Guide to Adding SYNC to 2008 Escape

Stereo, speakers, A/V, Sirius, amplifiers, navigation, wiring, more

Stock USB connector and 'USB 2'

Postby bluto - September 7th, 2020, 3:44 pm

Since I did this mod a few years ago on my 2008, it has always bugged me that the USB cable coming out below the 12v outlet/aux in trim panel was just flopping around. It would be nice to have the 2009 and up trim piece that included the USB connector. The panel itself from a 2009+ does snap right into place but the button for the TCS is different in order to make room for the USB connector, but I figured there must be a way to make it work. I finally made it to the junkyard yesterday and found one of these trim pieces and USB cable, so below are the results on finishing this mod.

Here you can see the new trim piece installed with the old piece in front for reference:
IMG_20200907_121518.jpg


The swap was mostly plug and play with a few exceptions. First when pulling this part from the junkyard, be sure to get the USB cable and cut the wire to the TCS button to leave the connector attached to the button (more on that later). Don't be too fussy about the part having some scratches on it because you really don't see much of it once it is installed. The USB cable is bundled with the rest of the harnesses in the area so you will need to cut away the electrical tape surrounding it to free it from the rest of the wires. You need to unplug it from the Sync module on the donor vehicle which is located at the left front of the center console. Rip away the side panel of the console if necessary to get to it.

When installing the new trim piece on my vehicle, I swapped the 12v outlet and aux input connector from my old panel although this was probably not 100% necessary. The only issue that had to be solved was the TCS button. On the 2008 version, the connector had provisions for 8 pins even though only 3 were used. On the 2009+ version, the connector has only space for 6 pins. I first verified that the colors of the wires were the same. So one could just cut and splice the three wires and be done. But I decided to de-pin the connector and pin the wires from the vehicle into the connector that fit the 2009+ TCS button. Be sure to take clear pictures of both connectors before starting. On the vehicle side, I was not able to de-pin the wires out the back of the old connector so I ended up cutting it away carefully. On the 6 pin pigtail connector I was able to de-pin the wires out the front of the connector and then very carefully snap the pins on the 3 wires from the vehicle into the right positions and replace the red cap on the front of the connector once complete. The connector now plugs into the 2009 TCS button and it works perfectly. The TCS disable indicator on the cluster cycles on and off when the button is pressed and the button lights up when the headlights are on. Now it was just a matter of connecting the USB connector to my Sync module and the project was done! Well almost done, now there was a new problem: A USB flash drive plugged in looks weird and sticks out where it could get knocked and broken off.
IMG_20200907_141423.jpg


The solution was to install the now extra USB cable from the Sync upgrade kit into the center console and connect it to the second USB connector on the Sync module.
IMG_20200907_112036.jpg


This worked well but required a little modding as well. I started by researching the second connector on the Sync module and found that many folks just connected a regular mini USB cable to the second port and ran it over to their glove box or whatnot. This seems a little less than optimal since it does not have the retention clip of like the Ford connector and could come unplugged. Here is an example I found:
incorrect.jpg
incorrect.jpg (42.83 KIB) Viewed 78 times


But I had the upgrade kit's USB connector, so it should just plug into the second port on the Sync module, right? Wrong! It turns out that the connectors are keyed presumably to make it impossible for the guy on the assembly line to plug things in wrong. The kit's plug was the same as the plug from the junkyard and will only fit in port 1 on the Sync module. But with a little trimming with a utility knife I fixed it so it would plug into port 2:
IMG_20200907_112222.jpg


Trimming the plastic along the side of the connector was all that was needed to allow it to plug into port 2 on the Sync module. Trimming along the cable end of the connector was necessary to get the plug to fit through the hole in the next step.

Continued in the next post:
Last edited by bluto on September 7th, 2020, 4:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Current: 2008 Escape XLT
Previous: 2002 Tribute ES V6
bluto
 
Posts: 363
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Joined: June 30th, 2012, 12:42 am
My vehicle: 2008 Escape XLT

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Stock USB connector and 'USB 2'

Postby bluto - September 7th, 2020, 3:51 pm

With the cable now able to plug into port 2 on the Sync module, all that was left was to install it into the center console. The cable has a nice bulkhead connector already included that fit well in a 3/4" hole. I did several test holes in a thin piece of wood to find the 3/4" size and noted that some additional trimming of the plastic of the connector was necessary to get it to fit through the drilled hole for installation. I now drilled the 3/4" hole into the front of the console with a forstner bit and was lucky that it was in the right place although it could have been slightly higher:
IMG_20200907_113231.jpg


Now to finish the install I fished the cable through the hole:
IMG_20200907_112530.jpg


It did not fish very easily as there were some obstructions inside the console but I eventually got the plug up to the front and connected it to port 2 on the Sync module. Here is the finished look inside the console:
IMG_20200907_120641.jpg


With everything connected, just use the voice command 'USB 2' in order to play media from the flash drive connected to port 2:
IMG_20200907_121731.jpg
Last edited by bluto on September 7th, 2020, 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current: 2008 Escape XLT
Previous: 2002 Tribute ES V6
bluto
 
Posts: 363
E-C LEVEL 3
Joined: June 30th, 2012, 12:42 am
My vehicle: 2008 Escape XLT

Re: Guide to Adding SYNC to 2008 Escape

Postby vpasla1 - September 7th, 2020, 4:05 pm

Great job, keep in mind on the sync updates it appears Ford diasabled accessing usb2 through the menu or through voice command.

I myself ran a mini usb cable to the center console.
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Re: Guide to Adding SYNC to 2008 Escape

Postby bluto - September 7th, 2020, 4:37 pm

Good to know about the software locks on port 2 (yea for DRM :roll: ).

I guess if one were so inclined to add the second cable for port 2 inside the center console, they could swap plugs at the module while the are in there. With a little trimming, plug the original port 1 cable into port 2. Then plug the new hidden center console cable into port 1. Now the original topside connector can be used for charging on port 2 while the hidden connector on port 1 plays music from a flash drive.
Current: 2008 Escape XLT
Previous: 2002 Tribute ES V6
bluto
 
Posts: 363
E-C LEVEL 3
Joined: June 30th, 2012, 12:42 am
My vehicle: 2008 Escape XLT

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