The "how to disable the data link to Ford" thread

Venomous Pony

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Wouldn't it have been nice to have a base model, with none of this shit included in the car.
My son has a base 2020 mustang GT. No sync, no touch screen and has cloth seats, but it has the stupid shark fin and 4g modem. I think this is gonna be SOP from now on.





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machsmith

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This pic tells it all :)

nothing but me and the road :) and no dumb touch screen to go out of date in 10 years. This sort of thing REALLY makes me not want anything new going forward. The FIN is ugly as sin, plus with the tech they can record all data.
Really wish ford could figure out what the consumer wants, not what they want to shove down our throats.
20200827_082043.jpg
 
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My son has a base 2020 mustang GT. No sync, no touch screen and has cloth seats, but it has the stupid shark fin and 4g modem. I think this is gonna be SOP from now on.
It is of my opinion that the cars that have the shark fin, the TCU antenna is integrated into that antenna. I do not believe that the cars that have the shark fin have secondary antennas. As soon as I get my car back, I will verify that. I've tried to use the manual for the car to locate all the peripheral devices, but the manual was written specific to the original configuration of the car. Most of the GT500's are of a different version.

My point is simply find a low profile antenna and swap it out with the shark fin. Use the blue coax cable and leave the black unplugged. Or, you can just unplug your black coax from the shark fin.
 

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This is going to get worse!!! I started looking at other Ford cars, and look at the 2020 Ford Explorer, there are 3 fuses attached to the Telematics!
2 - Moonroof. ERA-GLONAS. eCall. Telematics control unit module. Inverter. Driver door switch pack.
8 - Telematics control unit modem. Hands-free liftgate actuation module. Power liftgate module.
20 - Ignition switch. Telematics control unit module. Key inhibit solenoid lock.
Rumor has it the next Generation Mustang will be based on the same or similar platform as the Explorer, so I expect this to be a lot more difficult in the future to just deactivate.

From what I can tell, the Telematics on the Mustang is a new thing for 2020. The Fuse in 2015-2019 all show it as a "Spare" or not used. Let me know if I am wrong.
 
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This is going to get worse!!! I started looking at other Ford cars, and look at the 2020 Ford Explorer, there are 3 fuses attached to the Telematics!
2 - Moonroof. ERA-GLONAS. eCall. Telematics control unit module. Inverter. Driver door switch pack.
8 - Telematics control unit modem. Hands-free liftgate actuation module. Power liftgate module.
20 - Ignition switch. Telematics control unit module. Key inhibit solenoid lock.
Rumor has it the next Generation Mustang will be based on the same or similar platform as the Explorer, so I expect this to be a lot more difficult in the future to just deactivate.

From what I can tell, the Telematics on the Mustang is a new thing for 2020. The Fuse in 2015-2019 all show it as a "Spare" or not used. Let me know if I am wrong.
By then there will be a software approach to all of this or you can simply locate the TCU and disconnect it.
 

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This is going to get worse!!! I started looking at other Ford cars, and look at the 2020 Ford Explorer, there are 3 fuses attached to the Telematics!
2 - Moonroof. ERA-GLONAS. eCall. Telematics control unit module. Inverter. Driver door switch pack.
8 - Telematics control unit modem. Hands-free liftgate actuation module. Power liftgate module.
20 - Ignition switch. Telematics control unit module. Key inhibit solenoid lock.
Rumor has it the next Generation Mustang will be based on the same or similar platform as the Explorer, so I expect this to be a lot more difficult in the future to just deactivate.

From what I can tell, the Telematics on the Mustang is a new thing for 2020. The Fuse in 2015-2019 all show it as a "Spare" or not used. Let me know if I am wrong.
Ugh, this is exactly what I was worried about when I was looking for an easy fix in the fuse - that I wouldn't be able to just cut power to the modem. No, on the Explorer it's going to also disable the liftgate. In that case you'd have to locate the modem itself and unplug it.

I think you're correct on the 2015-2018 Mustang, but on 2019 it still exists just in a different position. 2019 is #10, 2020 is #8.
 
