Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

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Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby MSS-Dave » Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:29 am

Hi All....

Have a new 2011 F-150 for the shop that I'd like to see a console in. 4 wheel drive/gas if makes a difference. Has manual seats and the center seat/armrest thing. Would like to have 3-4 radio capacity and an armrest if possible. I know virtually nothing about these and I know lots of you do installs or are a dealer for this kind of stuff.

Anybody care to recommend (or a stay away from..) anything?

Thanks for the time..

Dave
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:28 pm

Havis C-3010 or 2410. We built a custom false floor with integrated wiring chase - bolts onto the factory console bracket and is far more stable than the stuff you buy from the console manufacturers.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby K4RXR » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:37 pm

tvsjr wrote:We built a custom false floor with integrated wiring chase...

I have a new F-150 and I'm looking for console ideas. Do you have photos of this wiring chase?
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby MSS-Dave » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:46 am

tvsjr wrote:Havis C-3010 or 2410. We built a custom false floor with integrated wiring chase - bolts onto the factory console bracket and is far more stable than the stuff you buy from the console manufacturers.


Thanks for the recommend. I've been looking at that and the Gamber MCS-EPIC thing. If you have any photo of this in the F150, I too would appreciate it. My fleet guys won't do anything except bend up sheet aluminum to mount 1 radio to the hump. They do a great job but I need more...

Thanks!

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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:53 pm

I will try to get some pictures in the next few days. The chase is sorta hard to describe... I need to install a new XTL which will necessitate pulling the consoles apart a bit, so I will try to grab some pix then.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby MSS-Dave » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:49 am

tvsjr wrote:I will try to get some pictures in the next few days. The chase is sorta hard to describe... I need to install a new XTL which will necessitate pulling the consoles apart a bit, so I will try to grab some pix then.


Thanks in advance!!
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:09 pm

OK, so I finally found a few spare moments to get this done.

First, this is where the idea started:
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/1_rcm.jpg
The box in the center is the Restraint Control Module, or RCM. The surrounding bracket is dual-purpose - a stiffener to protect the RCM, and a mounting point for the factory console. You can see two of the four bolt holes (threaded) on the driver's side.

The RCM was an initial oh-crap moment... we weren't quite sure how to deal with it. After some consideration, we came up with a plan - to build a flat floor that would support the consoles and various other gear. Some more thinking gave us the additional wire chase idea.

At long last, this was born:
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/2_floor.jpg
What you see is a piece of 3/4" MDF with some very custom cutting work. The front half-round is an entry point for cabling coming from the dash and under-hood. As the truck floor falls away from the board, it leaves room for cable to enter.
The two ovals in the middle of the board are dual-purpose - slots for cables to enter the "chase" area, and access to the back side of the mounting points. Rather than trying to use the factory bolts/threading, we elected to use bolts that would pass all the way through, then added washers and a nylon insert lock nut. This ensures a very stable attachment.
The indentions you see in each side allow the seatbelts to move with the seat (goal was full factory motion of the seats). You can see the edge of the runners, which are pieces of 2x3 lumber stood on edge. These runners are contoured to the floor, so all the weight is transferred to the factory floor. The runners are doubled up in the rear, as the floor falls away and needs more wood to fill the gap.

Taking a big jump forward, this is wiring (excuse the mess - there's a lot of stuff in there, as you'll see) in the forward console. In the middle, between the two nylon wire-tie strips, is one of the access slots with wiring running through. Prior to install, the base was covered in indoor/outdoor carpet (if you wanted a more factory look, you could use color-matched stuff designed for car audio) and a piece of carpet was laid down in the wire chase area to ensure no chafe points existed.
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/3_openconsole.jpg

Here's a closeup of the passthrough:
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/4_passthrough.jpg

Now, on to the end of the chase:
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/5_chaseend1.jpg
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/6_chaseend2.jpg
The Stridsberg multicoupler is sitting on the flat floor, pictured earlier. The audio combiners are sitting on a standoff, across the top of the wiring coming out of the wire chase (we installed a piece of 1/2" plywood underneath the rear seats to help with all of this install, plus the pure-sine inverter under the right-rear seat (you can see the power and ground 4ga. cable on the top of the first picture). All of the wiring is secured using the same strips, then it all runs to...

http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/7_hole.jpg
The Big Hole.
This is a 4.5" diameter hole cut in the rear of the cab and front of the bed. We then installed a piece of large (tractor-sized) inner tube loosely between the two, screwed to the wall on each side. This seems somewhat low-tech, but it provides a weather-proof passage for a large amount of wiring, and still allows the frame to flex without compromising the wiring. We've done this several times with nary a problem, even on high-mileage vehicles.

