2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

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2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:52 pm

I decided to post this since I'd see some information on other sites that suggested that mounting NMO type antennas on a F150 SuperCrew truck was complicated by a center rib that runs front to back.

Good news is that while there is a front to back brace under the sheet metal, it's 2 1/2" wide, and I had no issue mounting an NMO mount in the center of the truck roof.

First step, remove the rear dome light:
Use a small screwdriver in the small slot on the back of the lens to release it.
Next, use the small screw driver inside the two slots near the back of the dome light assembly. You need to gently release the two tabs to let the assembly be removed.

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Second, remove the assembly the rear dome light attaches to. There are two tabs near the front that need to be depressed to allow the assembly to be moved. You've got to work it around above the head liner, but once you get it out, you can easily see the 2 1/2" wide rib with a nice hole to route the cable out of.

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Once you have the dome light out of the way, you can drill the 3/4" hole for the NMO mount. There are indented ribs on the sheet metal roof skin, but there are two places where they flatten out and are flush with the rest of the roof. I put my mount on the rearward one of these. It puts the antenna just behind the "B" pillar. A layer of 2" wide masking tape to protect the surrounding paint was put down. I measured a few times to be sure I had the exact center. I did the deed with the appropriate 3/4" hole saw.

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After drilling the hole, I fed the coaxial cable rearward down the channel towards the rear most dome light. The hole in the channel above the headliner is big enough that you can get a finger in there and catch the cable. It's pretty tight, and I ended up using a hook to catch it and pull it down. I pulled the rest of the slack through and mounted the NMO mount.

I used a 7/8" grommet in the hole above the head liner to protect the coaxial cable.

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At this point, you need to loosen up the head liner in the back of the truck. There are two buttons that need to be pulled near the rear window. They just pull straight down and out. I removed the screw cover over the attachment screw on the passenger side "C" pillar trim. You'll then need a 7mm socket to take that screw out so you can move the trim out and see what's behind there. You can also get a good look at whats in the way along the right most edge of the head liner. There are curtain type airbags on my truck, so I had to be very careful how I routed the coax.

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I then routed the coaxial cable towards the rear of the headliner and over to the passenger side "C" pillar. I used some gaffers tape along the way to hold the cable and keep it from sliding it around. If you don't know what gaffers tape is, it's like duct tape on steroids without the shiny coating. I have a big roll of black stuff that I use all the time. I used it all along the coaxial route to keep it out of the way of anything sharp and limit any rattles, etc. The one place you really need to be careful is at the rear most corner of the cab. The gas generator for the air bag is down low in the pillar, and there is a metal pipe that comes up to the air bag. If you are careful you can route the coax between the back corner of the cab and that pipe. I used loom at this point since there were some sharp edges.

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Once around that, I brought the coax down the "C" pillar. Beware of the seat belt tensioner. I'm mounting my CDM1550 behind the rear seat on the passenger side, so I ran the cable under the rear trim and make sure it was in split loom.

I ran out of time, and will do the power, control cable and mount the radio and remote head next week.

Here it is with the VHF antenna installed:

Image

Hopefully this will save someone else some time. Looks like you could mount a few antennas along the center line if you needed. Offsetting them would be easy too, but I only needed one and didn't want to pull the whole headliner down.
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:02 pm

Oh, forgot to add, you can easily fold down the rear seat backs on these trucks.

First step is to raise the seat pan.
Next, remove the head rest.

with the seat pan up, you need to look down behind the seat. You will see a latching assembly. There is a shiny knob on one side. You need to pull that up. Once you pull it up, the seat back will release. Drop the seat pan by pulling the release handle and letting both the seat pan and back fold down.

You can do this on both sides, and there is a bit of room back there. My plan is to mount the guts of my radio back there where it's out of the way and out of site.

Enjoy...
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby rydzewski » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:09 pm

This is a great how to on the newer style ford f-150's. Thank you!
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:55 pm

Part way through the install. Hope this gives you some more ideas:

Just the control head mounted under the dash.
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View from the drivers seat:
Image

Radio guts are going behind the rear seat, passenger side. I've got the antenna installed and coax routed there. Control head cable is routed back there also. I'll run the power to it on Thursday or Friday and let you know what I find. Looks like it is going to be fairly straight forward.
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby MP 6.7 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:18 pm

Same place I put the MCS2000 head in an '05 F150. There was a [rather useless] storage bin there; drilled a hole big enough in the top of it to pass the control cable connector and used self tapping screws to mount the head bracket. Mounted the radio to the bottom of the center seat so it would fit under there even with the seat clipped in. Speaker went behind the panel between the plastic panel covering the area between the center console and the floor. Now I gotta find out where to mount the Spectra A9 head in a place that doesn't interfere with the transfer case shifter...
Dale
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Portables: 2x VHF GP300, VHF P110, UHF P110, VHF A7 MT2000
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:25 pm

Yeah, I didn't have a good use for that storage bin, and it was the perfect side for the CDM head. I removed it and mounted the bracket to the top of the bin with #12 screws, washers and lock nuts. I used my same NMO hole saw to pop a nice 3/4" hole in the back. 3/4" was big enough to pass the modular connector on the end of the cable, along with it's hood, through the hole. I could have probably mounted the entire radio in there if I'd tried, but I probably saved a few feet of coaxial cable loss by running it from the rear.
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:10 am

