• To anyone looking to acquire commercial radio programming software:

    Please do not make requests for copies of radio programming software which is sold (or was sold) by the manufacturer for any monetary value. All requests will be deleted and a forum infraction issued. Making a request such as this is attempting to engage in software piracy and this forum cannot be involved or associated with this activity. The same goes for any private transaction via Private Message. Even if you attempt to engage in this activity in PM's we will still enforce the forum rules. Your PM's are not private and the administration has the right to read them if there's a hint to criminal activity.

    If you are having trouble legally obtaining software please state so. We do not want any hurt feelings when your vague post is mistaken for a free request. It is YOUR responsibility to properly word your request.

    To obtain Motorola software see the Sticky in the Motorola forum.

    The various other vendors often permit their dealers to sell the software online (i.e., Kenwood). Please use Google or some other search engine to find a dealer that sells the software. Typically each series or individual radio requires its own software package. Often the Kenwood software is less than $100 so don't be a cheapskate; just purchase it.

    For M/A Com/Harris/GE, etc: there are two software packages that program all current and past radios. One package is for conventional programming and the other for trunked programming. The trunked package is in upwards of $2,500. The conventional package is more reasonable though is still several hundred dollars. The benefit is you do not need multiple versions for each radio (unlike Motorola).

    This is a large and very visible forum. We cannot jeopardize the ability to provide the RadioReference services by allowing this activity to occur. Please respect this.

Which Brand / Model Pickup Truck Is The Most Install-Friendly?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
2,105
F150? Tacoma? Frontier? Or something else? Is there any one in particular that works best for installing NMOs on the roof and has space or after-market consoles for mounting radios?
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
13,294
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
F150's are pretty easy to install in. I've got a 2011 crew cab F-150 and mounted a couple of radios in it.
I've done a few Chevy/GMC's to, and they're pretty easy.

Never done a Dodge pickup, at least not yet.

Nissans are pretty hard to install in, at least the Frontiers are. We ended up with a few of those at work and while I didn't do the install, it was farmed out. The installers had a hell of a time. They've since stopped buying the NIssans for anything that needs a radio/lights.

Not sure about Tacoma's, but with the smaller interior, fitting more than one or two radios in there is going to be a challenge.

Remote heads make life easier.

As for antennas, the Fords and Chevy's are easy to install in. I've done a lot of those and it doesn't get much simpler. Lots of information and after market parts for those since they are in such wide spread use in public works, utilities, etc.

I'm in the market for a new pickup. I need to move up from the F150 to a 3/4 ton with a Diesel for all the towing I do. I'm looking at both the Ford and Chevy's. I know I won't have issues installing in those.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
2,105
Another big challenge I have is a parking garage at work with a clearance of only 6'7". A 1/4-wave UHF antenna is about 7 inches, so it MIGHT fit on the roof of an F150. But it seems like the F150s are like exactly right at the 6-foot mark, or maybe an inch or two more.
 

rescue161

KE4FHH
Database Admin
Joined
Jun 5, 2002
Messages
3,078
Location
Hubert, NC
At my previous job, we did installs on Ford (F150, F250, F350), Ram 1500 and Chevy (1500 & 2500). Older Chevy trucks (before 2014) were the best. There was a console that replaced part of the dash and everything looked very neat. The only console that is currently commercially available to fit in the dash is for the Ford. That being said, I don't like the Fords as there is are a lot more screws/trim to take off to get access to the roof for mounting lightbars/antennas. Ram 1500 is the easiest. All of our Ram trucks are the same. We use a Troy 7" consoles and an over-the-hump mount that bolts to the front seats. No holes drilled in the floor. On the Ram, you use the clutch-cable entry-point to get through the fire-wall. On the Fords, we go through the front floor on the passenger's side.

Starting at post # 7 is my personal truck. I set it up the same way that we did our public safety Ram pickups, without a siren or lights. Post 7 also has the links to the mount and the console.

https://forums.radioreference.com/r...82-13-ram-1500-few-questions.html#post2488198
 

krokus

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
4,453
Location
Southeastern Michigan
The Tundra my department had seemed to work out well. The installation was farmed out, so I only get to see the end result.

