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New PIU Owner, some detailed questions

bt1987

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Hello all, longtime lurker, first time poster. I just recently purchased a 2014 PIU with 40,000 miles and 435 idle hours. It was never put into service and clearly an officer's take home/family car. Lots of kids toys under the seats, and dog hair in the crevices. As such, there are no holes, no modifications, nothing. I purchased a PIU specifically to install communications equipment that I use both for amateur radio, as well as an emergency services oriented program I'm heavily involved with. I will be doing a Havis console, Setina push bumper (primarily to mount a long HF radio whip - think of the Land Rovers you see in Africa and Australia with the large pylon based whip antennas) and limited lighting (front visor lights - amber, rear window traffic advisor - amber). This vehicle doesn't need to be whacker-sexy, just enough to alert other people when I'm off on the side of the road for something.

On top of the aftermarket additions, I am looking to add OEM fog lights, OEM auto headlights, OEM tow mode button, and OEM tow package, as well as the OEM aux in and USB panel on the lower dash.

I have found plenty of information here already regarding the fog lights, hidden pigtails, use of Forscan, and such. The OEM auto headlight is a bit more confusing, as I don't know how to access the location where the sensor would go. Do I have to pull the whole dash off? There are conflicting posts about splicing into wires, having to add wires to the harness into the light switch, etc.

For the tow mode, everyone says it's plug and play. Currently on ebay there are a few trim pieces in the same interior color as the PIU with the tow mode button and button cutout. These are listed as being for a 2016+. Will the 2016+ trim panels fit in the 2014 model year? I've heard yes and no about those pieces. The same goes for the tow hitch and wiring harnesses. I've heard the 16+ model will work on 11-15, but that the kit number for the 16+ doesn't include the 4 and 7 pin connectors?

Somewhere along the line, my PIU was upgraded with Sirius XM radio. This means I have the more advanced ACM than what comes with the standard PIU. The plate for the aux in and USB ports is currently blank. I would like to add both the OEM (not 3rd party) Aux cable and USB port for my vehicle. Unfortunately, I've found plenty of parts online for just the plate and the line in jack, with no USB jack (but a large hole for the USB port) and no additional wiring pigtail to the radio. Where can I find the rest of that wiring?

Thanks for the help. I plan to keep this vehicle for a long time (I kept my last SUV almost 12 years - 2WD 4 cyl Ford Escape) so I want this vehicle to be everything I'm looking for!
 



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seatflipper

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Sorry, but I’m a volunteer EMT who needs to run lights and you’re already a whacker if you’re installing a Setina and ambers for which you have no legitimate need. Don’t do it. The bumper, sure, but just use your hazards. I’m going to have lights in mine, but I’m also going to have an EMS license plate topper for my service. You don’t need to install lights for “when you’re on the side of the road.” The Crown Vic community has been filled with people who deck their cars out with things they don’t need because they want to look cool, and it’s kind of turned owning a P71 into a joke. There are relatively few of us with FPIUs in private hands, and it’s not really that much of a problem yet and I think we should work hard to keep it that way. The Crown Vic forum will delete posts that even discuss it, and while that may not be the case here, I just really don’t think we need to turn our community into that kind of stereotype. We buy the cars for the increased performance, features you can’t get on civilian ones, etc. but I don’t think many of us buy them to actually try to look like cops.
 






peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
Not sure what you plan to tow but the Explorer is only rated to tow 2000 lbs with the aftermarket hitch.
Good luck with all your mods. Sounds like you'll have lots to keep you busy.:)

Peter
 






bt1987

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Sorry, but I’m a volunteer EMT who needs to run lights and you’re already a whacker if you’re installing a Setina and ambers for which you have no legitimate need. Don’t do it. The bumper, sure, but just use your hazards. I’m going to have lights in mine, but I’m also going to have an EMS license plate topper for my service. You don’t need to install lights for “when you’re on the side of the road.”
Okay, great. Thanks for welcoming me to the forum! :dpchug:
 






bt1987

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Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
Not sure what you plan to tow but the Explorer is only rated to tow 2000 lbs with the aftermarket hitch.
Good luck with all your mods. Sounds like you'll have lots to keep you busy.:)

Peter
Nothing big, the occasional small trailer. Just want to have the flexibility to do that!
 






peterk9

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Sorry, but I’m a volunteer EMT who needs to run lights and you’re already a whacker if you’re installing a Setina and ambers for which you have no legitimate need. Don’t do it. The bumper, sure, but just use your hazards. I’m going to have lights in mine, but I’m also going to have an EMS license plate topper for my service. You don’t need to install lights for “when you’re on the side of the road.” The Crown Vic community has been filled with people who deck their cars out with things they don’t need because they want to look cool, and it’s kind of turned owned a P71 into a joke. There are relatively few of us with FPIUs in private hands, and it’s not really that much of a problem yet and I think we should work hard to keep it that way. The Crown Vic forum will delete posts that even discuss it, and while that may not be the case here, I just really don’t think we need to turn our community into a joke.
Extra warning lights should not be an issue especially if the emergency services oriented program he is involved with calls for situations where such lights are helpful. The normal flashers don't always 'alert' drivers the way that emergency type lights do.

