How to Identify Counterfeit or Damaged Ford Motorcraft Ignition Coils
otherwise referred to as coil on plug or COPs, to PCMs over the years. The prevalence of counterfeit coil on plugs (COPs) in the market has dramatically increased within the last year. Ford Motor Company has even released a document to help identify fake coils in sealed bags that carry the Motorcraft brand. (Click here to view the official Ford document)
Unfortunately there are many end users and dealers alike that are suffering from the effects of faulty ignition coils. When the original coils cause the PCM to fail, it is very expensive to replace all 6 coils, spark plugs, and PCM. Too often we hear of people that end up doing this job twice because a replacement coil was used that was previously exposed to a faulty system.
So, where do the counterfeit or used coils come from?
There are two sources of faulty coils. The first is pretty obvious... cheap manufacturers. Whether it's expensive handbags, high-end electronics, or automotive parts that are in high demand, there will always be someone that possesses the right tools to create cheaper replacements. Unfortunately many Ebay sellers and other online retailers distribute these products because some of the items last long enough to be determined a suitable replacement. This is not the case with ignition coils though.
The second source that is becoming increasingly more common are returned coils to national retailers. Here's the typical scenario when these faulty coils enter the supply chain:
Johnny Ford is driving along in his 2005 Ford Escape when the engine begins to misfire and the check engine light comes on. He manages to get the vehicle to the closest automotive parts store. The store associate kindly uses the store's scan tool to read the trouble codes from the vehicle and determines that a trouble code of P0352 is causing the engine to misfire on cylinder #2. The description of the trouble code tells the associate that the ignition coil for cylinder #2 is faulty, so back inside the store they go to purchase a replacement COP. Johnny takes the coil home with him and replaces the faulty coil to find that the engine is still misfiring and the check engine light is still on! As any logical person would do, Johnny lets the engine run for a few minutes to see if the misfire will work itself out, but it doesn't. Johnny then returns the COP to the store for a refund because he thinks that the store associate misdiagnosed the problem, and back onto the shelf the COP goes to be sold to the next customer.
Johnny later learns that the PCM was damaged by the original ignition coil and that he will need to replace all 6 COPs, 6 spark plugs, and the PCM all at the same time to properly fix the problem. Remember that brand new coil that Johnny ran for a few minutes and then returned to the parts store? Unfortunately, the damaged PCM was sending a dirty electrical signal to that coil and ruined it. The next customer that purchases that COP will burn up their brand new PCM even if they do everything right by replacing all 6 COPs at the same time as the PCM.
Case in point: We have a tremendous amount of experience with the Ford PCM and ignition coil failure of these vehicles, and the only coils that we recommend for replacement are Motorcraft coils purchased directly from a Ford dealer. Also, if new coils have been exposed to a failed PCM, they too will be damaged and will in turn damage the PCM once it is replaced. The only long-term solution is to replace all 6 spark plugs, all 6 coils, and the PCM all at the same time. Click here to view our services for all our Ford PCM repairs. Please contact us at 800-547-2049 if we can serve you further.