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I recently removed my shark antenna and it left me with questions as to why the difference in wiring between a job 1 car (low profile antenna) and a job 2 car (shark antenna). The purpose of removing the shark antenna was because I don't like the way it looks. I believe I stumbled on a revamp of the job 2 cars that is not documented anywhere in the workshop manual. There is no mention of any kind of separate system and the associated wiring changes anywhere. What makes this pertinent to this thread is that as soon as I removed my shark fin antenna, the Ford Pass system was completely dead. Many know the Ford Pass system relies on the AT&T cellular network to communicate with Ford. Job 1 cars (low profile antenna) are depicted in the workshop manual as having many cellular antennas located all around the car for reception and connectivity. So, I am going to review what I have discovered and what I think is the change with Ford Pass and the new shark fin antenna on our job 2 cars.

I stated that there is no documentation in the workshop manual for this new setup. So here I have an antenna built into the car that has two coaxial cables instead of the one that is found on the low profile antenna found on job 1 cars. Why? There was only one way to find out..... take the shark fin antenna apart. Here I found what is two separate antennas that appear to be built into one unit. From other hobbies, I have dealt with GPS chips and antennas as well as cellular antennas. Here in this disassembled shark antenna photo, you see an example of each. So, that explains the difference in the number of coaxial cables between the shark fin and the low profile roof antenna. On the shark antenna, the blue coaxial cable is for your GPS and Satellite radio, and the black coaxial cable is for the cellular antenna which allows the telematics control unit (TCU) to communicate.

shark fin1.jpg


coax1.jpg


shark.vs.puck1.jpg


shark fin connector1.jpg



So here is what I suspect (I will verify this when I get my car back). I believe that Ford revamped their telematic system to have one primary antenna (built into the shark fin) and has removed their redundant antennas built into the quarter panels and elsewhere in the car. I suspect this because when I removed the shark fin antenna, the car was dead to the telematic link and the AT&T network. Again, I will verify this theory when I get the car back. I have the ability to electronically trace wires and pinpoint locations. I will locate the TCU and work backwards.

So, what does this mean to you as a job 1 or job 2 car owner?

I am a job 2 car owner. Not only do I hate the look of the shark fin antenna, but I also don't want a datalink between my car and anybody for any reason. My project to replace the shark fin antenna with a low profile antenna will kill two birds with one stone. The shark fin antenna will be replaced with a low profile antenna and this by default will sever the link to the AT&T network and FoMoCo.

The antenna swap will be accomplished by removing the plastic (pea green) connector on the end of the coax cable at the end of the low profile antenna. The steel crimped portion of the connector does not have to be removed and replaced. The plastic portion of the connector is only so that the connection is secured to the wiring harness of the car. I am in the process of obtaining replacement plastic portions of the connector found on the shark antenna (blue) so that I can use it to secure the replacement low profile antenna upon installation. If I am unable to buy the part, then I will be able to pull the part from my shark fin antenna and use it on the low profile antenna.

The upside and downsides to this antenna swap.....

First the upside.... I hate the look of the shark antenna. To me it looks out of place for a car like this. Swapping out this antenna will give a low profile look and still maintain the functionality of the car that I wish to maintain. Another bonus (which is pertinent to this thread) is the datalink removal between my car and FoMoCo. My driving habits are none of their business. If you like the look of the shark fin antenna but want to remove the connectivity of the telematics, I believe you can locate the telematics control unit (TCU) and disconnect the coaxial lead or pull the #8 fuse in the passenger compartment (or both) to disable the datalink.

Now the downside.... Removal of the antenna is a pain. Access is easy enough, but it requires lowering the rear portion of the headliner. Those that have the manual will see that the Ford procedure directs the entire headliner to be removed to access the antenna for removal. This is not necessary. the rear trim panels that interfere with the headliner need to be removed and the headliner pulled down only enough to access the antenna. Pulling it down too far can crease the headliner. The other part of this conversion that is not convenient is that the low profile antenna comes unpainted. I decided to paint mine because I have experience with automotive paint. The materials are expensive and it is a time consuming process (see the notes pertaining to the process at the end of this post. Another possible problem is if you have roof stripes. I believe (I have not confirmed this) that the stripes for a job 1 car and a job 2 car are different. Do your due diligence and research that aspect of the project if you are considering an antenna swap. I have a black roof, that makes it a much easier process.... paint the antenna black and done, reinstall.

