A Real Medical Emergency
Author's note: This is not a slam of the VCM I. I own one and love it. There have been mixed reports from both the Ford dealerships and Independents that the Ford VCM I has issues with some newer platforms. I have successfully used it on several … Fords with no issues. This Transit van is the first one I've actually had an issue and I am creating this post so others will not lose 2+ hrs trying to recover a bricked PCM.
The vehicle in question is a 2015 Transit van, converted to an ambulance. Vehicle uptime is crucial, and literally lives depend on it being in service. When the DEF service message came on a week ago, someone elsewhere managed to pour the DEF into the fuel tank opening (the green diesel one), which is mounted directly above the DEF filler neck (the blue one). Insert relevant sarcastic joke here...
After $12K of Common Rail diesel parts were replaced to remove the DEF from the fuel system, the van came back in with DEF Reductant Circuit DTCs. A recommendation was made to update the PCM calibration, as there was supposedly a reflash to address this. IDS 110 with the Ford VCM I was being used for the reflash. After the flash event completed IDS showed a programming failure message and prompted the technician to re-attempt using Programmable Module Installation (PMI). All attempts to recover the PCM were unsuccessful, including BLANK PCM programming, PMI, As-Built and few other tricks I know. Every time IDS would start the programming process the system would power down (IPC went blank) and then at some point would abort the programming. Sometimes it was immediate, sometimes it would get 40-50% completed. The PCM always would communicate with IDS but would never complete a programming event. Two hours later and 40+ programming attempts we called the local dealer to see if we could "borrow" a VCM2. Short answer "NO" and we did not have another one close by so we called the parts department to find out how much a new PCM was for this van. $900. Yikes.
We ordered the new PCM, which had to be expedited from Detroit and the customer was not so happy that his Ambulance was now out of service at least two days. As a last ditch effort, we installed FJDS (FMP) software on a different laptop partition and purchased a 2 day subscription from Motorcraft Service for $49. Connected up the CarDaq Plus 2 to FJDS and the PCM took the flash the first time. Vehicle was back up and running in 15 minutes.
What is the moral of the story? Not sure, maybe some other guys/gals can chime in on their experiences with the VCM I and newer Fords?
Hi everyone my name is Gerry … my business is …in Sydney Australia.I specialize in diagnostics and programming.
We here in Australia have a difficult problem as we don't have the protection of our government with any laws as you guys have to the right to access
information and software.But hopefully the laws are to be changed soon under right of repair which should allow us similar rights as the USA.
So for us accessing software has been a struggle but i have managed to get a lot things done.
So what i have seen is that most of the manufactures have been changing their software and interface systems in particular on 2016 models and up.
The caution now is to realize that if the software and new interfaces are released, then the older systems may start to cause the issue you just had with programming fails and killing the ecu's.
I also own the cardaq m j2534 pass thru from you guys which has been great and it would be safer to use this on later model cars for programming
because it will be configured to the latest models and software under the j2534 protocol.
The only problem is that some of the manufactures only allow pcm and tcm with j2534 pass thru for programming so if you need to program other modules on late model cars then you may have to use the latest scanner interface that the manufacture has released and the latest software.
hope this helps
We program a lot of Fords here and I can tell you that issues like this are becoming more and more prevalent. Fords IDS support and tooling have been having more and more issues in recent months. We have encountered issues with missing as-built data, corrupt as-built data, incorrect calibration messages on new module installations, mising PMIs for modules, missing as-built data from OASIS and modules updating to the wrong software. I will say that the IDS support has also been less than stellar lately with delayed and sometimes even no response to requests. I suspect that the IDS support is overworked due to these issues worldwide. As well as the VCM1 issues on newer vehicles you also have the VCM2 issues on early model vehicles. It seems almost like engineering on the fly with the IDS recently. I hope they get their act together soon!!
Rick we have equipped all of our techs with VCM2. We were seeing to many issues with the 1 on the newer vehicles.