Slam Dunk, But Ricochets Off The Rim!

Jaime Diagnostician Ocala, Florida Posted   Latest  
Question
Driveability
2004 Ford F-150 XLT 4.6L (W) 4-spd (4R75E)—1FTRX12W84NC15905
Crank / No Start
Security Theft / No Start
Start-Stalling

Hello everyone, I hope you're well and staying healthy these days.

I am getting my "donkey" handed to me on this one! I'll try not to be too wordy in my request for some direction from you.

I've been called back in from retirement by someone who had always been a good customer when I was a mobile tech, to look at a truck that didn't get fixed by throwing parts at it. I've already traveled an hour - each way - on *SIX* occasions, in my attempts to get this truck fixed. This is a fairly plain 2004 F-150 (VIN: 1FTRX12W84NC15905, with 161,879.8 miles on it) that was *DRIVEN* in with the following complaints: Engine stalls intermittently (just like shutting off the key) mostly when coasting or if allowed to idle; Hard starting (cranking) at times (like the timing is way too far advanced) but it will crank, start and run "normally" most of the time; Intermittent lack of throttle response (that responds normally after a key-off for about ten seconds) and lastly, the MIL is lit.

The shop replaced the CKP based on the presence of the "Crankshaft Sensor code" (& out of precaution, a CMP as well). They cleared DTCs and test drove the vehicle four times. The first three test drives revealed no indications of any driveability problems but on the fourth one, it was hard to crank - like the ignition timing was too advanced. Eventually it started and ran okay until it stalled about ten seconds later. A recheck of DTCs showed the P0320 had returned. Since the shop is primarily an AC shop and lately the "feels like" temperatures have been close to 110 degrees (F), they called me asking if I'd lend a hand with this driveability problem so that they could attend to their overwhelming amount of Air Conditioning work.

Once there I ran a Network Test and saw ALL the DTCs (they failed to mention any other than the P0320 over the phone). Also present were a P0606, a P1000 & a P2106. I called the job a "Slam Dunk" when the IDS displayed "P0606 - (ECM)/(PCM) Processor"! I had them locate a replacement and once it arrived I installed it and attempted to program it to the vehicle. I wasn't able to program the PCM without some sort of error occurring part-way through the process and not always at the same point in the process. I verified my battery voltage and that the three PCM connectors were properly seated, etc., etc. Knowing IDS software has been reported as having "bugs" when programming "ever since IDS version 113.06", I was wondering if I'd just encountered one of those "bugs" on THIS job while using version 118.03.

Eventually, I think it was on the 5th attempt, I was finally able to read the message indicating "Programming Complete" along with the version number of software loaded in the vehicle. Attempting to gain "Security Access" proved excruciatingly painful too. Sometimes it would error immediately after the notice reminding the user it will take ten minutes to gain access, other times it would go part-way through the wait, then report "An Unknown Error" occurred (and kick me out). The IDS log recorded an "Abort" but doesn't show why. When it immediately errored, it would show "The diagnostic tester is unable to communicate with the module". Eventually I completed the task of registering two keys.

The truck ran, and ran very well but for only about 20 seconds before it stalled on its own accord. Attempts to restart it were unsuccessful. A KOEO test of the PCM indicated a P1000 and a CMDTC of P1620 (un-programmed key used) which was set during the programming process (as it should). I did get it restarted long enough to attempt to run a KOER test. It did not complete before the engine stalled again. I didn't shut the key off but when I tried to restart, it would not crank! Also noted were the MIL and the Alternator lights were not illuminated (both controlled by the PCM's signal to the IC). Later that evening while reviewing data and pictures I'd taken that day, I realized why the starter relay wasn't activated: There was an IDS Log entry of Freeze Frame data indicating "(RPM) : 454.5RPM" at a time when the engine wasn't running! Combining that information with the anomaly of the indicators and again, a P0606 DTC, the company from whom the module was purchased was searching for another module to send my customer.

This PCM was purchased from an aftermarket "remanufacturing" company located somewhere in South Florida that gave us no hassle once "P0606" was mentioned. Their representative said "that's one code we're unable to clear in that the module". Yeah, warm fuzzies weren't felt on our end. He also said since this module was so rare that he'd have to source one from somewhere else in the country, go over it, then send it to my customer. My research showed it is a module incompatible with any other Year/Make/Model or engine size so we were "at their mercy" when it came to sourcing one elsewhere.

Prior to when the replacement came, I updated the IDS to version 118.04, changed out all 8 coils, tried it with the throttle body electrically disconnected, checked for any TSBs/Recalls, searched iATN & the Diagnostic Network for clues to what I'd possibly missed. I even disconnected the Alternator but the truck still cranked "hard" and ran poorly. When it arrived, I programmed "Module #3" successfully (without any problems) HOWEVER, I was unable to be granted Security Access until around my sixth attempt. Once two keys were learned it ran GREAT! I performed the KOER test, started it over and over, cleared all DTCs from all modules and instructed the tech to go test drive it. He never made it out of the shop before it stalled, cranked hard and couldn't idle. From that time on I ran into many problems with the way the engine started or ran. It too set all kinds of codes, including a P0606. I spent several hours (again) trying to determine what might destroy the modules.

