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Old 04-01-2018, 11:32 AM
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Default Full size pickups and radio installs

We are thinking ahead to my next vehicle. We are thinking of a 2019 or 2020 model pickup truck in the "2" or "3" series size (F250/350, GMC 2500/3500 etc.) since there is a possibility of a travel trailer in our future. If we decide on a larger trailer we will likely go with an F350/3500 sized truck with a fifth wheel, otherwise an F250/2500 size will do. From what I have seen the interiors do not change much between them.

While this is a ways out I have been snooping around since I usually start looking for the next vehicle while I am working on the paperwork of the current one...

In the past I would usually not worry too much about the radio stuff since I would use remote heads for most anything but now that the RH-96 will not work on the radios I will want to use (536, 996P2) I need room for full radios to be installed up front. The problem is that I like the full console goodies that come along with the high-end packages, including the Nav screens, power supplies and other goodies of the current vehicles.

What I am looking for are suggestions of a full-size pickup with the luxury packages in which I can continue to get the nice interiors and consoles yet have room to mount 2 or more full-size scanners of the 536/996 type horizontally. Remember this will likely be a 2019 or 2020 model year, my Expedition is only a year and a half old at this point.

Any ideas are welcome!
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:36 AM
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Sound like a Ford guy, but I think this is the most attractive option right now for a “civilian” model pickup that retains the center console features:

http://www.rocklandcustomcabinets.co...-console-plate

All the other civilian model console kits seem to be for SUVs. The Ford standard console could fit two scanners in the center console if you wanted to test some fabrication skills but I haven’t seen off the shelf products for that yet.
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Old 04-01-2018, 1:05 PM
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I assume that it will use a column or pushbutton gear shifter? If that is the case we may have a winner.

While I have been a Ford or Honda guy all my life I am wide open for this vehicle and this looks great so far.

It is the center column shifter that causes the problems for radio mounting. While SSV packages move the shifter to the column it usually also deletes the luxury stuff I and the wife like.
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Old 04-01-2018, 1:17 PM
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So all GMs are column shift. With Ford either is an option (counting F150s here) and since the 150s and 250s share cabs they reuse consoles. Because some Ford pickups have a floor shift the cup holders are vertical so if you have a column shift you just get a cubby where the shifter would be. It’s a good spot for a single HHCH but other than that fitting several radios in the stock center console requires a lot of modification.

Most customers now I advise them to do a 40/20/40 seat since companies like Plastix Plus make nice center consoles you can still rest your arm on. You would just have to move the USB ports - and yes, most trucks now you can get the premium entertainment features and still have a 20/40/20.

Since you say you’re waiting I would definitely re-evaluate when the new HD RAMs come out. The 1500 is a GREAT blank canvas - it’s wide, deep, and reconfigurable. Has these great double phone holders like previous models that are truly universal but easy to use and now have wireless charging as part of them. I truly believe one of these companies like Rockland, Jotto, or Havis will come out with a drop in frame for the RAM that will let you use the “standard” radio mounting faceplates.

You’re right about most SSV packages loosing some of the luxuries but companies are getting better. Like you can do a Ford super duty with the higher end Sync systems and even the base police Tahoe will let you have the high end MyLink with raising screen and push button start. These days it’s about pressing the dealers. I used to deal in public safety vehicles exclusively and we would deal with vehicle salespeople that only did public safety and you would have to beat the option books out of them and dig through them to find the codes for the “luxury” stuff since most of them just wanted to whatever since for them it’s quantity sold, not total revenue.
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Old 04-01-2018, 3:43 PM
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Actually Ford F150s and F250s are completely different. F250s are part of the Super Duty line that includes F350s and F450s. The chassis and bodies are pretty much the same across F250, F350, F450 though the strength of the frame may vary and the components used, particularly the axles, changes from series to series.

F150s are built in Dearborn and Kansas City. The F250/F350/F450 are built at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville (not to be confused with Louisville Assembly where Escapes are built).

The problem with F150s and radio consoles is that once you get into the higher trim lines (Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited), you are more likely to find console shifters which makes mounting radios a bit more challenging. Ford is moving towards rotary shifter knobs mounted in the console rather than shift levers mounted in the console. The 2018 Expedition has a rotary shifter knob mounted in the console and I suspect that the F150 will get it soon if it doesn't have it already.

But, since Rich is talking about an F250/F350 one option that should be considered is the "upfitter switches". This is a bank of switches mounted in the console that can be wired to your choice of accessory. Most of those switches are only powered on when the ignition is on, but typically two of them are powered all the time.

The aftermarket console manufacturers like Havis, Troy, Jotto, Rockland, etc., typically lag behind new vehicle introduction by a year or more. They also seem to focus more on the vehicles that are more likely to be in fleets. When it comes to Fords, the fleet vehicles are often considerably different than the vehicles available to the public. For example, the average purchaser can't get an Expedition with a steering column shifter, but the fleet Expeditions have it.
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Old 04-01-2018, 6:02 PM
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That was my understanding too W9BU, that the F250/350/450 shared features/design etc between them and that the F150 was separate (but shared a lot with the Expedition).

