Guide: How to add Ford MFT/Sync to a Non-Sync Police Interceptor | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Guide: How to add Ford MFT/Sync to a Non-Sync Police Interceptor


February 5, 2023
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City, State
Bunker, Nearby
Year, Model & Trim Level
2014 PIU
Hello Everyone,

As promised I have gone through the trials and tribulations of adding sync to a police interceptor utility and it's not as hard as I thought it would be. This is what I did, I can't guarantee that this will work for you, nor can I be responsible for anything that happens if you attempt this. This is probably the hard way but it's also the only way i could guarantee not to miss anything.

You will need the following parts, tools, and supplies:

A complete dash harness from a 2014 or 2015 ford explorer that had sync.
An APIM with screen, with or with out navigation.
An Ford Microphone and as much of the A pillar harness as you can obtain
A FCIM, this is the human machine interface for the air conditioner. In my case I used one from an XLT with out the sony option.
Sync USB Cable, USB Hub, and the plastic bracket that they mount into if you did not already bring in a regular explorer center console.
A pair of wire cutters, crimpers, metri-pack connectors, shrink tubing, wire wrap, electrical tape, and a good set of depinning tools.
All data subscription, specifically the APIM pinout, ACM Pinout, ACM Wiring Diagram, APIM Wiring Diagram, and the location
A 7mm and 10mm socket, and some extensions and wobblers.
A laptop with Forscan, I highly recommend following the Forscan groups advice on USB adapters as my older adapter would not find the APIM.
A pillow, some good flash lights, and a small screw driver set.

I highly recommend a subscription to All Data, it's $20 for 30 days and it has all the wiring diagrams and it makes it super easy to follow vs trying to Google around.


A replacement steering wheel with phone buttons
An aftermarket rear view camera or a factory ford rear view camera
A GPS Module if your car was not equipped, this is needed for navigation and compass functions to work on the instrument cluster.
An upgraded ACM and the missing section of antenna cable that runs between the passengers footwell, behind the glove box, and into the center stack. Some ACMs have HD radio, but most interceptors did not have the upgraded ACM for XM.

Note: It may be easier to use a Sync 3 APIM to avoid having to mess with the GPS module.

Take your complete dashboard harness and lay it out on the floor. Locate the 52 PIN locking APIM connector, and both ACM connectors. One of these will be on the side with the APIM, the other will be on the side with the FCIM. Carefully remove the plastic protector from the center of the harness. Starting from where the APIM and 2nd ACM connector meet, unwrap the electrical tape and wire wrap as required to disassemble the harness. Trace back each of the wires from the APIM connector and mark them with a system of your choosing where they terminate. Some wires will terminate in a stub to the ACM, some wires will terminate into large block connectors. The black and black blue wires and grounds and they will all join together into two grounding lugs that exists under the center stack.

I should point at out at this point that the original wiring to the 4 inch screen will be used, as well as the wiring to the FCIM, and two can bus network distribution blocks. You can buy on Alibaba the connectors for the other side of these in which to make a proper harness adapter, I used the parts left over from my android unit that died. Avoid where possible twisting the harness around on the floor after you have removed the wrap or you will have to spend hours like me sorting it out.

From the APIM connector, locate the following wires:

The red wire, which should terminate into a smaller latching connector at the BCM. This red wire should go to the red wire on the existing 4 inch screen.
Both black wires, which should terminate into the grounding lugs.
In a pair close to each other in a very small gauge: the violet and gray wires (MS CAN), and the white and white blue wires (HS CAN). These should terminate into two separate 12 pin connectors which distribute these networks to other modules in the car, one is brown and the other is white. These are going to the same location and should be bundled together with wrap.
Locate the Violet and Gray, and Blue and Gray wires, these are the I-CAN network. There are two sets of them, one which feeds into another 12 pin connector, and another which is in one of the block harnesses. This second one was wrapped in shielding. These wires will be spliced into the the wires of the same color going to the FCIM. Make note of which connectors go into which side of the connector.
The rear view camera input is: video + white and green, video - is brown and violet, you will need to wire this back to the camera if you don't have an existing run.
The microphone input is: microphone + yellow and green, and microphone - blue, you will need to add a complete segment of wiring for this if your vehicle only had the base wiring harness.

There is a portion of the harness that connects between the ACM and the APIM, and the ACM and the speakers. You do not need the portion for the ACM and the speakers, but you will need to unwrap this segment to get to the section you do need to keep. You can cut and remove any wires that don't go to the APIM or the ACM. The rest of the unused wires going to the APIM connector should be left as long as possible and rolled up in case they are needed. I wired everything in place and then reduced the harness down to be safe.

On your donor harness de-pin the MS CAN wires in the brown 12 pin distribution block, and the HS Can wires in the white distribution block just upstream of the APIM connector. You will need to pull apart the tabs with a small screw driver on the outside of the connector to loosen them before attempting to depin them. You only want this loose and not disassembled. The pins run through it and it acts as a locking mechanism. I struggled depinning them, so eventually I carefully cut them open and extracted the pins. If you manage to depin them, congrats otherwise you will need to splice the wires in and none of these connectors are in a easily accessible place.

