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Installing aftermarket DVD headrests

Discussion in 'Modified 2011- 2019 Explorer Sport Tuning' started by SteveW25561, March 6, 2011.

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    1. SteveW25561

      SteveW25561 New Member

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      I have a 2011 Explorer Limited Edition on order.

      I, like many, chose not to order the Invision headrests from Ford. The cost is insane when you consider they are not even integrated into MFT or controllable from the front seat, plus they use FM radio modulation for sound transmission to the main sound system!

      For less than 25% of Ford's price you can get any number of other brands of DVD headrests. These are easy to install if you can take off the back cover of the seats.

      Does anyone know how to do this on the new Explorers? Anyone install a third-party DVD headrest?

      I know 2 iPads are an option as well, and still cheaper, but I dislike the look of empty mounts and cables hanging out (I wouldn't leave the iPads in the car when not in use). Plus it would be hard to make 2 iPads play the same material for the times I'd like the kids to share an experience rather than jacking into separate videos.
       
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    3. 11ExplorerFanBoi

      11ExplorerFanBoi New Member

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      I just order a set of 9" Headrest DVDs from Onfair.com. Total price $245 for the pair which includes 2 headrest DVDs, 2 Wireless headset, 2 remotes/controllers, and 2 gaming controllers. The set also includes over 30 games to keep kids entertained. Here is the link http://www.onfair.com/products/2x-9-inch-DIGITAL-SCREEN-Car-Headrest-DVD-Player-Headphones-Black-Cover-Eonon-C1037.html

      I will take pictures and document the process. I did a dry run saturday and figured out the following:
      The center console can easily be taken out be removing the side panels which snap on and off. (no screws)

      You can get to the center console cigarette lighter by opening the top and gently pulling up on the cigarette lighter to run power.

      You can run the headrest wires down the inside of the seat using a wire coat hanger from the top of the seat to the bottom.

      I will post pics and how to video of my daring installation. Wish me luck.
       
      • Thanks Thanks x 1
    4. drober30

      drober30 Active Member

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      Pretty cool how they zip up to hide the screens when not in use!
       
    5. SteveW25561

      SteveW25561 New Member

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      This is great news: the players you found are better than anything I've found.

      Your profile on the left says you have a Limited. I'm expecting mine this weekend (my first Ford, ever!). Your description of the process sounds better than I expected (I was worried we'd have to take the back of the seat off and I wasn't sure if there's a way to do this on the Limited).

      A few questions:

      1. How does the new headrest support your head compared to the stock ones?
      2. How good a match is the color to your seats (I've ordered black seats).
      3. Finally, how did you pick these ones specifically? That site seems to have several models, all of which look the same (9" screens with covers), but vary in price from ~$215 to ~$285.

      I did find one that tilts forward and backward, which might be nice (not sure if you considered this one):
      http://www.onfair.com/products/AUTO...ar-Headrest-Monitor-LCD-DVD-Player-Cover.html

      Best of luck on your installation -- thanks also for offering to put up pictures of the install.

      You might already be planning this, but would you consider on your installation the following:
      1. Wiring power to a switched fuse (so that the players don't accidentally drain your batteries if the kids forget to turn them off). I understand the Explorer's lighter sockets are always on, even if the key is out, so this is a potential issue unless the players have an automatic off feature.
      2. Wiring the video output from each headrest to each other's video inputs (that way both screens can show the same or different content, and each screen can serve video to the other).
      3. Route the audio output from one or both players to the audio input in the center console (to improve audio quality vs FM).


      Thanks...
      - Steve
       
    6. dinom

      dinom New Member

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      Wow, what a timely thread! I just got my aftermarket headrests yesterday, and plan to install them in my LTD this weekend. I paid quite a bit more for these, but they are perfect color match and have touch screen controls and some other features:

      http://www.headrestvideo.com/vsheadrests/aud7pkgdvd.html

      I have also tried to map this out on paper first. Here is what I was planning to do:

      1) Route wires down each post to bottom of seat using wire snake or coat hanger. I am going to be extra cautious and tape up the sharp ends of the coat hanger with electrical tape so as not to poke a hole through the seat upholstery.

      2) Mount wiring unit/FM modulator under the drivers seat by using industrial velcro. If you look under the drivers seat, there is already a patch of velcro stapled to the floor, towards the front part of the seat. This is for some tire inflation kit that I guess was optional.

      3) Route wires from passenger side headrest around or under the center console. I didn't know (until reading the original post here) that the console is easy to remove, so I was planning to stuff the wires underneath. If you push your fingers under the console around the back and sides, you can push the carpet down enough to probably get the cables to run underneath without having to remove the console itself. I will look at taking it out, though, as that might make the routing better.

      4) Run the power/ground wires (18 AWG) "somehow" under the carpet, under the driver's side scuff plate, and then to the fuse box area. Then I will use one of these to tap into a switched circuit:

      http://www.autozone.com/autozone/ac..._/N-25gq?counter=39&itemIdentifier=32416_0_0_

      I was thinking about powering it off the center console (second row) lighter outlet, but that thing is always live, and I'm sure the players will get left on some day and drain the battery.

