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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel I've suffered through the OEM stereo as long as I can stand to, so I'm putting together my list of parts for upgrading my '13 F250. I've run into a bit of a hang up though, as I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. I never had an issue with gutting factory stereo systems in the past, as most were plain Jane to begin with. However, I've grown fond of the F250's steering wheel controls, and Sync. The Bluetooth system for making/receiving phone calls is also quite the blessing, as the other person on the line can hear me very clearly and I can hear them as well. I've had a few Bluetooth systems in cars where the other person hears tons of background noise and barely hears me.

That said, I've done about as much research as I can involving keeping the factory toys while upgrading the head unit, changing speakers, and adding amps/subs. So far as I've found, the iDatalink Maestro ADS-MRR adapter with the iDatalink FOR01 harness should allow me to plug into all the Sync/Steering goodies. I've yet to have a phone conversation with them to confirm my intentions, but according to their website, it's everything I'd need for the Head Unit I intend to buy. Which brings me to my next item, my Head Unit of choice is JVC's KWV41BT. I'm still somewhat on the fence about whether I want a double din deck or single din deck, and if I want to go after one with Navigation or not, but I keep feeling the pull for that KWV41BT deck, as the price point and features are to my liking.

So my snag is really that I want to hear from anyone who has experience tinkering with their Super Duty stereo's that has retained factory functions. What products did you use? Complications? Were you able to keep some or all of the natural factory controls or was some (buttons) functions lost? Are there head units that are better suited for retaining factory controls/sync than others? Are there particular features to look for in an aftermarket deck that will enable me to retain factory functions?

Thanks for any input fellas.

Just FYI in case anyone was curious to know my build:

-JVC KWV41BT Head Unit (on the fence)
-Crunch 1600watt 4-Channel Amp (for door & rear speakers)
-Crunch 1200watt 2-Channel Amp (for single 12" subwoofer)
-Rockford Fosgate Punch P1683 6x8 3-way speakers (Front & Rear)
-Pioneer 12" DVC Subwoofer TS-W311D4 (4 ohm x2)
-iDatalink Maestro ADS-MRR Factory Integration Adapter
-iDatalink Connec ADS-HRN(SR)-FOR01 Factory Integration Adapter

*This list may change/update as I find out more. Worst case, I forego retaining factory Sync and install my own phone mic/Bluetooth adaptation. Steering wheel controls are easy enough.
 

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I can't help you with your specific question as my system didn't even retain any of the factory wires (it's completely standalone) plus it's an '07 without any factory extras, but IMO, you are on the right track trying to retain the factory Sync and wheel controls, although the "system" from the factory isn't much, those two features perform very well.

I just wanted to mention that although Crutchfield is not the cheapest, they are probably your best source for tech support and accurate info on what you are trying to accomplish (short of going to a known quality local installer). Plus I'm sure if they steer you wrong, they would be more than happy to take the stuff back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can't help you with your specific question as my system didn't even retain any of the factory wires (it's completely standalone) plus it's an '07 without any factory extras, but IMO, you are on the right track trying to retain the factory Sync and wheel controls, although the "system" from the factory isn't much, those two features perform very well.

I just wanted to mention that although Crutchfield is not the cheapest, they are probably your best source for tech support and accurate info on what you are trying to accomplish (short of going to a known quality local installer). Plus I'm sure if they steer you wrong, they would be more than happy to take the stuff back.
Thanks for the feedback Phil! It's still in the ordering parts phase, as I'm still on the road for work and having parts shipped to the house. I'm really just hung up on the head unit.

I've been digging and digging on double din head units, and every time I look into the reviews for one I seem to like, somebody is saying it's a crap head unit. Such as the JVC unit mentioned above. Although it doesn't have built in GPS, it will relay navigation through your phone via Bluetooth or the correct USB adaptation. I have a Galaxy S6 Active (greatest android ever, if I may add) and am also looking into compatibility issues. As far as the stock stereo stands, when I do need directions and set up a navigation route via google maps on my Galaxy, I have it Bluetooth through Sync and any audio messages for turns and exits come through the stereo speakers. If I need to see the route, glancing at the phone really doesn't impair me as I don't need to stare at it, I just want to confirm a lane position or what not. So the head unit needing to display a route vs audio commands indicating a turn or exit, I'd rather just have my phone talk to me, rather than feeling the need to look at a screen.

So I've ruled out GPS/navigation as a necessity, because as long as I have my phone and a Bluetooth head unit, I can still navigate that way. So I've now put into question whether I even want a double din head unit or not, or even a touch screen double din. Also brings to bear whether Sync is needed or not. Virtually any head unit I get will be steering control compatible, have it's own music app compatibility (Pandora is virtually the only music app I use with Sync, on rare occasion I play music files from my phone). Narrowing it down as such, I'm starting to feel like I could just save myself another $120 and ditch the factory Sync. The biggest loss, IMO, would be phone calls. Sync's mic and phone integration is the best I've experience for built-in calls. While it's so nice to have, I've used it maybe 1% of the time I've owned the truck, and even that is being generous. I have a nice JBL Bluetooth that works just as well, LOL.

