How to Install a Message Center | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to Install a Message Center

When I installed my MC, I ran each ground (3 if I remember correctly) to its own body ground on the truck just to make sure it would all be ok. I'm not really sure what could be causing it to act differnetly between 0-40mph and above....possibly a VSS issue?

As for the MC adjusting, the only part that is going to adjust over time is the miles till empty meter. Everything else (except MPG, obviously) should be exact from the moment you turn on your car. After driving around for a couple months, my miles till empty reading is from what I can tell, almost 99% accurate. I've never driven below 20 miles till empty because I dont like going that low, but even at that point, the readings were correct. Also, fuel readings are always right on the money so if those are acting up on yours too, somethings screwy. Hmm....

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1) what year M/C did you use?

2) Where did you tap into the VSS harness?

From what the junkyard told me, they said either 98 or a 2000 Mounty....they wernt very swift but it ended up working anyway. I tapped into the VSS in the drivers side A pillar. When I installed my overhead console in my 93 a couple of years back, I remembered it used the VSS, so I looked in the A pillar and found the grey/black wire and lucked out.

Thanks... seems like we have the same year M/C.

On both the M/C and the PCM, the speed wire is Circuit 679, the gray/black wire.

I wonder if there is a possibility my M/C is fubared? Doubtful, since everything else works, but always possible. I'm going to mess around with the grounds, see what happens.

Did some test driving with my DVM attached, at the VSS line, I get a pretty linear A/C voltage that works out to 1 volt for every 10 mph, ie, at 10 mph, the meter reads 1VA/C. at 30mph, the meter reads 3VA/C. The message center starts counting miles traveled at about 3.7V A/C.


I tried tapping into both the RABS "high" and RABS "low" lines going to the 4wabs module by the battery. The rabs "high" line made the countery go crazzzzzzzy, counting over 12 miles on a two mile, sub 40mph trip. However, it had similar A/C voltage readings as the VSS. The system obviously works on frequency, rather than voltage. Thats a lot harder to fake/change. The rabs "low" line didn't do diddly squat.

I think I just need to bite the bullet and get a message center from a 1996-1997. And then bypass the lamp out, or just wire it in. Oh well.... Anyone wanna buy this prime 1998+ M/C from me? Anyone have a 1996-1997 unit to sell?

I'm still going to install the M/C, cause it works over 40mph, and does give me the gallons in the tank... :rolleyes:

Here's one thing I don't understand - people have been able to swap dash gauge clusters from late models to early models, and have the speedos work. WHY?


I was able to track down a message center from a 1996-1997 from another forum member, it should be here on Thursday. However, classes also start on Thursday - so I'll be away.

The fuel tracking portion works really well and is really neat. I can't wait for the whole thing to be functional with the proper speed data.

I will be selling my 1998+ Message center soon...

It can help you to save gas. You will see why tractor trailers go faster down hill, and slower up hill. LOL,

Got my 1997 Message Center installed this afternoon - it works great! The "Distance Traveled" function matched my trip odometer perfectly, and as a result, the mi/gal and distance till empty functions work as well.

The 1997 M/C does have the input for the 'lamp out' warning module, but just like oil temp/level sender, only generates and error when the "system check" button is pressed. I don't think I'll install this feature. The 1997 also has the blueish-green display, matching my dash, climate, and overhead console. :thumbsup:

Here are some pics I took during install. Sorry bout the quality, they were taken with a budget digicam and no flash. I'll take some of the finished product soon.

Splicing into the body harness behind the C115 connector for ECU data:


Center Console wiring:

Autometer Gauges in place of stock switch plate:

Message Center harness, crimped and heatshrunk:

Message Center computer during testing:

Shaved computer mount to clear Autometer gauge:

No it won't just plug in and work. I tried to just plug the message center console harness with Message center in a 99 sport.

I'm really wanting to do this mod. but what I'm wondering is what exactlly will I NEED to do this besides the MC. harness or what? also price wise? ballpark figures

You need:
-the M/C for your year range
-M/C wiring harness
-Lots of 18ga wire
-Wiretaps, butt connectors, heatshrink, etc
-Patience and this thread.
-The Ford CD is a huge help.

Everything except for the M/C itself can be considered "shop supplies." I was able to get a 1998 M/C for free, but had to spent a few bucks to get a 1997 one.

Thanks for the reply, is my year range 98+ or 99+?

Sweet, that maybe my burfday present to myself :)

Aaron, how many wires did you tap into in the PCM harness in the engine bay? I only tapped into one for my install....whats all those other ones?

Hi, I'm wondering if I can just get the wiring harness under the dashboard that goes all the way through the firewall to the engine bay from an EB? Will I be able to just connect the end head (closest to the console) to the end head from an EB M/C center console (already prewired)? Will that work?

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