The Finicky FICM
This weekend I was to head north to Fargo, ND to pick up the ’52. That didn’t exactly go as planned. As I pulled out onto the road to leave, I got to about 2500 RPMs in Norris, and he lost all power, shuddered and really did not want to run. Let off the throttle and he was better. I could slowly creep up to normal speed, but this was not normal by any means.
Getting back home, I sat [back] down at my desk I was so eager to leave and started searching the Googles for what could be wrong. After looking thru a number of Ford/Powerstroke/Diesel forums I came up with the following potential issues in the order of both cost and pain to address:
- Fuel Filters ~ 60 bucks
- FICM ~ your time up to 700 for new part plus shop time
- HPOP ~ roughly 800 for new part plus shop time
- Turbo ~ varies
Issues with the HPOP and turbo would have other symptoms such as white smoke, rough idle, etc. I simply had no power at higher RPMs. The set of OEM Motorcraft filters from O’Reilly’s was 60$. By far the cheapest of the options.
The fuel filters, while dirty were not the issue. After doing some more checking online, I came back with the suggestion to look at the FICM. The FICM is the injector control module and should be sitting at about 45-48vdc at all times. You can have it scanned at a dealer, by taking off the access panel on the FICM (after removing the air intake, degas bottle etc. My choice was to use my Torque app on my Galaxy to read the real-time data from the OBDII port.
I found out I had the 48 volts with the key in the ON position, but after I started the engine, it dropped to 25-28v and slowly crept up to the mid-30s after the engine was up to normal operating temps.
To make a long story short, you can go ahead and google your own responses and the teardown process, but here is what needed to be done:
- Remove the FICM from the vehicle
- Split the FICM and remove the control module (the 1/2 size with the capacitors etc)
- Retouch the solder points on the 8 capacitors on the backside. These were a common point of failure.
- Retouch the resistors on the top of the board (see pic) – You can see that one of mine was loose from the board when I removed the coating
After tossing it all back together, I put the reader back on and turned it over. Started right up (no more slow, hard starting) and ran at full RPMs even when not up to full operating temp yet.
There are a number of places online you can get the rebuilt like Swamps, or replaced with another OEM FICM, or an upgraded one, such as from BPD.