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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello again! Alright, I'll cut to the chase. I'm sure myself and many others experience issues with SYNC2. The issues I personally experience include random bluetooth disconnects, freezing and lag within the SYNC interface, no audio when picking up a phone call, etc. Essentially, it pissed me off a lot and Microsoft really didn't do a great job on the software in my honest opinion. So, I had the idea of retrofitting SYNC3 into the car and did some research. After digging around, I found multiple threads and tutorials which I'll link in the References section at the end of this tutorial!

Now there are actually a good amount of tutorials which I'll link at the end of this tutorial. However, no full tutorials for the Taurus. So, here it is! Hopefully this helps all of you who are interested in SYNC3!


Step-by-Step Breakdown:


  1. Utilize car-part.com (or eBay) and obtain a SYNC3 APIM module (picture below will show what they look like).
  2. Purchase the newer USB hub and the bezel for the hub from a Ford OEM dealer like Tasca, FordPartsGiant, or just eBay.
  3. Purchase the required GPS antenna for the new APIM.
  4. Purchase the USB hub wiring adapter for your model year from 4DTech.
  5. Receive all the hardware and tear apart the interior of your bull (literally...)
  6. Remove old radio and install the new radio with the GPS antenna mounted in the correct location.
  7. Put interior back together and remove the USB media hub in your center console or wherever it's located if you drive something other than a Taurus.
  8. Plug the wiring adapter into the OEM harness and the new USB hub and connect the Micro USB OEM harness as well. Then re-insert the new hub.
  9. Update the new SYNC3 module you installed to either 2.2 or 3.0 (links and updates provided in Step 9 below). Program the new SYNC3 unit using FORScan (if required).

That's a quick breakdown of what's involved and it surprisingly wasn't bad at all. I enjoyed this retrofit project and, oh my, was it worth it. Let me just say this now: Screw SYNC2.
My final thoughts will be at the end of the tutorial with what I'm experiencing with SYNC3 and what you should notice as an improvement! Alright, let's dig in!




Hardware


Step 1

Alright, so you wanna retrofit SYNC3 into your car? Let's get started. Car-Part.com is a wonderful website I preach about where you can find CHEAP OEM parts in great condition because they are all pulled from totaled vehicles. Go to car-part.com and search for a new radio. And don't worry, if you can't find one for specifically a Taurus, you can get an APIM from another Ford vehicle. They are all the same across each Ford vehicle, it'll just most likely require programming through FORScan to fix some issues. (for example, you don't have a heated steering wheel, yet your SYNC3 radio says otherwise).


Search Tips:


  • The APIM can be listed in "GPS/INFO SCREEN", "RADIO/CD", and "TV SCREEN". There is no mandating on the website and it seems whoever is listing the part for sale on the website can classify the radio as whatever one of those, so be sure to search in all three of those categories.
  • What I just said about the categories to search for the radio, be aware that these change with each Ford model. So if you're searching for an F150 to find a SYNC3 module, it may be listed in one category when, for a Taurus, it's listed in another.
  • I personally found mine in the GPS/INFO SCREEN category for a 2016 Limited that was trashed. I got mine for $75 (a freaking steal).
  • Some 2016 models of the Taurus, Fusion, F150, and others STILL HAVE SYNC2. BE CAREFUL WHEN SEARCHING.
  • Like I said previously, it's okay if you don't find the module from specifically your car. It's okay to rip one from a Stang and slap it in your Taurus or Fusion or whatever you got. Just, again, it may require some minor programming.

Personally, I DID NOT purchase or even bother to look at any listing that didn't even show the APIM itself, or at the very least show a picture of the radio on inside the car.
Reason why is because if it's not either of those possible photos, you cannot verify if it's SYNC2 or SYNC3.





Reference the above picture. Notice with SYNC3, you have the blue and yellow cable on the right side connecting the screen to the APIM. Be sure you identify the differences in this picture to find your SYNC3 module!
Did you find your module? Great! Call the lister, order it up, and get it to your residence!