Notes pertaining to painting the low profile antenna

The antenna comes primed. When I bought the antenna, I didn't know that, so I purchased some adhesion promoter which wound up not being necessary. I did not feel like doing a setup and mix to paint such a small item. I wound up going to my automotive paint supply store and getting absolute black (also known as shadow black) 1K in a spray can. I opted for an acrylic clear coat in a can as well. The process was pretty straightforward. Mask the entire underside of the antenna as well as the rubber seal that you find along the perimeter of the antenna. I masked the coax lead and connector as well, but that was probably overkill. With a scotchbrite pad, lightly scuff the grey primed antenna. Tack any residue or dust off the prepped surface. Lay down two medium coats of the base coat and allow the recommended time between coats for proper flash. Next, wait about 30 minutes to start the clear coat process. I am used to clear coating with an paintgun. it provides a much better result. The spray can doesn't give a good consistent surface between coats, so I wound up wet sanding (extremely lightly) with 1500 grit between clear coats. Keep in mind the clear hasn't fully cured. If you go to town on a wet sand, you will probably go through the clear and into the base. Again, follow recommended times between coats. I used 30 minutes with a very light wet sand at the 25 minute mark. I repeated until I had put down 4 coats of clear. I let it sit overnight and gave it a 2 step polish. Final polish will be accomplished after a full cure in a few days.

Working with spray cans is much more difficult to control each phase of the painting process. However like I said, it would be much more of a pain to have to setup for paintgun application.

I have looked around on eBay. Some of these low profile antennas are available in various colors. Not every color is available, so if you don't want to paint, you will have to wait until your antenna color becomes available.

primed antenna.jpg


masking.jpg


materials.jpg


paint.jpg
 

M.A.N.

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Very good info, can't wait to see how it turns out.
 

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Notes pertaining to painting the low profile antenna

The antenna comes primed. When I bought the antenna, I didn't know that, so I purchased some adhesion promoter which wound up not being necessary. I did not feel like doing a setup and mix to paint such a small item. I wound up going to my automotive paint supply store and getting absolute black (also known as shadow black) 1K in a spray can. I opted for an acrylic clear coat in a can as well. The process was pretty straightforward. Mask the entire underside of the antenna as well as the rubber seal that you find along the perimeter of the antenna. I masked the coax lead and connector as well, but that was probably overkill. With a scotchbrite pad, lightly scuff the grey primed antenna. Tack any residue or dust off the prepped surface. Lay down two medium coats of the base coat and allow the recommended time between coats for proper flash. Next, wait about 30 minutes to start the clear coat process. I am used to clear coating with an paintgun. it provides a much better result. The spray can doesn't give a good consistent surface between coats, so I wound up wet sanding (extremely lightly) with 1500 grit between clear coats. Keep in mind the clear hasn't fully cured. If you go to town on a wet sand, you will probably go through the clear and into the base. Again, follow recommended times between coats. I used 30 minutes with a very light wet sand at the 25 minute mark. I repeated until I had put down 4 coats of clear. I let it sit overnight and gave it a 2 step polish. Final polish will be accomplished after a full cure in a few days.

Working with spray cans is much more difficult to control each phase of the painting process. However like I said, it would be much more of a pain to have to setup for paintgun application.

I have looked around on eBay. Some of these low profile antennas are available in various colors. Not every color is available, so if you don't want to paint, you will have to wait until your antenna color becomes available.
ALL very good information. Personally I have never had any luck with 1K products and quite honestly refuse to use them now.
 
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ALL very good information. Personally I have never had any luck with 1K products and quite honestly refuse to use them now.
Yes, I usually shoot 2K. It gives a much more consistent result. Like I said, I did not want to have to get into mixing and setting up for such a small item. It really did turn out nice.
 

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Tom
Is the old antenna a bolt on, or does it require drilling holes?
 
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Tom
Is the old antenna a bolt on, or does it require drilling holes?
The hole in the roof is standard for both antenna models (shark fin or low profile). It is a 1" x 1" square hole. Both the low profile antenna and the shark fin antenna have the same mount and use the same sized hole. No modifications to the car are needed.

See the attached photos. The holes are the same for whatever antenna you are using.

20200902_173918.jpg


20200902_173936.jpg
 
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As I mentioned, the shark antenna uses a different plastic connector (blue). I was able to locate it via mouser electronics. I ordered 25 pieces. If anyone would like to swap antennas, PM me and I would be happy to send you the plastic part that you would need. They are currently backordered, so I will just rob the plastic connector off my original antenna and replace it when the item is shipped to me.

connector.jpg
 
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Thanks KB. It really is a win-win. Get a low profile antenna and loose the FoMoCo big brother.
 

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