disc and/or pressure plate
  • Defective input or output speed sensor
  • Shorted wiring for input speed/output speed sensors
  • Faulty PCM or a programming error

How Serious Is This P081E Code?

A stored code P081E indicates that either a serious electrical issue or some type of clutch failure has occurred. At any rate, conditions which contributed to a code of this nature being stored should be rectified as quickly as possible.

How Can You Fix The P081E Code?

Before attempting to diagnose a P081E, make sure that the clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing are functioning properly. You will also want to check clutch arms and bushings as well as clutch hydraulics if applicable.

A diagnostic scanner, a digital volt/ohmmeter (DVOM), and a source of vehicle specific diagnostic information will be required to diagnose a code P081E. An oscilloscope may also be helpful when attempting to diagnose input and output speed sensor malfunctions. CPPS output voltage can also be monitored using the DVOM or oscilloscope. The latter is more effective for the detection of voltage spikes and glitches.

You may use your source of vehicle information to locate a technical service bulletin (TSB) that matches the vehicle year, make, and model; as well as the engine size, code/s stored, and symptoms exhibited. If you find one, it could yield helpful diagnostic information.

With the clutch functioning properly, proceed with the first step of the diagnosis.

Step 1

Use the scanner (connected to the vehicle diagnostic connector) to retrieve all stored codes and pertinent freeze frame data. It is a good idea to write this information down before clearing the codes then test-drive the vehicle until the PCM either enters readiness mode or the code is reset.

If the PCM enters readiness mode at this time, the code is intermittent and may be much more difficult to diagnose. If this is the case, the conditions which contributed to the code being stored may need to worsen before an accurate diagnosis can be made.

Step 2

If the code is immediately reset, the next step of your diagnosis will require that you search your vehicle information source for diagnostic flow-charts, connector pin-out charts, connector face views, and component testing procedures/specifications.

Step 3

Use the DVOM to test voltage, ground, and signal at the transmission input and output speed sensors (key on and engine off). Input and output speed sensor circuits typically consist of a reference voltage, a signal wire, and a ground.

Recommended Parts

Below are some recommended auto parts to help you address the trouble code affecting your vehicle and get it running smoothly again:

>>> GM Genuine Parts Clutch Pedal Position Switch
>>> Clutch Disc
>>> Pressure Plate
>>> Engine Speed Sensor
>>> ECU
>>> Autel Scanner MaxiCOM MK808S
>>> KAIWEETS Digital Multimeter

Note: During the purchasing process, please check carefully whether the part you want to buy fits your car!

Reference Sources

P081E Excessive Clutch B Slippage, OBD-Codes.

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