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Thread: Ford Explorer installation questions

  1. #1
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    Default Ford Explorer installation questions

    OK gang, I'm getting closer to making the decision to put a radio in my 2018 Explorer (not Police Interceptor Utility).
    I'm leaning toward the following:
    • XPR5550e VHF (40W) mounted under the front passenger seat
    • HHCH conversion kit


    The questions I have are:
    1. Will there be any problems with the radio in the proposed location? Any concerns regarding the airbags in the seats?
    2. For the antenna, this is the remaining big decision point... where do I mount it? I do NOT want to drill anything on the roof. I need something easily removable (car wash, etc.) and was thinking of something like a hood mount bracket where it isn't actually attached to the hood itself, but rather the fender below the hood. Something like the below pic. Any concerns regarding dash airbags?
      1517360447588_cv2antncg-l.jpg


    If anyone has any success stories with pics, I'd like to hear/see it/them. Thanks!


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    I can't help you with your first question other than to say I've used the under-seat method in most of my vehicles with no issues. I don't know the specifics of the Ford airbag setup but if they don't get in the way and you make sure nothing catches when the seat moves back and forth, it's a great spot to tuck away a brick.

    Those fender mounts seem to work pretty well from what I've seen. I personally drill but I know how it feels to keep your roof clean. I'd imagine you might get a little weirdness with the non-uniform groundplane (assuming you're using an antenna that needs one). Just make sure you use some nice flexible coax like LMR195UF or similar so you're not pinching things under the hood too much.

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    Drill a hole in the roof and get it over with already. Itís the only place an antenna belongs. Those fender things are directional and subject you to more RF.

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    I agree with Mars, the antenna belongs on the roof. However, if you're GONNA put it somewhere else, stick to somewhere on the top of the vehicle. One of my agencies DEMANDS we stealth mount the antennas upside down underneath the vehicle. Inevitably, if they actually use their radios, they complain about coverage issues. If you really need something low-pro for things like the car wash, have you considered a puck antenna, or a shark fin antenna? They may not work as well as a 1/4 wave, but at least the RF isn't blasting you in the face.
    What?!? Hiring a guy who USES the equipment daily to FIX the equipment? You mean, instead of a college preppie who only knows the theory behind how it is SUPPOSED to be used? Woah, what a novel idea!

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    Fender mounts are usually okay IF the hood is properly bonded. You'll want to do that with flat ground braid. Going between hinge bolts will work, but you need to scrape the paint off between the hinge and the body panels and apply an anti-ox-compound before bolting them back together.
    "The Girl Scouts found several hungry REACT members at the finish line..."

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    Concur with the above - I've had nothing but problems with a straight bonnet mount and proper grounding work-arounds are never really 'proper'. Go the hole in the roof option..

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    SteveC7010 (Jul 05, 2019)

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    Hole in the roof, and if your OSD will allow, put it slightly closer to the side between the rear doors. That is where I have my vhf and uhf quarter waves, and it only takes a second to open the back door, step up and unscrew the antennas. The NMO wonít be bothered by the car wash.


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    Quote Originally Posted by sjxts3000 View Post
    I do NOT want to drill anything on the roof!
    FWIW I have traded more than half a dozen cars in that had an antenna hole in the roof and sometimes trunk. Never had a dealer make a single comment about it. The state of your tires matters more to them.

    Drill that hole and enjoy the benefits of having it high up and the best possible ground plane (for a car that is).


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    Use a greenlee punch to make the hole. Makes a very clean cut.

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    I have ran both before and on 2 different year of explorers. The first was a 2004 and did the L bracket mount on the front but didn't have the bolt option and had to drill it to the lip with 2 self tapper screws then run the coax through the firewall and quickly learned you need a no ground antenna, which if your going VHF means you'll be rocking about a 40" antenna mounted by your hood lol mine were on UHF but it still didn't work as it could have. I too wasn't wanting to drill but what I have learned with the explorers is that the back section of them, the panels clip in and out easily so I tap one hole out close to the back centered on the vehicle, pull the top panels inside under the hatch off so that you can feed your coax through and anchor your connection down and get your antenna on without putting any twist on the solder point. Get a 20' coax and you can tuck it nicely all the way to your brick no problems, and I concur with others grab a phantom if you don't want the 1/4 wave it is low profile and durable and out of site, I use the Larsen disk 450-470 phantom and they rock. Also I would mount your brick under the passenger side seat as the drivers seats all are electronic controlled and the passenger seat is manual at least on my Taurus's and Explorer's(2012+) they are and you'll have more room for the brick mount there. And when you sell off all you need is a nice small black hole plug and that's it not even really noticeable on the explorers topside at all.

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    One thing I hadn't seen mentioned as a consideration for your underseat mount is back seat passengers. With most newer vehicles not having much legroom in the back seat area, people will tend to stick their feet under the front seats. Muddy/snowy boots, spilled drinks, and general inattentiveness can cause a brick in that location to take a bit of a beating. Motorola units are generally pretty robust with regards to dirt/liquids intrusion, but cables and connectors can fail due to mechanical stress. Not sure about the Explorer, but a lot of small SUVs have a false floor in the back where the spare tire is stored that can be a safer spot to mount a brick.

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    I concur with the roof mounts. Permanent is the best, but I've used Browning and Tram rubber coated mag mounts with Laird Phantom antennas for years without any problems. I also tucked the radio under the rear passenger seat and ran a cable to the remote head to my xpr4550 mounted on a Lido LM300 gooseneck which keeps it away from all airbags. It's all a clean serum and easy to remove if needed.