What is an FICM?
Nov 5th 2021
It’s well known that diesel engines use a mixture of air and fuel to produce energy. The fuel needs to enter the combustion chamber at just the right time to make sure enough power is generated to make the wheels turn. This can be a surprisingly complicated process filled with many moving parts and sensors, the most important of which is known as the fuel injector control module (FICM).
Every diesel engine needs a FICM. This crucial component controls virtually every aspect of the infection process, including the timing and pressure of the fuel. Learn more about this essential part and how it keeps your engine running at peak efficiency.
What Does the FICM Do?
The FICM controls the injectors that are responsible for injecting the fuel into the combustion chamber. The module instructs the injectors when and how much fuel to inject depending on the position of the engine in its cycle.
The FICM works differently based on the type of engine. In gasoline engines, the air and fuel are injected at the same time. However, in diesel engines, the FICM injects air first and then the fuel. Diesel engines also use direct injection, which means the cylinders insert the fuel directly into the combustion chamber, where it is then burned to generate fuel.
The module controls the electrical impulses that open and close the fuel injectors. At the start of the engine cycle, the engine will draw air into the combustion chamber and compress it. This is known as the compression stroke. Once this is complete, the FICM uses electrical impulses to signal to the injectors that it’s time to inject fuel into the engine cylinders. This actuates the pressure doors that allow the fuel to flow to the cylinders. The excess pressure in the combustion chamber helps burn the air and fuel without a spark or external source.
The diesel motor uses extremely high-pressure fuel to fill the cylinders when the door is open. Due to direct injection, the pressure needs to be high enough to push the fuel into the combustion chamber. The FICM ensures that fuel gets injected into the chamber at just the right time for maximum performance and fuel efficiency.
Diesel systems didn’t always work this way. In years past, the fuel control module used fly-weight governors to control the injection process. Today, the FICM relies on sensors and actuators to control the flow of fuel. The module collects information from the engine position sensor, fuel pressure sensor, injection pump speed sensor, and intake temperature sensor. They are usually pre-programmed to keep everything running properly.
The fuel injection control module uses anywhere from 45 to 50 volts of electricity to power the fuel injector, but the ideal voltage is 48 volts.
Possible Problems and Complications
The FICM won’t last forever. Some problems are bound to emerge as you rack up the miles.
There’s a chance the FICM will lose the required output voltage to control the fuel injectors. This means the injectors may fire at the wrong time. Without enough fuel in the combustion chamber, the engine may run lean or generate less power. FICM voltage will decrease overtime as the circuits get worn. The injector needs a minimum of 45 volts to operate the injector. If the FICM drops below this threshold, it should activate the check engine light, which will tell you that something’s wrong under the hood.
Other warning signs of a bad FICM may include hard starts, rough idling, and exhaust smoke coming out of the tailpipe. Watch out for these red flags to replace a failing FICM right away.
The sensors that the FICM relies on could also lose a signal, making it almost impossible for the module to do its job. If the FICM loses a signal entirely, the injectors may fail to fire altogether. There will be no fuel in the combustion chamber, and the vehicle won’t start.
The 6.0 Powerstroke FICM can be particularly problematic. It tends to lose voltage and signals with age. Engines with a faulty FICM tend to be hard to start. This will be your first warning that something’s not right.
The FICM may not be the problem if your fuel injectors fail to fire or your engine is running lean. The injectors also need oil from the high-pressure oil pump to do their job properly. The injection pressure regulator valve regulates the amount of oil coming from the HPOP. The valve opens and closes so that high-pressure oil can flow to the injectors.Find replacement Ford 6.0 IPR valves if your injectors fail to fire and the FICM seems to be working normally.
There could also be a problem with the turbocharger, which compresses the recycled exhaust to force more air into the combustion chamber. The turbo may be leaking exhaust due to a faulty turbo connector, which moves the air from one component of the engine to the next. A lack of oil will put additional pressure on the turbo housing and connector, which can lead to oxidation and leaks. The turbo housing could be clogged with excess carbon and soot.
If the turbo is the culprit and not the FICM, you may notice a whining sound coming from the engine as the turbo struggles to compress the exhaust.
Don’t forget to check your diesel particulate filter to make sure your engine is using clean fuel. Finding the source of the problem usually requires some trial and error. Consider visiting a mechanic if you can’t identify the problem.
The 6.0 Powerstroke diesel is known to cause trouble over time. Heavy hauling and poor maintenance will only put more stress on the fuel injection control model. It’s your job to adhere to the recommended maintenance schedule and pay attention to what’s going on under the hood, especially when towing heavy loads.
If you notice any one of these problems, you should contact your local mechanic or replacing the FICM outright.Shop for a new Ford powerstroke 6.0FICM to make sure your new engine gets enough fuel at the right time.
Neglecting these warning signs will only make the problem worse. You can drive with a bad FICM, but your truck will eventually fail to start altogether once the injectors can no longer fire, leaving you stranded without transportation.
The FICM is a complicated piece of machinery that uses electronic signals to control the flow of fuel. Watch out for warning signs that something is wrong with the system to keep your engine running at peak efficiency.
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