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  1. #1
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    Upgrading Ford Sync 2 to Sync 3

    As anyone who owns a 14-16 Ford knows, the Sync 2 has an horrific user interface which usually leads me to dropping F-bombs at the voice control when trying to set a navigation destination. There are plenty of well-reviewed upgrade kits to do the Sync 3 upgrade, ranging from bare bones kits where you do the software patching to ready to go kits set for your VIN.

    Iíve been tempted before just for convenience, but have been having some problems with the system lately that seem to be precursors to APIM failure. If that happens, the parts to repair the existing crappy system are $1800 plus labor, or I can DIY upgrade for somewhere between $375 and $1800 and get a much better system. Ford does not offer the upgrade. Seems like a no-brained to upgrade if it fails, but does anyone have experience doing this upgrade? Preferred vendors? Issues with service at Ford dealers afterward?
    John & Kathy
    2014 F250 Lariat FX4 6.2L SBCC
    2014 Reflection 303RLS
    SW Indiana

  2. #2
    Site Team WhittleBurner's Avatar
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    That whole Sync system is absolutey horrible in our little '14 Transit connect. I just plain old don't use it for anything but phone calls.. if even that.
    Compared to our '15 GMC on star , sync has a long long long way to go to be user friendly and reliable. I hope there are some good replies to this, could be worth upgrading the system if there is a quality replacement, other than that we really like the little van.
    Marcy & Gary
    2014 Grand Design - Reflection 303RLS
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhittleBurner View Post
    That whole Sync system is absolutey horrible in our little '14 Transit connect. I just plain old don't use it for anything but phone calls.. if even that.
    Compared to our '15 GMC on star , sync has a long long long way to go to be user friendly and reliable. I hope there are some good replies to this, could be worth upgrading the system if there is a quality replacement, other than that we really like the little van.
    The Sync 3 upgrade “appears” to be good, but anything would appear to be a good upgrade compared to the Sync 2.

    Before my truck was out of warranty, Ford disabled the ability to do things with WiFi.

    You have to answer 15 questions to get the GPS to set a destination. And you can’t just tell it where you want to go, you have to explain every detail of how you are going to tell it where to go.
    John & Kathy
    2014 F250 Lariat FX4 6.2L SBCC
    2014 Reflection 303RLS
    SW Indiana

  4. #4
    Paid my dues 😁 FT4NOW's Avatar
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    Might want to check out Powerstroke.org. I know there are a few documented upgrades with pictures somewhere on there. I've read through one of them, so I know it's there. I'd only consider it if the system failed, it's a lot of $$ just for an upgrade. Depending on your goals, an aftermarket system might be better. Also depends on what physical buttons you have. On my last truck, if I lost sync, i would lose the ability for heated and cooled seats. My new truck has redundant buttons for those functions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkwilson View Post
    As anyone who owns a 14-16 Ford knows, the Sync 2 has an horrific user interface which usually leads me to dropping F-bombs at the voice control when trying to set a navigation destination. There are plenty of well-reviewed upgrade kits to do the Sync 3 upgrade, ranging from bare bones kits where you do the software patching to ready to go kits set for your VIN.

    Iíve been tempted before just for convenience, but have been having some problems with the system lately that seem to be precursors to APIM failure. If that happens, the parts to repair the existing crappy system are $1800 plus labor, or I can DIY upgrade for somewhere between $375 and $1800 and get a much better system. Ford does not offer the upgrade. Seems like a no-brained to upgrade if it fails, but does anyone have experience doing this upgrade? Preferred vendors? Issues with service at Ford dealers afterward?
    I'm in a similar position with a 2015 F-350. I would love to be able to use Carplay (Apple), since maps and all kinds of features don't stay stuck at a single upgrade point, as does the Sync system (and it's terribly old, anyway, by now). Worth $800 for the aftermarket kit? Maybe. Let us all know what you do! I'm interested.
    Jim and Merna

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    Site Sponsor RoJoSo's Avatar
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    I called Ford Customer care and complained. They upgraded my unit but, i still cant stand to use it. Love to replace it but I would lose so many functions.
    2020 Grand Design Reflection 303RLS 5th Wheel
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    I upgraded from Sync 2 to Sync 3 in my 2013. Hardest part was figuring out how to remove/move the console. It was not intuitive. Anyway, I ordered the "kit" from an eBay seller and had a great experience. The seller was very responsive and helpful. Happy to exchange seller info via PM if interested.
    James and Dawn
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkwilson View Post
    As anyone who owns a 14-16 Ford knows, the Sync 2 has an horrific user interface which usually leads me to dropping F-bombs at the voice control when trying to set a navigation destination. There are plenty of well-reviewed upgrade kits to do the Sync 3 upgrade, ranging from bare bones kits where you do the software patching to ready to go kits set for your VIN.

