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Anti_Climax

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May 20, 2016
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Looking around online it's apparent that the 2G modems on our cars were replaced with 3G ones in the US. Some folks have tried swapping in similar TCMs with LTE but have been unable to get them to connect to MFM.

Based on a recent post in the MFM message board, it looks like it might be possible to move the SIM from an existing TCM to an LTE model from another vehicle (I think the 2018 C-Max was mentioned), and it may be able to connect to the MFM server that way. But that would require opening both modules and rely on a physical SIM which might actually be soldered on the board rather than removable.

Anyone looking at trying a swap like this before AT&T sunsets their 3G in Feb 2022? I managed some 2G devices during their last sunset and they didn't draw it out - within a couple days of the deadline it all went dark.
 
https://discussions.myfordmobile.com/discussions/MyFord_Mobile_Discussions/PHEV_MyFord_Mobile_Discussion/ATT_Shutting_Down_3G_Service_Used_by_MFMNow_What/mfm010000d1/1152.1?redirCnt=1&dbg=6&nav=messages&mobile=y
 
I find it amazing that Ford doesn't appear to be doing anything about this. Not even an offer of a modem retrofit. There are a lot of vehicles that are going to get blacked out. Several million? If it was a couple of hundred dollars to fix, I might pay it. Is the modem inside of the APIM? Or is the SIM inside of the TCU?

Here is the program for the 2G replacement and it answers my question. I also looked the service manual procedure, and it seems you have use some feature of IDS to learn the old modem, and program the new modem.

https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2016/SB-10094770-2532.pdf
 
The APIM is the computer attached to the back of the touch screen. The TCU with the modem in it is on the drivers side rear wheel well as shown in the document you linked. If I have any free time (LOLz not likely), I would tear into mine as it is junk anyway. I will be surprised if the sim is removable.
 
This won't impact all their vehicles. It depends on which app your vehicle is tied to (the network it's using on the back end) and the modem in the car.

Our EVs are on a very specific network tied to MFM. If they hadn't killed the line entirely, we might have an LTE upgrade.

I don't think it's going to disappear though - Canada has no sunset date set for 3G, though they are going to consolidate the networks on to just one of the two main bands for 3G so they can recycle the other.

I'm pretty sure that the SIM/IMSI in our vehicles ties to a specific account that has it's own dedicated addresses, like a VPN rather than connecting on the open internet. It's *possible* the SIM/IMSI is tied to the modem but that's not guaranteed.

I might have to set up my BTS and see if I can capture the traffic that module sends out when it tries to connect.
 
Well, I thought to use my borescope to check out the TCU unit in my late 2017 FFE.

Its Ford part GM5T-14G087-AG
On the outside were stickers with this part number , the IMEI (01450900.....), and the ICCID (89011702272......)
Doing a search for that part number yielded crappy results, as it seems that this part number is invalid at the ford oem parts websites.

Anyway, I found one up for auction here:
https://ahparts.com/buy-used/2015-f...l-module-gm5t-14g087-ag-gm5t14g087ag/334197-1
Which is auctioning off a part for a 2015 C-Max.
You can see from the photos what it looks like, and there is a photo of the underside.

Turns out this module is made by Clarion. Its a model JE-5035, which is in the JE-5030 series.

An FCC report for the JE-5030 series in here:
https://fccid.io/AX2JE5030
They have internal and external photos, and a user manual that describes a software tool for testing the modem.
Internal photos are not showing a sim card slot, so swapping sim cards is out.
It uses a Telit HE920-NA, which is a 3G modem, BGA soldered to the main board. So replacing that module is a PITA.

I was hoping that by finding the part at an OEM parts website, I could see what is installed in a 2018, that just might be 4G LTE.
 
There should be LTE models out there. If there's no SIM slot it will be tough, yeah.

I'm up for hacking something. I actually work with Telit hardware, it's just finished USB modems rather than chips.

I have CAN sniffing capability and I have access to a SDR that can operate as a 2G/3G tower. So we can get into some crazy stuff.
 
Hello guys,

Ford started a new customer satisfaction program in order to swap out the 3G modems with LTE ones.

Eligibility is obviously based on VIN. If your FFE is eligible, you will receive a notification in your MFM. Expect a correspondence informing the FSA number 21B09.

I got nothing so far for my FFE. I assume that it is because I still have an old 2G modem and my vehicle for instance is not registered at MFM or FordPass. I called Ford and asked to be included. We’ll see.

Good luck!
 
Ok, I got the info from my dealer. I have scanned docs, not sure how to share them here.

Bottom line is this:

If you're within your 5 year free service period, you have to pay for the modem (dealer quoted $318) and Ford picks up the labor.

If you're outside your 5 year period, you have to pay for everything.

And this is ONLY for Sync 3, 2016-2018 FFE.
 
The letter I received says:

"What will Ford and your dealer do?

In the interest of customer satisfaction, Ford Motor Company has authorized your dealer to cover the cost of labor to install a 4G upgrade kit (modem and antenna). Note, this will require the vehicle owner to purchase the 4G upgrade kit. "

Any idea what's in this kit? Or any way to get the parts cheaper? Like from the scrapyard? I am not keen on paying $300 for this. If there is a newer, high volume model out there with the same 4g modem then some of them are probably in the junkyard already.
 
The way they manage the different apps and customer channels, you'd need an LTE modem module from another model that specifically accesses the MFM servers. If it talks to a different app/server then it almost certainly won't work for your Focus.
 
Trying to get to someone at Ford and it's a huge pain. The only thing that seems to have helped was finding that it's being offered under Field Service Action 21B09 "3G to 4G Modem Upgrade". Still up in the air as to whether or not they will let me actually buy in.
 
Hey, Anti_Climax, good morning.

I am trying to enable the mfm on my 2013 Focus with a donor 3g modem. I am having a hard time here. I upgraded to Sync 3 as well so I wonder if you got your unit working on a 3g TCU. If you did, would you please inform your Forscan TCU as built params? Also, did you have anything else done at your APIM to make it work?

Next step will be getting a 4g donor and set it up.

Thanks,

Andre.
 
I swapped the APIM and screen and was able to immediately initiate setup to MFM from the car side. The APIM I got came from a 2018 Escape or Expedition. I'll try to pull the TCU data in a timely fashion. Hop on the discord and remind me there if you like.
 
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