Step 2

Alright, the next step is to snatch up the newer USB hub and the mounting bezel. The reason why is because our old media hub is not supported and you'll receive a message each time you start up the car telling you to remove the media hub.
Heads up, the new USB hub IS REQUIRED for Carplay and Android Auto to function. Otherwise, you do not have this functionality with the old media hub!

Here are the options. Pick one of your choosing:
GJ7Z-19A387-B (White USB Port LEDs - Lincoln) - Price: $50-$60
HC3Z-19A387-B (Blue USB Port LEDs - Ford) - Price: $50-$60

Mounting bezel for USB hub:
GC3Z-19C149-A (Tasca Parts Link) - Price: $10.19


New USB hub with Carplay and Android Auto support:




Mounting bezel for the new USB hub:





Step 3

Next step is to get the new Fakra GPS antenna for the new SYNC3 module we have. The reason why is because SYNC3 doesn't use the GPSM module we already have installed into the vehicle. It requires a standalone GPS antenna which we're going to obtain now!

There is only one true option, and this is the one I ordered:
GPS Antenna (eBay Link) - Price: $12.59


GPS Antenna:





Step 4

The last step for parts is getting the wiring adapter to connect your OEM media hub harness to the new USB hub mounted inside the center console (or wherever yours is).


Please check the following and match your vehicle model year for the correct wiring adapter:





Gen 1 Wiring Adapter (4DTech Link) - Price: $49.99
Gen 2a Wiring Adapter (4DTech Link) - Price: $49.99
Gen 2b Wiring Adapter (4DTech Link) - Price: $49.99


My vehicle is a 2013 Ford Taurus, so I used the Gen 1 adapter and, of course, it worked perfectly.


Gen 1 Wiring Adapter:




Gen 2a Wiring Adapter:




Gen 2b Wiring Adapter:






Installing


Step 5

Okay, we got all the hardware! Now it's time to tear apart the interior.
The following images are from my personal tear down and I'll try my best to explain it all in short sentences. There will be a video linked in the references section that shows the entire tear down.

Be aware, there's an absurd amount of pictures coming your way. For y'all mobile users, I'm sorry in advance.


All the hardware together besides the bezel
(didn't have the bezel just yet at the time of the picture taken):




Here's the bezel:




Alright, I didn't take a lot of pictures because there's a video on the teardown at the bottom.


Here's everything taken apart:








It's pretty straight forward. Just have steady hands and patience and be prepared for what you're gonna go through because you legit have to take all this apart.
Basically, you pull the sides of the center console out and go from there. Take out all the center console trays, remove the passenger side airbag cover thing, remove the gauge cluster trim, and remove the middle speaker cover.

Pro Tip: The radio is behind the center console controls. The thing that has all your climate controls and volume knob. Yeah, that whole thing is coming out.
The whole reason we took apart a huge amount of the interior is to remove all the hidden screws keeping that control stack in place.



Step 6

Okay, now that everything is apart, it's time to remove the radio and install the new one.
I didn't take any pictures of the literal radio removal, however it's just 4 screws holding it in and it comes right out.


Here's the APIM comparison again. Remember the differences?:




Note, the GPS antenna is magnetized and it's easy to stick somewhere with tape as well.


GPS antenna:




GPS antenna mounting location (behind the passenger airbag cover, random little pocket):








I'd recommend routing the GPS antenna to the location in the above pictures.
There is a little pocket where my fingers are going in the third picture. Take some tape and paste it up in the pocket and it's a good location without a bunch of metal blocking the signal.

Afterwards, route the GPS's cable back to the APIM and continue the tutorial!



Step 7

Alright, now it's time to reverse the process. Connect the new radio and screw it all back in. And now for the next 10 minutes of your life, put the interior back together.

Great. Interior is back together and it's all working, right? When you turned on the car, you probably got that message saying to remove your media hub because it isn't supported. If you didn't, don't worry. It's because you're on version 1 or 1.1 and we'll change that soon.
Now, it's time to take apart the media hub and wire in the new one!

The following part of this tutorial did not require any tools, at least for me. This was all easily done by hand and it's very quick and easy to install the new USB hub.


