ICM location 96 Thunderbird 4.6 ? - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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ICM location 96 Thunderbird 4.6 ?

Car sometimes won't start, sometimes starts and runs smooth for a while then suddenly tac drops to 0 then back to normal. Seems like maybe it is loosing spark at times. threw a code related to ignition malfuction. Replace the crank position sensor, no change. Fuel pressure was sometimes low so also replaced the fuel pump, still no change.

I have purchased a new ICM for it but can't locate it on the car. I've been looking on the web for info as to the location of this part and I have found conflicting info as to its location including the radiator support, right fender, under dash near steering column and that is doesn't have one at all. The part was listed in the part catalog for the car and I was able to buy one so I am assuming that it does exist on the car but I can not locate it.

Can anyone point me in the right direction here?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 02:36 PM
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What parts catalog did you find it in?? Did you purchase one for a 95?

I believe The 96 V8 ECM has an integrated ignition control module.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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I ordered it from Rock Auto, they show it for both the 96 and 97 as well as the 95. Appears to be the same part on all 3 listings.
1996 FORD THUNDERBIRD 4.6L V8 Ignition Control Module (ICM) | RockAuto
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:15 PM
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That part is not on your car, as bulldog said the ICM is integrated into the PCM in 96. On 94-95s it's located on the passenger side shock tower, behind the intake tube

-Matt
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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That would explain why I could not locate it and some of the conflicting information I have found online. I guess I am going to need to take the car into the dealership and see if they can isolate the problem. I was hoping to avoid that but at this point I really don't know what else to do with it.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Well I had the car towed to the dealership today, while there I asked about the ICM hopefully to get a definitive answer and be able to return the one I purchased. The parts guy looked it up on his system and said that it does indeed show one and had a diagram of sorts as to where it was but he could not make it out so I ended up leaving the part with the car and putting a note on the service ticket just in case it does have it and that is the problem. They said they would probably not be able to get to it before Tuesday so now I'll just have to wait and see what they find.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 08:47 PM
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There definitively isn't one, take my word for it. I swapped a 96 computer into my 1994 in part to satisfy my superficial desire not to have an unsightly ignition control module on the shock tower, there's nothing between the coilpacks and computer. Now there is an IRCM which the shop may be pulling up, which maybe they're mistaking for an ICM, but that is unrelated.

To me the symptoms you describe suggest a bad alternator, I'd have it tested before proceeding to throw parts at it.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Really, I never would have guessed alternator. It is the original alternator but it has always kept the battery charged and never seemed to be an issue though I did read somewhere that it could cause interference with the signal from the crank sensor.

I guess at this point I just need to wait and see what they say once they get it into the garage. Hopefully they will be able to tell me what is wrong.

As for the ICM yes I am pretty well convinced that it is not there and was hoping that the Ford dealer would confirm this but of course they didn't so they left enough doubt that I did not want to return the part just yet.


Thanks
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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The car has been at the dealer now for almost a week and they have not yet determined what the problem is with it

One thing I had not thought of before is that the car does have what appears to be an after market alarm on it. There is a viper sticker on the window and the siren under the hood definitely does not look to be factory installed.

Could the issues I am having be due to an issue with the alarm?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 01:42 PM
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I had a similar problem recently. Check your grounds, battery to frame, battery to engine and frame to engine. that little problem can burn up an alternator pretty quick.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Well finally heard from the dealership. They said it is the PCM that is at fault.
I looked for it on rock auto but am confused as the part they have listed there is listed as PowerTrain Control Module Relay
More Information for AIRTEX/WELLS 1R1573

Is that the correct part?
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 03:51 PM
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That is the IRCM/CCRM, all it is is a pack of relays, mounted ahead of the airbox. The PCM is inside the passenger compartment behind and above the passenger side kick panel.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I thought that seemed odd, can't seem to find a listing for the PCM at rock auto.
Guess I'll call the local auto zone and see if they can get one.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I am still confused a bit here. I did a search online and come up with this
1996 Ford Thunderbird 4.6L - PCM ECM ECU Engine Computer | Flagship One

If I look up ECM on rock auto I get this
More Information for A-1 CARDONE 787060

I am surprised how that one site uses PCM and ECM like they are the same thing.

Does the TBird have a PCM and a ECM or is there just the one unit. After ordering the supposed ICM for it I am not very confident in the part listings at this point.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 05:50 PM
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ECM is Electronic Control Module; technically, a 1991 XR7 or SC has several.

A PCM, Powertrain Control Module, is just one example of a ECM, Electronic Control Module.

Think "Kleenex" and "Facial Tissue" *grins*

RwP

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 06:51 PM
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ECM can also be Engine Control Module. Sort of how buying exhaust parts sellers will use ID interchangeably with ID --- Inner Diameter =/= Inlet Diameter (I'm talking to you CARiD!)

