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How to Install a Message Center


Well-Known Member
April 11, 2003
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 XLS 4x4
i will advise everyone to get a service manual cd rom from ebay for only $ shows every thing...all the wires and locations

things to have:
message center, lamp warning module, and low washer fluid sensor...lots of wire and connectors!!! and most of all....patience!!!

message center harness: the bigger harness connector
pin/wire color function/ and location

1 L. Green goes to the M/C...already done
2 Blue/Red illumination: dimmer module
3 Yellow/ White fuel level input: at the cluster
4 not used
5 Blue/ Pink fuel flow input: at the PCM
6 Yellow/ Red lamp out warn. module by the M/C
7 Green/ L. Green goes to the M/C...already done
8 Red/ White engine temp sense: at the cluster
9 Green/ White oil temp input: middle harness under the fuse box in engin compartment
10 Grey/ Yellow hot at ignition: i wired it to stereo
11 Grey/ Black speed sensor:4wabs mod. by battery
12 Pink/ White air ride control. dont have it, forget it

message center harness: the smaller harness connector
pin/ wire color function/ and location

22 Green/ L. Green air rid control: dont have it, forget it
23 White/ Pink low oil level input: botton of oil pan
24 Red english/ metric output: EATC
25 Tan/ Yellow chime output: GEM pin 20
26 not used
27 L. Green/ Yellow hot at all times: i wired to stereo
28 Black/ White power ground to Data Link Conn.
29 Orange/ Black lamp out warn. module: by the M/C
30 Red/ Green lamp out warn. module: by the M/C
31 Pink/ Yellow low washer fluid sensor: fluid bottle
32 Black/ White chasis grd. not w/ other Blk/Wh wire
33 not used
34 Tan/ Yellow tach input: at the cluster
35 not used
36 Black ground....chasis

Message center harness: the harness to the buttons
pin/ wire color function/ and location

1 Green/ L. Green to the M/C....already done
2 not used
3 Black/ White power Data Link Conn.
4 L. Green to the M/C....already done
5 Black ground...chasis
6 Red/ Black illumination: ash tray or stereo

Lamp out warning module harness:
pin/ wire color function/ and location

1 White/ Green left headlight: fuse panel pin 4
2 Red/ Green headlight out warning: to the M/C
3 Orange/ Black rear park lamp out warning: to M/C
4 Yellow/ Red brake lamp out warning: to the M/C
5 Dark Brown rear park lamp input:park lamp relay
6 White/ Green park lamp output: left/and right rear light
7 Grey/ Yellow hot at ignition: i wired to the stereo
8 not used
9 Black ground...chassis
10 not used
11 L. Blue/ White left headlight output: left headlight
12 L. Blue/ Green right headlight input:fuse panel pin 8
13 Green/ Orange right headlight: fog lamp relay
14 L. Green stop lamp input: brake pedal switch
15 Red/ White stop lamp output: left/ and right rear stop light
16 not used

be very advised that there are same color look what pin they are coming out of...
for the Blue/ Pink wire off of the bigger harness connector for the M/C (Message Center) goes to the PCM located in the engine compartment above the heater hoses in the middle....PIN 43...if you dont have this which most of you will not...dont worry, i didnt either...alls you have to do is get another pin from the junkyard and take your red clip off of your harness...and drill a little hole...the size of the pin and once that is done...poke the wire thru until it clicks...and there you have you know how many gallons you have used and how many miles you have left in your tank...
SOHC engines will most likely to have this wire already.

for the Pink/Yellow wire off the smaller harness connector for the M/C that goes to the washer fluid wont have that so you would need one from a junkyard or buy one...but you must get a harness for it from the junkyard...once you get that...take your bottle out and drill a hole til where it will fit...then plug it up with some silicon and set dry...

for the White/ Pink wire out of the smaller harness connector that goes to the low oil level will need to buy one at the junkyard for $10 or get one from ford for $40....but again, you will need a harness...i didnt hook this one up yet cuz i havent gotten a sensor yet...alot of you will not have this cuz you dont have a message center in the first place

the cd rom says that the lamp out warning module has been deleted for the late production explorers and for early 98 explorers will just act as a i guess it wont read if you have an out...mine always say check my guessing it is because the ford dealer said that there is a message center for each 95 Message Center wont work properly on my 98 i guess i have got to get a 98 Message Center for it to work properly...however it does read how many miles i got left, how many gallons i got and used, reset my oil...english to metric, and system check all work if you are gonna get a Message Center put in...get one that goes to your year of explorer...
if there is anyone out there that can put this thread in the list of useful threads or tech tips...please do so, alot of explorer owners would like this mod!!!
good luck to everyone....