Old media hub inside center console:




All I did was wedge my fingers under the face plate of the hub and it came right out.


Removing the face plate:






The face plate is now removed and, once again, just used my finger to remove the rest. I wedged my finger into a little square hole at the bottom right of the hub and pulled it right out.


Removing the media hub:






Now that it's out, we'll disconnect the OEM wiring.


Rear shot of the hub with the OEM wiring connectors:




Go ahead and disconnect the harnesses and remove the hub. Afterwards, it should look like this:


Disconnected OEM harnesses:





Step 8

Now it's time to connect the OEM harnesses to the new USB hub using the wiring adapter.
You have two things to connect: the OEM harness with the wiring adapter and the black micro-usb connector. Both must be plugged into the new USB hub.

Reference the following pictures. This was an extremely easy part of the process. I didn't use any tools at all and just used my hands to remove everything, it was that easy.


Wiring harness shot:




Wiring adapter connected to the OEM harness:




Okay, now that the wiring adapter is connected, take your USB hub and slide it into the bezel BEFORE installing it.
The USB hub will click into the bezel and you can then connect the OEM harnesses and push it into the console slot.


Hub with bezel:








Okay, go ahead and connect the other end of the wiring adapter to the back of your new USB hub.


Wiring adapter connected:




Make sure you connect the other OEM harness with the Micro-USB!


Both OEM wiring connected to new hub:




Awesome! Now insert the USB hub into the center console slot and push it into place and it's all ready!


USB hub installed:






And that's really it for the hardware. It should appear as follows:


After install photos:








Updating


Step 9

Awesome! Now everything is wired in and installed and fully functional. However, we still may need updates depending on your unit.
If you're on version 1 or 1.1, you are required to update to 2.2 for Android Auto and Apple Carplay to work. If you're on 2.2, you can update to the unofficial (unofficial at the time of writing this) 3.0 update if you prefer. I updated to 3.0 and haven't had any issues personally.

I will link the threads for where I found the downloads for version 2.2 and version 3.0. These threads could be taken down at any time for any reason so please be careful if you're in that situation and you're looking for the update files elsewhere. Please update at your own risk and READ THE THREADS CAREFULLY. You need to download the right update file depending on whether or not your new radio has navigation. And by the way, no, you cannot add the navigation function with SYNC3 like you could with SYNC2 using FORScan. It's all built in and doesn't use an SD card for navigation maps anymore. You must have navigation installed from the factory when the radio was built. I lucked out and got one with Nav for only $75.


How to Update:


  1. Visit one of the threads I've linked below for the update of your choosing and download the update (or search elsewhere for the update if required). For 1/1.1 users, you are required to go to 2.2 before 3.0.
  2. Get a 32GB USB flash drive and format it to exFAT. It must be 32GB because the files are compressed and will unpack during the install process, so they require room to expand.
  3. Open the update file you downloaded with WinRAR or 7zip and extract the files exactly as you see them to the USB flash drive.
  4. Get into your car and turn the car to run mode. Turn off Bluetooth, WIFI, and perform a master reset in the settings. Unplug anything plugged into the car.
  5. Turn off your car, exit the car and lock it, and wait 30 seconds. This is to completely shut off the radio.
  6. Open the door, start the car, and insert the USB flash drive into the newly installed USB hub.
  7. The update process will begin AUTOMATICALLY within 1-2 minutes. Afterwards, be patient and give it 5-15 minutes to fully update.
  8. After the update is complete, it'll show you a message saying update is complete and to remove the USB flash drive. DO NOT remove the flash drive yet and DO NOT touch anything at all.
  9. Let the vehicle sit for 5 minutes with the USB drive still inserted. This is to avoid install issues, especially with the 2.2 to 3.0 update. I'm not sure why removing it when it asks to causes issues sometimes, but it does.
  10. After 5 minutes, turn off the car and wait another 5 minutes. Everything should power down except the radio.
  11. After 5 minutes, touch the "Close" button on the message and remove the USB flash drive. Open the door and close it and wait another 5 minutes for everything to power down.
  12. After 5 minutes, start the vehicle and give it another 5-15 minutes and you should see a confirmation for the system update pop up on the screen.

