Disabling the modem (pulling the fuse)

ccw

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I wanted to disable the modem in my truck to guarantee it can't phone home to Ford. Consider it a privacy hack. :) It's pretty simple by pulling the fuse, but still wanted to document the process since it's a combo fuse - one fuse powering two circuits.

Of note: I did this to a 22MY truck with Sync 4. While I believe these same instructions should work for previous model years, double-check the fuse number in the owner's manual and the instructions for performing a master reset.

What it breaks
By doing this you will disable any ability for your truck to connect to Ford's servers. This means no ability for you to control or get information from your truck using the Ford Pass app on your phone in any way. No remote start from your phone, no unlocking/locking the doors from your phone, no DTCs on your phone, etc. Since I just did this tonight, and haven't actually driven the truck yet, there may be something I've missed that's broken. I'll update the thread if I find anything, but I honestly doubt there will be.

Update after driving the truck a good amount: nothing else broken that I can find other than a crossed out cloud in Ford's navigation screen. It's likely there's some functionality in there that depends on a data connection, though I don't personally use the built-in navigation so I can't give details.

If you do this before you get your Ford Pass Points from purchase (42,000 points for a gas truck, 70,000+ for a diesel truck) you may prevent yourself from getting the points. I ended up doing this after I got my points, so I can't say for sure.

What I've confirmed it doesn't break
Truck starts and runs just fine. No service engine or other warning lights illuminated on the dash. Wireless CarPlay and Bluetooth work. Satellite reception still seemed to work, though I haven't used the built-in nav since I got the truck so I didn't put much into testing it (been using CarPlay exclusively for maps). Honestly didn't know what else to check, since the fuse should be pretty limited based on the label. If there's something else you want me to check before you do this yourself, let me know.

Performing a master reset
While this part is technically unnecessary, I wanted to completely divorce my truck from Ford's servers before pulling the fuse for the modem. By performing a master reset, it de-activates your modem on Ford's servers, along with resetting all settings in the Sync system. This did not impact my settings in the gauge cluster.

Find the instructions for performing a master reset here:
Of note, once I told the truck to go ahead with the reset, it took a number of seconds before it actually did it. I started browsing around and then the screen went black. After a number more seconds, the screen came back and everything was reset.

Pulling the fuse
Again, this is specifically for a 22MY truck. If you have a different model year, double-check the fuse location for the modem to make sure you pull the right fuse.

You'll find the fuse in the fuse panel in the passenger foot-well, on the right side when facing the front of the truck. The plastic cover pops off pretty easily, though you may need to fold back or remove your floor mat to get the cover out.

Once in there, the fuses are numbered, but not otherwise labeled. Look for fuse "9" down the right side of the panel; it's 5 amps. The one fuse serves two circuits (it has 3 blades). I believe the center blade is shared power from the battery and each circuit is on either side. Circuit 8 is towards the center of the panel (left side of the fuse), circuit 9 is towards the outside (right side of the fuse).

Circuit 8 is for the modem and the one we want to kill, circuit 9 is for the "Combined Sensor Module" according to the owner's manual. I have no idea what that is even after searching online. With the fuse pulled and both circuits without power I did fire up the truck and everything seemed to be working, but I figured it would be worth restoring power to circuit 9 to isolate my change.

Fuse/circuit 35 is a spare 2 blade, 5 amp fuse. I replaced the wide, 3 blade original fuse with this one, only on the right side, leaving the inner connection for the modem empty. Presumably this restored power to the "Combined Sensor Module", though I have no real way of verifying other than the fact I probed it with a test light and the fuse had power.

While messing with things I pulled the original fuse a few different times so the plastic is pretty weak. I'm going to get a replacement for it, as well as fuse 35. Fuse 35 I'll restore as a spare in the panel and I'll keep the original replacement in the glove box should I ever need to restore power to the modem, though I don't see why I would.

How do I know it worked?
Going into Settings -> Connectivity -> Connected Vehicle Features now shows a spinner before not doing anything else. It doesn't load a page at all. Additionally, the button for Settings -> Vehicle Hotspot is disabled entirely now. Those both are a pretty solid indication to me that the modem is disabled.
 
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R32GT-R

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i think this is great for those of you who feel this is needed..

i don't understand it. but all the power to ya.
 