Just a follow up. Been using this set up for a few months now, and it's worked out pretty well. Mounted a speaker under the radio to get some better sound, not that the stock CDM speaker wasn't doing it. Ran the speaker cable back to the radio following the same path as the control head cable. Slightly better audio, but not a huge difference. Even tried disconnecting the internal speaker, but not much change. The bigger internal speaker has more bass, and the little internal speaker has better treble. I left them both hooked up. It is a bit louder, but not an issue with these newer trucks, they seem to be so quiet.
Upgraded to the HD mic, mostly for the feel. Ordered the correct buttons to replace the P1 - P4 stock ones.
Overall, really happy with the radio and the set up.
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby adrianglock » Fri May 25, 2012 7:20 am

Thanks for this post! I'm kinda having a bit of difficult time looking for some nice wiring that would work with the F-150. Now I'll have a definite plan of installing a radio - the same kind on the image so it wouldn't be a hassle working my way reading with the schematics.
"Drive Greener - Driver Cleaner"
Ford Truck Antennas
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Sun May 27, 2012 7:43 pm

Glad it helped, that's why I post it here. After 10 months, I'm still happy with the set up.
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby BWilliams » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:53 pm

Do you have any pictures of how you mounted the drawer? I just got a 2012 FX4 Supercab, and I'm trying to come up with a good place to mount the deck for an Astro Spectra. I have everything else decided (cable routing, HHCH location, etc), but I want to make sure that the radio is securely mounted.
Bradley Williams, KC2ZLX
Buffalo, NY
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:49 pm

Sure, let me get something tonight or tomorrow and I'll post it here.
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Posts: 215
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:12 pm

Image

I had to cut the carpet a bit, then used a piece of 1 1/2 wide aluminum stock to mount the bracket on end like that. It's screwed down with self tapping screws with star washers, to make sure I had a good ground. It's a bit tough to get to the radio mounting screw, but not impossible.

If I was doing it again, I'd likely do it similar, but maybe put it face down. and use two aluminum brackets to hold it in place. Oh well, next time I get a new truck.
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby BWilliams » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:37 pm

Thanks for the pictures, looks like a nice install.

My only concern would be if that would be secure enough for the extra weight of my radio (10-ish pounds?).. although the mounting plate has room for 5 screws, so I might be able to make it work. I'll have to pull the seats and see what's behind them on my S-cab. I might be able to just wedge it between the seat and the back of the cab for extra support, since the seats don't fold like the crew seats do.
Bradley Williams, KC2ZLX
Buffalo, NY
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:50 pm

Yeah, that CDM deck is light enough that it wasn't a problem. If I was doing something heavier, I may have mounted it below the seat, or put some more work into the brackets to hold it in place behind the seat.
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby BWilliams » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:50 am

Forgot to take pictures while I was working, but I discovered that the Supercab does NOT have that channel running down the middle. If you follow the "rib" to where it goes flat, it comes out about a foot forward of the rear dome light, so you can just reach up and pull it back.

My mounting of the Astro Spectra body is a little unconventional, but it works pretty well. I mounted the drawer sideways to the bottom of the rear seat ... I loosely screwed the "front" (towards the front of the truck, not the front of the deck) mounting holes with self-tapping screws into the metal in the bottom of the seat, and the rear rocks down an inch or two and sits on the floor under the seat where it rises up. I pulled down on it with as much force as I could, and the screws didn't even budge, so I'm comfortable with it. It's a massive pain in the ass to get the back of the seats out of the Supercab, and I didn't want to deal with trying to do that to get to the radio and reprogram it.

Thanks for your writeup ... it was a big help in knowing what to expect when I got in there.
Bradley Williams, KC2ZLX
Buffalo, NY
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:44 am

Glad to hear you got it installed in there. Glad I was able to help out in some way.

That's what I love about these sites, you can come on here and ask a question or post a solution and help other out.

Happy 4th of July to you and yours.
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby rydzewski » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:41 am

I will be doing an install in my 2011 F150 XLT in the near future with a vhf cdm1250 and a uhf xtl2500. I will be putting the 1250 head in the same spot as your truck... just need to figure out where to put the XTL head. I will post pictures of the process as well. Thanks again mmckenna for the write up on this and the how to w/ the antenna.

Seeing that you already installed antennas how difficult would it be to install 2 antennas one above the rear passenger seat position and the second above the rear driver seat position? I am debating between that setup and what you did one on the rear plat part the 2nd on the front flat part centered with the pillar...

Thanks.

- Ben
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:14 am

I now have a Kenwood NX-900 Kenwood 800MHz radio in the truck along with the CDM VHF. I installed the 800MHz antenna just above the high mount stop light on the back of the cab. There is enough flat area there to install an NMO mount. Removing the center stop light made it a really easy install.

Short of offsetting them to the sides, this worked easier.
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby Will » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:32 pm

mmckenna wrote:If I was doing it again, I'd likely do it similar, but maybe put it face down. and use two aluminum brackets to hold it in place. Oh well, next time I get a new truck.


I usually mount the radio with the heatsink up so it cools much better. So that would be face down... We have not had a cooling problem mounted heatsink up. Hot air rises.....
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Re: 2011 Ford F150 Crew Cab antenna install

Postby mmckenna » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:35 pm

I ended up redoing it in the middle of last year. I was adding the Kenwood and needed a better way to mount the stuff behind the seat:

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Found that the Uni-Strut fit nicely between the 4 seat attachment bolts. I used 3 lengths and was able to mount the two radios to that, one on either side. In the center is a temporary block of wood with a cover that has the power distribution, ignition switch circuit, fuses and a timer. Eventually I need to redo that part and make it a bit neater. Grounded the crap out of everything while I was back there.

Image

Image
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
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