The update may not take full affect for up to an hour. The update process seems to be rather finicky but follow the steps and it will turn out fine.
Be aware, if the update somehow fails or screws up, it shouldn't hurt the radio at all unless you installed the wrong file. Just attempt a reinstall and hopefully that'll correct itself and fully update. I had to do this with the 2.2 to 3.0 update.


Download links used:
SYNC3 Version 2.2 Update (Fiesta Forum Link) - Thread including download link for NAV and non-NAV units
SYNC3 Version 3.0 Update (Focus Forum Link) - Thread including download link for NAV and non-NAV units

Something to be aware of, when you update your radio it may not take affect even after you restart your vehicle. I'd recommend performing the update process, then let your vehicle chill for a half hour before you start using it. If you have navigation, it may not function for 10 or 15 minutes because it has to calibrate the new update. Let me state for this section, I'm not responsible for anything that happens to your radio. If you follow carefully and do everything right, nothing bad will happen. However, if you screw up, I'm not responsible. Please proceed with this section of the tutorial at your own discretion.


After everything is updated, there is always some programming that could be required. Depending on what car you got the SYNC module from and what trim that car had (GT, Limited, Titanium, SEL, etc.), it may or may not show options that your car doesn't or does have. For example: your car has a heated steering wheel and the car the SYNC3 module came from did not have that feature, it will not show the heated steering wheel button in the SYNC interface and you cannot use your heated steering wheel. Programming can be done through FORScan, UCDS, IDS, or Oasis. This is done at your own risk as well. Always make backups and utilize the FORScan forums (or this forum) as much as you can to make sure the right things are being programmed in to add/remove features in the new SYNC3 module you installed.

PLEASE NOTE, if you obtained a SYNC3 APIM from any other vehicle besides the Taurus, even from a Lincoln, you MUST use FORScan to load in a factory as-built file from a 2017 Taurus with SYNC3 (one that matches your trim package). Afterwards, you can then edit your desired interface features. The reason being is because the APIM holds much more information for the vehicle it's built for than most realize. It holds information for the fuel type, transmission type, parking brake type, how many parking sensors, GPS antenna location, wheel base length, etc. It doesn't impact functionality as much as you would think, however it's extremely important to import an as-built file FIRST before jumping into programming (if you obtained a unit from another vehicle).

How does one obtain a factory as-built file? Utilize the below Motorcraft link and input a VIN from any vehicle to obtain the as-built file FORScan needs to load in.

As-Built Download: Motorcraft Link
How to Use FORScan: TaurusClub Link
2010-2019 Taurus Spreadsheet: Excel Online Link

Above is also a link to my tutorial here on the forums on how to use FORScan and program modules, such as the new SYNC APIM you just installed.

The third link is for the Taurus Spreadsheet listing all known/confirmed modifications for the Taurus on various modules through FORScan. The spreadsheet is also linked in the FORScan tutorial.





Closing Thoughts



This was something certainly worth it. I cannot begin to explain how much more functional the car feels and how much more responsive and easy the SYNC3 interface is. It's a night and day difference and I'm never looking back at SYNC2.
I did have to perform a few minor tweaks through FORScan for my radio even though it came from a Taurus. They were minor tweaks, but it still had to be done.

It's so much easier to connect my phone to the vehicle. No more constant reattempts and consistent audio drops and random pausing. That's all gone now. I have yet to experience any issues at all with the new radio and I couldn't be more impressed with it's performance.

I wish I had some negative things to say, but I really don't. Everything works beyond expectations and I highly recommend anyone who has the time and funds to perform this retrofit and get that SYNC2 module out of your car. I promise you'll like SYNC3 much better.

That should complete it for the tutorial. I super apologize if I left anything out or if some things aren't clear. Feedback would be much appreciated and please comment below or message me if you prefer me to add anything or answer any questions! I'm more than willing to provide all the assistance I can. Hopefully this tutorial provides lots of insight for everyone and I'll see you all next time!