Sent via Tapatalk
 

clbsquared

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 13, 2015
Messages
536
Location
Isle of Wight County
F-150's and Silverado's are fairly easy to work around. Although, if you have the side curtain airbags, taking the headliner down is a bit iffy. You're better off using a fish tape and accessing your NMO mount through the third brake light. I just finished up an install on an 2011 model F-150. Just make sure you follow the manufacturer guidelines for removing items associated with airbags. Especially if you plan on removing the seats.


Sent from my HTC One A9 using Tapatalk
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
0
Location
Virginia
None,leave your radios at home,why drill holes in a $45,000+ vehicle?Trucks are not cheap nowadays....
You want to do that to a used 2000 or older truck,you will have plenty of room,I can fit a TS2000 or other base in our f150...
A ram? Isnt that a stubborn animal? ! Get a Ford or Chevy.
Rams made by FIAT (fix it again tony)
Airbags? As long as you install with the battery disconnected and use your head,you will be fine.
 
Last edited:

rescue161

KE4FHH
Database Admin
Joined
Jun 5, 2002
Messages
3,078
Location
Hubert, NC
I bought my Ram based on the ones that we used at work. I've done countless installs on a lot of different manufacturers and I can tell you that the Ram stood out as the best built. This is especially evident when we would remove the equipment from the vehicles after three years on the road. The Rams still "felt" new. The worst were the Fords. They just felt like they were about to rattle apart when pulling them into the bay. Chevy came in second. Take a look at a brand new Chevy. Better yet, run your hand down the frame of the brand new truck. They coat them with grease to mask squeaks and other problems. Once that grease wears off, they sound like crap rolling down the road.

As far as drilling holes? I drilled into mine as soon as I could. Drilling holes is much less damaging than using mag-mounts.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 30, 2008
Messages
801
I haven't done a mobile install since 1985, but I remember it was much easier to use a metal punch on a Ford than a Chevy, especially on the drive shaft hump.

I was trained to use a punch vs drilling holes to give more area for the threads to grab, is that still valid with modern construction? A punch did not catch the carpet like a drill.

Back then air bags weren't powered by batteries, they were politicians and ran on BS.
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆS, I put that shØt on everything.
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,137
Location
Sector 001
Many of us don't have the option to not have radios installed.

Additionally, in my own situation, I do a ton of long distance driving alone. Having a radio gives me someone to talk to. It makes 600km days go by a lot faster.

For example I put on just shy of 1300km Wednesday and Thursday this week. About 900km of that was on radio controlled resource roads. Not having a radio in my truck is not an option.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
9,734
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
I have a friend with nearly unlimited funds to buy his work vehicles and for the last 10yrs or so its been nothing but big Dodge Ram diesels. He basically buys new trucks every year and distributes the older ones to his employees, so he sees how they perform over longer periods of time. He also looks at all the new offerings from Ford and Chevy and they are rejected over what the Rams offer for features, power and reliability.

I've spend some time in his trucks and have also installed a number of radios in them and can say they are wonderful trucks to drive and own. His past big GM diesels always had problems and seemed to be in the shop more than they were on the road. The Dodge Rams just roam the country towing and hauling with no problems whatsoever. The first job one of his newer trucks did was driving and hauling an 8k lb trailer from Los Angeles to Victoria Island, BC, then east across Canada to north of Quebec then down and across the US back to Los Angeles with no troubles at all.

Most of the radio installs were UHF radios and CBs, and there was no perceivable ignition noise on the CB. I had no trouble installing roof mount antennas or running cables in the vehicle, they were uneventful installs which is what you look forward too.
prcguy

I bought my Ram based on the ones that we used at work. I've done countless installs on a lot of different manufacturers and I can tell you that the Ram stood out as the best built. This is especially evident when we would remove the equipment from the vehicles after three years on the road. The Rams still "felt" new. The worst were the Fords. They just felt like they were about to rattle apart when pulling them into the bay. Chevy came in second. Take a look at a brand new Chevy. Better yet, run your hand down the frame of the brand new truck. They coat them with grease to mask squeaks and other problems. Once that grease wears off, they sound like crap rolling down the road.

As far as drilling holes? I drilled into mine as soon as I could. Drilling holes is much less damaging than using mag-mounts.
 
