mpshizzle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
435
Reaction score
543
Location
Utah
Vehicles
Mustang Mach E 4X
Country flag
In this guide I'll be covering FDRS, what it is and how to use it.

What is FDRS?
It stands for "Ford Diagnosis and Repair System". Made by Ford for reading trouble codes, programming modules, updating modules, etc.

Why Would I Want to Use it?
This is really only for the die-hard DIYer. If your dealer is a **Insert nasty word of your choice here** and/or you just want to tinker this is for you.

Are there alternatives to FDRS?
Yes! Forscan is a great, free option. I won't cover it here but it has much of the same diagnostic and programming functionality. It is missing some key features though, such as updating module software as well as some service routines.... You may now snigger at how bad that name sounds in the English language.

A Few Disclaimers to Start
  1. FDRS comes with risks. It's meant to be used by dealers and shops. If something goes wrong you can brick your car. So using it is NOT for the faint of heart. It's not for the cheap of heart either, but we will get to that in a moment 🤑
  2. Seriously, you have been warned. FDRS and your car's hardware do have built in safety measures to prevent damage. But if something happens while following this guide, YOU are liable for any repair/replacement. If the idea that something could go wrong makes you squeamish, this is not for you.
  3. Yes yes yes.. I know this information is found elsewhere on the forum, but I wanted to make a central location with all of the information together.

What You'll Need to Run FDRS
A Laptop Running Windows 7 or 10
I used a MacBook Pro running Windows 10 on bootcamp

Windows 11 seems to work as well if you're on the bleeding edge


A J2534 Interface
This is what connects your computer to the OBD II port on the car. Quick disclaimer, cheap OBD adapters like this DO NOT work. They're fine for Forscan and Torque, but FDRS specifically requires support for the J2534 protocol.

FDRS Officially supports these devices:
  • VCM II
  • VCMM (Word is this doesn't work for Mach E)
  • VCM3
Unfortunately you'll find that those are all VERY expensive devices... I mean heaven forbid Ford make the tools needed for service reasonably priced. But I digress...
The adapter I used was This. It's a third party option that worked for what I did and the price is... less... ridiculous

A 12 Volt Power Supply
Some updates can take over an hour. During these updates the car will not be maintaining the little baby 12v battery the Mach E comes equipped with. If the battery goes kaput during the update, the update goes kaput as well. Since we're not in the business of making bricks here you need a power supply to keep this from happening. Mind you I said "power supply" not "battery charger". I didn't measure, but I hear the car can draw upwards of 30A during the updates.

I DO NOT recommend doing what I did, but I'm overly cheap sometimes. I happen to have a gigantic RV battery just sitting around for another project, so I ran jumpers to the RV battery to assist. It did the job just fine. But again, that is NOT a recommendation.

An FDRS License
There are a few websites that pop up if you Google this, but the one you want is Ford's official https://www.motorcraftservice.com/
To get the license
  1. Create a Motorcraft account
  2. Go to this menu
Screen Shot 2021-10-08 at 11.14.22 PM.png

3. Once you click through you'll be prompted to log in again on a wonderfully 90s looking website.​
4. Click Purchase Additional Licenses (It may just say Purchase Licenses for you)​
Screen Shot 2021-10-08 at 11.19.35 PM.png
5. Choose which subscription period you want. Note it says FJDS on here, not FDRS. Don't fret, this license is still the right one​
Screen Shot 2021-10-08 at 11.19.03 PM.png
6. Once the purchase is complete it will take you to a download page with installation instructions.​
Running Updates on FDRS
If you are using the mongoose adapter like me, make sure you visit their website, download, and install the driver before running FDRS.

  1. Plug in the adapter and turn on the car
  2. Open FDRS. Choose " Non-Dealer Motorcraft" and log in.
  3. It will then ask you how you are connecting to the car. If you're using the same adapter I did it should show up under "other device"
Device Manager.png
4. Hit "Read VIN from vehicle" and then "Go"​
VIN copy.png
5. After a few moments it will take you to the vehicle page. Click Continue​
INFO.png
6. Go to the "SW Updates" tab and it will show you any modules that aren't up to date (mine had a lot). From here you can download and run them. The system does a great job of walking you through the process. If there are particular updates that have to happen in a specific order, FDRS will automatically take care of that and install all of them one after the other.​
1633145891868.png
How Updates Work
I unfortunately didn't take any screen shots of the update itself but there are 2 kinds of updates. One just runs straight from the laptop. The other requires the use of a USB flash drive that you plug into the SYNC system.

