Thursday, January 10, 2019

1994 E350 Club Van PCU Fix

Our church van's engine recently started missing occasionally, so I delved into the problem to see what I could find out. It's a 1994 van with the 5.8L (351 cu-in) engine, and has only 95,000 miles on it. First thing I noticed was that the Check Engine light wasn't on, which means the van didn't know there was a problem. Hmm. So on to the internet. One thing I noticed when researching was that it was a fairly common problem. People would replace a myriad of parts, only to have the issue persist. Among the parts people would replace would be spark plugs and wires, cap, rotor, coil, distributor, Ignition Control Module, fuel pump, fuel filter, along with vacuum leak checks, fuel injector cleaning, and so on. Wow. I wasn't about to go down all those rabbit holes. Well OK, so I did replace the cap and rotor, but they were well pitted and corroded anyway, so it was a good idea. Anyway, where to start? Not much room under that hood, is there.

One remedy I did read about online was that one or more capacitors in the Power Control Module would start leaking and possibly cause the problem. The next order of business is to find the PCM in the van. Oh, there it is.

You don't see it yet? Ok, the next photo shows it with the large connector pulled off. The PCM is the thing with the orange gasket and with pins poking out, right about in the center of the photo.

The PCM decided to make itself difficult to get out. One of the two bolts holding the plastic cover on decided to start spinning in the plastic that was supposed to hold it from turning, so when I turned the nut on the end, the bolt and nut spun in unison. That was an hour of fighting to finally get the plastic cover off. And not without some casualties... But finally the PCM was out, and nearly in one piece.

Hey, look, there are three blue capacitors, just like they show online.

And better yet, one of them is discolored at the base.

A better shot of it. Yep, that's a bad cap.

My son happened to have some capacitors, and one of them was pretty close to the same rating, so we'll give that a try.

The new capacitor is installed. And once the van was all back together, it ran well for the 6-mile test drive I took. Woohoo! Thank the Lord!

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