I've tried disconnecting the ABS Module (easiest to disconnect) but that didn't help anything. I successfully self-tested every module the truck would allow (ABS, PCM, IC, VSM & RCM). The waveform I captured of the CKP/CMP by back-probing the PCM looked like one of the "Known Good" displayed on iATN, I re-tensioned all the PCM Ground terminals and load-tested them to confirm their integrity. I back-probed all PCM Batt & IGN feeds and confirmed their voltage was very close to the battery's positive terminal. Unable to get this PCM to cooperate, I resorted to reinstalling the one the vehicle had when I first arrived. Attempts at performing Security Access to learn the keys again were a "no-go". Immediately after the "10-minute wait" reminder I'm presented with the "can't communicate with the module" error.

"Module #4" came from an out-of-state salvage yard. I did NOT program it thinking maybe the IDS software was corrupting the previous two modules, but instead went directly to the PATS functions. I never was granted security access. I reinstalled the ORIGINAL module and it too would no longer allow me security access, wouldn't even start the ten-minute "mother may I" wait. Could this be caused by a "Halo" that isn't working properly?

There are probably lots of details I've left out but the bottom line is this truck has gotten worse as time progressed. I'm aware the P0606 can be caused by the way the engine cranks, however, all of these other problems while programming, and the results of having the engine crank hard, run like crap and stall are baffling me. The DataLogger indication of RPM (confirmed by the Tachometer indicating the same RPM) while the engine wasn't running seems like a bad module to me but, three of them?

I thought this job was going to be "A Slam Dunk", but the basketball seems to have ricocheted off the rim! What am I missing? What 

am I doing "wrong"? Any help will be appreciated.

Thank you!

P.S. - I'll provide the IDS Log files if anyone is interested in seeing it (them).

+4
Interesting
Caleb Diagnostician
Mishawaka, Indiana
Caleb Default
 

Nice write up Jamie! I do not want to take away from all the time you have put into this truck but I do have one idea. When you say the engine cranks hard an you have a P0606 the first thing that goes off in my mind is a ground problem between the starter an the negative battery terminal. I have seen on occasion various modules set "internal fault, internal malfunction, software error " etc…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Hi Caleb! Thanks for your reply. I'm in full agreement with you (and your testing methods). It seems there is a poor connection at times that may be causing all these problems. I'll know more Monday when I return to the shop. Thanks again!

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Robert Mobile Technician
Newark, Delaware
Robert Default
 

Kudos for sticking with it for so long. My head hurts from just reading the post. Lol I'm pretty certain the pats is in the pcm on that one. You mentioned getting errors while trying to program. So you have a way to bench flash it to verify it's a vehicle problem vs a module problem. I have a bench flash setup if you don't and want to send me one of them to see if it flashes with no issues. I'm…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Hi Robert! Thanks for replying. I don't know if my bulldog tendencies will pay off this time but... (ha ha) Yes, PATS is in the PCM. I do not have a bench-top programmer for Ford modules but have in the past wired them to be flashed outside of the vehicle networks before. Your idea about finding another truck is good, there are several at a store next to the shop. I'm thinking though, it's…

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Dave Mobile Technician
Ironton, Ohio
Dave Default
 

Hi Jamie, this may be way off base on your problem, but I have seen after market starter relays that are not diode protected that would spike and kill a pcm on the first crank up. This is the one on the firewall.

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Hi Dave! Thanks for replying. I'll look Monday to see if the Starter Relay (or the Starter Solenoid) are lacking the clamping diodes. Great reminder buddy! Thanks again!

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Allan Owner
Sterling, Virginia
Allan Default
   

I had a very Similar truck that was running bad and they did a “tune up”. After they replaced the plugs it no longer ran. They replaced all the coils. Still no run. If you cranked it it would lose comm to pcm. I disconnected 4 coils, same thing. Tried the other 4, same. Disconnected all coils and pcm comm remained good. I looked at it and everything checked out so I told them to get a set of…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

I was able to graph the RPM, VBatt and BATT PIDS while cranking so, I guess I never lost comm with the PCM. However I did see the voltages drop below 8 VDC when the engine kicked back while cranking - which the tech and I both thought wouldn't be too unusual with a battery that's not fully charged due to all the cranking we had done. Thanks for chiming in though. Your spark plug dilemma…

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Chris Technical Support Specialist
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

The fact that you can not normally access pats on multiple modules leads me to believe there is a vehicle issue more so than a module issue. Pats security access will typically boot you for voltage issues, pats related dtc's, or can traffic/corruption issues. If the transceiver was faulty and triggering a DTC I would expect it to not allow security access but with no DTC's for the transceiver I…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Hi Chris! Thanks for your reply. I agree... vehicle issue vs module issue (after 4 having similar problems). I LOVE your idea about leaving only the important connector attached to the PCM. I never thought about that - which would eliminate MANY items controlled by the PCM from influencing the module if shorted. I'd done the EGR Motor and Throttle Motor but none others. GREAT idea! I also…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Chris, it was easy to make accessible the two IPC electrical connectors so I did so, and disconnected the ABS module before attempting to gain Security Access. It didn't help. I think the connection at the Positive Battery Cable (to the vehicle wiring, not the battery post) was the reason I couldn't do so last Friday. Thanks again for your suggestions.

