Detecting a Bad 6.0 Powerstroke ICP Sensor (7 Symptoms You Should Watch Out For)

Detecting a Bad 6.0 Powerstroke ICP Sensor (7 Symptoms You Should Watch Out For)

If you own a 6.0 Powerstroke and you’ve been experiencing engine misfires and issues with starting, then these could indicate a bad ICP (injector control pressure) sensor.

Luckily, we’ve done tons of research about ICP sensors and the symptoms that they can cause. 

Thus, we’ll be discussing what those symptoms are and what you can do to fix them right here.

Signs of a Bad 6.0 Powerstroke ICP Sensor

Signs of a bad ICP sensor on a 6.0 Powerstroke engine can include rough idling, engine misfires, stalling or surging especially when coming to a stop, and bucking.

There are several signs that you can actually feel when your 6.0 Powerstroke’s ICP sensor is going bad, one of the most noticeable being that the vehicle either suddenly stalls, surges, or bucks a lot.

Apart from that, you may even experience the engine idling roughly or even misfiring at times.

Take note that these are just the general signs that you can expect from a bad ICP sensor, which is why we’ve included more specific symptoms to help narrow down the cause below.

Symptoms of a Bad 6.0 Powerstroke ICP Sensor

A bad 6.0 Powerstroke ICP sensor can show symptoms such as engine stuttering, starting problems, engine misfires, decreased performance, illuminated warning lights, error codes, and locked brakes.

If you start to experience any or several of the symptoms above, you should immediately get your vehicle checked for a potential ICP sensor failure on your 6.0 Powerstroke.

Other than that, you can learn a bit more about each of these bad ICP sensor symptoms as you read below.

Engine Sputtering

Whenever an ICP sensor goes bad on your 6.0 Powerstroke, you may feel that your engine keeps sputtering as it struggles to maintain the needed power for acceleration and even deceleration.

Do keep in mind that there can be many other things that can cause an engine to sputter, and a bad ICP sensor is only one of them.

This is because a sputtering engine means that there is something wrong with the combustion process, which involves things such as fuel and air.

Engine Sputtering

Since an ICP sensor is related to the fuel system, then it’s best to have your fuel system checked to make sure that it’s actually the ICP sensor that’s causing the sputtering.

Difficulty Starting the Vehicle

One of the most common symptoms of a bad ICP sensor on the 6.0 Powerstroke is that you will have trouble starting the engine, which can be characterized by a prolonged cranking time and even failure to start.

Difficulty Starting the Vehicle

This is because the engine’s PMC (powertrain control module) will detect a bad ICP sensor as a system failure, so it will not allow the engine to start without first satisfying the minimum required ICP sensor performance.

For instance, the PCM requires a minimum injector control pressure (ICP) of 500 psi to start the 6.0 Powerstroke. Thus, having a pressure reading below this amount will not be enough to start the engine properly.

Engine Misfires

Many owners complain that their 6.0 Powerstroke is misfiring, which can be traced to an ICP sensor that either got damaged or went bad.

This is one of the major symptoms that can be caused by a bad ICP sensor, as the sensor can affect the delicate air-fuel ratio needed to maintain a smooth-running engine, eventually leading to misfires and even potential damage to the engine components.

Hence, it’s important that you get your vehicle checked by a professional mechanic right away once you start experiencing misfires, whether or not it’s caused by a bad ICP sensor.

Significant Decrease in Performance and Fuel Efficiency

Another obvious symptom of a bad 6.0 Powerstroke ICP sensor is a significant decrease in performance as you put your foot on the gas.

A faulty ICP sensor will make your vehicle struggle during acceleration and, in some instances, even cause you to use up too much fuel, resulting in poorer fuel efficiency.

Significant Decrease in Performance and Fuel Efficiency

Though once again, a decrease in performance and fuel efficiency can also be caused by other issues with the fuel system, such as a clogged fuel filter or a broken fuel injector.

With that said, we highly recommend getting your vehicle properly diagnosed by a mechanic, as that’s the only way to be sure that the ICP sensor is the sole cause of the problem.

Illuminated Check Engine Light

If anything goes wrong with the 6.0 Powerstroke engine, then the check engine light (CEL) will be illuminated on the dashboard, and this is also true whenever it detects a bad ICP sensor.

Illuminated Check Engine Light

A check engine light is part of your engine’s first line of defense in telling you that something is not quite right with it, so make sure you do not ignore it and get it diagnosed right away.

Error Codes Shown on Screen

Many different error codes can show up on the computer screen whenever you get your 6.0 Powerstroke diagnosed for issues, but only a few of them point to a possible bad ICP sensor.

Such error codes that involve the ICP sensor include P2285, P2286, and P2287, all of which we’ve provided descriptions of below.

Possible Error Codes for a Bad 6.0 Powerstroke ICP Sensor:

  • Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) P2285 – “Injector Control Pressure Sensor Circuit Low”
  • Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) P2286 – “Injector Control Pressure Sensor Circuit High”
  • Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) P2287 – “Injector Control Pressure Sensor Circuit Intermittent”

To further clarify the descriptions above, all three of them pertain to the ICP sensor’s performance in sending out the proper voltage that’s within the expected range.

Either the P2285 or P2286 code will show up whenever the PCM detects voltage from the ICP sensor that is lower or higher than the expected range.