I seem to have talked myself out of retaining the factory functions, but we will see. In truth, the double din touch screens scare me because of their reviews. Most commonly, I see that the screens don't dim enough for night driving, the touch screens can be unresponsive, and navigating head unit functions can be slow/clumsy. These head units carry an average price tag of $300 to $1,200+. While the one I'm looking at is $280, it's still a lot of green to lay down on something that might evoke some evil road rage or seriously distract me while I'm driving in the middle of nowhere and it's pitch black except for the glaring 7" touch screen glowing it up in the cab. A nice single din unit with most of the goodies a double din offers could be had for $100 less.

I'll update as I go, but this may just turn into a standard stereo upgrade. I thought it might be unique, keeping the factory sync and controls, but the head unit thing is really killing it. Can't believe it's 2016 and none of the major brands have polished their double units yet! These things should be bulletproof by now lol. The one in my g/f's 2016 Fusion is rock solid for a factory touch screen. It's really a drag to hear the aftermarket is letting people down.
 

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2020 Ford F350 Super Duty King Ranch
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I was digging around youtube some at the head unit upgrades people have done and have seen some videos that show the SYNC actually working after all the upgrades. They went through the steps needed to reprogram anything and maintain functionality.
 

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Cougar, getting the sync to work is not the issue, it's deciding if spending the $$ for the interface adapter is something he wants to do or just rely on the same services to be provided by the aftermarket unit. I have to say, in the rental vehicles I've has with Sync, it does work pretty well for phone calls...but it that's not a priority, then it may not be worth it.

702GT, I had an Alpine W205 with Blackbird about 10 years ago, I sold it and installed a windows PC instead...I was pretty disappointed in it's performance, especially the routing engine of the NAV software, it was horrible. At least now I can control what GPS program I want to run and keep the maps current annually, plus 20K songs on tap is pretty cool too.
 

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Cougar, getting the sync to work is not the issue, it's deciding if spending the $$ for the interface adapter is something he wants to do or just rely on the same services to be provided by the aftermarket unit. I have to say, in the rental vehicles I've has with Sync, it does work pretty well for phone calls...but it that's not a priority, then it may not be worth it.
Might have just been the way I read the question. I understand he's asking for inputs; I thought I was responding to the quote below stating that I watched some videos of different products that retained the factory control functions. Maybe my wording was messed up? I don't have any experience tinkering with my SuperDuty stereo yet so I can't answer the other parts of his question, but I too am interested in hearing what may be said.

So my snag is really that I want to hear from anyone who has experience tinkering with their Super Duty stereo's that has retained factory functions. What products did you use? Complications? Were you able to keep some or all of the natural factory controls or was some (buttons) functions lost? Are there head units that are better suited for retaining factory controls/sync than others? Are there particular features to look for in an aftermarket deck that will enable me to retain factory functions?
 

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I seem to have talked myself out of retaining the factory functions, but we will see.

... but this may just turn into a standard stereo upgrade. I thought it might be unique, keeping the factory sync and controls, but the head unit thing is really killing it.
Your right cougar he is considering both options. My response was just focused on his comment about ditching the factory functions.

There really is no easy answer...and I'm sure the aftermarket choices will get slimmer as the OEM's step up their game.

I suspect a much higher percentage of the "stereo upgraders" in the past did it just to get the additional features like AUX input, Sat radio etc but with the OEM's stepping up their game on features, the aftermarket has to shrink. There just aren't enough of us out their that will pay for better audio quality, better GPS etc. Most just look for the feature on the option list and if it has it, they are content.

Then they are pissed after they bought it when the GPS sucks and the map updates are expensive and hard to get, half the features don't work when the vehicle is in motion or they realize the "Audiophile System" they paid big bucks for is mediocre. But they will put up with it after paying 1,2,3K or more for it so the aftermarket loses again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The install has begun. Actually has been going on for a few days. I've installed aftermarket stereo's in chevy trucks and Ford cars, never had any issues. This F250 is kicking my butt. Every step of the way is a battle, from wire routing to the actual wiring harness (no 12v switched Accessory in the OEM stereo harness... huge fail there). Rear bench seat bolt access... they might as well have welded the seats in lol. This truck is a nightmare. Will update as I go, and bring details of the tough stuff.
 

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not sure it this will help .but I have seen subs and box on amazon that are custom fit for behind the seat they had them with and without subs 10 and 12 in kicker I think the price was around 200 bucks or so .
 

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Every step of the way is a battle, from wire routing to the actual wiring harness (no 12v switched Accessory in the OEM stereo harness... huge fail there).
That's pretty common now. Probably the easiest way around it on this vehicle is to use the proper adapter such as the PAC C2R-FRD1

I did a system in my daughters '03 VW Jetta and it didn't have acc power either and that was 13+ years ago. For it, I was able to open up the steering column shroud and access the key-sense wire then run a relay off of it to a constant power source.

