Ford e350 w/ 460ci gas engine

I have a motorhome on a ford e350 chassis w/ the 460 ci gas engine and was recently told that it needs a new computer or ECU, as it is called, even though there is no “check engine light” nor a ECU fault code. The vehicle had a slight miss and I was told this after spending alot of money on a routine tuneup.

I would not go for an ecu without a specific problem. If you still have problems after the tuneup, then more diagnosis needs doing.

What year?


There is no such thing as a routine tune up anymore and the last refuge of an incompetent diagnostician is “it needs a computer”.

I agree with the others . . . this mechanic should explain why the motorhome needs a new PCM

I also have a feeling he can’t figure out this “slight miss” and is now grasping at straws

@bobbyd, Ford ECU failures were very rare for me and through 2004 I worked on quite a few Ford F and E models, some with the 460 engine. The most common indicators for a failing Ford computer then were getting non existant trouble codes or failure to set a code for any of a number of failures even as extreme as a disconnected temperature sensor or MAP sensor. But if that is the case on your vehicle the shop should take the time to explain in plain English what they find and why they fault the computer. And a Fred Jones ReMan was quite reasonably priced as best I can recall.

Please post year model, etc.

I agree that the year, etc needs to be known and I would be surprised if the ECU was the cause of the problem.

@RodKnox Seeing as how you mentioned Fred Jones here’s a pic of their main reman plant which still stands near downtown OK City but is not in operation anymore as a rebuild facility but houses their corporate offices. It used to be a Ford auto assembly plant a 100 years ago.
It’s a neat old, and massive, building with a hint of Americana to it. A couple of friends of mine worked there back in the 70s and 80s. They turned out everything from water pumps to engines and transmissions with the company serving Ford dealers and even some GM dealers.

The model year and mileage on the vehicle are important factors here…Also, how long has the vehicle sat undriven? How old is the gas in the tank?

OK4450. The old plant was there a long time. My grandfather was a mechanic for Cadillac in down town, OKC until his death in 1968. He installed a lot of their rebuilt engines in his spare time. It was a fixture in OKC.

It’s possible it needs a new one. Maybe they simply cannot get it to respond to their attempts to connect to it to read the diagnostic codes out from ECM memory. But even if that is the case, it could still be a simple wire or connector problem, not the computer itself.

It’s like if you home printer stops working, and that somehow locks up the computer, replacing the computer won’t fix the problem, right?

So what to do? It depends a lot on how much experience this shop has w/this kind of problem. If they seem to be pretty much on top of things, have done good work for you before, and they have seen this problem before, it would make sense to go along with their idea and try replacing the computer. If you are not quite that confident, I’d be inclined to take this problem to a Ford dealership shop for a diagnosis using their Ford specific test instruments.

@phrtoolman There are still some car dealers on north Broadway near downtown OKC and many of the old buildings where some of them used to be. I think one of the buildings still has the Kaiser logo up top.

That area has been resurrected a bit over the last 10 years with pubs and restaurants and is called Automobile Alley although most of the car dealers have moved out further other than a few high end dealers carrying the Benz line and so on.