      5) I am leasing the X, so I have to make sure I can put it back together when I return it.


      Let's keep this thread going, so we can all help each other.

      Dino
       
      Last edited: May 3, 2011
    7. dinom

      dinom New Member

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      Please more details on center console removal

      Could you provide a few more details about removing the console? You say the sides snap off without screws, but then what? Can you easily remove the entire console then? Is it screwed to the floor?

      I want to gain access to the "bottom" of the console, so I can route the two cables from the passenger side to the driver side under the carpet.

      Thanks.



       
    8. blwnsmoke

      blwnsmoke Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Those units look pretty decent.. only thing that would keep me from them is the "30 day warranty". If they can only back their product for 30 days, that tells you the quality of them. An optional 1 yr warranty for $29.95??? They should be covered for a year without having to pay additional money.
       
    9. 11ExplorerFanBoi

      11ExplorerFanBoi New Member

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      I only took the center console sides off to see if I could route wires through it. They come off pretty easy. I did not try to take it out completely mainly because I am still awaiting the arrival of the headsets. I will see if my plan works once they come in this weekend.

      I was planning to use the center consol cigarette lighter as a power source but it looks from what I am hearing they stay on regardless if the car is off. I will probably go the fuse tap route mentioned above.

      As far as the warranty goes i see the concern, but I have had some friends install this in a mazda CX9 and they have been in there for over 2 years and they have been running flawlessly. Not to mention the extra $30 for the warranty still keeps this option cheaper than the dealers $2000 price tag. Especially since most content will be downloaded in a couple of years.

      I'll keep you guys posted.
       
    10. Explorer209

      Explorer209 Member

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      SAVE your $$$ DVD headrests are not worth it IMHO had them in my HUMMER H2 SUT and they are cool at first then not used. I sat in an 2011 explorer at the dealership and felt the second row was too close for comfortable viewing, I'm 6'1" and keep in mind the second row doesn't adjust. Take your 1,500 and buy other upgrades you (the driver) will use and enjoy.
       
    11. Sgt1411

      Sgt1411 Elite Explorer

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      I spoke to some people in the know about the idea of routing Invision DVD headrest video and audio up to the front SYNC unit. There is no official way to do this but a suggestion was made that makes some sense.

      The suggestion was to bring the audio/video signal from the master DVD head unit down the seatback, under the carpet up into the front console audio/video connection media hub. Or possibly intercept the audio/video signal passing from master DVD unit to slave DVD unit.

      If someone who does this for a living could have a look at the cabling behind the front centre media hub maybe we can come up with a clean mod.

      This way we could push audio and video to the SYNC screen.
       
    12. dinom

      dinom New Member

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      Haha, tell that to my 6 and 4 year old. I assure you, they will use them a lot, especially on longer trips. I agree for adults or older kids (teens), these don't make sense.



       
    13. SteveW25561

      SteveW25561 New Member

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      Any updates? Some of the posters above said they were doing the install this past weekend.

      I take delivery of my Ex this week and am anxious to see how the headrests fir, feel and install before jumping in myself!

      Good luck!
       
    14. 11ExplorerFanBoi

      11ExplorerFanBoi New Member

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      I am suppose to receive units today via FedEx and will attempt to install them later this week. I did some testing this past weekend and noticed there wasn't a fuse box inside the vehicle by the drivers feet. (Is this correct? Or am I missing something?) So I maybe going back to my original plan which is using the cigarette lighter in the center console. Which stays on regardless if ignition is on.

      Does any one know of any other easy access power source that goes on and off with ignition?
       
    15. dinom

      dinom New Member

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      Hi all.

      I have bunch of info to report as I installed my system the other day. The installation went without a hitch, but I'm having problems with the DVD players themselves. So much for spending over $1000.00 on these. But I have a 3 year warranty, and the store that sold them is really helpful and is going to replace whatever is needed to get it fixed.

      Here is what I did:

      1) It is very easy to snake the headrest cables down the support holes. Just use a metal coat hanger and be very careful to wrap both ends with plenty of electrical tape. I say both ends because you could easily poke a hole in your head liner or seat backs if you are not careful. First snake the coat hanger down without attaching the cable until it comes out at the bottom corner of the seat. At the bottom of each seat, you can disconnect a portion of upholstery by releasing three tabs that hold it in place. If you get down there with a light, you will see what I'm talking about. Then lift the fabric up a bit so you can get a better look at what you're doing - makes routing the wires easier.

