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SYNC 3 in a 2016 Explorer

Discussion in '2011-2016 My Ford Touch / In Vehicle Technology' started by jmr061, February 13, 2016.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. jmr061

    jmr061 Well-Known Member

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    I have read a lot about people wanting to swap from SYNC2(MFT) to SYNC3 in their Explorers. Everyone says Ford should have put SYNC3 in the 2016 model year. There was lots of grumbling that it was produced with SYNC2. There was a rumor that SYNC3 was tested in a 2016 by Ford but they couldn't get it to work so SYNC2 was implemented.

    Recently I located a used SYNC3 screen and apim unit from a wrecked 2016 Escape Titanium. It had NAV and was the right price so I purchased it to test in my 2016 Sport.

    While the price was right that doesn't mean the rest would be easy. I have spent no less than 15 hours researching the as built programming data of various models of Fords and Lincolns that were SYNC2 based and switched to SYNC3. I am not going to get into fine details but SYNC2 has 8 lines of programming data and SYNC3 has 15 lines of programming data. Deciphering this is difficult if not near impossible.

    So now it was time to install it. I compared wiring diagrams between SYNC2 and SYNC3 units and there did not seem to be any issues with that. No rewiring needed. The most difficult part about that physical install were the side brackets attached to the screen. The SYNC2 screen for the Explorer is shaped differently than the SYNC3 screen used in the Escape. I had to cut and drill out the Escape brackets and trial and error fit it until I got it close enough to fitting properly.

    SYNC3 uses a regular GPS antenna with a blue FAKRA connector, connected directly to the APIM. It does not use a GPSM like the SYNC2 version uses. At first I didn't have a GPS antenna but ordered a $10 one off eBay and have since installed it. The GPSM should be removed. The instrument cluster needs to come out to access the GPSM which sits behind the right side of the instrument cluster just under the dash pad. This is where I placed the SYNC3 GPS antenna using velcro.

    Fired things up and things seemed to work well. Only time would tell. I have tweaked some of the programming I did. Everything seems to work but I have noticed that something strange goes on with the settings in the left side of the instrument cluster. Menus such as locks, lighting, easy entry/exit will randomly grey out and become inaccessible. If the vehicle is shut off and sits for a bit they may or may not come back for a little bit. It appears SYNC3 is interfering with network communication between the IPC, BCM and possibly driver seat module. Off course that is only the stuff I can physically see. There could be more bad stuff going on behind that scenes.

    I am at the point of waiting for a 2017 Explorer to hit the build point where I can pull the SYNC3 data and examine it and test it. I will likely put SYNC2 back in it.

    My recommendation to everyone at this point is don't get your hopes up of adding SYNC3 to your 2016 Explorer or earlier one for that matter.

    I have also just learned that there is a new version of the SYNC3 APIM that has recently come out. Why they have a new version is not known to myself at this time.

    I will update (edit) this post with pics and additional information as seen fit.

    2/19/16
    I actually have re-installed this. I found "better" programming data and it no longer is interfering with the settings in the instrument cluster. On face value right now it seems to be functioning.


    After having this back in the vehicle for about a month I found it was still interfering with the settings in the instrument cluster, just much less frequently than before. For this reason I pulled it and am running MFT. Perhaps once the 17s hit the streets and I can look at that data I can revisit this.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 27, 2016
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  3. fwrogg

    fwrogg Member

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    nice work and great effort, at least a glimpse of things to come in future model years.
     
  4. jmr061

    jmr061 Well-Known Member

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    I actually have re-installed this. I found "better" programming data and it no longer is interfering with the settings in the instrument cluster. On face value right now it seems to be functioning.
     
  5. fwrogg

    fwrogg Member

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    Congratulations, always great when things work out, please keep us updated.
     
  6. jmr061

    jmr061 Well-Known Member

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    I am actually surprised at the lack of comments in regards to this project. So much complaining went on about not having SYNC3 and wanting to add it.

    I like it, something things I like better than SYNC2 (MFT) and some not. I do not like how the ambient lighting is controlled. There should be an on/off button for it like SYNC2. The way it works are each light color is on a vertical slider, up being full brightness and all the way down being off. If you really want to dim it down low I have issues with going to far and shutting it off.

    The navigation works well. Used it on a 4 hr round trip the other day and no issues. I think they could spice up the looks of it a bit but its clear functionality was priority number 1 which is the right thing to do. Hopefully carplay and android auto aren't too far out on the timeline.
     
  7. omar302

    omar302 Active Member

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    Try using the Lincoln theme, looks less cartoonish & more mature from the few pictures & reviews I've seen.
     
  8. jmr061

    jmr061 Well-Known Member

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    Already have.
     
  9. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I think part of that might be because the Sync 3 parts/unit cannot be purchased from Ford. I don't know if the other vendor links in another thread provides all the necessary modifications in order to just 'pop' the Sync 2 out and the Sync 3 in. Also, perhaps the $1000 or so price tag on the other site may make it seem that Sync 2 isn't so bad after all. :dunno:
    Maybe members were hoping that you could simply get Sync 3 functionality using the current setup and display.
    In any case, thank you Jason for showing that it can be done if the will and knowhow is there.

    Peter
     
  10. Lewisra

    Lewisra Active Member

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    Nice. I have SYNC3 in my Focus. Only functionality issue I've come across is random reboots, though it only takes about 10 seconds to reboot. Let me know if yours randomly reboots.
     
  11. ieee_raider

    ieee_raider Active Member

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    I'm very interested in your progress.
    What is the software you're working on?
    I'm not familiar with what you would actually be programming.
    I would bet that you could sell your software package to people interested in making the change.
    If I could spend $1000 on parts and $150 on software, I would be all over this.
     
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  12. jmr061

    jmr061 Well-Known Member

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    You have a 2013...that would be starting over from scratch.
     
  13. vp6799

    vp6799 Active Member

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    Would the process be the same for a 14?
     
  14. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    The process outlined is only for the 2016.

    Peter
     
  15. ieee_raider

    ieee_raider Active Member

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    Since both the '16 and '13 run MFT, aren't they basically the same?
    I'm not trying to argue, just asking the question to understand.
     
  16. chazglenn3

    chazglenn3 Active Member

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    Since my wife is coming from a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica with no tech she's pretty happy with MFT. Works for me too. The voice recognition is light years ahead of my 2005 Cadillac.
     
  17. jmr061

    jmr061 Well-Known Member

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    The issue isn't the physical install...that is the easy part. The hard part is the programming as the 13/14/15 versus the 16 are totally different electrical platforms.
     
  18. hockeymutt

    hockeymutt New Member

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    any updates? sent you a PM. Just trying to figure out the programing side of this. Thanks
     
  19. jmr061

    jmr061 Well-Known Member

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    It is functioning fine. Update is in original post.
     
  20. Uaglio

    Uaglio Active Member

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    all that work for what amounts to a different GUI?
     
  21. jmr061

    jmr061 Well-Known Member

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    This is an experiment. Yes a lot of research involved. People thought it would be cheap and simple. The answer is, it isn't. Maybe down the road it will be more feasible but for the the general user at this point I would say I have proven it is not feasible.

    BTW I do for the most part like it better than MFT.
     
    Last edited: March 7, 2016

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