Peter
 






bt1987

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Extra warning lights should not be an issue especially if the emergency services oriented program he is involved with calls for situations where such lights are helpful. The normal flashers don't always 'alert' drivers the way that emergency type lights do.

Peter
It's called Civil Air Patrol. Congressionally chartered Auxiliary to the U.S. Air Force. I'm sure there are a few folks here who have heard of it or been a member at some point. We do a number of ground based as well as air based missions to support the Air Force as well as State and Local emergency agencies. Many of our corporate owned ground vehicles have amber light bars, as do a number of our personally owned vehicles which we use for the missions we are called up on. I rarely ever use the amber lights installed in my CVPI, because I don't see a need to run them at all times. I have used them responding to an emergency beacon from an aircraft, or when we've had other situations come up. I don't blow traffic lights, drive erratically, or otherwise make myself an idiot. The lights are there to let you know that I may be pulling over in a hurry, or maybe I need to access an airport. If you take a vehicle onto an active airport, that vehicle must have flashing amber lights for aircraft safety.

Mostly I use the communications equipment more than anything else. I just can't see myself drilling the holes I need for the large HF antenna base into the vehicle itself. But mounting onto a Setina, whose mounting holes and hardware are mostly hidden? Works great for me!
 






kobresia

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If there's a legit purpose, go for it. The sore spot whackers cause is very real, don't be one. :D

I will admit I got that "here we go again..." feeling when you mentioned CAP. A few years back, there were 3 young adults in Denver, one of whom was (WAS!) a CAP cadet who whackered-out their cars, then got out their cameras and went out on "patrol" to "assist motorists", wearing outfits which vaguely looked like law enforcement (with agency insignia and such), and, of course, posted the videos on Youtube.

Since the CAP cadet was abusing his CAP attire to appear to be doing something in official capacity when he was not sanctioned to do so, I think he was kicked-out of the program. The guy who was wearing his Ski Patrol or some other mountain rescue clothes also got in a little trouble as I recall. The whole situation was a combination of cringeworthy-sad-comical, all at the same time, basically like a Tom Green movie.

Anyway, a push bumper antenna mount might function, but that doesn't seem like it would provide a particularly effective ground plane for a whip antenna. As it's not a lease vehicle or anything that would be problematic to modify, why not just drill the small holes needed to mount on the roof?

I don't know about the tow/haul button compatibility, but what I've noticed is that a lot of the electrical stuff changed with the 2016 model even if most physical components and structure of the PIU didn't change.

Do you have SYNC? You can tell if your PIU's as-built file contains values for a 7D0 module (the APIM). If you have a blank instead of USB or line-in, I'd strongly doubt you have SYNC, and therefore a plate with those SYNC inputs won't have anything to connect with. I don't think an upgraded ACM would have any ability to use USB and likely doesn't have a line-in either, all I can confirm is that the inputs in the dash plate connect to the APIM in a SYNC-equipped vehicle, not to the ACM.

Hope this helps, welcome to the forum!
 






peterk9

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........Mostly I use the communications equipment more than anything else. I just can't see myself drilling the holes I need for the large HF antenna base into the vehicle itself. But mounting onto a Setina, whose mounting holes and hardware are mostly hidden? Works great for me!
Thanks for the details. It is getting more and more difficult to mount amateur radio gear in these newer vehicles unless you get the rigs with detachable head units. I finally gave up. It is also difficult to mount antennas that aren't going to be very directional. I used a magnetic roof mount that last time I was active. BTW, I lease my vehicles.

73
Peter
 






bt1987

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Thanks for the details. It is getting more and more difficult to mount amateur radio gear in these newer vehicles unless you get the rigs with detachable head units. I finally gave up. It is also difficult to mount antennas that aren't going to be very directional. I used a magnetic roof mount that last time I was active. BTW, I lease my vehicles.

73
Peter
I wasn't sure who to quote, both of you have good replies. So for VHF, yes, I'm going to install one 3/4" hole in the roof for a quarter wave whip. The HF radio antenna contains an auto tuner within an 18" or so weatherproof base to which a 12 foot long whip is attached. This whip will be tied over the vehicle, likely using the hardware on the roof where the racks would mount. The base is designed for low/mid mounting on a vehicle, with the whip tied over the vehicle. Many of these antennas are installed directly to the bumper, some off of a mount on the trailer hitch.

484640_10151005508247407_85318563_n.jpg


This is not the best installation I've seen, as a matter of fact, it's really bad, but this gives you an idea of where the antenna base would be mounted on a Setina.

