TCU 3G to 4G Upgrade

Hope this is the right place to ask, but I’m looking at upgrading my 3G TCU to a 4G TCU in my 2017 Lincoln MKX. I’ve been using the Lincoln Way (Lincoln version of FordPass) up until the decommissioning of the 3G modems.

I’ve scoured countless threads and came across at least one person who was able to do this swap as a plug-and-play by grabbing one from a 2018 MKX, but I’m not able to locate a 2018 MKX to pull a TCU from. I found a TCU from an Escape JL3T-14G087 and was just wondering if this would work for this swap or how I could verify that?

  1. I have a Canadian vehicle and the donor vehicle is from the US. Not sure if that impacts anything or makes this a non-starter. I’ve read a few posts that say North American TCU’s are shared between both Canada and the US, and a PDF that said this wasn’t the case, so I’m not positive on this one.
  2. I scoured the AsBuilt’s of both my vehicle and the donor and the primary difference that I can see is the 754-01-01 containing B162 on my vehicle and B142 on the donor. I’m not positive what that value refers to on mine, since my TCU is a FA1Z-14G229-AZ (according to a dealer), but it seems to imply CGEA 1.2 (62 on the J series is CGEA 1.3, but my TCU is not a J series so it may be referring to something totally different).

I suspect my SYNC 3 APIM is ready to communicate with a new TCU since my vehicle came with one from factory, and I do have remote start functionality.

I’ve tried to research this the best I can, but it’s tough to make this initial purchase since my confidence level in the appropriate TCU to acquire is pretty low. I’ve made programming changes to other modules, so that really isn’t an issue (although it’d be nicer if it were plug and play, but I know that might not be possible).

Thanks for all the hard work everyone in this community does. Your information is extremely valuable.

US and Canadian TCU’s are not compatible. These are different cell networks and providers. They are physically the same.

This just means the donor came from a CGEA 1.2 vehicle, which the Escape is. It can be set to CGEA 1.3. However, Escapes also use I-CAN instead of HS3-CAN, so an Escape TCU is not the best donor.

Yes, but…you must have a Canadian TCU. If you look at the asbuilts between the US and Canada TCU’s you will see the US TCU has a code line &%$-06-xx, whereas the Canada TCU has the code line 754-05-xx. This is a positive way to identify J and K series forward TCU’s as US or Canadian. This does not apply to the H series and older TCU’s.

So, the question is, what do you want the TCU to do? If you were to replace the 3G TCU with a newer H series 4G TCU, you will have remote start and most of the features like that. If you want other advanced features, then you will need to go to the J series. This also requires wiring changes, etc. Honestly, the H series will probably be sufficient.

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Ah, bummer. I had thought they’d be compatible since I’ve taken my Lincoln into the US and all my remote app functionality remained available during my trip. I had thought they were either the same, or at least the US TCU’s would roam up here with the AT&T partnership that our carriers have for the IoT network.

Interesting. So my MKX is HS3-CAN? Is there anything specific I should be looking for when looking at potential donors?

I’m definitely only interested in retaining functionality I have now: remote start/stop/unlock/lock, vehicle alarm notifications, tire pressure warning, oil life, mileage, and fuel level. That’s the functionality I had and I’m not really looking to add, but rather retain what I had. It sounds like I’d be best off looking at an H series.

I might probe my dealer again to see if they have any update on the official upgrade program. They’ve left me hanging right now since they don’t seem to know how to source the parts, or they forgot about me which has lead me to trying to DIY this. If I need to find a Canadian TCU, I might be stuck with pursuing the official upgrade.

Thanks for all the information and the swift reply. Really appreciated.

CGEA 1.3 vehicles. 2018+ Ford or Lincoln anything. CGEA 1.3 was introduced in 2015 on several models, but not widespread till 2017/18.

The roaming is compatible, but the home network is not.

I agree.

You could have Ford replace the unit then change the programming later. This way Ford has to make it work first thing, and you get the right modem and firmware.

@Vchat20 might have some info to add here. There is a C-Max forum that has a thread about this.

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Appreciate the replies! I’ll begin a hunt for an H series in Canada, and I’ve also reached back out to my dealer to see about the official upgrade path.

I should be able to just go get it upgraded at the dealer and regain the functionality that I lost at the moment of 3G decommissioning, correct? I would hope there’d be no programming required with that route. Trading convenience for cost in that case. It’d be great if the dealer would sell me the upgrade kit, but I suspect they want that labour and I guess I don’t blame them.

Hopefully I can track an H series TCU down while I wait for their response. I’ll have to use a bit more caution though, since that original JL3T TCU that I mentioned earlier is supposedly from a 2018 Escape.

Thanks again for the guidance.

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