      Once the coat hanger comes out the bottom corner, attach the headrest cable at the top of the seat to the hanger with electrical tape. You will have to tape it in a butt joint style or else it won't fit through the mounting hole. Then you simply pull the hanger with cable out the bottom of the seat. Do this for all 4 (in my case) cables. Make a single loop (about 4 inch diameter) in the cables at the bottom part of the seat and push this up inside the back of the seat. This will provide enough slack to allow the headrest to go up/down. Zip tie the cables at several places under the seat to prevent them from pulling out, but leave enough slack to allow the seat to go forward and back.

      2) The passenger side cables will easily slide under the back and bottom of the center console. There are slits in the carpet that make it super easy to conceal these on either side of the console box. Take a look and you'll see them. The cables will be completely hidden, and you don't have to remove any trim, etc.

      3) Mount you junction box/FM modulator (if yours is like mine) under the driver seat. I put a piece of industrial velcro on the back of the junction box and attached it to the piece of velcro that is stapled to the carpet at the front/bottom of the drivers seat. On my LTD, this is used to attach an optional tire inflation kit, which I didn't get.

      4) Attach the headrest cables to the junction box and zip tie appropriately.

      5) Run the power/ground wires through the slit in the carpet under the drivers seat and route towards the outside of the car. Just use your fingers to slip this under the scuff plate under the driver door. I then partially removed the driver kick panel trim by simply pulling straight back (this is the vertical piece of plastic trim at the front edge of the driver door opening). There are 3 or 4 spring tabs holding it in place. You will see a thick black wire under there. Next, carefully pull back on the bottom of trim that goes further up the driver door to reveal where this black wire gets attached to the chassis. This is a ground attachment point, and I attached my ground wire there using a crimp on ring connector.

      6) Route the power wire to area under drivers pedals (do this while you have those trim pieces partially removed). Then push back all the trim pieces along the driver door and where you made your ground connection. There is a fuse box under there, it's just incredibly hard to reach and find. I couldn't find it at first either, but you have to look way up under the driver brake pedal area. There is a cover that you simply remove by pressing the two tabs in each side. I used the add-a-fuse piece I referenced above and plugged it into the moon roof/rear mirror spot (location 38). This is accessory power and will only be powered with the car on. It does have a delay to shut off (10 minutes or until door is opened) but that isn't long enough to drain battery or be of concern. The add-a-fuse, when installed correctly, will turn a right angle towards the front edge of the fuse box. You will have to buy a standard 10 amp ATM fuse (not the low profile type) to replace the moonroof fuse that you removed. For my headrests, a 5 amp fuse is sufficient to protect the 18 AWG wires and to protect for over current condition.

      7) You cannot fit the fuse cover back as-is with the add-a-fuse device. I have a leased vehicle, so I'll just leave the cover in the glove box, but for buyers, you could maybe roto-zip the cover to fit around it.

      Well, that's it pretty much. Please let me know if you need any clarification.

      Regards,
      Dino
       
      Last edited: May 10, 2011
    16. 11ExplorerFanBoi

      11ExplorerFanBoi New Member

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      Would love to see any pics of the final results? (i.e. Wires under driver seat, Headrests themselves)
       
      Last edited by a moderator: August 24, 2014
    17. dinom

      dinom New Member

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      Sure, but might not be for a few days.


       
    18. chuey12

      chuey12 New Member

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      Just purchased a LTD and the sales person stated that all LTD's are pre wired for DVD headrests, its simply a plug and play....so theoretically the power wires should already be available. I can only assume they would be switched......
       
    19. Sgt1411

      Sgt1411 Elite Explorer

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      Can you ask that sales guy to provide a drawing or some location to find these pre-wires?

      I kinda doubt it.....
       
    20. SteveW25561

      SteveW25561 New Member

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      Dino:

      Thanks so much for the info -- it sounds quite easy to do (at least easier than I feared). Can't wait to get mine.
       
    21. chuey12

      chuey12 New Member

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      he said they were in the seat back, which makes sense
       
    22. 11ExplorerFanBoi

      11ExplorerFanBoi New Member

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      OK. So I am getting ready to install my headrest this weekend and decided to check. There are 2 sets of wires in the seat and both seem to be attached to something. Skinny ones on the left and thick ones on the right. It looks like they might be for the heated seats though.

      I will see if I can get the service department to tell me which ones are which when I drop my car off on Friday for 2.7 to 2.8 update.
       
    23. /\G

      /\G New Member

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      Save yourself money and install and grab 2 ipads and the ringo mounting system from vogels. So many positives to ipad system over old dvd technology. You can also utilize the wifi technology in your new ex and take your ipad with you
       
    24. drober30

      drober30 Active Member

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      I wish they had wireless headphones. I will have to do a search and see if there are some options out there. Maybe Bluetooth?
       
    25. jade97

      jade97 Active Member

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      BECAREFUL!!! There are air bags and sensors in the seats. Don't cut into any of the wires if you are not sure what they are for.
       
    26. Sgt1411

      Sgt1411 Elite Explorer

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      There is a thread from a month or two back where a poster found an iPad mount that had power and wireless headphones. Looked very good.

      Maybe search topic
       

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