Tremor375

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i think this is great for those of you who feel this is needed..

i don't understand it. but all the power to ya.
I will give you a story - buddy owns a shop - buys new M5 - he went out joyriding - warped a rotor - he said it was not from him so he tried a warranty service - BMW printed a page that his car recorded. It had snapped a pic of his face and sent all the data on speed, location, etc every bit of data you can think of to the dealer and his insurance company. He sold the car. That was years ago. Ask any custom tuner today if they can touch a 22 BMW. Nope. It will disable the car if you try and get into the CPU to tune it. This is where the industry is heading.

More - take a look at todays push for ESG scores which will be tied to climate initiatives - your data will be analyzed and used and sold. Location, contacts, speed, mileage, and frankly all of it. When its free... you are the product. Sounds benign.....but just remember that this ability to track and collect your data can and will eventually be used against you. Read about stingray devices. Read about TikTok being nothing more than Chinese data harvesting (download the app you give full access to China to your phone and all of tis data. Metadata is how govts target terrorists folks. Your metadata that is recorded on these devices is literally overreach. Iphones take an infrared picture of your face every 5 seconds and have blood pressure monitoring capability so they can tell what emotions you are feeling. Data is a means of production - and your personal data is being sold out. This is modern protection from thieves and good old NUNYA to the BIG Tech oligarchy in bed with China and mega monopoly guys. fact check me
 

stufarmer

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Please Explain?
There's a post somewhere on here that shows the Module is located behind the right rear seat back, behind the carpeted panel. By unplugging it, you loose the FordPass features.
 

stufarmer

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There's a post somewhere on here that shows the Module is located behind the right rear seat back, behind the carpeted panel. By unplugging it, you loose the FordPass features.
Don't hold that Module quote as gospel. I haven't done any homework or investing any time looking into it other than reading an article about it somewhere here.
 
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ccw

ccw

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Following up on this, still no adverse affects that I’ve found by pulling the fuse for the modem.

Biggest caveat to that is I don’t use the built-in navigation, so some functionality there could be broken. I do notice when the nav screen is up after first starting the truck there’s a cloud icon with a line through it, so seems like something is broken there.
 

LT75

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Too much aggravation for conspiracy theories. If Your tracked everywhere. Stopping one thing isn’t going to help. The one thing I don’t agree with is the driving tracker for insurance discounts. Not worth saving $50 a year.
 
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ccw

ccw

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Too much aggravation for conspiracy theories. If Your tracked everywhere. Stopping one thing isn’t going to help. The one thing I don’t agree with is the driving tracker for insurance discounts. Not worth saving $50 a year.
The fact the data collection happens isn't a conspiracy theory. It's laid out plain as day in the software agreements that they do it. How much that matters to each person will vary, of course.

I agree that pulling the fuse is going a touch on the overboard side because you can disable the modem in software; however, it's well established in the software industry (not Ford specifically that I've seen) that when it comes to data, it's hard to truly disable all data collection in many cases. Usually there's still something happening under the guise of it being "critical", "essential", or "anonymized".

Does disabling vehicle connectivity in software inherently cut off all data collection? Honestly, probably. Does pulling the fuse do it as well? Guaranteed.

So IMO this is a pretty easy way to cut off that data pipe in a guaranteed way. Since I don't use the features the modem provides, there's no aggravation. Just an easy win.

If you get value from the modem, then it's totally reasonable to leave the modem activated and enabled if that value outweighs the cost of the data collection. That's the free market at work. Just realize there is a cost involved that isn't monetary.
 

PapaRaptor

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The fact the data collection happens isn't a conspiracy theory. It's laid out plain as day in the software agreements that they do it. How much that matters to each person will vary, of course.

I agree that pulling the fuse is going a touch on the overboard side because you can disable the modem in software; however, it's well established in the software industry (not Ford specifically that I've seen) that when it comes to data, it's hard to truly disable all data collection in many cases. Usually there's still something happening under the guise of it being "critical", "essential", or "anonymized".

Does disabling vehicle connectivity in software inherently cut off all data collection? Honestly, probably. Does pulling the fuse do it as well? Guaranteed.

So IMO this is a pretty easy way to cut off that data pipe in a guaranteed way. Since I don't use the features the modem provides, there's no aggravation. Just an easy win.

If you get value from the modem, then it's totally reasonable to leave the modem activated and enabled if that value outweighs the cost of the data collection. That's the free market at work. Just realize there is a cost involved that isn't monetary.
I for one appreciate your information in this matter, thanks for sharing.
 