Keep us posted on your project!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
not sure it this will help .but I have seen subs and box on amazon that are custom fit for behind the seat they had them with and without subs 10 and 12 in kicker I think the price was around 200 bucks or so .
When I originally started looking at how I wanted to set up the system I looked at what ebay/amazon sellers had to offer, as well as just googling F250's with stereo upgrades. The results from ebay/amazon for vehicle specific equipment was not really appealing to me. While it's always nice to be able to hide all your stereo equipment, the price tag, quality of sound, and efficiency sometimes suffer. Since I wasn't terribly concerned with how much rear cab space I had to sacrifice, I wasn't concerned about how compact the system was. I was more concerned with overall entertainment and improvement in sound in all genre's of music (since I listen to everything from classical to gangster rap).

Sub boxes that go behind the crew cab seats will pretty much require running a shallow mount sub. These subs make my eyes roll back. I don't like the way they sound, with the exception of the high end subs, which are expensive. Adding to the problem, the subs are then facing the wrong direction, most of your boom is going against the back wall of the cab. Whatever resonance is left over, is being further muffled by the backs of the seats. You can overcome some of these shortfalls by making the box ported instead of sealed, giving the system a better huff, but it's just a bandaide on a bullet wound. If you need 100% of your rear cab, then it's the only way to go. If you don't, there are other/better options for sub placement. Hell, you could do custom 8" subs in a custom door modification, but that's beside the point.

My last thought on this subject, is quality of the sub box and subs. To anyone thinking of putting an aftermarket sub in any vehicle, I encourage and implore you to take the time/effort to make your own sub box, or at least pay someone reputable to make one for you. Most of the online or off-the-shelf sub & sub box combos are not worth your hard earned cash. I bought a 10" sub box from Best Buy about 10 years ago, took it home and started to assemble it. The first thing I noticed was the wood. They used some shoddy particle board instead of MDF. It was also 3/8", far too thin for any sub box IMHO. The kit didn't include any sealant or insulation which meant I had to source additional materials. I also noticed the dimensions on the packaging were actually O.D. and not I.D., which you always want I.D. in order to calculate cubic footage requirements for the sub you intend to run. Also important to take into account the space the sub will occupy (the 10" I was using I figured on .15-.18 cu.ft). This can be important if you're building a loose box or a tight box. Generally, if you fall in the middle of everything, not a huge deal. Either way, I spent $60 on a sub box kit and would have needed an additional $20 in materials. I took the kit back and got a refund, went to Lowes and spent $15 on a sheet of 3/4" MDF, $3 on 1-1/2" drywall screws, $10 on sealant and insulation, and another $15 on amazon ordering a nice speaker terminal panel (prefer terminals rather than sealing wires through the box... I feel this is ugly). Took me about 4-6 hours to fully assemble the box, but the dimensions were correct for the sub I wanted to run, and the quality of the box would out-last the sub many times over.

And that's all I've got to say about that. lol :rocker:
 

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All I want to add is that in a truck cab...there is nothing better than down-firing sub(s).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I spent like over an hour doing a huge write up for my finished product... and when I submitted the thread I was asked to log in again, and it dumped everything I had typed up. Thank you, so much, forum.

Sorry fellas, all you get for now is a few pictures. When I work up the enthusiasm to re-type up my final build.. again.. I'll come back and edit this. Would have been a killer post too! Put a lot of effort into it. Insta-delete-log in sucks.

New Mic location & Deck in the background



The Boom.



I was envisioning. The 'stang in the background.



How the power station turned out.

 

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Nice job!

But I'm telling ya, turn that sub box over, set the edges of the box on some 2" x 2" pieces of wood or something just to hold the sub about 2" of the carpet and take a listen...

Then tell me what you think.

Regarding this forum dumping your post...yup, been there. What I do on a lengthy post now is, when I am done typing, I highlight everything I've typed and select "copy". Then I post it, if it fails, I start a new post and just select "Paste" to replace the text quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nice job!

But I'm telling ya, turn that sub box over, set the edges of the box on some 2" x 2" pieces of wood or something just to hold the sub about 2" of the carpet and take a listen...

Then tell me what you think.

Regarding this forum dumping your post...yup, been there. What I do on a lengthy post now is, when I am done typing, I highlight everything I've typed and select "copy". Then I post it, if it fails, I start a new post and just select "Paste" to replace the text quickly.
I hear ya on the sub. You'll just have to take my word for it, it doesn't need to be any louder/cleaner than it is lol. I've had a couple people now prefer to sit in the back, just so they can stare at the sub do its thing lol. If it was a shorter/fatter box, I probably would flip the sub. I had thought about building a sub box just for a down-fire, but decided the dimensions were acceptable for top-mounting the sub.

As for my post, I'll get around to it again. Just a busy week getting ready to get back on the road again. Good idea on the copy/paste though.
 
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