The P2287 code, on the other hand, shows up whenever the PCM detects that the ICP sensor is not sending voltage intermittently.

Brake Lock Issues

When it comes to symptoms caused by a bad ICP sensor, locked brakes are one of the rarer ones that leave owners of 6.0 Powerstroke vehicles scratching their heads even more.

Brake Lock Issues

While the brakes locking up due to a bad ICP sensor is quite an unusual occurrence, it can be very dangerous if it does happen as you’re driving down the highway.

Aside from a bad ICP sensor being the cause, there can be a long list of reasons why your brakes can suddenly lock up on their own, so make sure to get your vehicle checked immediately after it occurs.

What To Do After Symptoms of a Bad 6.0 Powerstroke ICP Sensor Appear

After experiencing symptoms of a bad ICP sensor, you can check all the engine compartment connections, look for signs of oil leaks on the sensor, disconnect the sensor to test the engine’s response, and verify the sensor’s voltage and pressure.

While the best course of action when you start noticing bad ICP sensor symptoms is to obviously get in touch with a trusted mechanic, there are still other things that you can do to verify this yourself.

Check for Disconnections and Oil Leaks

You can check if all the connections in the engine compartment are connected properly. If something is disconnected or loose, it can potentially leak oil onto the ICP sensor and cause it to malfunction.

If you manage to find signs of oil leaks on the sensor itself, then it may indicate that the ICP sensor is already damaged and is causing the symptoms to appear.

Disconnect the ICP Sensor to Check the Engine’s Response

The next thing you can do is you can check how the engine responds by disconnecting the ICP sensor. By doing so, you will get data on the sensor’s oil flow from the engine’s PCM.

On a normal-functioning 6.0 Powerstroke ICP sensor, you will get an injector control pressure (ICP) of at least 500 psi during idle, which is also the minimum required pressure to be able to start the engine.

However, if the PCM does not receive any data from the ICP sensor, then the detected pressure will be set to a default value of 700 psi.

Thus, getting a default value of 700 psi could be an indication that the ICP sensor is not working anymore.

Verify the ICP Sensor’s Pressure and Voltage

In order to verify the accuracy of the ICP sensor’s pressure and voltage, you should examine the wiring that’s connecting the sensor to the PCM. Their connecting point will be in the form of pigtail connectors on each end.

Verify the ICP Sensor’s Pressure and Voltage

You can use a voltmeter (or ohmmeter) to check the voltage at the pigtails, while a scan tool or program is needed to monitor the pressure values of the ICP sensor.

Be sure to take notes if you see any differences in pressure and voltage before and after disconnecting the pigtails.

You can refer back to the previous entry for the normal pressure values expected for the ICP sensor.

Normal ICP voltage should be between 0.2 and 0.25 volts during KOEO (Key-On, Engine-Off) and go up to around 4.5 volts while you’re in the middle of starting/cranking the engine.

How expensive is it to install a new ICP sensor on a 6.0 Powerstroke?

Buying a new ICP sensor will cost you between $140 and $220. Adding in other costs such as labor ($70 to $150) and a new pigtail connector ($15 to $60) can set you back a total of $225 to $430.

Getting a new ICP sensor for the 6.0 Powerstroke in and of itself wouldn’t really cost you that much, as long as you have the tools and knowledge to install it yourself.

However, once you factor in other potential expenses such as installation labor fees and also replacing the pigtail connector, it can significantly make the whole process more expensive.

Thus, the total cost to install a new 6.0 Powerstroke ICP sensor will depend on whether or not you can do it yourself, and whether or not there are other damaged components that need replacing as well.

How often should the 6.0 Powerstroke ICP sensor be inspected or serviced?

The ICP sensor on the 6.0 Powerstroke doesn’t really require any regular inspection or service. 

However, since it is known to become faulty, it’s still recommended to check its condition regularly as you would with any other component in the engine bay.

6.0 Powerstroke ICP Sensor Location

The 6.0 Powerstroke’s ICP sensor is located underneath the turbocharger and fastened through the HPOP cover for early 2003 to 2004 models.

For mid-2004 to 2007 6.0 Powerstroke models, the ICP sensor is located at the passenger-side valve cover next to the glow plug controller.

Since the ICP sensor is a bit tricky to locate in the 6.0 Powerstroke engine bay for the first time around, you can use the two videos below as a visual reference for its exact location.

Take note that the ICP sensor in early 2003 to 2004 6.0 Powerstroke models is a lot harder to reach, as there are several parts that need to be removed in order to access it (skip to 2:22 in the first video).

How much ICP voltage does a 6.0 Powerstroke need? 

The ICP sensor on a 6.0 Powerstroke needs a minimum of 0.2 to 0.25 volts during KOEO (Key-On, Engine-Off) and a minimum of 4.5 volts as the engine is getting cranked/started up.

What does the ICP sensor do on a 6.0 Powerstroke?

The ICP (injector control pressure) sensor is an important fuel management component of the 6.0 Powerstroke, and its main task is to monitor the pressure of the oil that’s being fed to the fuel injectors.

How do you know if your ICP sensor is bad?

A bad ICP sensor will show signs such as engine misfires, engine sputtering, starting problems, a check engine light, error codes such as P2285, and even locked brakes.