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DIY:Message Center Installation


Well-Known Member
April 18, 2006
Reaction score
City, State
Virginia Beach, VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
00 XLS
Well, as an electrical engineer, I couldn't stand that there was a lack of a real accurate descriptive DIY to install a message center.

After hours and hours of research, I've complied all the data, wiring connection, and testing procedures that you would need to install a message center.

Tools Needed:
1. Soldering Iron w/ Solder
2. Heat shrink
3. Wire stripper
4. Wire cutters
5. Digital Multimeter
6. 1/4" drive Ratchet
7. Set of metric 1/4" drive sockets
8. 3-6" 1/4" Extension
9. Zip Ties

Of Course:
1. Message Center
2. 3 mating wire harnesses to the M/C


Open the PDF document that is linked to my website. Here you will find all the info needed to wire up the message center.

Message Center Installation

Page 1 on the PDF is an excel document that I have complied which includes all the wiring information and a brief description of the signal information.

Pages 2-30 are direct PDF prints from the Ford service manual for those of you that may want more information. If you cannot find what you are looking for in these pages, you will not find it.

NOTE: If you have a 97-00 Explorer with a 4.0L OHV engine, you will need to swap your PCM with one from a 96 Eddie Bauer edition that has the 4.0L OHV. This was the only year that the EB came with a 4.0L OHV, so Ford made one of your crucial signals available. If you do have to do this swap, I recommend that you also get the PATS module, and the transponder from the ignition key. If you only swap the PCM, you will have to have Ford program in the matching security code that matches the PATS module in your car. If you get only the PCM and PATS module, but not the transponder, make sure that you have two keys for your vehicle. You will have to have Ford reprogram the PATS module with the new transponder information.

Any Questions?

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:thumbsup: This is a very good description of the MC's features and wiring!

Someone suggested I do this once when I was asking about swapping a long console, but this would be too much effort for something I probably wouldn't use much.

When I got my explorer, it had NO console what so ever. I went to the junkyard and got a full console with every piece included, even the message center and wiring, and armrest all for $35. It was super easy to install.

Wow, very nice write up!

Wonder how difficult it would be on an '01 Sport. Alot of little stuff seems to be different between my truck and pre-'01 Explorers. Someday I might try it.

well I assume you would want this for the MPG information. If thats the case, then you would want to verify that your PCM provides a "fuel Flow signal." Since there is NO technical information regarding this signal, you would have just try and hook up the M/C and hope for the best.

Also, you would need to verify that the fuel tank level signal is the same resistance range as the 2nd Gens. With the Fuel Flow signal, Fuel tank level, and tachometer signal, and the speed sensor signal, the MPG information should work.

ughh, ive got a 96 5.0 xlt.

would my PCM work with this or do i still need to go out look for another?

the yard down the street has a few explorers with the electronic aircondition control unit and like two others with message centers that nobodys taken, so im seriously considering doing this... someone message me PLEASE!

Correct me if im wrong but i read somewhere that the speed sensor signal on early models came from the gearbox and later models came from the rear abs sensors, i can verify the message center i got is from a 96 model and i cant get a correct distance signal and from the other guides i have read it has been noted that the message center should come from same year as the truck it is going into.I cant find my notes at the minute but i believe it was pre 96

Bump for a dead link

I've got an 02 Sport - will I have to swap my PCm as well?

Well, I have finally decided to give it a try and install message center in my 02 Sport. So far, I have gotten all the wires inside hooked-up... it seams though that I can't locate any of the wires I need under the hood.

There is no wire coming out of pin 43 on the PCM. Looks like I'm gonna have to make "the connection". I can't find wires on the engine wire loom (green/white and white/pink). No luck with washer fluid bottle either. Did they change colors on the engine wire loom? any changes on the PCM and the location of the fuel flow wire/pin.

So far no VSS, no oil level, no oil temp, no fuel flow...

message center for a 2000 sport, 4.0 SOHC

The PDF link with all of the data and install instuctions from 98formulals1 is a broken link. Does anyone have that info and could email it to me?
I have the dash and counsel all apart for complete new audio and Indiglo install. Would really like to add a message center now if at all possible.

Thanks in advance

Ron :exp:

i recognize that the link is no longer working. I will work to re-establish a working link to the correct document.


fixed, working link!

this is one of the many 'upgrades' I'd like to do to my '01 XLT... difficulty on a 1-10 scale?

Got a question if anyone could help please, I went to hook the wiring up to the washer fluid level sensor and the sensor has two wires coming out of it and the new wiring goes into pin 2. So the question is which ones pin two :biggthump I guess its 50/50 but Id rather it be 100/0 lol.


Wow. Very in-depth PDF. This should prove useful when I put a message center in my truck very soon. Thanks!

link not working again

I have several message centers listed in my signature if anyone wants one, PM me

I would say on 1-10 this install is a solid 5 saying a surface mount PCB being 10 and a wire splice being a 1

the hardest part is just keeping track of all the wires, and making it all look good, take your time and think it out and label everything eve if it means having masking tape labels inside you dash

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FYI, the message center from a 95-97 is not the same as the 98-01's. I don't know the changes, but others have discovered to use the right range MC for your truck. Use a 98-01 in a later truck like a Ranger or Sport track, Sport etc that has matching dash.