A couple of things on the USB drive part. It says it wants a 32 GB drive, but of the updates I installed the largest was like 150 MB. So my 16GB drive did the job just fine. The other "gotcha" is there's a restart involved. At some point the sync screen will tell you that the update is complete, and that you need to turn off and get out of the vehicle. At this point I removed the USB drive. DON'T DO THAT. After a few failed attempts I realized that once you restart, it'll think for a moment and then tell you that the update is finished (again). THEN you can remove the drive. I felt like an idiot but it fooled me.

Making this Guide Complete
I am not the most knowledgeable person on this forum about this. So if anyone has anything to add or correct, please do so!
Advertisement

 
Last edited:

ProximusAl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
228
Reaction score
304
Location
UK
Vehicles
Mach-E - SR-AWD - Star White
Country flag
Windows 11 also works fine and I believe that the VCMM does not work with the Mach-E. only VCM2 or 3 from Ford. Pretty sure I read that somewhere.
 
OP
OP
mpshizzle

mpshizzle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
435
Reaction score
543
Location
Utah
Vehicles
Mustang Mach E 4X
Country flag
Windows 11 also works fine and I believe that the VCMM does not work with the Mach-E. only VCM2 or 3 from Ford. Pretty sure I read that somewhere.
Wow! Daring soul! And a whole 3 days after its official release.


The edit had been made
 

Murse-In-Airy

Well-Known Member
First Name
Rod
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
854
Reaction score
2,261
Location
Chaumont, NY
Vehicles
Mach-E ER AWD
Occupation
Nurse
Country flag
While a VCM3 looks to be going for $1500, it appears you can get a VCM2 for around $100. Add $25 for a 72 hour FDRS license and it doesn’t seem that expensive.
 

PeeKay

Well-Known Member
First Name
Pravin
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
45
Reaction score
44
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
Vehicles
TSX, FX35
Occupation
Retired
Country flag
@mpshizzle , is there an order to the modules being updated that would keep the update sessions small? I'm guessing if there are module dependencies, FDRS would pull/update the required modules first. If the order is known, one can perform smaller sessions and minimize risk of bricking?
 
OP
OP
mpshizzle

mpshizzle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
435
Reaction score
543
Location
Utah
Vehicles
Mustang Mach E 4X
Country flag
While a VCM3 looks to be going for $1500, it appears you can get a VCM2 for around $100. Add $25 for a 72 hour FDRS license and it doesn’t seem that expensive.
I saw a couple listed on eBay for that price, but I saw more listed at $700-$1000. So I was suspicious of a scam. I don't know for sure but it did scare me off. Also seeing the shipping location as Hong Kong didn't help ha ha
 
OP
OP
mpshizzle

mpshizzle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
435
Reaction score
543
Location
Utah
Vehicles
Mustang Mach E 4X
Country flag
@mpshizzle , is there an order to the modules being updated that would keep the update sessions small? I'm guessing if there are module dependencies, FDRS would pull/update the required modules first. If the order is known, one can perform smaller sessions and minimize risk of bricking?
Unfortunately there's no real indication of time or dependencies ahead of time. Of the modules I updated, most took about 2-5 minutes a piece.. Not a big deal. The ones that took longer were RFA (15-20 minutes) and IPMA (1.5 Hrs).

When there is a dependency, FDRS will tell you ahead of time that updating that one will result in multiple module updates and ask if you want to continue. Then it just automatically goes from one update to the next. When I did the PCM it did a string of like 5-6 one after the other. It didn't say which ones or the order though, it just said there would be multiple
 

RickMachE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
905
Reaction score
775
Location
SE MI
Vehicles
Mach-E Premium 4X, Fusion Energi (for sale), F-150
Country flag
I updated my 2013 F-150 with FORScan to turn on remote start, play with the driving light setting, number of blinker flashes.

I didn't touch my 2018 Fusion Energi with FORScan at all, nor do I plan on touching this vehicle with any software? Why?

1) Too many things I don't know that may cause the vehicle to lose features without an easy recovery.

2) Updating modules and throwing off Ford's OTA updates which may be looking at the vehicle's current status in the Ford system?

3) Possibility of bricking a $60,000 car and having to hear about it from my wife... ;)
 

Texas-E

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 16, 2021
Messages
95
Reaction score
205
Location
Texas
Vehicles
2021 Mach-E
Country flag
I didn't touch my 2018 Fusion Energi with FORScan at all, nor do I plan on touching this vehicle with any software? Why?

1) Too many things I don't know that may cause the vehicle to lose features without an easy recovery.