That big pile of cable runs to the rear board:
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/8_back.jpg
This is a combination of two pieces of 3/4" plywood - the bottom attached to the bed and the top to the front superstructure of the ARE DCU commercial topper. The front of the topper leans forward slightly, thus the two-piece design. All of this equipment will be protected by a carpeted board installed in front of it - the board rests in a piece of C-channel along the floor, and attaches to the side boxes using 1/4" bolts (see one in the top left corner).
Up top: Whelen Cencom, Whelen Alpha22M (controlled via the Cencom using custom firmware). Barrier strips are termination for the Cencom, Alpha, various lightheads, and other point-to-point wiring. Power distribution in the center - A+, master 1, and master 2 (two-stage master switch to control all equipment... *everything* is controlled by the master). Right side is large power distribution - handling 1/0ga. power and ground from the front, over to the second battery installed in the right side toolbox, with isolation provided by a Kussmaul Auto Isolator system.
On the bottom, all the radio decks.

All buttoned up:
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/9_console1.jpg
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/10_console2.jpg
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/11_console3.jpg
http://www.tvsjr.com/truck/12_running.jpg

The pictures aren't the best of quality - blame that on my iPhone. Hopefully it gets the point across.

If you get serious about doing a similar floor, we may still have the schematics around. PM me and I can try to pull those up and get you a copy.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby K4RXR » Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:06 am

Very interesting. Thank you.

Havis has brackets to attach one of their floor plates to the bracket around the RCM. I've been considering going that route, but have some concerns about the stability of that arrangement. For one, there's nothing anchoring the floor plate to the transmission tunnel towards the front.

You've certainly given me some ideas. I don't have nearly as many radios and other pieces of equipment to install, so my solution will be somewhat less grand than yours. But, it's often easier to scale down a design than scale up.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby ka8ypy » Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:26 pm

K4RXR wrote:Very interesting. Thank you.

Havis has brackets to attach one of their floor plates to the bracket around the RCM. I've been considering going that route, but have some concerns about the stability of that arrangement. For one, there's nothing anchoring the floor plate to the transmission tunnel towards the front.

You've certainly given me some ideas. I don't have nearly as many radios and other pieces of equipment to install, so my solution will be somewhat less grand than yours. But, it's often easier to scale down a design than scale up.


I believe there is enough room in the transmission tunnel to perhaps, drill the tunnel, install rivnuts, use standoffs, bolt front of plate to standoffs.

Dan
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:33 pm

K4RXR wrote:Very interesting. Thank you.

Havis has brackets to attach one of their floor plates to the bracket around the RCM. I've been considering going that route, but have some concerns about the stability of that arrangement. For one, there's nothing anchoring the floor plate to the transmission tunnel towards the front.

You've certainly given me some ideas. I don't have nearly as many radios and other pieces of equipment to install, so my solution will be somewhat less grand than yours. But, it's often easier to scale down a design than scale up.


We used some similar brackets from Havis on a 2007, with a 30" (C-3010) console on top via a Trak Mount. *not* impressed. The whole thing shook like mad, and needed constant retightening. I can't stand rattles and shakes - just pisses me off.

One of our goals was to eliminate dealing with bolting stuff down on top of the transmission. It can be risky to do, and it's certainly a pain in the ass.

This arrangement, even before the heads were installed, weighed about 80lbs. with all of the woodwork, consoles, etc. With everything added in (likely another 30-40lbs.), it's still rock solid.

You could easily do a shorter arrangement identical to ours - cut it off and dress the back out with, perhaps, a hinged cover with a slot to allow you to dress the cable into loom and bring it in a single run across the rear floorboard?
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby MSS-Dave » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:53 am

tvsjr....

Thanks for the time you spent writing this up and snapping pictures. This is one of the most interesting mega-installs I've ever seen. I'm going nowhere near the amount of equipment you have but the design is sticking in my head. I will have the ARE DCU as well with a ladder rack. Hope I'm not asking a redundant question but how did you mount antennas?

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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:04 am

Very, very carefully! As you may have discovered from looking at the topper, there is no concept of "square", "straight", or "plumb" anywhere. So, it makes things entertaining.

Our solution was to mark a centerline down the roof from the inside, using the toolboxes as the "ends". From this centerline, we measured out some number of inches to make lines for the left and right columns. Then, I carefully calculated where each row should go to assure the grid stayed even while avoiding the internal support structure. Once marked, I drilled a pilot hole from the bottom, then drilled the 3/4" hole from the top. The resulting layout was a very clean 3x5 grid.

We used Larsen NMOKDS mounts for all antennas, as we've found the dual shielding dramatically reduces interference between the equipment. I like this coax because it's dual shield but still stranded, so you don't have the pain in the arse of solid-center coax.

The coax is taken forward carefully, using wireties and black nylon cable loops attached to the 1x1 aluminum tubing to support the weight. This system has worked out very well in about a half-dozen trucks with similar topper/antenna arrangements. If you are planning to haul a lot of large items that might impact the roof, I'd suggest fabricating some sort of cover to protect the mounts.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby mwaldron » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:08 pm

That's a sweet setup, way more than I'm ever going to want in my vehicle for sure. I'm envious of that great looking professional installation.

