There's still a fair bit of confusion going around as to why we here at Stage 3 Motorsports and the folks over at 5-Star Tuning need you to get your truck's PCM updated to the latest software/firmware versions issued as Ford Technical Service Bulletins or TSBs for short. The short, simple answer is that the latest Ford PCM software is needed so that 5-Star can get you the most reliable and powerful custom tune that they can. The more complicated answer is that there are fairly serious issues with Ford's early PCM software and firmware versions that may not rear their ugly heads until your truck is tuned, and 5-Star's tuning capabilities are at least partially based on Ford's PCM software. Dealing with software and your local Ford dealer isn't much fun. We're all too aware of both, but it's an absolutely necessary step in the custom tuning process that needs to be performed so that your truck runs at its best.

2011-2014 F150 EcoBoost PCM Location

The biggest reason for wanting to be up to date on your PCM TSB updates is for the same reason that you want to be up to date on any software you own or use: bugs get ironed out, and your truck will run better. Ford is almost constantly making updates to the underlying PCM programming in the F150s to deal with everything from the serious EcoBoost condensation issues to the more trivial like the cabin lights staying on too long. Getting the latest software means that at least some of the initial bugs are taken care of and that your F150 of choice is operating at its absolute best. With so many functions of your truck controlled by its computer, you have every reason in the world to want the best functionality you can get out of your truck.

2012 F150 3.5L EcoBoost in the Snow

The second, and much more pressing, issue is that despite having access to SCT's tuning software which can dig deep into Ford's PCM and change parameters, there's still a lot going on in that Ford PCM software and firmware that 5-Star can't adjust, but it still effects their custom tuning. Think of it like your home computer's operating system. You can add software files and change settings, but the underlying operating system dictates a lot of what you can and can't do. Your F150's PCM is much the same way in that a good portion of Ford's programming is inaccessible to custom tuning, but still has effects on what a custom tune can do and how a custom tune performs. When your PCM is updated to the latest Ford software, 5-Star's tunes are better able to take advantage of some of the bug fixes and new underlying programming that 5-Star can't directly access to make your truck run much better than with older versions of Ford's software.

2012 F150 5.0L Project Truck

Since 2011, Ford has made over 60 updates to the PCMs of the 2011 to 2014 F150s across all of the engine types. This why we send our tuners out "blank" so that you can pull the PCM strategy code from your F150 and send it back to us, so we can verify whether or not your truck is up to date on the latest software. If we find that your truck isn't up to date on its latest software TSBs, we'll need you to go to your local Ford dealer or authorized Ford Service center and get the TSB updates performed. We know Ford dealers can be a pain about getting the job done, but its necessary for your tuning. If you aren't able to get a local Ford dealer to update your truck, please give us a call directly at 1-877-578-2433.

2011 F150 EcoBoost on Lift

14 Comments

chuck rinehart

Date 5/21/2015

Perfect sence and had my truck at a Fort Worth dealer with issues and request the software update yesterday/today. No update performed since they say not warranted with no implied issues. What do I do? If I come roght out and tell them to update so i can get my tuners installed I'm sure I am screwed in teh waranty department. This should be so easy to have done

[email protected]

Date 5/26/2015

@Chuck: While dealing with dealerships and Ford Service Shops can be a pain, what you need to tell them is that it's not really up to them. You have a right as a vehicle owner to get these updates performed as part of Ford's Technical Service Bulletins. If they still won't play ball, you may just want to call around to other Ford Dealers in your area and see if they'll perform the service.

Mike Dransfield

Date 1/4/2016

I have recently had my 2011 eco boost F-150 in for work and the truck was reflashed with the latest updates. I have had my Live wire tuner for almost 2 years. How do I go about getting my stock tune updated to the latest version? If I were to revert back to my stock tune now, I am assuming it will put my original stock tune back in that was from 2 years ago.

Eric The Red

Date 11/28/2016

Mike Dransfield makes a good point. If Ford is always making TSB updates, then reverting back to a stock tune could mean reverting back to an obsolete version. Are you supposed to save the new stock tune each time you receive a TSB? Do you revert back to your latest stock tune every time before going into the dealership for work? On a seperate note, my plan is to buy a set of mods all at once (Down pipes, catback,intercooler w pipes,bov, cold air intake) and install them all at once. Do I need a tune specific to those components before turning it all on for the first time after the mods? Do you pull the strategy code even though the truck probably still hasn't recognized the mods? Do I tell you ahead of time what all mods are being made and get a custome tune specific to those mods loaded beforehand? I appreciate clarity because it allowes me to wrap my head around it before pulling the trigger.