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I forgot to mention...that this information is for 98 4.0 xls with an EI engine....SOHC engines and XLT's are differ...some may be the same....however...the wire colors, locations may be different...
also, different in years...maybe...check your service manual cd can be found on ebay...under manuals, not car and truck...and they are only $4...

Zoiks !!!!!!!
I am gonna print and save this one !!!!!
I just might want to use it one day.

Wow. I knew it was complicated but.......damn. Well if I can ever find a message center im sure gonna try it!

i wonder if this would work on a ranger??? i'm sure some wires wont wire up but it would be really nice.

On paper it doesn't look too difficult. Congrats on figuring it all out! I might just have to try it if I can find everything.


I just wanted to thank BIG COUNTRY for taking his time to write this thread, and I'm sure that just like me, there are lots of other Explorer owners out there who will find this thread extremely helpful. Thanks, man!

.. and also, if you are looking to buy a message center for your Explorer, I bought me one at a junk yard off of an Explorer same year and engine as mine for 30 bucks! Most salvage yards have dozens of eddie bower and limited explorers, at least the ones here in Idaho--I've found over 10 message centers.

Anyone happen to know if a 95+ center console like this will fit in a first gen model? I'm bored and need a new project this winter

Hey bruno, try and find one out of a 98...
message center and lamp out warning module...

and yes, everyone....print this took awhile to write this up...and double checking on the wire color and location...let me know how it works....and good luck to everyone!!! dont give up, dont rush, double check your wiring, label every wire, make it neat, make a good nice looking harness and where the wire goes(meaning, like i did, i had a wire that was suppose to go the rear lights i had it taped to the wires that i pulled thru the fire i had take that harness apart, so pay more attention)...make strong pinched connections and tape it up...on wires i had to splice into...i used the splice and twist method and taped it up...i say this to you because you will see all will have alot of wires...

wonder where to route all those wires???
take you cluster out very carefully and you will see a bundle of wires there...route your wires by the GEM module on the left side of the radio and over it going behind the cluster and you can route your wires in there, there is enough room and make sure the few wires that go to the cluster come out there...dont leave them taped up or else you will have to pull your wires out if you got too far...

if you dont know how to pull your dash out to get to the cluster? dont worry, go under "list of useful threads" right by "general explorations" ....there is a thread about "how to put white gauges in for 2nd generation" and it will tell you step by step with pics on how to take your driver's side dash off...
good luck everyone

What exactly does a message center do?

ok nevermind im stupid

big country, just curious, but have you added the electronic a/c to your truck yet? if so, what is involved in that?

no i havent, but i want deals with alot..doesnt seem much, but the removing does...for instance im guessing to get to the blend door have got to take off the dash. then you got to have the speed controller (by the washer fluid bottle under hood), outside air temp. sensor, will be by the radiator on the driver's side, not the sensor for the overhead console, this one kinda looks like it but it will have two different wire colors not blue/yellow and blue/white...and in car temp. sensor (inside that little vent on the left side of the passenger side air bag), the sun load sensor (passenger side on the upper dash panel by windshield, you will see a hole where yours is). and of course the EATC (electronic automatic temperature controller) module, you must get one of the following for the year of your truck, there are 95-97, 98-01. (if you want to, or already have....get a long middle console with rear controls, couple of wires go into the EATC to turn off and on the rear air...and the rear blower motor relay which will be located inside the console drivers side right next to the plastic air duct...kinda hidden)
that is all i know so far at this time...

i have got the:
sunload sensor
in car temp. sensor
outside temp. sensor
console w/ rear controls
rear blower motor relay

WOW! i knew it would be kinda involved, but i think i will keep an eye out for your awesome writeup after you get finished. one question, though...i already have the long console with rear air, will that take some parts off the list for me?

you will have the rear air controls and rear blower motor...theres all you need is:
outside air temperature sensor
in-car temperature sensor
sunload sensor
EATC module
blower speed controller

any idea what kind of $$$ we're talking about?

For the EATC: it could range...some got it for $50-$200...depends on the junkyard.
for the sensors, they could just give it to you or under $20, my junkyard just gave it to me cuz they were little things. and the blower motor speed controller, i would say about $50...

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here is my other install...