TJ Carr

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Very interesting concept & reasoning on why to disable the tracking system, really makes one stop and think
 

Cropgun

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I will give you a story - buddy owns a shop - buys new M5 - he went out joyriding - warped a rotor - he said it was not from him so he tried a warranty service - BMW printed a page that his car recorded. It had snapped a pic of his face and sent all the data on speed, location, etc every bit of data you can think of to the dealer and his insurance company. He sold the car. That was years ago. Ask any custom tuner today if they can touch a 22 BMW. Nope. It will disable the car if you try and get into the CPU to tune it. This is where the industry is heading.

More - take a look at todays push for ESG scores which will be tied to climate initiatives - your data will be analyzed and used and sold. Location, contacts, speed, mileage, and frankly all of it. When its free... you are the product. Sounds benign.....but just remember that this ability to track and collect your data can and will eventually be used against you. Read about stingray devices. Read about TikTok being nothing more than Chinese data harvesting (download the app you give full access to China to your phone and all of tis data. Metadata is how govts target terrorists folks. Your metadata that is recorded on these devices is literally overreach. Iphones take an infrared picture of your face every 5 seconds and have blood pressure monitoring capability so they can tell what emotions you are feeling. Data is a means of production - and your personal data is being sold out. This is modern protection from thieves and good old NUNYA to the BIG Tech oligarchy in bed with China and mega monopoly guys. fact check me
If you carry a cell phone you have the same problem. You don't need tiktok to get spied on by the government and the chinese.
 

Tremor375

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If you carry a cell phone you have the same problem. You don't need tiktok to get spied on by the government and the chinese.
I carry a spy-phone, but I know how to limit it effectively. Hedging the problem is the point. Privacy..to the best you can achieve is the point. It is a digital world and I value understanding and limiting data theft. Increasing security is a good thing in todays world where data thieves can easily access what is on your phone.....if they assemble enough your credit and much more is at direct risk. If you don't care, great for me...I prefer to be a hard target and enjoy that there is low hanging fruit out there which will be easier to exploit. A billion people use TikTok, like your teenage kids. Sending pictures of their faces, samples of their voice, etc is not for me or my family. Just remember, where did covid come from? A lab in China using genetic data. 23 and you - ancestry etc all is being used. If you dont think nefariously then by all means be the easy target.

 

jpeckinp

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I will give you a story - buddy owns a shop - buys new M5 - he went out joyriding - warped a rotor - he said it was not from him so he tried a warranty service - BMW printed a page that his car recorded. It had snapped a pic of his face and sent all the data on speed, location, etc every bit of data you can think of to the dealer and his insurance company. He sold the car. That was years ago. Ask any custom tuner today if they can touch a 22 BMW. Nope. It will disable the car if you try and get into the CPU to tune it. This is where the industry is heading.

More - take a look at todays push for ESG scores which will be tied to climate initiatives - your data will be analyzed and used and sold. Location, contacts, speed, mileage, and frankly all of it. When its free... you are the product. Sounds benign.....but just remember that this ability to track and collect your data can and will eventually be used against you. Read about stingray devices. Read about TikTok being nothing more than Chinese data harvesting (download the app you give full access to China to your phone and all of tis data. Metadata is how govts target terrorists folks. Your metadata that is recorded on these devices is literally overreach. Iphones take an infrared picture of your face every 5 seconds and have blood pressure monitoring capability so they can tell what emotions you are feeling. Data is a means of production - and your personal data is being sold out. This is modern protection from thieves and good old NUNYA to the BIG Tech oligarchy in bed with China and mega monopoly guys. fact check me
All vehicles have a "blackbox" now anyway. Disconnecting the modem doesn't disconnect that. So they could have pulled the info from there if BMW has a long time recording, IDK. Most only record a few seconds before a crash.
 

Cropgun

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I carry a spy-phone, but I know how to limit it effectively. Hedging the problem is the point. Privacy..to the best you can achieve is the point. It is a digital world and I value understanding and limiting data theft. Increasing security is a good thing in todays world where data thieves can easily access what is on your phone.....if they assemble enough your credit and much more is at direct risk. If you don't care, great for me...I prefer to be a hard target and enjoy that there is low hanging fruit out there which will be easier to exploit. A billion people use TikTok, like your teenage kids. Sending pictures of their faces, samples of their voice, etc is not for me or my family. Just remember, where did covid come from? A lab in China using genetic data. 23 and you - ancestry etc all is being used. If you dont think nefariously then by all means be the easy target.


Nothing you can do outside of throwing your cell phone in the trash and not owning one will protect you. Do not make assumptions about me, you'll just end up looking stupid, later.
 
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