If you are installing the optional GPS module, you will need to separately extract the connector and pigtails to wire in. The GPS connector can be found by following the grey wire with an orange stripe from the BCM side of the harness. The GPS module will need power which is the grey wire with an orange stripe, ground which is black or blue black, and then the violet and gray data lines need to follow the rest of the MS Can wiring. I wired power to my GPS module from the 14 way police connector on one of the always on circuits. You can avoid this by using Sync 3.

Before we disassemble everything, use forscan to make the following changes, be sure to backup your config before you make changes:

2015 Ford Explorer Add Sync pictures, videos, and sounds |

Credit to mrDot for this documentation.

Now to disassemble everything so we can get to it:

Disconnect the battery
Remove the entire center stack leaving only the HVAC module and TPMS module.
Remove the instrument cluster cover, and the instrument cluster itself
Remove the close out panel under the steering wheel, remove the metal cover under the close out panel, this is where the 10mm bolts are.
(optional) To get to the XM feed disconnect the glove box cable, and remove the glove box, remove the plastic glove box trim and the close out panel for the glove box. Remove the passenger side scuff plate. Pull up the carpet away from the scuff plate towards the foot well. Remove and replace the 2 to 1 connector with the 2 to 2 connector.

Credit to mrDot for this as well.

Reach under the dash and locate the key switch assembly, immediately behind it towards the firewall you will see a one brown and one white connector taped to the harness. This is the distribution blocks for the CAN Bus networks to distribute them around the car, carefully untape the connectors from the harness and remove the connecters to gain access to the front side of the pins but lifting up the tab on the wire side of the connector. Just as from the donor harness loosen the tabs from the side a bit so that the cover is loose. Feed the MSCAN/HSCAN stub down the left side of the center stack, so that the end of the cable is aligned with the now freed connectors. Secure the APIM harness to the hole in the center stack. Refer to your earlier disassembly documentation and cross check that you are inserting the pins into the correct sides of the distribution block. They are polarity sensitive. Be sure to confirm that the pins are fully seated into the connector, resecure the cover on the connector and put the distribution block connector back on the end of it. Now MSCAN/HSCAN is done.

The I-Can network is the same color wire available from the original FCDIM or FCIM connectors. I used my android connectors and created an adapter with a stub from the connector that plugs into the FCIM for the AC/Radio. The wire colors should match. This was not able to be repined so I ended up splicing this, I also ran the second set of I-Canbus cables with the shield from the APIM to this stub, I am however not 100% sure that is the right thing as the wiring diagram has this going back to the ACM. The documentation list this as some sort of alert notification probably from the HUD/DriverAssist/Collision Avoidance system.

The red wire is positive power, splice it into the red wire in the exciting FCDIM (4 inch screen connector). Wire up the black / black blue wires to ground. At this point if you have done everything correctly you should be able to reconnect everything loosely reconnect the battery and start and see if sync will start. Sync gets it's start command from the FCIM, so don't forget to plug it in. It is important that everything be plugged in before applying power to the car to avoid funny things happening with module communication. Also the first time sync starts, its very slow, and can take up to a min for the screen backlight to sometimes come on. If everything works wrap all the unprotected wires, secure with zip ties where necessary, and reassemble.

Some notes:

I used a Sync 2 module for this test with the GPS module, and replacing my ACM with one that has XM. There seems to be issues sometimes with the APIM where it looses connectivity to the entertainment system, but the radio seems to work fine. Not sure if this is an issue with Sync 2 being buggy or if there is a module communication issue between the APIM and the ACM.

If you had a 4 inch screen and a factory rear view camera, this camera could be wired to something called the LIN Bus. There is an option to enable sync 2 to use cameras on the LIN bus and another wire must be added to support it. I don't know if Sync 3+ can do this.

For the last week I have thought there was an issue with my ACM because it would only connect to AM stations. It turns out that the combination of FCIM I bought, and the version of sync 2 I am on means the only way to switch between AM and FM is by the media button on the steering wheel. The software will not light up the options to switch between AM/FM. There is no "source" button on the FCIM I have, but there is one on the sony FCIM. If you encounter this, no your ACM probably isnt broken, you just need to hit the media button on the steering wheel.
Crawling under the dash is a pain, if you put a pillow down on the ground and move the drivers seat all the way back it makes hooking up the pins into the connectors a bit more bearable. There is another 12 pin connector on the right side of the center stack taped horizontally to the dashboard harness to access the MS CAN Bus, there is also another connector for the I-Can Bus in the center of the glove box, but it seems much harder to reach then the documentation would lead you to believe. The HS CAN bus was the hardest one to tap into. All of these also meet behind the instrument cluster if you wish to splice them there.

