2002 Ford Explorer Limited Two Way Radio/Scanner Install

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KJ6HCB

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OK, I just couldn't wait any longer to post some pics :lol: I'm still waiting on one more radio and to drill one more NMO mount, but its probably going to be 1 or 2 more weeks until I get the radio in and get some time to install.

Vehicle is a 2002 Ford Explorer Limited. It is not my daily driver, but its the 4 wheeled vehicle Ive been driving most lately (have many motorcycles I try to ride if possible and a Chevy Duramax crew cab with a blown engine Im in the process of rebuilding) so I figured it was time to get something more permanent than a few portables.

The Explorer had the center console with rear air, which made for some challenges. In my last vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe, I had a Havis Shields 30" Consolidator console filled up, but didn't want to go quite so crazy with this vehicle, so I opted for the Jotto Desk OEM replacement unit. Knowing what I know now I probably would have just used a big standard unit again, but I made it work out fine. Turns out, the units with center consoles have the rear air system routed through the bottom (as usual). However, the venting system is INTEGRAL to the center console mounting - most of the console screws to this tube, which in turn screws to the trans hump. With this piece needed to be removed to get proper mounting depth for the scanners, I had some issues to deal with for center console stability.


I started by removing the seats and center console area to give me an open area to work with. I later ended up removing the rear seats and carpet as well to make running coax and other wiring as easy and neat as possible.



I opted to wire the vehicle with Anderson Powerpoles - they work extremely well in my opinion and allow me to pull equipment from the vehicle to put into others, inside, or wherever else I may need. I ran an 8 gauge fused lead from the battery into the center console area and then to a 7 position PP distribution panel.



Also shown is coax from the roof NMO mounts routed down the B pillars and into the center console area, for the scanners in the console and radio that is not remote mounted (before being cut to the correct length).

One of the radios in the console will be a remote mounted Yaesu FT7900R dual band HAM radio. I decided to mount the drawer unit under the passenger rear seat, located here. Power was run back from the distribution panel along with control head cable, coax fed over, and Motorola external speaker mounted.



From there, it was time to reinstall the factory sides of the console, and then the Jotto Desk drop in unit. It went in smoothly and was attached to the stock console as well as a few custom brackets I made up to hold everything secure.

I still need to mount 2 Motorola 13 watt external speakers under the middle rear seat for the 2 scanners, and then when the MCS2000 110 Watt UHF unit shows up, mount its drawer under the drivers side rear seat and control head in the console and install 1 more antenna for it, but other than that everything is done. Here's how it looks now (excuse the no screws yet... :D ):







Radios from top to bottom are:

Yaesu FT7900R Dualband VHF/UHF 50 Watt
Uniden BC780XLT Scanner
Motorola CDM1550LS 50 Watt VHF 160 Channel
Uniden BCT15 Scanner w/ GPS
(Missing) Motorola MCS2000 110 Watt Model 2 Remote Head 255 Channel

As for the Antennas... heres what Ive got up top:



Front is a Larsen NMO2/70B for the Yaesu, then an Austin Spectra (REALLY love this antenna!) for the 2 scanners run off a splitter in the console, and then an Antenex UHF 1/2 wave. Ive changed that mount to a Antenex VHF 1/4 wave for the CDM1550 and will utilize the Antenex 1/2 wave on a new NMO mount for the MCS when it comes in.

Also I installed 3 toggle switches in the dash to run sets of Whelen LED Vertex Hideaways and Whelen TIR3 modules front and rear, along with a spare switch for future use. I did those in the dash area to the right of the radio where 4x4 controls would be.







Well, that's it for now. When the MCS2000 comes in Ill get it installed and some updated pics posted, but this should suit my RF needs for a while! :p
 

DogBone384

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Good looking install. Congrats.

BTW, I was an professional installer in car audio from the late '80s to 2003 (including 8 years @ Alpine Electonics). Are you/were you in 'the business'?
 
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Skypilot007

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Nice job, I like that console a lot. Makes me want to buy a SUV from Ford next time except those new Explorers are hidius looking. Have fun and post up when you get it fully stuffed with radios.
 

KJ6HCB

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Sep 21, 2011
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San Luis Obispo, CA
Good looking install. Congrats.

BTW, I was an professional installer in car audio from the late '80s to 2003 (including 8 years @ Alpine Electonics). Are you/were you in 'the business'?
Thanks very much for the compliment! No, Im not but I have done several "paid" installs and many for myself and friends. I pride myself in doing things correctly and using the right tool/part for the job.


Nice job, I like that console a lot. Makes me want to buy a SUV from Ford next time except those new Explorers are hidius looking. Have fun and post up when you get it fully stuffed with radios.
Jotto Desk and Havis Shields both make vehicle specific consoles for many vehicles, please dont let me influence you to buy a F*rd, Im a Chevy guy at heart just driving this thing for a while to get by :lol:

Looks great, my 04 looks pretty much the same, I hope the one hea sitting on top in not going to be there, as I will block some buttons
The Yaesu head is mounted where it will be, it does not interfere with the HVAC controls at all.


Thanks for the comments and compliments everyone! The UHF MCS2000 Model 2 Remote Head 110 watt is on the way, along with a new style DTMF mic for it and the proper MCS mounting faceplate instead of the CDM one I had. Raining here today so no antenna install.... maybe I can get to that tomorrow.
 

tcm4368

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Oct 5, 2007
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Very tasty! I like installs where there is some craftsmanship involved. Well done.

Trent
 
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