[email protected]

Date 11/29/2016 9:27:00 AM

You're overthinking TSBs by just a smidge. First though, we always suggest returning the vehicle to stock before going to a dealer for work, mostly because they could flash your PCM and lock you out of your device. Secondly, Ford dealers and service centers generally only perform TSB updates if they're either requested or if there's an issue with your truck. One of several reasons that we request that you have the latest TSB updates before you tune your truck is so that 5-Star doesn't have to adjust your tunes for as many updates down the line, though if Ford does release a pertinent TSB update down the road, 5-Star will retune your truck, assuming you aren't locked out of your tuning device of choice. As far as your modifications are concerned, after you order your tuner, we send you a tune sheet which will have a list of mods that you can pick from. You will need to wait to install the components you're ordering before running the tune, however. We still need your strategy code, regardless of modifications. The truck's strategy code is an entirely different issue than the adjustments that need to be made for your modifications.

Ronnie Peels

Date 3/21/2017

I have a 2010 F150 5.4. I called the ford dealership and asked the service personnel about any new updates to my computer his response was he did not know and if not i still had to pay 80 dollars just to check

Chris Johnston

Date 5/5/2017 6:18:00 AM

Just had my 2010 5.4 screw PCM updated with the TSB for hard shifts. Shifts smooth now. Dealership didn't charge a dime. I'd definitely try another dealership Ronnie.

Ronnie Peels

Date 3/21/2017

I have a 2010 F150 5.4. I called the ford dealership and asked the service personnel about any new updates to my computer his response was he did not know and if not i still had to pay 80 dollars just to check

JP

Date 6/3/2017

A tsb is not a recall so unless your under factory warranty or have a ford esp warranty then you would most likely have to pay for the updates. Ford releases software updates periodically but unless there is a recall, they don't announce the update. The only way to see if there is an update is to connect the ids and then check for updates. In case your wondering , I'm a ford senior master tech

Mark Kippen

Date 4/10/2018 10:14:00 AM

So if i have Ford esp warranty this should be covered for update to software

Kyle

Date 12/19/2017 7:51:00 AM

To the 06 f 150 king... I would definitely get the computer checked... To have that kind of fuel difference is a sure sign something is off... Maybe emissions system telling ecm to operate fuel air mix like that... I was down to 10 mpg and my 5.4L in my f 150 was running a smig out of time so i put in some nice high flow cats and all 4 new 02 sensers and it was the biggest gain in drive ability that i have ever got... It was shocking the gain of response and bottom end power

Scott long

Date 11/10/2017

I've got a 06 f-150 4x4 king cab xlt 5.4 engine hot new engine from Frasier Engine's I've gone from 17 to 19 miles to a gallon of gas to 13 and I've put on a cold air intake e3 plugs accel coils do I need to have the computer reprogrammed?

Dave

Date 12/27/2017

If I adjusted the tire size up but the speedo is still not correct and I need to enter a higher number in the tire size, do I have to do a full re program?

GB

Date 6/13/2018

I'm curious to know how many updates there are for the 2013 F150 with a 5.0....

Jessica

Date 10/15/2018

We have a 2012 f-1503.5 and we are having major problems with it. We will be going down the road and dash will light up and everything will shut down everything we have read points to the pcm.....

Jessica

Date 10/15/2018

We have a 2012 f-150 3.5 eco boost and we are having major problems with it. We will be going down the road and dash will light up and the advanced track will come on and we cannot shut it off. At times, we will shut it off and it will not start again for a bit, could this be needing. PCM update, or? Has anyone else had these problems?

Tyler

Date 3/1/2019

I have a 2013 F150 Ecoboost and have applied simple changes (mostly to BCM) through ForScan. Is there a site I can download the updates from and flash myself?

David H Milam

Date 11/27/2019

Date 11/27/2019 In June 2019 when Ford did their recall to do the tranny reflash on my 13F-150 for that sudden downshift from 6th to 1st that some were having, would that reflash also have updated the PCM to the latest TSB.

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