Gen 2 Explorer console with custom audio | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Gen 2 Explorer console with custom audio

daChurchPcGuy

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March 27, 2014
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City, State
Longmeadow, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Explorer Sport Trac
I've got a daughter that loves her music and the stock radio in my 2005 ST has no inputs, so ...

First task was to find a head unit with Bluetooth, rear USB and AUX input. This way I can route the USB and AUX to the rear of my long console. (The one I didn't have.) After a bunch of searching I found a media unit from Crutchfield for $129.99 that included everything required to install including ST specific instructions: Pioneer Head Unit

Second task was finding a good gen 2 high center console. That proved to be harder than I thought but I managed to find a decent one for $40 at a boneyard. (1997 Explorer) The lid was awful so I got a grey one that was decent. (I'll reupholster it with tan vinyl.)

I made sure I got the front vent and mounting bracket from the Explorer when I removed the console. The vent connection took longer than EVERYTHING else due to the left rear screw.

Third task is installing the console, yeah, I did mention it was an Explorer console ... The vent installation was awful, I thought removal was bad! I ended up using a smaller screw for the right rear and that made it easier to get e wrench on it. Oh, I had to remove the Restraints Control Module (RCM) to get to the screw.

I looked at the rear mount and it was obvious it wasn't going to work. The ST mount is further up front than the Explorer mount, oh well. I slid the console into place, without the RCM in place and it fit fine. There was no way the RCM could be put back in and I needed the console for this weekend! I ended up mounting it on top of the vent plenum in the same direction secured it in place. (I removed the negative battery cable to ensure I didn't cause an airbag to deploy.) There's a picture below of the new placement.

The next step was to remove the radio/vent control panel and modify it to my needs. I made a plate from flashing material and made all my cutouts. One USB port and AUX port to the radio, and two 12V accessory plugs. I made up special cables with panel mount connectors so it look sorta factory. The two accessory plugs had to be placed a certain way to avoid hitting vent controls and USB port. That's why they don't line up.

I then painted the plate in flat brown. I didn't have flat black at home and I needed to get it done. The brown doesn't look bad against the tan console. Pictures of the front and rear of the new panel with everything in place are below.

I'm not done yet, I need to connect all the wiring and test the fan, USB and AUX connectors.

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daChurchPcGuy

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City, State
Longmeadow, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Explorer Sport Trac
Interesting - I've not seen anyone add power ports to that panel -

Got any more pictures you could throw up here?

I usually have two teenagers in the back so power points are CRITICAL! No more "Dad, can I plug in the front, my phone/ipod is almost dead?"

No more pictures yet, but a few more details:

I used the connector from the old cigarette lighter to power the right side power point. I'll run it back to the rear points tomorrow.

The fan power wire in the 97 Explorer console is pink/white, not yellow like in the ST console.

I am REALLY disappointing in the fan power it barely blows. It's so bad I thought it wasn't connected right but it is.:(
 




daChurchPcGuy

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City, State
Longmeadow, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Explorer Sport Trac
Since the rear Explorer mount doesn't work in the ST I added some self tapping screws where it bolted into the Explorer. The result is a stable, secure console.
 

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daChurchPcGuy

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City, State
Longmeadow, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Explorer Sport Trac
Views of the installed console with the reupholstered lid
 

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daChurchPcGuy

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City, State
Longmeadow, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Explorer Sport Trac
Here's the new rear panel with connections outlined. The USB and Aux ports connect to the rear of my new head unit via custom cables I made. The USB cable is a re-purposed connector from and add-on external slot connector. The AUX connection is a socket from Radio shack connected to high quality 3.5mm cable.

The power ports have USB chargers installed, they can handle more power since I ran higher gauge wire than the original cigarette lighter port.
 

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upther

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City, State
Micco, FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Explorer Sport Trac
Dude, that's awesome. Great job.
 




JuBean

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City, State
Roxborough CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Sport Trac
I wondered if anyone had added power back there....nicely done!
 




429CJ-3X2

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City, State
Des Moines, Iowa
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'01 & '02 Sport Tracs,
Nice job.

