The ICP (Injection Control Pressure) sensor relays information to the IPR (Injection Pressure Regulator), which, in turn, controls the pressure at which fuel is injected into the cylinders of a Ford 6.0 Powerstroke. If you are experiencing hard starts or performance issues, you may begin to suspect that your ICP sensor is on the blink.
ICP sensor failure on a 6.0 Powerstroke engine can cause hard starts, sputtering, stalling, and other performance issues. The failing sensor relays incorrect or intermittent data to the IPR, causing the engine to malfunction. In most cases, the switch will have to be replaced to correct the issue.
You don’t just go changing sensors all willy-nilly—electronic components can be costly and are often sold without the possibility of exchange. Read on to learn more about what the ICP sensor does and how you can determine what kind of symptoms you might experience if it starts failing.
Let’s dig into what symptoms you might experience in the event that your 6.0 Powerstroke ICP sensor starts failing.
1. Engine Warning Light Comes On
The little orange light is a troubling sign that says one thing to the motorist—something is about to cost you some money. The engine warning light will illuminate when the ECU detects a problem with any of the engine’s sensors.
A failed ICP sensor will usually result in the “Check Engine” light coming on. When this happens, you should take the vehicle into a shop for diagnostics. A diagnostic machine will detect any fault codes associated with the ICP and indicate whether it needs replacing.
If you want to check fault codes at home, invest in a MOTOPOWER MP69033 Car OBD2 Scanner (Amazon). These devices are relatively inexpensive, and they perform a wide range of functions. Fault codes P2284 to P2291 are all associated with the ICP. Bear in mind that these fault codes can indicate an oil pressure issue if your ICP is working correctly.
ICP Sensor Fault Codes
For those with access to an OBD II (onboard diagnostics) reader, here are some fault codes you might experience with a dodgy ICP sensor:
- P2284 – ICP circuit performance fault
- P2285 – ICP signal too low
- P2286 – ICP signal too high
- P2288 – ICP overpressure
- P2289 – ICP overpressure engine off
- P2290 – ICP underpressure
- P2291 – ICP underpressure while cranking
2. Hard Starting
Due to its influence on the fuel management system, a failing ICP might be evidenced by difficulty getting the engine going because of the incorrect pressure signal received by the fuel management system.
Your 6.0 Powerstroke may not crank very easily if the ICP sensor is going bad because the fuel management system is either injecting too much or too little fuel, thanks to the faulty signal it is receiving.
One way to determine if your hard starting is caused by a faulty ICP sensor is to pop the hood and unplug it—the IPR will then assume default settings, and if your engine starts right up with the ICP sensor unplugged, you have found the problem.
Instead of a nice smooth acceleration, you may experience misfires and performance issues during the operation of your 6.0 Powerstroke if the ICP is failing.
It might start and idle fine and even seem to rev freely when not under load. You cannot rule out the ICP sensor in this case.
A faulty ICP sensor can cause sputtering and misfire if it is giving inconsistent or incorrect information to the IPR. There may be certain pressure ranges that the sensor is misreading, giving the ECU bad information.
Sputtering can also be a symptom of poor-quality fuel, a blocked fuel filter, or insufficient airflow. If you are unable to run diagnostics, verify that these items are not causing your issue.
Filters should be replaced at manufacturer-recommended intervals or else you can end up with abnormal wear to your engine and its components.
4. Poor Fuel Economy
If you’re worried about the cost of replacing your ICP sensor, I’m here to tell you that you should be more worried about the extra dollars it costs you every time you fill up if you’re running with a bad one.
If your ICP sensor is completely dead, the IPR uses a pre-programmed fuel schedule without a true pressure reading from the oil system. It will not be able to manage the fuel as efficiently without data from this sensor, resulting in reduced fuel economy.
If you feel like you’re filling up more often, it might be the ICP sensor, but the overall service condition of your engine plays a role here, too. If you’re suffering from poor fuel economy, and your “Check Engine” light is not on, it is not likely to be the ICP sensor.
Your vehicle may need to be serviced more routinely, especially if you operate it in dusty climates where filters have a tendency of getting blocked more quickly.
Speaking of fuel economy, If you’re tired of spending money on gas, you might be interested in cars that run on air. Check out my article on air-powered cars to learn more.
Trying to pull off from a traffic light only to stall and have to wait for the next one is not only a little embarrassing, but it can also be a sign of a failing ICP sensor.
If you have noticed that you have less power on pull-off than you are used to, and the engine wants to stall, your ICP sensor may not be working correctly. If it is an ICP sensor issue, it is not usually a drastic loss of power.
In short, your Powerstroke may struggle to idle or respond sluggishly compared to normal and even stall abruptly. The fuel system needs an oil pressure of at least 500psi to fire, so if a faulty signal causes the engine to mismanage itself and cause a pressure drop there will not be sufficient pressure to idle.
6. Incorrect Voltage Readings
The ICP Sensor detects the high-pressure oil, relaying this information as an electrical signal to the PCM (Powertrain Control Module), which is the technical term for the computer that controls the Injection Pressure Regulator.
If you don’t have diagnostics equipment, you can measure this value to see if there is any erratic behavior at the source.
To measure the voltage on the ICP sensor, you will have to locate it and use a multimeter to check the voltage while the vehicle is running.
If you have no electrical or mechanical experience, it is recommended that you take the vehicle into a shop for diagnostics instead. Most workshops will run diagnostics for you for a small fee, and some may not charge you at all.
You can convert the electrical values from the ICP sensor to pressure as follows:
The ICP sensor should give a stable reading. If it is reading consistently but has a high voltage approaching 5v or above, then this may indicate a blockage in the system.
High readings may be causing the engine to go into “limp mode” to protect itself from catastrophic failure associated with excessive oil pressures.
While You’re Checking Voltages, Check Other Electricals
While you are poking around in the engine bay, keep an eye out for any loose or damaged wires. Make sure your battery terminals are tightened firmly (not overtightened!) and free of any corrosion.
Battery terminal corrosion is white and powdery and can cause a degrading connection, which in turn can cause all kinds of unusual behavior from the 6.0 Powerstroke.
7. Oil in Your ICP Sensor
An ICP sensor that has failed may begin to leak, and one surefire way to tell if it has given up the ghost is to remove and inspect it. It’s not unusual to find oil in the electrical connector of a failed ICP sensor.
To remove your ICP sensor, locate it in the engine bay. Use a 1-1/16” deep reach socket to remove it. You may have to cut the socket shorter for it to fit. If you can see oil in the electrical connector, replace it.
Consider Checking The IPR As Well
The Injection Pressure Regulator is an electromagnetically actuated valve that controls the oil pressure directed to the fuel injectors. If you have time and energy, it is a good idea to check it out if you are inspecting or replacing the ICP sensor.
The IPR contains a screen that is intended to catch particles in the oil so they do not contaminate the injectors. If the IPR screen becomes clogged or broken, it can cause an overpressure condition and fault codes. The PCM will then try to protect the engine by throttling its performance significantly
Invest in a seal kit like this Bang4Buck 2-pack 6.0 Powerstroke 03-10 IPR Seal Kit (Amazon) which includes a new screen and all the o-rings you will need to service the IPR. Follow a shop guide like this one from Pure Diesel Power to properly remove, repair, and reassemble the IPR.
If you have a Powerstroke 7.3 engine, I listed the symptoms of a failing ICP sensor in this post.