Last edited:

kayn1n32008

ØÆS, I put that shØt on everything.
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,137
Location
Sector 001
The Dodge Rams just roam the country towing and hauling with no problems whatsoever. The first job one of his newer trucks did was driving and hauling an 8k lb trailer from Los Angeles to Victoria Island, BC, then east across Canada to north of Quebec then down and across the US back to Los Angeles with no troubles at all.

prcguy


I work at a company with a fleet of over 100 trucks. Majority of our crews also have quad decks and carry 2 ATVs. They are all a mix of 2500/3500/F250/F350. We have no Dodge trucks. The
Maintenance costs compared to Ford/Chevy are much higher.

Our crews spend most of their time off highway in northern Alberta on the vast network of resource roads(tens of thousands of kilometres) our crews average about 75,000KM/yr while running at about 4400-ish kilograms total weight truck and gear/survey supplies/quads ect.

On highway I agree Dodge diesel all the way.

Off highway, Dodge is crap. The front ends disintegrate on gravel/rough/oil/logging roads. Alberta has some of the roughest road conditions in North America, and neither Dodge or Chevy stand up like Fords do.

Going to work in the oilfield in Alberta, I will take a F350 over anything else.

We shall see how the new aluminium body Fords hold up over time, we just added 8 all aluminium F350 trucks to our fleet this spring.

Down side is LMR and cell booster antenna mounts MUST be drilled. Magmounts obviously do not work.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
13,294
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
This is turning into an interesting thread. I'm in the market for a new 3/4 or 1 ton Diesel pickup in the next few months and looking at the big 3. I've owned GM's and Ford's all my life and been happy with all of them. Always had an aversion to Dodge's due to the clapped out government vehicles were always Dodges, and while there were OK, they were beat pretty hard.

And I agree, if you are serious about radio, then you drill the hole. Anything else is a compromise.
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆS, I put that shØt on everything.
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,137
Location
Sector 001
This is turning into an interesting thread. I'm in the market for a new 3/4 or 1 ton Diesel pickup in the next few months and looking at the big 3. I've owned GM's and Ford's all my life and been happy with all of them. Always had an aversion to Dodge's due to the clapped out government vehicles were always Dodges, and while there were OK, they were beat pretty hard.



And I agree, if you are serious about radio, then you drill the hole. Anything else is a compromise.


If you are mostly on highway dodge seems to do ok. The front end is the weak point on the dodge. Ford sucks for fuel efficiency though. Even the diesel.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,554
Location
Texas
It really just depends. In my experience, Dodge and GM have been manufacturing much more reliable (with a lower overall cost of ownership) pickups over the last decade and a half or so.

I've had nothing but reliability issues with F-series pickups. Between 2008 and 2014 I had either owned or been issued 9 of them. Only one made it past 100,000 miles. The EOD4's lasted me on average 80,000 miles, the ZF-5's constantly were loosing throwout bearings, and the M5R2's would spit a slave cylinder out every 20,000 miles. Some of my 5.4's were rock solid though lasting an excess of 12,000 hours. To this day, the transmission behind the 6.7 doesn't sit right with me and I've never ran into a situation with Ford techs where they actually knew what they were doing (it was all guess and replace).

I do like the Dodge trucks. Last I checked the 6.7 still had a manual option. I was raised on the 5.9 Cummins block, I've driven some of the famed million mile Dodges. I've never had any sort of transmission issue with a Dodge transmission (other than replacing clutches on the manuals). I do not like the 6.7 B series block and wish the 5.9 was still an option but the 5.9's had their issues (for example, 06/07 had LB7 style injector issues and it would strike right around 150,000 miles if it was going to happen and would typically be in number 6).

GM has really been my go to over the last decade. The Atlas 4.2L I6 impressed the hell out of me in the Trailvoy platform (the 4L60E they were paired with did not). The LBZ Duramax really got me into the 6.6 as a viable diesel option. The 5.3 and 6.0 are fairly bulletproof V8's (though the nearly 400 hp 5.7 Hemi definitely deserves an honorable mention) as long as you stay away from the first model year or two of major changes (like body styles) and are generally 250,000 mile engines though I have seen several of each go well beyond the 300,000 mile marker without issue. I can't speak for the 2014 and newer GM's but since 2003-ish all GM trucks have come from the factory with dual battery trays (even the half-tons which were never offered in a dual battery option).