I would pay extra for the upfitter panel if I could keep the rest of the stuff I want as well. I will probably have to order the vehicle to get it however.
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Old 04-01-2018, 7:55 PM
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Would you please hurry up and purchase it, so we can see more pictures!
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Old 04-01-2018, 8:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tglendye View Post
Would you please hurry up and purchase it, so we can see more pictures!
I would love to but if I do that now my wife would divorce me, take the house and my truck, sell my radios and leave me begging on the streets.

I would really miss my radios.
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Old 04-01-2018, 9:00 PM
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While the F150's and F-250/350/450's are different trucks, there are a lot of similarities with the interiors.

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum, I tend to prefer the lower tier interiors. I've done installs in XLT and XL's, so not much help on the higher trims.

With the XL/XLT, the 40/20/40 front seat makes installs easy. Getting creative with the center console will be required, but not sure how much room there is under them. I have seen mounting plates that go inside the center console, under the arm rest on earlier models. Not sure if they are available for the newer ones.

But, the wiring install is pretty easy. I've done both GM and Fords recent models, and I doubt you could find an easier vehicle to install in. The Ford Super Duty's have some nice upfitter wiring connections that can make life easier, like dedicated ignition switch circuits available in the interior, feed through wiring to the engine compartment, as well as lots of room for running coax, etc. If you go to the Ford Fleet bulletin page, look for document Q259, which will give you all the info you need on the customer access wiring.

As for antennas, I had no issue popping a couple holes in the roof of the F-350 I have at work, although it seemed like the aluminum was harder to drill through than previous steel body trucks. Routing was easy (regular cab), and the roof material is strong enough to hold even stiff antennas.

I'm looking at purchasing an F350 XL crew cab for myself in the next few weeks. Already ordered and received most of the parts I need. Kind of looking forward to it.
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Old 04-01-2018, 9:01 PM
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https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas/non-html/Q-259.pdf
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Old 04-01-2018, 9:35 PM
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I tend to go with the mid-tier trim packages. When I bought my current Sierra, I looked at the SLT's as they were "directly comprable" to the LTZ trim (I was coming off a LT that predated the LTZ by a model year) and the current LT had been pushed into a what I tend to associate the LS trim with...anyway, when GM changed the body they canceled half the options of the SLE that I have in mine (i.e. leather) but my SLE is only missing seat heaters and a powered passenger seat but is otherwise comparable to my previous LT).

Split bench seats are generally the best solution if you are going to add equipment to a pickup. I'm actually looking at swapping my existing split/bench out for a full featured Havis but am not quite there on the decision making process.

Personally, I'm not fond of Ford Super Duty trucks (haven't been since the 7.3 was replaced) and after the 5.9 was succeeded by the 6.7 I just haven't been that into Dodges. I really like where GM has been headed since the LBZ's hit the streets and though I likely won't be purchasing another 3/4 ton truck anytime soon...but GM got my attention when they put the words Duramax, half-ton, and inline six into a single product.
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Old 04-01-2018, 9:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
With the XL/XLT, the 40/20/40 front seat makes installs easy.
On the F150 XLT, the standard front seat is 40/20/40. But, there's an option for a 40/console/40 seat. Either way, it may be possible to remove the 20% seat or the console to install a radio console.

On my 2011 F150, I got the console option and it came out with four screws. I was then able to install a slotted mounting plate from JottoDesk and then attach my Jotto Lazy-L radio console to the mounting plate. It all went in pretty easily using existing threaded holes. Unfortunately, the console that Ford now uses with that option looks a little more involved, so I don't know if you can duplicate what I did.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
On the F150 XLT, the standard front seat is 40/20/40. But, there's an option for a 40/console/40 seat. Either way, it may be possible to remove the 20% seat or the console to install a radio console.

On my 2011 F150, I got the console option and it came out with four screws. I was then able to install a slotted mounting plate from JottoDesk and then attach my Jotto Lazy-L radio console to the mounting plate. It all went in pretty easily using existing threaded holes. Unfortunately, the console that Ford now uses with that option looks a little more involved, so I don't know if you can duplicate what I did.
I've got a 2011 F150 also, with the 40/20/20 seat.
It worked well since I just have one radio head mounted under the dash. The few times I actually use the center seat, it works well enough for someone small, like my son.
The 2017 F350 I have at work is the same way. Two heads under the dash, no console.

One of the companies used to make a wedge console that went under the dash on the bench seat trucks. Not sure if they still do. I would have been tempted to use that if I needed space for more radios in the F150. On the F350, it has the "Shift on stop" 4 wheel drive shifter there, so it wouldn't work. The electronic shift would be a better solution if mounting lots of radios, but there's still something satisfying about getting out, locking the hubs, and yanking the stick back.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:49 PM
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I would definitely have a professional do the antennas and power for me. I do not relish drilling holes in what will likely be a $75,000 vehicle, I will let someone who knows what they are doing and has the insurance to back him up do that. The rest of the install I can do myself. This has been the pattern I have followed for the last couple of decades and it has served me well.