2) Updating modules and throwing off Ford's OTA updates which may be looking at the vehicle's current status in the Ford system?

3) Possibility of bricking a $60,000 car and having to hear about it from my wife... ;)
Certainly your choice, but I think you give way too much credit to Ford's OTA process and the "technician" at the dealer. I would say that the price of entry isn't free, and buying an aftermarket VCI and daisy-chaining vehicles together for power, probably isn't the best idea.
 

GrumblesTheDog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
296
Location
Ohio
Vehicles
2021 Mustang Mach-E GB FE
Country flag
I saw a couple listed on eBay for that price, but I saw more listed at $700-$1000. So I was suspicious of a scam. I don't know for sure but it did scare me off. Also seeing the shipping location as Hong Kong didn't help ha ha
For real - I'm not sure I'd give my CC number to one of these websites which looks like it has a procedurally generated URL, where the device looks juuuuust a little different than the official Ford pictures.

Thanks for the post, OP. When you connect your external power source, you can just hook onto the jump points, right? Or do you really need to connect to the 12V battery for some reason?
 

RickMachE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
905
Reaction score
775
Location
SE MI
Vehicles
Mach-E Premium 4X, Fusion Energi (for sale), F-150
Country flag
Certainly your choice, but I think you give way too much credit to Ford's OTA process and the "technician" at the dealer. I would say that the price of entry isn't free, and buying an aftermarket VCI and daisy-chaining vehicles together for power, probably isn't the best idea.
I'm not saying that the technician can't brick the car doing things wrong, of course he can. He bricks it, not my problem. I brick it, my problem.
 

Texas-E

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 16, 2021
Messages
95
Reaction score
205
Location
Texas
Vehicles
2021 Mach-E
Country flag
Thanks for the post, OP. When you connect your external power source, you can just hook onto the jump points, right? Or do you really need to connect to the 12V battery for some reason?
You connect to the jump points. The negative specifically needs a body ground, so the battery doesn't go into energy saver mode (I think that is what they called it).

Screen Shot 2021-10-09 at 10.49.01 AM.jpg


Screen Shot 2021-10-09 at 10.48.14 AM.jpg
 

phidauex

Well-Known Member
First Name
Sam
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Messages
477
Reaction score
885
Location
Colorado
Vehicles
2021 MachE 4EX, 2006 Prius, 1997 Tacoma
Occupation
Renewable Energy Engineer
Country flag
Thanks for the tutorial! I struggled with it for a while last week but eventually got there. Here are a few things I learned that might help another…
  • While FDRS works on a MacBook running Windows on Bootcamp, it does NOT work on a virtual machine. The issue has to do with activating the license - either intentionally or unintentionally the license fails to activate (with a mysterious error none of the techs could identify). You need to be running Windows on bare metal.
  • The Mongoose Ford Plus2 works well. I did not have good luck with a SnapOn Pass Thru Pro 3 (rebranded CarDaq2) - trouble updating its drivers, couldn’t be identified correctly by either ForScan or FDRS.
  • Yes you can connect the aux power source to the jump points under the hood, not the battery directly. In my case I connected my 10A charger about 30 minutes early and let it bring the battery voltage up quite a bit before starting the updates. I’ve heard some updates cause the pumps to run, but in my case, none of the updates made the pumps run so there was very little voltage drop during updates.
  • If you don’t have a good laptop, a $20 50ft USB 2.0 extension with a repeater built-in does indeed work. You have to walk back and forth quite a bit to turn the car on and off, but for me it was convenient.
Happy hacking!
 

Texas-E

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 16, 2021
Messages
95
Reaction score
205
Location
Texas
Vehicles
2021 Mach-E
Country flag
I'm not saying that the technician can't brick the car doing things wrong, of course he can. He bricks it, not my problem. I brick it, my problem.
I get it and still stand by giving too much credit to Ford :). I think that bricking a module is a remote possibility if the right equipment is purchased and used. After going through this, it isn't all that complex.

I'm not arguing with you... it just doesn't sound like this is for you.
 
OP
OP
mpshizzle

mpshizzle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
435
Reaction score
543
Location
Utah
Vehicles
Mustang Mach E 4X
Country flag
I would say that the price of entry isn't free, and buying an aftermarket VCI and daisy-chaining vehicles together for power, probably isn't the best idea.
I totally agree. Daisy chaining vehicles is a very bad idea. As a point of clarification, it was an RV battery that I was using. Not an actual RV. Just a giant battery I happen to have sitting in my garage.

Still not a great idea. Don't recommend but it did the job
 
Advertisement

 
Advertisement
Top