-Matt
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Yep I was thinking Engine Control Module and Powertrain Control Module and that they were referring to two different things.
I am definitely out of my element here. I used to do all my own repairs but that has been a while and things have changed.
Most of my experience is on cars from the 60s and 70s. The thunderbird is the first car I have owned with a lot of sensors and such and until recently had almost no trouble with it.

I think I am going to bring it home and dive into it myself again. The dealer wants $850 which seems a bit high to the tune of about $500 above what I would expect.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-13-2017, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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So I had the car towed back to my house. The computer was disconnected and laying in the floor.
I ordered a computer and installed it today.
Car runs fine now but the Tac is not registering anything at all.

Could there be something they disconnected at the dealership while trouble shooting?
Hopefully it is not an issue with the computer I just put in.

Any hints on what to check?
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by WillA_56 View Post
So I had the car towed back to my house. The computer was disconnected and laying in the floor.
I ordered a computer and installed it today.
Car runs fine now but the Tac is not registering anything at all.

Could there be something they disconnected at the dealership while trouble shooting?
Hopefully it is not an issue with the computer I just put in.

Any hints on what to check?
If everything but the tac is working, I would doubt the PCM is bad. Generally, when a chip fails, more than one thing stops working properly. But, there is of course the odd exception.

Did you reset the PCM with a scan tool? Try that first. Just remember to not do this right before having a vehicle inspected, or it will fail state OBD checks -- you have to drive it a few miles to clear the emission monitors to make it ready for inspection.

Since you're digging in, if you really want to get to know your PCM, you need a good scan tool (laptop adapter type), a breakout box and a schematic diagram. Be prepared to shell out some dough for the first two of those, but there's no better way to diagnose computer probs -- you can also change parameters (tune) with a good bidirectional scan tool.
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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I have a blue tooth dongle and an app on my tablet. It gives me a lot of info but not as much as I had hoped.
The dongle I think is a kiwi II and the app I am using is ODB auto doctor pro.

I have not yet driven the car enough to bring all the sensors online.
After I got it started it was making a new and strange tick/tap that concerned me a bit so I did not run it long before looking for the source of the issue. Turned out to be a frayed belt tapping again the alternator as the frayed portion passed by.
I did hook the dongle to it and looked at some of the data on my tablet. RPMs were reading properly through the app. Engine running smooth. fuel air mixtures look much better than before.

The TAC moves just a little when I turn the key on and a little when I turn it off but other wise motionless.
I checked the connection at the coil pack, tried reconnecting it and tried giggling it while having someone watch the tac but nothing.

I pulled the battery cable before installing the computer, have not cleared it since install.
my app was showing one pending code related to the evap system. I think it was P1443. I haven't dived into that yet but am sure it should have nothing to do with the TAC not working. I suspect something that was done at the garage as being the source, just not sure exactly where to look other than the connection to the coil.

I'll try reseting the codes and drive it some more and see what happens.
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post #21 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 02:42 PM
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The TAC moves just a little when I turn the key on and a little when I turn it off but other wise motionless.
I checked the connection at the coil pack, tried reconnecting it and tried giggling it while having someone watch the tac but nothing.
Do you mean it moves with the key merely turned to on and off positions, or do you mean it moves when the engine is cranking/running and then again when the engine is shut off?

Intermittents like this can be hard to troubleshoot. Offhand, I suppose you could have either a harness wiring issue (engine vibrations causing intermittent connect/disconnect in a broken wire), if it moves when the engine is running or stopping, or perhaps the mechanic you had looking at it messed with the instrument cluster for some reason and caused a flaky connection at the tach terminal -- if memory serves, the tach is a plug-in module.
Try the easiest stuff first, of course. But if all else fails, you might remove the instrument cluster clear lens and tap around on the tach with a finger and see if it springs to life with the engine running. Maybe remove the tach, clean the contacts, then reinstall.

Could have other electrical issues. A battery about to go bad will cause weird issues. An alternator on its last legs can cause weird issues. Bad grounding. The list goes on...

You could take it back to the garage and tell them, "Hey, this tach was functional before you guys worked on my car, and now it's not. You have to fix it." See how well that goes.
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post #22 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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The TAC just barely moves when the ignition to turned to on and again when turned to off. Does nothing at any other time.

I had the car at two different garages, the first one could not get to the bottom of the issue but I think they did try swapping out the coil packs so that was the first place I looked. The second was the dealership. I do not know what all they did other than remove the computer.

I am going to be by the first garage in a couple of days to have the car inspected, they are nice guys there so I'll talk with them a bit about it and see if any light is shed on the issue.
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post #23 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 02:09 PM
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If your dongle will support it open the PID for engine RPM and see what the ECM thinks it is, if it sees correct RPM ( i think it does if it is driving fine) start looking into a problem in the gauge cluster or the harness somewhere between the ECM and cluster.

Gotta go clean up old wiring issues in my crap box now.. have fun
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