All trucks have their weak points. I do believe the Titan XD with the Cummins is a quality contender for the half-ton/heavy-half guys. The Tundra's of course are good trucks as well. Here lately, Ford seems to be on a major V6 binge (which doesn't sit right with me so I avoid them) versus the tried and tested V8 designs used by GM and Mopar.

As far as installing radio equipment goes, what will be the easiest is what is currently in public service because those will have the largest amount of products built for them. The Fords are certainly a standard, as are the GM trucks. Rams are picking up more momentum especially as more (rural) departments test the waters with the SSV.

Personally, I prefer the GMT900 platform with the OE split bench. I've got a 2013 Sierra as my daily driver, just changed the plugs and wires on it and it runs like a champ. Only had $600 of un-warrantied work on it and it's getting ready for a new battery (and it will be upgraded to dual batteries). Panavise InDash mounts have the most options for the little accessory mounting but as stated there is the Jotto underdash console which looks OE if you have a slate interior. GM has control cable tracks under their bulkheads (I know the Tacomas do as well). It's really just a matter of opinion. Currently mine has an XTL5000 and PM400 in it but it started with dual PM400's then went to an Astro Spectra, the Astro Spectra Plus before going to an XTL. The antenna on the roof is a Panorama Sharkee with tri-band whip and it performs beautifully. For low clearance applications I'd certainly consider nitol whips such as the Sti-Co Flexi's.


 
Last edited:

kayn1n32008

ØÆS, I put that shØt on everything.
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,137
Location
Sector 001
Yea we seldom have trucks go much past 220k km of any brand. We are happy if we get 3 years out of a truck. The terrain we operate in is brutal. By far Ford has the lowest overall maintenance costs.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
13,294
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
It really just depends. In my experience, Dodge and GM have been manufacturing much more reliable (with a lower overall cost of ownership) pickups over the last decade and a half or so.

I've had nothing but reliability issues with F-series pickups. Between 2008 and 2014 I had either owned or been issued 9 of them. Only one made it past 100,000 miles. The EOD4's lasted me on average 80,000 miles, the ZF-5's constantly were loosing throwout bearings, and the M5R2's would spit a slave cylinder out every 20,000 miles. Some of my 5.4's were rock solid though lasting an excess of 12,000 hours. To this day, the transmission behind the 6.7 doesn't sit right with me and I've never ran into a situation with Ford techs where they actually knew what they were doing (it was all guess and replace).
I had a 1997 F250 with the 7.3 Diesel and I really liked it. Wish I hadn't gotten rid of it, however the regular cab was no longer sufficient for our needs. The local dealer was a bit lacking. Their "Diesel tech" wasn't always on the ball.
I had a F150 with the 5.4 and it was a good truck, but no matter what I did I could get more than 15mpg out of it.

I do like the Dodge trucks. Last I checked the 6.7 still had a manual option. I was raised on the 5.9 Cummins block, I've driven some of the famed million mile Dodges. I've never had any sort of transmission issue with a Dodge transmission (other than replacing clutches on the manuals). I do not like the 6.7 B series block and wish the 5.9 was still an option but the 5.9's had their issues (for example, 06/07 had LB7 style injector issues and it would strike right around 150,000 miles if it was going to happen and would typically be in number 6).
I've got a friend that has on, and he's happy with it, but it's got a few minor issues and seems like the maintenance gets expensive up past 100K. I've still got a bit of an issue with Dodges because I drove so many 70's and 80's era Dodges that were really pieces of crap. Still, I'm going to give them a good look. Not sure about how I feel about Fiat owning them and how that might impact things. Fiat had a pretty bad reputation when I was a kid.

