Hello all, This is just a FYI for anybody who is looking to use an ipod with their FEH. It took me a long time to find what to buy, so I figured I would help anybody who comes after me...
I just installed an ipod interface in a 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid with Navigation System and it took a total of 5 minutes. I have been wanting to install a hard wired ipod interface since I purchased the car, but I have been confused about which interface to use.
I used a FRDW/PC-POD2 interface manufactured by PIE (can be found at www.pie.net)
. I think PIE only sells to authorized dealers but you can find distributors for these units searching on the web. This model plugs into the 6-disc changer cable located under the passenger seat and takes over the CD controls on the NAV system (you have to unplug the interface and plug the changer back in to use the CD changer). You can also just pull the Nav system CD to listen to an audio CD, but I specifically wanted my Nav system operational at all times.
PIE also sells a FRDW/PC-POD and I understand two other units that plug into the back of the radio.
I installed one of these (plug in behind the radio) interfaces into my 98 Ford Expedition and it was a holy pain in the neck to pull the radio, drill holes to route the wires, and make everything look nice for the wife!
This took two days and a lot of cussing!
The one I purchased for the FEH was so easy to install, I didn't even have time to crack a beer! Basically, just unplug the changer connection (easily accessed from the back seat, and plug their cable into the FEH CD changer cable. The only other thing to do is figure out how to hide their cable.
USING THIS INTERFACE DISABLES THE 6-CD CHANGER! - But come to think of it, I have not used a CD since I got my IPod!
Note: The cable supplied by PIE is really long! ~15+' I guess. I asked them if they would sell me a shorter cable (I want a 4' cable) and they just said "We don't sell seperate cables"... so much for customer service.
The manual also does not even mention the FEH as a car that it will work with. The only reference to the FEH was in a pdf document on their web site.
The difference between the PC-POD and PC-POD2 interfaces
I looked and looked at the two products and never figured out the difference until I received the PC-POD2 interface for the Expedition. I thought that the -POD2 interface was just a newer model.. IT ISN'T!
The PC-POD interfaces takes over control of your IPOD. When plugged in, you can not used the ipod controls at all! The cool thing about these interfaces is that you can make up to 6 playlists (specially named on your ipod and they can be selected just like you would select the 6 disks in your changer). This is an ideal choice for somebody who want to hide their ipod and use it like a CD changer. The down side to this interface is you can not use the IPOD controls when it is plugged in!!! This sucks if you want to listen to songs that are not in the special play lists -or- if your spouse or kids want to listen to their stuff when riding in your car!
I purchased the PC-POD2 and was originally disappointed with not having the special play lists. However, after playing with it for awhile, I have decided I would not like the other version. I have a "cup holder" ipod mount in my cars and it is situated just perfectly in the FEH to be easy to read while I am driving.
Both interfaces automatically turn the ipod on and off when the CD player is selected (or the car is turned off). The PC-POD2 interface also allows you select the next song in the current playlist using the Navigation System CD next track keys and the fast forward and reverse keys move within the currently playing song. The CD audio compression control on the Navigation radio also works for the ipod which is great for high bitrate music that has a large dynamic range (classical for instance). In addition to these controls, all ipod controls also work as expected so I can change the playlist any time I want. If you set the ipod backlight to stay on, you have a nice lit display to tell you what song is playing... My wife asks me "What song is this?" at least once every time we ride together in the car.
In Summary, these two interfaces will work on the 2006 FEH with Navigation System and are easy to install. You lose the use of the 6-disc CD changer, but it does not affect the Navigation system at all.