    Iíve been tempted before just for convenience, but have been having some problems with the system lately that seem to be precursors to APIM failure. If that happens, the parts to repair the existing crappy system are $1800 plus labor, or I can DIY upgrade for somewhere between $375 and $1800 and get a much better system. Ford does not offer the upgrade. Seems like a no-brained to upgrade if it fails, but does anyone have experience doing this upgrade? Preferred vendors? Issues with service at Ford dealers afterward?
    Yeah, the Sync 3 ain't much better, personally it's like talking to a three year old, only simple commands like: "set the temperature to 70". Navigation is a nightmare, try "Find Pilot Flying J", You won't get any thing close to Pilot, nor will the options be in the same state as you are presently in. Don't get me started on asking for "Blue Beacon" !!!

    I'm glad Ford has buttons and dials because the "Sync 3" is CRAP when it comes to voice commands and navigation via voice.

    PS: I know i have good diction and a clear speaking voice so I know the problem isn't me !!
    David and Peggy
    2019 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.7L Diesel, Dually, Long Bed
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarPoweredRV View Post
    Yeah, the Sync 3 ain't much better, personally it's like talking to a three year old, only simple commands like: "set the temperature to 70". Navigation is a nightmare, try "Find Pilot Flying J", You won't get any thing close to Pilot, nor will the options be in the same state as you are presently in. Don't get me started on asking for "Blue Beacon" !!!

    I'm glad Ford has buttons and dials because the "Sync 3" is CRAP when it comes to voice commands and navigation via voice.

    PS: I know i have good diction and a clear speaking voice so I know the problem isn't me !!
    To be fair, the Sync system has to do speech recognition and route planning without internet access, so it’s a challenge compared to what phones are able to do when they send the audio to a dedicated speech processing computer via the internet.

    With Sync 3, you can use CarPlay or Android Auto so it works to run and display a navigation app from your phone. That would be nice to have accurate, updated navigation with live traffic on that 8” display.

    IMO, as an engineer, all auto makers should move to a standard generic platform that could be replaced and upgraded as needed like a vehicle radio with an app that handles the vehicle interface.
    John & Kathy
    2014 F250 Lariat FX4 6.2L SBCC
    2014 Reflection 303RLS
    SW Indiana

  10. #10
    Site Sponsor SolarPoweredRV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkwilson View Post
    To be fair, the Sync system has to do speech recognition and route planning without internet access, so it’s a challenge compared to what phones are able to do when they send the audio to a dedicated speech processing computer via the internet.

    With Sync 3, you can use CarPlay or Android Auto so it works to run and display a navigation app from your phone. That would be nice to have accurate, updated navigation with live traffic on that 8” display.

    IMO, as an engineer, all auto makers should move to a standard generic platform that could be replaced and upgraded as needed like a vehicle radio with an app that handles the vehicle interface.
    Two points...

    1, An internet connection should not be required to recognize speech if you offer speech recognition on your device, imagine needing an Internet connection when you are "out in the middle of nowhere" trying to find the nearest gas station. Additionally, the Sync system does not even get the words correct, the responses are so far from what is requested it is comical.

    2, I agree that the OEMs should probably not be creating their own, individual, systems. Instead, I think that OEMs should create a really great interface for your cell phone or tablet. This approach allows the driver to use their preferred device/interface to connect to the car. Polestar is using this approach by installing Google OS in their vehicles which eliminates all the research and expense of developing a Sync like system for their cars.
    David and Peggy
    2019 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.7L Diesel, Dually, Long Bed
    Running with 20k Reese Goosebox (Love It) and Ford Factory "Puck" system.
    Stopping with 8,000 lb Disc Brakes and Titan Hydraulic over Electric Brakes system.
    Powering all this fun with 1200 Watts of Solar, two Tesla, Model S, battery modules, 24 volt Victron Inverter.
    2018 Solitude 310 GK

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