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Rick Diagnostician
The Woodlands, Texas
Rick Default
 

Jamie, Did you check for aftermarket devices on the network? They are the number 1 cause of programming failures on trucks here. I use a rule to try and narrow down programming failures that may be useful here. If a programming sequence fails in a different spot every time, I start looking for network interference. If it fails in the same spot every time it is usually a bad module unless it is…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Troy, Missouri
Scott Default
 

Good point. In my mind, I would run a dedicated wire to the module and retry to conclusively rule it out. (or in)

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

I've not ruled that out --- depending on the simplicity of isolating the modules off the network. Thanks!

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Hi Rick! Thanks for your reply. Yes, when I experienced the first programming issue I immediately started looking for Insurance company/used car lot devices used for tracking, Aftermarket Radio, DVD Players, etc. but found none. I could only reach the ABS module the other day, disconnected it, but that changed nothing. I intend to have the cluster and ABS done Monday, and the other two modules…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Troy, Missouri
Scott Default
 

Years ago I was working on a Ford Diesel 7.3 that had a PCM problem. During that testing it was presented to me that the trans range sensor can short out and cause damage to the PCM. You can probably search it on iatn. At that time a guy who was into repairing modules (Doug Montgomery?) was able to test and repair the module. Not sure if the same thing applies here, but might be easy to bypass…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Hi Scott! Thanks for replying. Yes, I remember reading about those trans switches getting water in them. Chris has reminded me I can disconnect the Engine & the Trans Connectors from the PCM and still flash it in case something was shorted and interfering with the process. I'll try again Monday when I return to the shop. Thanks again!

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Brian Diagnostician
Seneca, South Carolina
Brian Default
 

Check to see if the ignition coil suppressor is bolted to the fuel rail and plugged up...... I have had that thing drive computers crazy..

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

There's one on each side, and yes, both are connected. I was seeing a lot of noise in the Injector FEED circuit (not the control side, but know it was probably there too) which led me to checking their connections. Thank you for your reply!

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Eric Owner/Technician
Edgerton, Wisconsin
Eric Default
 

Jaime, I had a 2004 F-150, in fact it's back here again today to check for an exhaust leak, that had problems similar to yours. After 2 replacement PCM's it was brought to me. The original PCM was replaced due to intermittent stall and hard cranking like advanced timing. The first replacement lasted 50 miles and started doing the same thing. The second replacement didn't make it out of the…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Eric, thank you for your reply! This sounds exactly like what I'm facing. I had not monitored the power supplies or grounds while attempting to flash, nor had I load tested the battery cables/connections (but did load the 4 PCM Ground terminals and the 3 power supply terminals at some point). I'll go back Monday and hopefully fix this truck!

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Although the nut was tight AND I never registered any significant voltage drop across the connection, I just had to satisfy my curiosity about it. Here's a picture of the Positive battery terminal to vehicle wiring connection prior to my cleaning it. Doing so didn't fix the truck however. After cleaning the connection and checking all powers and grounds once again (both by using Load Pro and a…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

I neglected to mention: The P0606 that wouldn't erase was gone when I discharged all the capacitors in the vehicle. The Module "Rebuilders" in Miami had said they know of no way to repair the PCM that have those "Internal Module Fault" DTCs.

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Bob Owner/Technician
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Bob Default
   

Jamie, I Have seen P0606 caused by a faulty O2 sensor. Maybe disconnect all the sensors and see if anything changes. My thinking is that if the heater power is shorting to the signal line it could be like hitting the PCM with a stun gun.

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Hi Bob! I'm now suspecting you may have hit the nail on its head! Yesterday while I was recording data the IDS was presenting, the engine stalled. In the playback I noticed both rear O2 Sensors were reading 0.01 VDC! The shop's tech will be disconnecting them today and report back to me later. Thanks again for lending assistance.

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Gary Owner/Technician
Buena Vista, Colorado
Gary Default
 

Hello, Jaimie! I once had a 2003 GMC Yukon plague me for six months with a random loss of power complaint. Testing showed no voltage drop on battery negative to engine when cranked in the shop. What I eventually discovered was that the electronic throttle would default during cold weather starting, leaving a circuit-related code (I can't remember the exact DTC). Replacing what I diagnosed as a…

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Default
 

Good morning Gary! Thanks for your input. It is never a "bad" thing to share our nightmare jobs because it might trigger thoughts in the minds of those currently having their own nightmare. I too have witnessed grounds that were only affected by certain environmental conditions. Those can sometimes be revealed to us when loaded. This nightmare truck of mine has yet to show me the weak point…

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