Powertrain Control Software


The increased number of modules on the vehicle dictates a more efficient method of communication. Multiplexing is the process of communicating several messages over the same signal path. This process allows multiple modules to communicate with each other through the signal path (BUS+/BUS-). Modules communicate with the powertrain control module using Standard Corporate Protocol (SCP) which determines the priority in which the signals are sent. (Refer to Standard Corporate Protocol for more information.) Multiplexing reduces the weight of the vehicle by reducing electrical wiring.

Standard Corporate Protocol
The Standard Corporate Protocol (SCP) is a communication language used by Ford Motor Company for exchanging bi-directional messages (signals) between stand-alone modules and devices. Two or more signals can be sent over one circuit.

Included in these messages is diagnostic data that is output over the BUS+ and BUS - lines to the data link connector (DLC). This information is accessible with a scan tool. Information on this equipment is described in Section 2, Diagnostic Methods.

Flash Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory
The Flash Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM) is an Integrated Circuit (IC) within the PCM. This IC contains the software code required by the PCM to control the powertrain. One feature of the EEPROM is that it can be electrically erased and then reprogrammed without removing the PCM from the vehicle. If a software change is required to the PCM, the module no longer needs to be replaced, but can be reprogrammed at the dealership through the DLC.

Idle Air Trim
Idle Air Trim is designed to adjust the Idle Air Control (IAC) calibration to correct for wear and aging of components. When engine conditions meet the learning requirement, the strategy monitors the engine and determines the values required for ideal idle calibration. The Idle Air Trim values are stored in a table for reference. This table is used by the PCM as a correction factor when controlling idle speed. The table is stored in Keep Alive Random Access Memory (RAM) and retains the learned values even after the engine is shut off. A Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) is output if the Idle Air Trim has reached its learning limits.

Whenever an IAC component is replaced or cleaned or a service affecting idle is performed, it is recommended that Keep Alive RAM be cleared. This is necessary so the idle strategy does not use the previously learned Idle Air Trim values.

To clear Keep Alive RAM, refer to PCM Reset in Section 2. It is important to note that erasing DTCs with a scan tool does not reset the Idle Air Trim table.

Once Keep Alive RAM has been reset, the engine must idle for 15 minutes (actual time varies between strategies) to learn new idle air trim values. Idle quality will improve as the strategy adapts. Adaptation occurs in four separate modes. The modes are shown in the following table.


Transmission Range Air Conditioning Mode

Fuel Trim
The fuel control system uses the fuel trim table to compensate for normal variability of the fuel system components caused by wear or aging. During closed loop vehicle operation, if the fuel system appears "biased" lean or rich, the fuel trim table will shift the fuel delivery calculations to remove the bias. The fuel system monitor has two means of adapting Short Term Fuel Trim (FT) and Long Term Fuel Trim (FT). Short Term FT is referred to as LAMBSE and Long Term FT references the fuel trim table.

Short Term Fuel Trim (Short Term FT) (displayed as SHRTFT1 and SHRTFT2 on the scan tool) is a parameter that indicates short-term fuel adjustments. Short Term FT is commonly referred to as LAMBSE. LAMBSE is calculated by the PCM from HO2S inputs and helps maintain a 14.7:1 air/fuel ratio during closed loop operation. This range is displayed in percentage (%). A negative percentage means that the HO2S is indicating RICH and the PCM is attempting to lean the mixture. Ideally, Short Term FT may remain near 0% but can adjust between -25% to +35%.

Long Term Fuel Trim (Long Term FT) (displayed as LONGFT1 and LONGFT2 on the scan tool) is the other parameter that indicates long-term fuel adjustments. Long Term FT is also referred to as Fuel Trim. Long Term FT is calculated by the PCM using information from the Short Term FT to maintain a 14.7:1 air/fuel ratio during closed loop operation. The Fuel Trim strategy is expressed in percentages. The range of authority for Long Term FT is from -35% to +35%. The ideal value is near 0% but variations of ±20% are acceptable. Information gathered at different speed load points are stored in fuel trim cells in the fuel trim tables, which can be used in the fuel calculation.

Short Term FT and Long Term FT work together. If the HO2S indicates the engine is running rich, the PCM will correct the rich condition by moving Short Term FT in the negative range (less fuel to correct for a rich combustion). If after a certain amount of time Short Term FT is still compensating for a rich condition, the PCM "learns" this and moves Long Term FT into the negative range to compensate and allows Short Term FT to return to a value near 0%.

As the fuel control and air metering components age and vary from nominal values, the fuel trim learns corrections while in closed loop fuel control. The corrections are stored in a table that is a function of engine speed and load. The tables reside in Keep Alive Random Access Memory (RAM) and are used to correct fuel delivery during open and closed loop. As changing conditions continue the individual cells are allowed to update for that speed load point. If, during the adaptive process, both Short Term FT and Long Term FT reach their high or low limit and can no longer compensate, the MIL is illuminated and a DTC is stored.