I bet the rear mount would have been in the correct place if your truck would have had the long console originally. The how-to posts on the short-to-long console swap say the rear mount bolts in, and to be sure to get it for the swap. They surely pulled the long console from a Sport or Sport Trac because in all the 4dr Explorers I've seen in the salvage yard the rear mount is riveted to the floor. I did find a mount that was pretty well broken loose and I got it. Actually, I was pulling the driver's seat out of an Ex that had been hit in the passenger side and the pass. seat got pushed into the console breaking the rivets loose. I also unbolted the rear mount out of the '01 Sport I got parts from recently. The console itself was COMPLETELY disassembled and scattered in the back, so I didn't bother with it. Just grabbed the Sport/Sport Trac front insert.

I've tried twice to get a front vent connection/transition piece out and gave up on both of them! That one bolt is nearly impossible!
 




daChurchPcGuy

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Longmeadow, MA
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2005 Explorer Sport Trac
Nice job.

I bet the rear mount would have been in the correct place if your truck would have had the long console originally. The how-to posts on the short-to-long console swap say the rear mount bolts in, and to be sure to get it for the swap. They surely pulled the long console from a Sport or Sport Trac because in all the 4dr Explorers I've seen in the salvage yard the rear mount is riveted to the floor. I did find a mount that was pretty well broken loose and I got it. Actually, I was pulling the driver's seat out of an Ex that had been hit in the passenger side and the pass. seat got pushed into the console breaking the rivets loose. I also unbolted the rear mount out of the '01 Sport I got parts from recently. The console itself was COMPLETELY disassembled and scattered in the back, so I didn't bother with it. Just grabbed the Sport/Sport Trac front insert.

I've tried twice to get a front vent connection/transition piece out and gave up on both of them! That one bolt is nearly impossible!

The rear Explorer bracket was riveted in and it looks totally different than the ST long console bracket. I brought a drill with a few bits into the boneyard.

The one bolt took twice as long to remove than all the rest of the console. I did it by feel with a long open end wrench. I kept my finger on the screw head while I guided the wrench in with the other.

Later I discovered that I could see the screw in my ST if I laid down in the driver's foot well in the exact right angle and put a light on it. the ST bolt is too long, the last few threads come out with the head touching the steel below it!
 




daChurchPcGuy

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Longmeadow, MA
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2005 Explorer Sport Trac
I just got back from a nearly 600 mile round trip with the new console installed ... it worked exactly as planned. Even without a rear bracket it was firmly placed int the truck. The extra screws I installed did the trick quite nicely.

Even though the fan is weak my daughter complained that the rear got too cold, much better than before.

Every power outlet and input got used during the trip. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of adding another on the driver's side of the console if I can make it work with the placement restraint module. I ran with an old phone functioning as GPS on the left side of the dash and my current phone functioning as car computer, music source, and phone on the right side.
 




daChurchPcGuy

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2005 Explorer Sport Trac
Here's a picture of the bracket from the Explorer, like I said, it's nothing like the ST bracket.
 

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DjDom

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Toronto, Ontario
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97 XL(imited)
Nice idea for the power outlets in the back. I was thinking of mounting one on the side in the back.

I hope you were able to find my thread before you started doing this, since I went through the headache of finding which wire does what.. That was brutal..

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=393003
 




daChurchPcGuy

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City, State
Longmeadow, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Explorer Sport Trac
Yes Dom, yours was one of many articled I read. I also have the shop manual set for the ST and found the wiring diagram for the Gen2 Explorer.

You can never have too many power outlets, I'd put two back there if you carry passengers on trips. Every power port in my truck got used on my last trip. Curiously, I found that a power outlet alone is more expensive than buying one complete with a cigarette lighter included. I simply pitched the lighters. I'm thinking about putting another in the dash, that would give me six in the cab I think. None of them draw much power, they're just for charging adapters.

Nice idea for the power outlets in the back. I was thinking of mounting one on the side in the back.

I hope you were able to find my thread before you started doing this, since I went through the headache of finding which wire does what.. That was brutal..

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=393003
 




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