At startup I am getting a warning about emergency services not being available. I have enabled the option in forscan to enable this feature but it still does not work. This is still a work in progress.

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glad you got it to work and thanks for the mention and post!.

At startup I am getting a warning about emergency services not being available. I have enabled the option in forscan to enable this feature but it still does not work. This is still a work in progress.
this is a preprogrammed setting in forscan under the RCM settings, enable 911 assist I believe.

Pretty well detailed guide. I'm sure you can skip all the wiring and get a SYNC 3 kit. My PIU has SYNC already, just no SiriusXM.

this is a preprogrammed setting in forscan under the RCM settings, enable 911 assist I believe.

I enabled the option in the RCM but the error persists. The RCM also has an error that it lost connectivity to the APIM but I don't see an obvious reason why that is the case.

Pretty well detailed guide. I'm sure you can skip all the wiring and get a SYNC 3 kit. My PIU has SYNC already, just no SiriusXM.
Not all PIU's come with Sync. That's the point of all of this.

I wanted to add a note here to say that I highly recommend upgrading your ACM as with a base ACM many features including blue tooth audio may not light up correctly or at all. With my base interceptor ACM the entertainment section continues to report that the entertainment system is unavailable, if you click on entertainment it will not actually go into the entertainment screen and even changing the frequency type is a challange.

After I upgraded my ACM, I decided to go ahead and replace the wire that goes behind the glove box and into the back of the ACM to get satellite radio and I choose an ACM that had HD radio. Both of these features lit up immediately and the entertainment section immediately worked as it should allowing me to select between AM/FM/SatRad/BT/USB etc.

The first time that it turned on however it was not possible to control the volume and the system was stuck on full blast. It turns out that when the system is set for Sony DSP that the system has a different set of hardware that when it is not present it prevents the volume controls from working. I presume that this is because the DSP wants all the audio from the ACM. I fixed this by setting the sound output option to regular speakers in the ACM. After that everything worked fine. The warning sign for this besides the audio control issue was that the ACM had a DTC for not being able to connect to the DSP.

So for those doing research on this do go to sync 3 from a 4 inch screen your gonna need a new ACM to go with it.

If anyone has does this on the future, can you make a video for dummies like me so that I can do this myself? Or making a harness that we could buy?

If anyone has does this on the future, can you make a video for dummies like me so that I can do this myself? Or making a harness that we could buy?
Welcome to the Forum. :wave:


Hi! I was wondering if there was a way to contact you directly, I’ve got a couple questions as well as some pictures I’d like to show you. Thank you! Hell of a guide 👍🏽

Feel free to post them here or you can PM me through the forum.

Hi! I was wondering if there was a way to contact you directly, I’ve got a couple questions as well as some pictures I’d like to show you. Thank you! Hell of a guide 👍🏽
Welcome to the Forum. :wave:


Wanted to provide an update on this thread as it has been about a year since I worked on this. If you are attempting this mod I would strongly recommend that you purchase a Sync3 APIM over a MFT or Sync2 APIM. I had an issue that took me about 8 months to figure out with the MFT touch module in that it would not shutdown the ACM properly when the car did and would result in drained batteries. I killed two batteries before breaking down and testing circuit amperage, when I went to Sync3 APIM this problem went away as did the problem I encountered with the 911 configuration. On the Sync3 system it handles everything and only looks for the signal from the BCM/RCM, where as on the MFT it seems to be doing much more and does not like to place nicely with the more generic version of the BCM on the interceptor.

I don't think I mentioned it in the original post but it is much easier to run the microphone wires up the pillar and up into the head liner while everything is open versus trying to do this later.

Hey all, long time Lurker, finally posting my share of events. PIU Sync to Sync 3, bought a 4”-8” pnp harness from Amazon sync 3 apim out of an 18/19 explorer (and like a dumbass forgot to get the vin number.) Dual usb hub, rca adapter, and bezel from a 16xlt. Swapped all the parts and I’m beginning to get frustrated. I’m leaning towards the conclusion I gotta change my HVAC module to a dual zone module in order for my temps to show up. It ain’t showing jack squat. (Seems like I overlooked the HVAC module in my parts list) I’ll update this when it arrives.

When I get all the kinks ironed out I’ll post the as built values line by line for the APIM, ACM, and HVAC

My vehicle came with rear air as it was a k9 vehicle before me so my settings may be different than yours.

The biggest issue I had was 0 volume controls and steering controls. Go into your acm as built and edit the following:

727-01-01: *x.. xxxx xxxx
If*=F make it a B
If*=E make it an A
If*=D make it a 9
If*=C make it an 8
If*=6 make it a 2
If*=5 make it a 1
If*=4 make it a 0

Harness for 4” to 8” (
GPS Antenna: (
Rear Camera Adapter: (
Sync 3 Screen: JL3T-14G370-HKD
Don’t forget to take the ACM that comes with the sync 3 screen
Get the Bezel that looks like mine
Lastly the dual climate HVAC module.