I've been a member of CAP for 13 years now, so I'm pretty sure I'm not going out on any ski patrols to punk motorists! o_O

So I know I don't have Sync with my PIU, but Sirius is running great and the radio sees an Aux In. I just don't have a place to plug in. Do I need to get the aftermarket kit from PI mods to get the 3.5mm jack? Thanks!

Edit: Found a picture of a Ford instead of a Chevy! This install is slightly better, but the end of the whip attached to the luggage rack is still pretty bad!:p
 






kobresia

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I wasn't sure who to quote, both of you have good replies. So for VHF, yes, I'm going to install one 3/4" hole in the roof for a quarter wave whip. The HF radio antenna contains an auto tuner within an 18" or so weatherproof base to which a 12 foot long whip is attached. This whip will be tied over the vehicle, likely using the hardware on the roof where the racks would mount. The base is designed for low/mid mounting on a vehicle, with the whip tied over the vehicle. Many of these antennas are installed directly to the bumper, some off of a mount on the trailer hitch.

This is not the best installation I've seen, as a matter of fact, it's really bad, but this gives you an idea of where the antenna base would be mounted on a Setina.

Okay, looks like the mounting options there are quite limited, the antenna's design probably takes the less-than-ideal ground plane into consideration. And yes, that would look better on a Setina. I'd probably get a PIT wrap and install only the right side and use that as a mount point, if I needed a long whip.

That looks a bit like a 911ep 360 Star beacon on the roof of that truck. Now those are nice little beacons, and they confer immunity to being called a whacker, well, unless more than one are installed.

So I know I don't have Sync with my PIU, but Sirius is running great and the radio sees an Aux In. I just don't have a place to plug in. Do I need to get the aftermarket kit from PI mods to get the 3.5mm jack? Thanks!

For just getting the aux-in working, I'd recommend checking Ford's upfitter guide. There's a way to pipe the output from a mobile radio into the vehicle's sound system through one of the police equipment wiring harnesses.

Thanks for the details. It is getting more and more difficult to mount amateur radio gear in these newer vehicles unless you get the rigs with detachable head units. I finally gave up. It is also difficult to mount antennas that aren't going to be very directional. I used a magnetic roof mount that last time I was active. BTW, I lease my vehicles.

73
Peter

One big advantage to the PIU rather than the regular Explorer is that it's factory-modified to make it really easy to have a rack of radio & other electronic gear. I can't say I can think of another modern vehicle that has a specialized model which relocates a console shift to the column in order to completely delete the center console make room for a radio console. It's also rather nice that it has the additional wiring, larger alternator, and upfitter guides to make tidy installs very effortless. Most of the pre-owned variety also come with pre-drilled holes for roof antennae, too.
 






seatflipper

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I can't say I can think of another modern vehicle that has a specialized model which relocates a console shift to the column in order to completely delete the center console make room for a radio console.

Charger, Impala, Taurus, and the police F150.
 






kobresia

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Charger, Impala, Taurus, and the police F150.

I typed "vehicle", but then changed where I was going with that towards "SUV", without changing my wording. I've seen a few departments try to use other SUVs for police work, but I wonder if any of them are even considered PPVs by the manufacturers. They sure don't look the part.

I had to look up photos of the F150 interior, I guess I haven't driven one since they had either a 2' 4-on-the-floor lever or an automatic column shift selector. I wonder why they'd move the column shift to the console area for that one truck model, and then undo it for a PPV model. While I do like Dodge trucks' gear selection rocker on the column shift and am pretty annoyed all Ford provides is the "low" button, I'll still take any column shift over console any day. Console shift levers are just such a waste of space.
 






VCFP153

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Sorry, but I’m a volunteer EMT who needs to run lights and you’re already a whacker if you’re installing a Setina and ambers for which you have no legitimate need.

That's part of why I'm putting absolutely nothing on mine. To keep up my hardcore ANTI-whacker image.
 






peterk9

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That's part of why I'm putting absolutely nothing on mine. To keep up my hardcore ANTI-whacker image.
I think a person has the right to put anything on their own vehicle regardless of what it is. As long as it's legal. I believe in freedom of choice.

Peter
 






VCFP153

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Mostly I use the communications equipment more than anything else. I just can't see myself drilling the holes I need for the large HF antenna base into the vehicle itself. But mounting onto a Setina, whose mounting holes and hardware are mostly hidden? Works great for me!

Out of curiosity, what would CAP use HF radios for? To track NDBs?
 






peterk9

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NDBs ?? :dunno:
 






VCFP153

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Non-directional beacons, an HF aviation navaid. I've done rescue work, too, but never remember having any use for anything HF.
 






peterk9

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Thanks. I know some Ontario Provincial Police units did carry CB radios at one time. Not sure about now. HF could be used for communications with Amateur Radio operators. Just a guess.

Peter
 



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VCFP153

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Thanks. I know some Ontario Provincial Police units did carry CB radios at one time. Not sure about now. HF could be used for communications with Amateur Radio operators. Just a guess.

Peter

Those guys are such hams.

I'll get my coat.
 






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