Whenever a fuel injector or fuel pressure regulator is replaced, Keep Alive RAM should be cleared. This is necessary so the PCM does not use the previously learned fuel trim values.

To clear Keep Alive RAM, refer to PCM Reset in Section 2, Diagnostic Methods.

Idle Speed Control Closed Throttle Determination
One of the fundamental criteria for entering rpm control is an indication of closed throttle. Throttle mode is always calculated to the lowest learned throttle position (TP) voltage seen since engine start. This lowest learned value is called "ratch," since the software acts like a one-way ratch. The ratch value (voltage) is displayed as the TPREL PID. The ratch value is relearned after every engine start. Ratch will learn the lowest, steady TP voltage seen after the engine starts. In some cases, ratch can learn higher values of TP. The time to learn the higher values is significantly longer than the time to learn the lower values. The brakes must also be applied to learn the longer values.

All PCM functions are done using this ratch voltage, including idle speed control. The PCM goes into closed throttle mode when the TP voltage is at the ratch (TPREL PID) value. Increase in TP voltage, normally less than 0.05 volts, will put the PCM in part throttle mode. Throttle mode can be viewed by looking at the TP MODE PID. With the throttle closed, the PID must read C/T (closed throttle). Slightly corrupt values of ratch can prevent the PCM from entering closed throttle mode. An incorrect part throttle indication at idle will prevent entry into closed throttle rpm control, and could result in a high idle. Ratch can be corrupted by a throttle position sensor or circuit that "drops out" or is noisy, or by loose/worn throttle plates that close tight during a decel and spring back at a normal engine vacuum.

Fail-Safe Cooling Strategy
Only vehicles that have a cylinder head temperature (CHT) sensor will have the fail-safe cooling strategy. This strategy is activated by the PCM only in the event that an over heating condition has been identified. This strategy provides engine temperature control when the cylinder head temperature exceeds certain limits. The cylinder head temperature is measured by the CHT sensor. For additional information, refer to PCM Inputs for a description of the CHT sensor.

A cooling system failure such as low coolant or coolant loss could cause an over heating condition. As a result, damage to major engine components could occur. Along with a CHT sensor, a special cooling strategy is used to prevent damage by allowing air cooling of the engine. The vehicle can be safely driven for a short time with some loss of performance.

Engine temperature is controlled by varying and alternating the number of disabled fuel injectors. This allows all cylinders to cool. When the fuel injectors are disabled, their respective cylinders work as air pumps, and this air is used to cool the cylinders. The more fuel injectors that are disabled, the cooler the engine runs, but the engine has less power.

A wide open throttle (WOT) delay is incorporated if the CHT temperature is exceeded during WOT operation. At WOT, the injectors will function for a limited amount of time allowing the customer to complete a passing maneuver.

Before injectors are disabled, the fail-safe cooling strategy alerts the customer to a cooling system problem by moving the instrument cluster temperature gauge to the hot zone. Depending on the vehicle, other indicators, such as an audible chime or warning lamp, can be used to alert the customer of fail-safe cooling. If over heating continues, the strategy begins to disable the fuel injectors, a DTC is stored in the PCM memory, and a malfunction indicator light (MIL) (either CHECK ENGINE or SERVICE ENGINE SOON), comes on. If the over heating condition continues and a critical temperature is reached, all fuel injectors are turned off and the engine is disabled.

Failure Mode Effects Management
Failure Mode Effects Management (FMEM) is an alternate system strategy in the PCM designed to maintain engine operation if one or more sensor inputs fail.

When a sensor input is perceived to be out-of-limits by the PCM, an alternative strategy is initiated. The PCM substitutes a fixed value and continues to monitor the incorrect sensor input. If the suspect sensor operates within limits, the PCM returns to the normal engine operational strategy.

All FMEM sensors display a sequence error message on the scan tool. The message may or may not be followed by Key On Engine Off or Continuous Memory DTCs when attempting Key On Engine Running Self-Test Mode.

Engine RPM/Vehicle Speed Limiter
The powertrain control module (PCM) will disable some or all of the fuel injectors whenever an engine rpm or vehicle over speed condition is detected. The purpose of the engine rpm or vehicle speed limiter is to prevent damage to the powertrain. The vehicle will exhibit a rough running engine condition, and the PCM will store a Continuous Memory DTC P1270. Once the driver reduces the excessive speed, the engine will return to the normal operating mode. No repair is required. However, the technician should clear the PCM and inform the customer of the reason for the DTC.

Excessive wheel slippage may be caused by sand, gravel, rain, mud, snow, ice, etc. or excessive and sudden increase in rpm while in neutral or while driving.

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