Can you tell me more about your audio combiners? Are they commercial or home brew, either way any information would be appreciated. A single box that can combine multiple speaker level sources and drive a single output would simplify several of my projects.

Thanks!
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:47 am

Sorry, I missed replying to this one.

The combiners are made by Fleet Radio Products, which is apparently now resold by Command Communications. www.cmdcomm.com.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby SlimBob » Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:10 pm

How many of those radios are configured for RX/TX and how many are receive only? I noticed you have a receive multicoupler, and what looks like an RF hybrid in the back.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:51 am

SlimBob wrote:How many of those radios are configured for RX/TX and how many are receive only? I noticed you have a receive multicoupler, and what looks like an RF hybrid in the back.


The receive multicoupler drives the two scanners and is one of the possible antennas for the spectrum analyzer.

RF hybrid? You're probably looking at the Maxrad diplexer in the bottom-right? Combines a VHF and UHF antenna onto the roof into one port for the Icom ID-800.

With the exception of the two scanners, everything is transmit capable. However, I hadn't plugged the Manta mics back into the XTLs when I took those pictures - realized that later. Also, the bottom O5 was still awaiting programming (had the codeplug checked out to a local sysadmin to add his data), thus the Z1 CHAN 1 display.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby SlimBob » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:57 am

Where's the JCU-1000? =P
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:57 am

SlimBob wrote:Where's the JCU-1000? =P


ACU1000? Haven't found a grant to buy one yet :)

Sadly, with the differing radio systems in our county, patching would be totally scary to the users (they don't understand), so I wind up with 3 or 4 mics in use at times. Multiselect is interesting :)
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby g-man » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:27 am

Just for fun, you should also post the "mobile antenna farm" pics as well...
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby Monitor142 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:57 am

Sheesh Terry...I always enjoy seeing what you are up to on the installs. I still dig your F350 POV. Class act.

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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:09 am

Monitor142 wrote:Sheesh Terry...I always enjoy seeing what you are up to on the installs. I still dig your F350 POV. Class act.

-M142


Actually, this vehicle replaced the F350. Thanks to the lovely 6.D'OH diesel under the hood with it's distinct lack of head bolts... I burned through 3 sets of turbocharger, both heads, and both head gaskets in 98K, to the tune of about $13K a piece for the repair along with a body lift (which meant unwiring all the wiring from the underhood to the cab and from the cab to the bed... not fun). It had to go away before the powertrain warranty went away...

The 150 isn't quite as capable in some ways, but it's a damn sight more comfortable to drive...
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby SlimBob » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:34 pm

Cripes man, what were you hauling?
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby tvsjr » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:50 pm

SlimBob wrote:Cripes man, what were you hauling?


Arse, usually :)

The truck was unmodified in the engine department... no chip. I pulled a trailer every 3 months or so, on average. Nothing that should be a problem for the chassis and motor.

No, the 6.D'OH was well known for such issues. Common causes included carbon buildup on the variable-vane turbo, creating an overboost condition which would float the heads (which was itself caused by the exhaust gas recirculation - running sooty diesel exhaust back through the turbo sounds like a great idea, right?)... EGR cooler putting water into the fuel creating a hydraulic condition and basically a small steam explosion, floating the heads... etc.

All of that was exacerbated by the mediocre torque-to-yield head bolts, which provided insufficient and unequal clamping force.

The local ambulance service still has some 6.0 chassis running around - most have had a complete engine replacement every 100K or less.

The 6.0 could be a good motor... if you replaced the TTY head bolts with head studs, deleted the EGR system (which of course violated EPA regs), etc. Once you totally rebuild them from the ground up as Ford should have done, they can make insane amounts of power (some of the diesel shops have them turning north of 1000hp without insane modifications).

But, a project vehicle isn't satisfactory... it needs to be rather reliable. Thus, the replacement. I still miss the 350 some days... although I can see an Ecoboost F150 the next time around.
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby MP 6.7 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:20 am

Yeah, that engine sounds like a real winner. If I were to get a diesel truck, it would have to be a Cummins even though it really pains me to buy a Dodge.

Mercedes-Benz diesels are what I'm in to. The one I drive is a little 2.5 5-cylinder turbo that does 121hp @ 4500, 165lb-ft @ 2100. 31mpg. Solid motor...21 years and 144k, apart from valve lifters and delivery valve seals which I recently changed, I change the oil (it burns none) and it runs perfectly. It has an EGR but it's post turbo so it only gunks up the manifold. A shop in Finland specializes in rebuilding the Bosch pump to reliably produce over 400hp out of the 3.0 6-cyl variant. The '06 E320 CDI my dad drives is even more amazing. 3.2 straight 6, 201hp @ 4200, 369lb-ft 1800-2600. 0-60 in 6.6 and 36mpg. I've had it do 39mpg with all highway and a light foot! Although finding a place to tastefully place a radio head in that interior is really difficult :lol:
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Re: Need console recommend on 2011 F-150

Postby SlimBob » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:36 am

I understand completely.
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