References and Resources


Forums and Downloads:
DanMc85's Tutorial with a Fusion (2gFusions Forum Link) - Very well written thread with important info for reference
SYNC3 Version 2.2 Update (Fiesta Forum Link) - Thread including download link for NAV and non-NAV units
SYNC3 Version 3.0 Update (Focus Forum Link) - Thread including download link for NAV and non-NAV units


Parts Used:
GJ7Z-19A387-B (White USB Port LEDs - Lincoln) - Price: $50-$60
HC3Z-19A387-B (Blue USB Port LEDs - Ford) - Price: $50-$60
USB Hub Wiring Adapter (4DTech Link) - Price: $49.99
GC3Z-19C149-A (Tasca Parts Link) - Price: $10.19
GPS Antenna (eBay Link) - Price: $12.59
SYNC3 Unit (Check Resources Below for Car-Part Link) - Price: Varies


Resources:
How to Use FORScan (TaurusClub Link)
Car-Part.com (Website Link)
6th Gen Taurus Interior Teardown
Android Auto Tutorial
Apple Carplay Tutorial
 

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That's awesome. I'm going to debate doing this now and maybe start to gather parts. What do you think your total cost is?


Hardest part to obtain is perhaps the radio? I'd probably want the Nav equipped version.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
^ Excellent tutorial!

Thank you very much! I appreciate that feedback. If there's any errors or additions that should be address, that's more than welcome!





That's awesome. I'm going to debate doing this now and maybe start to gather parts. What do you think your total cost is?


Hardest part to obtain is perhaps the radio? I'd probably want the Nav equipped version.

I really, really recommend this upgrade. SYNC2 was, for me, the biggest con with my car. Besides the cup holder situation.



Here's what I've come to understand regarding cost. Personally for me, the total cost was just about $200 for absolutely everything. However, the biggest player in that is because the APIM I found was only $75, the cheapest I found ESPECIALLY since it even had navigation. I have seen these modules change in price regarding the car you're looking for, and with who it's from. I noticed that when searching on car-part for one from a Fusion, they were significantly higher priced than when I searched for a Taurus. Not sure why. Oh, and be aware that when it comes to searching for one with navigation, there isn't a physical, external difference. The radio has to be on for you to see if it has the navigation icon at the bottom of the radio home screen. Unless the lister knows if it has navigation, there isn't a way to tell.


Of course places like eBay will be overpriced as hell so prepare for that. But from what I've seen during this process, the essential price for the APIM I have seen as low as $50 and as high as $300-$400. eBay of course is in the $500 and up category which is insane and I didn't bother shopping there.
 

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Great tutorial and good luck with the upgrade. I can tell you SYNC 2 is waaaay better than the SYNC 1 I had in my 2010. I have had no issues with my SYNC 2 and I have had my car over a year now. For me "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Great tutorial and good luck with the upgrade. I can tell you SYNC 2 is waaaay better than the SYNC 1 I had in my 2010. I have had no issues with my SYNC 2 and I have had my car over a year now. For me "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"



I assumed not everyone had the same issues as myself so I gave that benefit of the doubt. And oh gosh, I agree with you. SYNC1 was HORRIBLE.
 

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Is there a specific part number on the AIPM that is compatible?


I actually don't have any issues with my Sync 2 setup really. Actually..scratch that. Once in a while my phone will randomly disconnect. But it's not often enough to bug me...once a month maybe?


I need to look into this after I try out my 14" brake upgrade
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Is there a specific part number on the AIPM that is compatible?


I actually don't have any issues with my Sync 2 setup really. Actually..scratch that. Once in a while my phone will randomly disconnect. But it's not often enough to bug me...once a month maybe?


I need to look into this after I try out my 14" brake upgrade



There's like 10 different part numbers and I have no idea what they indicate. All I know is that any single SYNC3 module will work across any Ford vehicle. They are the same connections and all. I'd still recommend getting one from a Taurus just to be safe in case I'm wrong, but it wouldn't make sense to me from a manufacturing cost alone to make APIMs unique to each vehicle.
 

