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6.0L Diesel Fuel Injection Control Module Upgrade

Ford introduced the 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 in 2003, as a new and purportedly better replacement for the 7.3. Both engines used electronic fuel injection, but while the 1994-2003 7.3 was controlled by an injector control module, or ICM, the new 6.0L engine used a new unit called the fuel injection control module, or FICM. All 6.0L Power Stroke engines built from 2003 until 2010 use a FICM, but not all FICMs are the same. Ford used both four-pin and seven-pin designs; the differences are internal, however, and both types will work on any 6.0L Power Stroke.

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The FICM has been a source of problems for owners of the 6.0. The most common complaints involve hard starting and poor cold-weather starting. Other issues that can be traced back to a cranky FICM are loss of power, excessive smoking (of the engine, not the driver), rough idle, and, of course, not starting at all. If you have experienced these problems with your 6.0L Ford, it could mean you have a weak or failing FICM module. The obvious solution is a replacement FICM from Ford, but they’re expensive and prone to the exact same problems, as Ford has never altered the design.

1 The FICM on this F-350 is mounted over the driver’s side valve cover. Before taking the FICM out of the truck, remove the service cover and do a diagnostic test (as outlined in the truck’s service manual) to see if it’s actually bad.

2 A simple voltmeter is all that’s needed to do the initial testing of the FICM. If it tests bad, remove it. If not, look for other issues that could be causing the trouble.

3 After disconnecting the battery, the FICM can be unbolted and unplugged for removal.

Bullet Proof Diesel has made a business out of fixing the multitude of known issues with the 6.0, so naturally they have a fix for a weak or dying FICM—in fact, they have several.

The lower-cost solution comes in the form of a replacement FICM power supply, which plugs into the original control board. One advantage to this method is that it preserves any FICM flash updates that may have been installed by the dealer when the truck was in for service. If the FICM is replaced, it should be flashed with the latest updates.

4 The cover plate is removed from the top of the FICM. Normally, the cover is removed for under-hood testing; we recommend replacing it before removing the FICM in order to prevent damage.

5 With the cover window removed, you will see either four or seven pins. This tells you which type of FICM you have. These screws must be removed to disassemble the FICM.

6 With the screws under the window cover removed, flip the FICIM over, remove the eight screws that hold the case together, and carefully pry the two halves apart.

7 This is the inside of a stock FICM. When upgrading just the power supply, the upper half of the case and the control board are retained. Replacing the entire unit is always an option, but more often than not it’s the power supply, rather than the control board, that’s the source of the problem.

8 Here we see the Bullet Proof FICM power supply on the left and the OEM unit on the right. The Bullet Proof part seen here has the six-phase upgrade. Both four- and six-phase Bullet Proof power supplies are superior to the OEM unit.

9 Bullet Proof’s six-phase FICM boards come set at the standard 48 volts, same as the four-phase and OEM units. However, the six-phase boards can be set to output either 53 or 58 volts. Higher voltage is said to offer better performance, but the 58-volt setting can set soft codes. This FICM is being modified to the 53-volt setting.

10 When reassembling the FICM with the Bullet Proof power supply, the OEM gasket is reused.

11 The OEM control board combines with the Bullet Proof power supply to form a new and improved FICM. The Bullet Proof power supply features a thicker, vibration-resistant circuit board.

12­­ The FICM is reassembled in reverse order of disassembly.

13 Here you see the OEM inspection plate and the new billet aluminum one from Bullet Proof.

14 The new and improved FICM is now ready to be installed in your truck.

15 Your new Bullet Proof Diesel upgraded FICM is installed in reverse order of removal. The upgraded unit should provide you with years of service.

16 Bullet Proof offers FICM upgrades with either an OEM black finish or a custom blue that stands out on any Ford 6.0L.

If you choose the complete-replacement route, Bullet Proof offers FICMs with a choice of four- or six-phase power supply. Bullet Proof’s four-phase unit is an improvement over the OEM four-phase supply, while the six-phase unit has two additional and redundant circuits that spread the workload and add reliability. The six-phase version of the board has user-selectable settings to increase the voltage output from the standard 48 volts to either 53 or 58 volts. The advantage of a higher voltage output is said to be better starting and improved performance. However, there have been reports of FICMs set at 58 volts causing the ECU to toss soft codes for FICM over-voltage. The install seen here was done at 53 volts and after several months of use, has not yet set a code.

Follow along and we’ll show how you upgrade the FICM on your Ford 6.0L. DW

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SOURCES
Bullet Proof Diesel
480-247-2331
www.BulletProofDiesel.com

Domestic Diesel
909-664-7679
www.DomesticDieselShop.com