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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I'm new to E-C and hoping you more experienced folks can help me with a few questions. More about me below the q's if you're interested.

I have a 2008 XLS 5-speed FWD, which started (and still is) pretty bare of options. I have added a few small things, like the wet trunk & cargo cover, a Yakima rail system on the roof, swapped in the factory 6-disc, wireless door keypad, fitted wet okole seat covers off an 02 modified to fit my 08 (I am a sponsored athlete and am in and out of the water a lot), and built a removable internal bike rack into the wet trunk.

- Is the factory alarm module (7L3Z19A361AA) compatible with this trim (manual trans)? I have added a wireless door keypad which is used very often. The factory alarm works with the key buttons and does not require an additional fob, correct? How would it work with the wireless pad? What is the consensus on the effectiveness of the factory alarm?

- What is the factory window tint level % on the cars that have it? I have the base "untinted" / light green windows and am trying to decide what tint level to do for cargo security purposes. I often have expensive bicycles & other gear inside the vehicle, and want them a bit less apparent. I don't want the tint to be so dark that it greatly impedes my ability to see through my windows at night. I am planning on doing this myself and would love some leads on high quality, well priced, well fitting pre-cut film. Suggestions / experiences?

- Has anyone retrofitted SYNC into an 2008? Any writeups out there?

- Where's the cheapest place to find a hidden-hitch style round receiver hitch? No, I'm not planning on towing with my 4-banger manual, but I would prefer a 2" to fit existing accessories.

- What does it take to get HD FM? Is this a module that can be added to the 6-disc?

Thanks for your input!

A bit more of an introduction about me:

I'm a sponsored athlete in the San Diego area specializing in triathlon, particularly running. I recently left corporate life to pursue training in a clinical healthcare career involving medical imaging.

My purchase of a brand new 2008 Ford Escape XLS FWD 5sp off the dealer lot was predicated by the theft of my "baby", a 1997 Jeep TJ Wrangler Sahara that had been heavily modified as a sort of ultimate multi-duty, death-proof all purpose vehicle. I did all work except for a front differential gear change myself. I had swapped in a heavier transmission, an 8.8 rear out of a V8 Explorer, HD driveshafts, LSDs, a full roll cage, 5.5" long arm suspension system, lots of vehicle armor & recovery gear, you name it. Lots of creature comfort improvements too, one of my favorite little touches was modifying the electrical board of a Ford Mustang halogen dome light to fit the Jeep's sound bar, which didn't have map lights before. Integrated water proof GPS, communications, etc. It rode better than stock (albeit with worse gas mileage) and gave me a big grin every time I got behind the wheel. In other words a tough act to follow.

The Escape continues to really impress me. I'm amazed that I was able to average 27mpg in a non-hybrid SUV driving around in the snow and mountains in Tahoe recently. It is quiet, capable on the road, and zips around effortlessly in fast-paced so-cal traffic. It fits my active lifestyle wonderfully. It looks GOOD, unlike most of the vehicles in its segment. Folks riding with me never seem to stop complementing it. I scooped it up with a dozen miles on it for 4k below MSRP, + 0% / 60mo financing when I was prepared to pay in full!

Cheers.
 

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Can't help much, I took mine to a tint shop to match factory. Some reason I'm thinking 25 or 35% but not sure.
I love the side moldings I bought off ebay (thay have a .com too) it helps break up the large boring sides.
I just saw a post somewhere (either here or escape [email protected]) for a U-haul hidden hitch for like $129 w/free shipping. I thought about getting one, but with only a 1k tow limit not worth it, I have the Big X with 5.4L for that ;)

Good deal on the pricing, what color? and :pics:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would have thought people would be sick of seeing pictures of stock-looking rides. Guess not! Okay, I'll oblige. Here it is, as you can see it's, ummm, white.

 

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be different, and order black pearl side molding!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll pass on the added molding, I'm used to large flat surfaces coming from a Jeep. I like that cargo mat you have though; but I wish it extended to the tops of the seats!
 

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Lickitysplit said:
I would have thought people would be sick of seeing pictures of stock-looking rides. Guess not! Okay, I'll oblige. Here it is, as you can see it's, ummm, white.

I recognize my Escape from when I lived in Michigan!!!!!!!!!!!! :hyst: :lol:

Welcome to the City!!!!!!!!! :happy:
 

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First, sorry to hear about your Jeep being stolen... did you file a report with police and insurance? Get any money back?

Just curious... why did you buy an XLS with the intention of adding options? I'm sure the initial cost difference of an XLT or Limited would gonna outweigh everything you're doing to it now... lol
 

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Spark757 said:
Why did you buy an XLS with the intention of adding options? I'm sure the initial cost difference of an XLT or Limited would gonna outweigh everything you're doing to it now...
I disagree. The base price difference between the 2009 XLS (auto tranny is $21,645) and the 2009 XLT ($23,455) is $1810. For your $1810, you get these extra features on the XLT:

# SIRIUS® Satellite Radio with 6-month subscription and activation where available*
# Auto headlamps
# Eco-friendly seat materials
# 6-way power driver seat
# Leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls
# Illuminated visor vanity mirrors
# Overhead console with dual storage bins
# Electrochromic (auto-dimming) interior rearview mirror
# Compass and outside temperature display
# Message center
# Privacy glass
# SecuriCode™ driver's door keyless entry pad
# Roof rack siderails
# Fog lamps

...as well as the ability to purchase certain options that can't be purchased along with the XLS trim, like the premium sound system.

I bought the XLS, saving the $1800 difference (actually, I saved $3020 because I bought the manual transmission, and I saved more than that from negotiating with the dealer; I got the cargo package for free since I paid the dealer invoice price as if it wasn't there).

