F150: BrandMotion's BlueConnect Hands Free Bluetooth Phone System
Author: Ken Payne
Bluetooth phone system gives the F-150 and other rail-port equipped vehicles
(F-150, Lincoln Mark LT, Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac SV6 and
Saturn Relay, Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan) voice activated
convenience and hands-free safety with OEM looks. Additionally, they have a
unit which works with standard overhead console F-150s. I installed this unit
in the Roush F-150 project truck with a standard overhead console. Because I
need to manage web servers remotely I use a Treo 700w PDA as my cell phone.
Its a great phone and PDA wrapped up in one but suffers from having to use
either the tiny keyboard or touch screen for dialing, neither offering good
tactile feedback. My Treo offers voice command but that uses up precious
memory and I've found its accuracy leaves a lot to be desired.
Though I try not to use my cell phone while driving sometimes it is unavoidable and dialing
with my Treo is painstaking. The Brandmotion BlueConnect system is just what a
guy like me needs. It offers voice recognition, has a pleasant speaking voice
that's easy to understand and interfaces with up to 10 Bluetooth equipped
The first step involved in
installing the system is pulling down the overhead console. Simply tug down on
it and it'll pop off.
Next, disconnect the wiring
harness connectors from the console.
Pull the center dash
panel out. This one is a little tricky to get a good grip on. I recommend
opening the ash tray and grabbing it from underneath. Pull it out firmly and
evenly. It'll feel like it won't come out and suddenly the snap fittings will
give and it will come out cleanly.
Disconnect the wiring harness connectors. The number of connectors will vary depending on your F150's model
Remove the bolts securing the
audio system in place and slide the unit out.
Disconnect the connectors
from the back of the audio system.
Use a soft plastic tipped
tool to pry off the bolt covers on the driver's side grab handle. Remove both
the bottom and top bolts which secure the handle in place.
Pull out the a pillar handle
assembly. The top will come out easily but you'll need to work it around a bit
on the bottom.
Remove the screws from both
sides of the visor. This will allow the headliner to drop down a couple of
inches. You'll need this space for clearance to feed the BlueConnect wiring
the panel under the steering column. There are two bolts which must be removed
to do this. Route the BlueConnect wiring harness through the center dash and
under the steering column.
Run electrician "fish tape"
or a stiff piece of wire down the hole where the pilar cover was until it comes
out under the dash. This wasn't listed in the BlueConnect instructions but it
will make pulling the wiring up immensly easier. Attach the BlueConnect
harness to the end of the fish tape with electrical tape. Pull the fish tape up
and it will pull the BlueConnect harness with it. This will easily route the
wiring without entangling it.
Feed the BlueConnect wiring
harness over the headliner and out the hole of the overhead console. The fish
tape can be used for this step as well. The Connect the factory wiring
harness to the console and the BlueConnect harness to the Blue Connect. The
BlueConnect comes pre-installed in a replacement console and this makes this
step extremely easy and frees you from the headaches of fabrication.
Push the overhead console
back into place. Plug the BlueConnect wiring harness into the audio system
harness and plug the audio system in.
Power up your F-150 and test
out the system before bolting everything down. Follow the pairing instructions
in the BlueConnect manual (this part is voice activated and extremely easy).
Reinstall the pillar handle
Attach the sun visor and install the panel underneath the steering column.
Reinstall the audio system. Reconnect the dash panel wire plugs (blue arrows) into the dash panel (yellow arrow) and push the dash panel back in place.
With the system now installed
you can follow the voice setup procedure. Simply push its phone button, say
"contacts" and it will walk you through setting up your voice recognized list
of contacts. You can also pair it with other phones. Each phone is assigned
priority number. This way if both you and your significant other each have a
phone in the car only one with be activated when you attempt to dial out. Both
phones will receive calls through the interface.
The BrandMotion BlueConnect
system exceeded all my expectations for ease of installation, features,
recognition accuracy and features. I highly recommend it to anyone who uses a
mobile phone and wants the convenience of hands-free calling in their Ford
truck or SUV.