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Excellent write up.

My 2016 has SYNC3 and I updated the software a few months back. I just want to say that even though SYNC3, I get glich issues with it. Sometimes it needs the car to be shut off completely and restarted to clear phone connection issues (Samsung J3 on AT&T). Seems the SYNC3 hangs up when initializing to the phone or pulling data, even in city areas with strong cellular service or even WiFi in range.

I am now also using the Alexa-Ford app and enjoy that feature but frequently, "Alexa, play music by Red Hot Chilly Peppers."
Gets, "I'm having trouble understanding right now, please try again a little later." Or, "Okay, here is your flash briefing from FoxNews."
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Excellent write up.

My 2016 has SYNC3 and I updated the software a few months back. I just want to say that even though SYNC3, I get glich issues with it. Sometimes it needs the car to be shut off completely and restarted to clear phone connection issues (Samsung J3 on AT&T). Seems the SYNC3 hangs up when initializing to the phone or pulling data, even in city areas with strong cellular service or even WiFi in range.

I am now also using the Alexa-Ford app and enjoy that feature but frequently, "Alexa, play music by Red Hot Chilly Peppers."
Gets, "I'm having trouble understanding right now, please try again a little later." Or, "Okay, here is your flash briefing from FoxNews."

Very odd. Could be a software issue? Have you tried reinstalling an update rather than installing a newer update?
 

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Not that anyone really cares but...

...I installed the 'direct from Ford' SYNC3 v3.0 over the weekend. I still don't see much (if any) improvement in Alexa. When porting music from the web-via-Alexa-cellular-network-via-Samsung J3 smart-ish phone-to-Alexa-to-Taurus/Sony it still drops the data stream/connection. A lot of data hand offs happening in there. There are specific places on my commute when the music stops (screen displays as if it was frozen, not paused) resuming a few minutes later from wherever in the song it was stuck. Other times in the same area, Alexa drops the song and the entire play instruction, reverting to her normal 'listening for wake word' status. I ask her to resume and she tells me she has nothing to resume. And often, if I wake word her when in these dead zones I hear, "I'm having trouble understanding right now..." (loss of internet). These are city areas (Daytona Beach) where I don't expect bad cellular service but the buildings are not so big as to block signal. It makes me think perhaps these businesses have strong WiFi and perhaps the J3 cellphone is attempting to switch to WiFi and Alexa gets perturbed at the unsteady data stream. I need to experiment by switching off the cellular WiFi and she if she maintains the flow better. I think the performance of the Samsung J3 may also be sketchy (weak) since they are budget smartphones.

I'm thinking Alexa also needs a larger data buffer bank to be able to skip over these dead spots or WiFi vs. cellular data interruptions.
 

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AdmiralSparklez or anyone else reading,

Maybe this is a dummy question, but I have the Sony audio package in my Taurus. Will I need a different APIM unit for this to continue to work properly?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
An APIM is an APIM so this will work totally fine. Even if you didn't have the Sony package, this swap would still work perfect! Just remember, there's always some programming to the as-built of the APIM required.
 

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I have a 2013 Taurus SHO with the MyTouch system. From what I'm reading, I have to change the APIM, among other things. Can I reuse the same touch screen, or do I have to find a newer touch screen?
 

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I have a 2013 Taurus SHO with the MyTouch system. From what I'm reading, I have to change the APIM, among other things. Can I reuse the same touch screen, or do I have to find a newer touch screen?

The screen itself you will need as well. Typically the SYNC3 APIM is sold as a whole unit with it's touchscreen and connector cable for the screen to the APIM. You cannot use the old screen since the new one is a capacitive screen, much better than the SYNC2 screen.
 

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The screen itself you will need as well. Typically the SYNC3 APIM is sold as a whole unit with it's touchscreen and connector cable for the screen to the APIM. You cannot use the old screen since the new one is a capacitive screen, much better than the SYNC2 screen.
Thanks. Now, all I need to do is find a screen and APIM at a reasonable price...
 
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