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Engine ECM

Brent Zier

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Car manufacturers are only required to produce replacement parts for 10 years. I learned this on our '95 Windstar when the ECM (PCM in Ford lingo) did this in year 12:

Pssssfffttt (insert fizzle out burn up sound).

I learned the ECM was not longer available and had to resort to remanufactured PCM's, which had no warranty and were non-returnable. We had a hard time getting one that would work right. We finally got one and the car ran great for a couple of months and then went pssssssffffttt on us. I eventually went to EBAY to find a 12 year old ECM, which ran OK, but not great. These were all about $400 around back in 2007.

I was talking to my FORD parts manager, he had the same experience on a 2003 Ford. 

Then we talked about ALL the electronics in today's cars and the center of all of that is the ECM: It gets a lot of use.

So I decided I would get myself a used ECM out of a 2016 GT with an auto trans W/matching numbers - NOW - so I would have a spare in the future.

So then I went to locate the ECM on the GT-H to get the numbers, and OMG, it is only about 6" from the front of engine, at exhaust manifold height (passenger side)!  

I have seen services that will reprogram an ECM to your VIN, but I don't want to go that route. I have found after making many modifications to cars over the years that there is nothing better than FORD OEM parts. I just do not want to have any drivability issues with the GT-H in the future should the ECM fail. No ECM turns a car into a paper weight.

Also, if you decide to go and look for a Mustang ECM, you will find it will cross-reference to the F Series 5.0. DON'T GO THERE. It may have the same top part number, but it is all about the second line down - the tune.

A F-150 has 385HP, not 435HP - and the truck 5.0 tune is for torque whereas the GT 5.0 is for performance (a dah moment).

2016 Mustangs have about 10 different ECM's. And there have been revisions between 2015 and 2016 and beyond.

My feel is the 2016 GT Auto is the smallest population. Most GT's seem to be manual transmissions. On car-parts.com, most 2016's are Eco-Boost 4's and standard 6's. People sure know how to crash them! Not many GT's are seen.

The first 12 SC manual transmission cars will have a different ECM than the automatic.

My car is built 03/2016 - I suspect most GT-H's are the same build date.  

I can post a picture of the ECM with numbers. I only see this set of numbers with 2016 "build" dates (door frame sticker). This will cover 2016 Models and into some part of 2017 Models.

If you want to take a quick look at yours: the top number of mine ends in CLB (there are two different ones that end in CLB): The bottom number ends in BCA (only one).

Recyclers like to sell the ECM with the engine, so either diligence persistence or patience will work.

I have found 3 in the last 6 weeks, average about $150 each + shipping. 2 from a 2016 and 1 from a 2017 (likely a late 2016 build date).

So now I have numbers matching spares should mine ever fail. And they have low miles on them. Numbers matching will always be good to keep the car original.

PS: the ECM is not plug & play - you have to have your keys (4) programmed to the replacement ECM since it is the SMART FOB that allows the car to start.

I also bought an extra steering wheel. That is a part the can get worn. You just cant keep your hands off of it.

Next Project: ECM heat shield! Any suggestions? Brent



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Nice that you want to do that , but …….there are dozens of outfits that supply ECM’s either remanufactured, refurb, or new and they offer re-flashing. I’m not to  going store one of these things when they will be plenty available for years to come. You would probably be better off investing your money in parts that are unique to the 2016 GT-H because those are going to be the hard to find parts years down the road.

Edited by mhr1961
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