GM has really been my go to over the last decade. The Atlas 4.2L I6 impressed the hell out of me in the Trailvoy platform (the 4L60E they were paired with did not). The LBZ Duramax really got me into the 6.6 as a viable diesel option. The 5.3 and 6.0 are fairly bulletproof V8's (though the nearly 400 hp 5.7 Hemi definitely deserves an honorable mention) as long as you stay away from the first model year or two of major changes (like body styles) and are generally 250,000 mile engines though I have seen several of each go well beyond the 300,000 mile marker without issue. I can't speak for the 2014 and newer GM's but since 2003-ish all GM trucks have come from the factory with dual battery trays (even the half-tons which were never offered in a dual battery option).
I owned a 1990 1/2 ton with the 5.0 liter engine. 1994 3/4 ton with the 5.7. Put 100K on that truck in about 2 years with no issues.
In 2005 I bought a GMC Canyon with the 3.5l I-5 engine. That was a good truck. Had the stick shift 5 speed that was a lot of fun to drive. 2wd but had the Z71 package with a locking rear end. Fun truck to drive on logging and fire roads. Squeezed a radio in there, actually had 2 at one point. I've got a 2007 Colorado with the 3.7 I6 here at work that's going great. It's only got about 25K on it. Just plain out grew it, so I've got a 3/4 ton 4x4 F250 on it's way with a service body. Going to keep the Colorado as a loaner.
Pretty much everyone else in my extended family is driving recent model Chevy 1/2 tons. They've all done just fine, and easy to install radios in. The 5.3 with the cylinder deactivation seems to do well on the fuel economy. I've always had an issue, though, with how low they sit, even the 4x4's have that nose down low ground clearance look to them. I wish GM would figure out a design that addressed that. I'm 6' 4" and shouldn't be able to see over the top of a 4x4 full size pickup. Extended family is all using them for towing campers, and they seem to do OK, even in the mountains.

All trucks have their weak points. I do believe the Titan XD with the Cummins is a quality contender for the half-ton/heavy-half guys. The Tundra's of course are good trucks as well. Here lately, Ford seems to be on a major V6 binge (which doesn't sit right with me so I avoid them) versus the tried and tested V8 designs used by GM and Mopar.
The Nissan looks like they are off to a good start with that truck, but I don't see too many of them on the road. Looking at the XD, I see a truck with 1/2 ton capability with 3/4 ton weight and MPG. It just doesn't have the capacities that a "3/4" ton heavy duty truck should. Not sure what market they are going for there. It either needs to be a lighter truck with better MPG, or they need to make it a contender with the real 3/4 ton trucks. Right now it just seems to be stuck in the middle.

I see a lot of the Tundra's around, but the fuel economy seems to be lacking on them. That and after spending so many years driving US brand trucks, I can't make myself take them seriously. My wife had Toyota's and Hondas, and the reliability on the little things was awful and the build quality was not impressive. Again, since they don't have a real 3/4 ton contender, they won't even be considered.

I've got a 2011 F150 with the 3.5 turbo V6, and it's been a great engine. I know the idea of a V6 in a full sized truck doesn't sit well with many, but I've been happy with it. It'll out tow the GM's with 5.3's in my family and gets better MPG when not towing. Done a few long road trips and can easily get 20MPG or higher. Did a few round trips to Las Vegas and nailed 25mpg each time. Stomp on the gas and it'll scream. If I didn't need the higher towing capacity, and bigger brakes, I'd consider another. It did take a leap of faith to jump from V-8's to the V-6's, but I've been pleasantly surprised.

Personally, I prefer the GMT900 platform with the OE split bench. I've got a 2013 Sierra as my daily driver, just changed the plugs and wires on it and it runs like a champ. Only had $600 of un-warrantied work on it and it's getting ready for a new battery (and it will be upgraded to dual batteries). Panavise InDash mounts have the most options for the little accessory mounting but as stated there is the Jotto underdash console which looks OE if you have a slate interior. GM has control cable tracks under their bulkheads (I know the Tacomas do as well). It's really just a matter of opinion. Currently mine has an XTL5000 and PM400 in it but it started with dual PM400's then went to an Astro Spectra, the Astro Spectra Plus before going to an XTL. The antenna on the roof is a Panorama Sharkee with tri-band whip and it performs beautifully. For low clearance applications I'd certainly consider nitol whips such as the Sti-Co Flexi's.
I'm in the same boat, I prefer the lower trim trucks. The cloth bench seats and lack of bells and whistles doesn't bother me. The GM's in the family all have the leather seats, and decked out interiors, and I really don't like them set up that way, just my personal preference.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top