While some of these features would be hard to purchase & install on my own, such as the compass/outside temp features, many are the types of features I'd never even consider spending money on, like the overhead console or auto-dimming mirror. I've installed a premium sound system that should be leaps and bounds above the OEM "premium" sound system, at a total cost of $750 or so, and will likely add HIDs and fog lights at cost of another $250 to bring my total post-purchase "upgrade" expenses to $1000.

For my $1000, I'll still be $800 in the black compared to the XLT, and what am I missing out on... two tone seats? Headlamps with a mind of their own?

This also doesn't account for the fact that the manual transmission, which I insisted on having, isn't even available on the XLT, which means to buy one I'd have been stuck eating the 2mpg city-driving difference, as well as being stuck paying the $1220 additional cost for the automatic transmission, as well as being stuck driving a freaking automatic on the twisties in NW Arkansas while the truck groaned up hills in the wrong gear with a load of cavers and gear!

(OK i'll stop hijacking this thread now)
:topic:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Spark757 said:
First, sorry to hear about your Jeep being stolen... did you file a report with police and insurance? Get any money back?

Just curious... why did you buy an XLS with the intention of adding options? I'm sure the initial cost difference of an XLT or Limited would gonna outweigh everything you're doing to it now... lol
Still fighting with the insurance company. Police did little more than take the report. They figure it was over the border in Mexico within an hour of the theft. BTW it was stolen from an upscale office lot full of Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc with cameras in a high end neighborhood. They came in and went right to it - they knew what they were there for. They were in a late model BMW. This was almost a year ago BTW, I've had the 'scape since May.

I bought an XLS 5sp for two reasons - best gas mileage available, and the deal was ridiculous. $17k INCLUDING tax, title & license, PLUS 0% / 60mo. It was an "ad special," a one-day teaser price on one specific vehicle only intended to get people in the dealer's door. If you want different options, different color, or that exact car has already been sold you are back to MSRP. I had made a spreadsheet that looked at total cost of ownership factoring in insurance, mileage, opportunity cost, maintenance, etc. and this came out on top. I hadn't seen the ad btw, just happened in to look at a used Escape that as it turned out had already been sold.

As far as money spent on my additions, I'm a pretty accomplished bargain finder. The 6-disc I think cost me $50 (used), I already had an extensive Yakima collection and bought the new tracks, feet, towers & bars for ~$150. Dropped the headliner and installed the tracks myself on the bare roof (there isn't much I don't do myself). Paid 10% off retail for the wet trunk tray from the parts counter, didn't get the two covers which each cost as much as the tray. Built the internal bike rack with parts I already had. The Okoles were around $150 I think.

The only items that I could have gotten from the factory is the 6-disc & the wet trunk. Factory tracks are an option but the Yakima tracks are longer and stronger. A hitch is a factory option, but not a 2", and I prefer the receiver below the bumper instead of through it. So far it looks like $100 for the hitch and $50 for the wiring, which I imagine is cheaper than from the factory. Getting the available options from the factory would have cost ~$5k+ since the deal I got was only on this exact vehicle and the same vehicle in another color would have cost me thousands more. I think I'm doing pretty well.

Now... anyone have any info on my original questions? :)P
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thought I'd post a follow up in case anyone else has the same questions.

- Is the factory alarm module (7L3Z19A361AA) compatible with this trim (manual trans)? I have added a wireless door keypad which is used very often. The factory alarm works with the key buttons and does not require an additional fob, correct? How would it work with the wireless pad? What is the consensus on the effectiveness of the factory alarm?
Well I got this answered by just doing it. It certainly helped that I got a brand new system on ebay for under $20 shipped. My Ford dealer had referred me to their 3rd party electronics install affiliate who said the wireless keypad won't work by default but they could modify the system with some transistors for an additional $150 or so on top of install to make it work. Talked to CodeAlarm directly, the company that makes the key & alarm systems for Ford, and they told me that the wireless keypad is made by yet another separate company, was completely incompatible with the OEM alarm and can't be made to work. Using the keypad would set off the alarm. THEY WERE ALL WRONG. The wireless keypad works just fine with the system without any modifications to either. The alarm is compatible with all models. So far the alarm is just what I was looking for: basic entry deterrent & security without adding additional keyfobs to lug around. I frequently purposely lock my keys in my car while I am running, biking or swimming so the integration of the system with the door keypad is ideal. I can arm & disarm the system from the keypad.

- What is the factory window tint level % on the cars that have it? I have the base "untinted" / light green windows and am trying to decide what tint level to do for cargo security purposes. I often have expensive bicycles & other gear inside the vehicle, and want them a bit less apparent. I don't want the tint to be so dark that it greatly impedes my ability to see through my windows at night. I am planning on doing this myself and would love some leads on high quality, well priced, well fitting pre-cut film. Suggestions / experiences?
I'm guessing it is 20% or so. No leads yet on film brands or suppliers.

- Has anyone retrofitted SYNC into an 2008? Any writeups out there?
No leads.

- Where's the cheapest place to find a hidden-hitch style round receiver hitch? No, I'm not planning on towing with my 4-banger manual, but I would prefer a 2" to fit existing accessories.
eBay continues to be the cheapest I've found, around $120 shipped or so from one of the store sellers.

- What does it take to get HD FM? Is this a module that can be added to the 6-disc?
Seems this is a separate module that mounts to the dash like a portable GPS.
 

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I believe 20% is the factory tint number. Definitely plenty dark to hide the contents of your Escape without impairing night-time visibility too much.

As far as sync goes, I think it's pretty complicated to retrofit, if its possible at all. For components, you would need the steering wheel controls, the microphone in the mirror, and the USB port. I believe the "brains" of SYNC are in the radio, so you'd have to find a SYNC head unit as well.
 
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