October 16

2008 Ford F150, Fuel Pump Driver Module Replacement

Auto Repair, Ford


Mark: Hi. It's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience. 16 or 17 times, we're not sure yet, I think it's 17, Bernie thinks it's 16, time winners of Best in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: We're going to talk about a recent repair of a Ford F-150, a 2008. What was going on with this truck?

Bernie: This vehicle was towed to our shop. It wouldn't stop, and the owner's complaint was that it had been getting progressively harder to start. Eventually went to go start it one morning, it just cranked over, but nothing happened. It wouldn't fire.

Mark: Being an F-150, I assume it's a gasoline engine.

Bernie: It is. Yeah, a gas engine, 5.4 litre, I believe, in this truck. Very common arrangement.

Mark: What happened with this vehicle?

Bernie: We diagnosed ... Of course, the battery was almost dead, so we charged the battery, hooked up some testing equipment, including a fuel pressure gauge, among other things, and found there was no fuel pressure. Basically, that was the reason it wasn't firing a good spark. All the other components needed to make an engine run were there, just no fuel pressure.

Mark: No fuel pressure is usually a dead fuel pump, right?

Bernie: Well, usually it is. As a matter of fact, probably about 95 percent of the time, it is a fuel pump, but, in this case, Ford has a little more complex system that adds to the fun of the diagnosis and, ultimately, the cost to the client to fix it, as well. What we found when we finished, complete our diagnosis is that the fuel pump driver module was dead, and that was causing our fuel pump issue.

Mark: I've never heard of that. What's a fuel pump driver, and why do they use it?

Bernie: It's a relatively new component. It's probably been around for about 10 years. The reason they use it is efficiency. Somewhere, automotive engineers are looking at what it takes to run a vehicle, how much energy is being used just to pump, just how much electrical energy it takes to run a fuel pump. A lot of times, you don't need that full on 12 volt energy and pressure that a fuel pump delivers. In idle, for instance, you don't need a lot of fuel.The pump is really there to deliver everything under load, so they put this driver module in, and what it does is it lowers the voltage to the fuel pump. More efficient use of the electricity of the vehicle is really what it is. Overall components, it kind of changes things around, but, again, overall, for fuel efficiency, as well, it helps out, because you're not trying to deal with so much fuel pressure. We can share a few photos and keep on talking.

Here's our F-150, the typical, nice 4 door pickup truck, very useful vehicle. This is the fuel pump driver module. How do we know it was bad? Along with the fact that there was no electricity coming out of it, we removed the module and found this. This is the bottom side of the module. It's an aluminum based unit, probably for heat sinking qualities. There's a lot of electricity, heat going through this unit, so that's the heat sink. It's all corroded. The reason why is because this is where it sits. This is with the spare tire removed in the back, and that's the new module installed. You can see rust and corrosion around on the frame of the vehicle. When you're driving down the road on a wet day, there's water spraying everywhere. It's living in a very hostile environment. Over time, something like this happens. It just, basically, the aluminum keeps getting rotted away, and, eventually, the hole cracked through the bottom, and water infiltrated the unit and killed it.

Mark: Yep. That's what caused the part to die. We talked about many Fords. Some have different reliability issues. How are these trucks?

Bernie: These are pretty good, actually. They're Canada's number 1 selling pickup for years and years. At least, Ford likes to advertise that and are proud of that fact. They're pretty decent trucks. I mean, they have their flaws. I think these newer lines, like '08 and newer, they got rid of the spark plugs blowing out of the engine and the spark plugs that seized in the engine, redesigned the way they should have been in the beginning. They're, overall, pretty reliable. There's a few things that go wrong here and there but nothing more than you'd expect in any other pickup truck, so, overall, pretty good. A lot less issues than an F-350 Super Duty or the Diesel.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your F-150, here are some guys who have done a lot of work on them for decades. These trucks have been around for decades, and Bernie and his team have that kind of experience. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Get ahold of them on their website, pawlikautomotive.com, or at 604-327-7112 to book your next appointment. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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