With that said I may have an upfitter help me order the truck as well, they could probably ensure I get the goodies I want and the the layout I need.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N9JIG View Post
With that said I may have an upfitter help me order the truck as well, they could probably ensure I get the goodies I want and the the layout I need.
That might be a good idea. There are certainly a lot of configurations, options and choices to be made.

Looking at the full order guides, it can get pretty overwhelming. The nice thing is that those upfitter wiring connections are standard in all the vehicles. It really made it handy to have when I was installing in the F350. Dedicated 5 amp circuit that I just extended behind the seat for the radios.
I did run my own 6 gauge conductor from the battery to the fire wall, added a 60 amp Bussman circuit breaker, then on to behind the rear seat. Fairly easy install.
Installing the antennas wasn't much harder
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Old 04-02-2018, 7:00 PM
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I have the 40-Console-40 in my 13 F150. Unfortunately, Ford has discontinued it in the new lines. Pisser, as I like the storage in the console. I don't care for the Havis, Gamber, etc options as they don't provide the storage, (and cost) but may have to bite that bullet on my next truck.
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Old 04-03-2018, 3:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Looking at the full order guides, it can get pretty overwhelming.
The order guides for most Ford vehicles are available on-line. Google them. You may have to create an account at a fan forum to download them. The Ford order guides detail what standard features and options come with each trim line and will generally tell you which packages and options can be ordered with which other options. Yes, they can be a bit overwhelming for a truck because there are so many trim lines and options. But, they can be very helpful if you start at the beginning because everything is cumulative.

I don't know if you can get the Chevy order guides or not. Last Chevy I bought was in 2000.
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Old 04-04-2018, 1:29 AM
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If you get a Silverado/Sierra LTZ Crew Cab, you can put the radio in the center console, like I did. My pictures are public. Your antenna will have to be more of your choosing, but I put mine on the right bed rail, in the stake hole. Chevy's website will show you the inside of the cab. I looked, last night, and they are not showing anything newer than 2018.
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Old 04-08-2018, 5:17 PM
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I love Ford trucks but this is also a major complaint I have with recent gen trucks that I have test driven - lower trims have the column shifter most often (which I also prefer) and higher trims always seem to have the floor shifter. The vast majority of the higher trim trucks that roll off the line do not have bench seats, and thus get the floor shifter .

This leaves somebody with limited options in the used market, but since you're looking to buy new, I did find some pics of a previous gen F-150 Lariat that had been ordered with a bench seat and column shifter on F150forum.com. I wouldn't be all that surprised if you could also order the same configuration on a Lariat/King Ranch/Platinum etc F-250 or 350. I saw a handful of threads too where guys have converted their floor shifter to a column shifter, so the $$$$$ option is always there lol!
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Old 04-22-2018, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
Actually Ford F150s and F250s are completely different. F250s are part of the Super Duty line that includes F350s and F450s. The chassis and bodies are pretty much the same across F250, F350, F450 though the strength of the frame may vary and the components used, particularly the axles, changes from series to series.

F150s are built in Dearborn and Kansas City. The F250/F350/F450 are built at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville (not to be confused with Louisville Assembly where Escapes are built).
But the cabs themselves are nearly identical. I mean the doors of an F250 will fit on a 150, the seats from one will fit the other, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
The problem with F150s and radio consoles is that once you get into the higher trim lines (Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited), you are more likely to find console shifters which makes mounting radios a bit more challenging. Ford is moving towards rotary shifter knobs mounted in the console rather than shift levers mounted in the console. The 2018 Expedition has a rotary shifter knob mounted in the console and I suspect that the F150 will get it soon if it doesn't have it already.
If you have the "flow through" console, 40/console/40 configuration with console shift, you can take out the two cup holders to the right of the console shift. Two small or one fairly good sized radio can fit in the place of those holders with a custom panel easily made. And you still have two cup holders, as the center mounted console storage has cup holders on the lid.

Further, the flip open sunglass holder in the overhead console is just the right size for many ham VHF/UHF control heads, not so much for commercial heads.

In some trims (such as my 2018 Raptor) the front edge of the floor console, where it meets the bottom of the dash, has a cover compartment large enough to hold the control head of an HF radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
But, since Rich is talking about an F250/F350 one option that should be considered is the "upfitter switches". This is a bank of switches mounted in the console that can be wired to your choice of accessory. Most of those switches are only powered on when the ignition is on, but typically two of them are powered all the time.
The F150's can also have the upfitter switches (again, my 2018 F150 Raptor does). From the factory all 6 are only powered when the ignition is on. However with some Super Duty configurations (not on the F150's, even the Raptor) the user can custom configure 2 of them to hot all the time by moving a fuse in the upfitter relay box. Note that not all F250s have this ability, but I think most do, and I think all F350s do. At least, I have seen an F250 that you could not do this with, and I have not seen an F350 that you could not so configure.

I use the upfitter switches to power/control my radar detector and to control my electronic lay down light tray on my sport bar. The light tray has no lights on it, but works great to lay down my antennas for low overhead clearance areas.

T!
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