Is A Tuner Required When You Install A Cam Phaser Lockout?

This is a common question Ford owners ask when looking into installing a cam phaser lockout kit. The answer is that it’s not necessary to tune your ECU (engine control unit) after installing a cam phaser lockout kit, but it’s strongly recommended.

Why We Recommend Buying a Tuner With Your Cam Phaser Lockout Kit

Your V8 will continue to function with a cam phaser lockout installed. But if you don't tune the ECU, it may cause the check engine light (CEL) to come on. When the cam phaser is locked into one position, the engine computer may interpret it as some sort of failure and trip the CEL. In some cases, this warning light will send the vehicle into "limp" mode. Limp mode is a survival mode that will let your vehicle limp home or to a shop so you can get it repaired. Your vehicle’s performance will be drastically reduced until you clear the error code.

Check eng light

What happens if you don't tune the ECU, and the check engine light comes on? It's pretty easy assume that it's related to the cam phaser lockout. Then it's easy to ignore the CEL. This can hide an unrelated issue that can escalate if ignored long enough. Tuning the ECU ensures that your vehicle doesn’t go into limp mode unless it’s absolutely necessary. Basically, tuning your ECU after installing your cam phaser will prevent a “boy who cried wolf” situation.

How to Tune Your ECU

A tuner (also know as programmer) is a small device that connects to your ECU and allows to you change some of it's settings. In this case, tuning is basically programming your ECU to ignore the fixed timing. After tuning, your CEL won't come on as a result of fixed timing.

Optional tuner

Some cam phaser lockout kits include a hand held tuner. If you order a Forbidden Diesel cam phaser lockout kit, you can chose between a handheld or dash mount tuner. This makes it easier for you to tune your ECU as soon as you install lockouts in your cam phaser. If you already own one, you can purchase the kit without the tuner and save the money.

Forbidden Diesel’s programmer is customized specifically to make the ECU turn off the CEL if it was caused by the cam phaser lockout. This makes tuning the ECU easy. Most other programmers on the market do not do this. The Forbidden Diesel tuner will also monitor your engine’s vitals such as engine oil and transmission fluid temperatures.

Do you have any questions that were not addressed in this article? Please contact us. We’ll be happy to talk phasers and tuners with you!