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