2007 Ford F-150 Alpine X008u Navigation Head unit Install
Modern Electronics For Aging Pickups
When Alpine first introduced us to their newest creation, the stunningly large 9-inch X009 head unit, we were in awe. With new functionality such as customizable shortcuts, dual-zone video control, 3D navigation, HDMI input, built-in HD radio, support for Pandora, and much more, we immediately knew this was the perfect solution for pickup owners who wanted the high-end infotainment system without all of the other assorted package nonsense. Additionally, Alpine offers Restyle kits for all of the major truck brands that include new dash trim to accommodate the large screen. Trouble is they only go back to about '09.
Some studies suggest that currently the average truck owner will keep their pickup for between 8 and 11 years. Case in point: our '07 Ford F-150. Nearing eight years old and with a tick over 100,000 miles on the odometer, it's had a good life but still has a lot left in it at the same time. Not wanting to be left out of the technological advancement of the past decade—and certainly not ready for a new truck payment—we asked Alpine if they had a solution for the people with a pickup just one generation older than the X009 allows. Fortunately they do with the X008u.
The X008u takes their legendary 8-inch AVN screen and combines it with the features of the new X009. Alpine also offers a Perfect F.I.T. integration system, much like the Restyle kits for the X009 units, for 35 different applications.
So if you are one of the millions that is keeping your truck for the long haul but would love a touch of modern, this is the place to start.
Alpine is a leader in the aftermarket infotainment business, and with the OEMs cranking out such good units these days, they have really had to stay ahead of the curve. This is where the X008u and X009 head units come in to play. These are the latest and greatest 8-inch and 9-inch displays from Alpine. If you're like us and didn't opt for the high-level trim package with its associated premium audio, these are designed to replace your boring factory unit.
Our test truck for this project was your run-of-the-mill '04-'08 Ford F-150. Ford didn't start offering navigation from the factory for these trucks until '08, and SYNC didn't come along until '09. This means there are potentially millions of trucks (Ford was selling an average of 770,000 F-150s a year during this time) that could benefit from this upgrade. Unfortunately the 9-inch X009u won't fit in the space provided. However, the 8-inch X008u is a perfect match, and from a software standpoint they operate in the same manner.
Installation is fairly simple and can be completed in the driveway with just a few basic hand tools and some knowledge of wiring. The first step of most head unit installations is removal of the dash surround. On our F-150, this meant simply grab and pull.
With the dash trim removed, the factory head unit can be disconnected and set to the side. It's a good time to note which wires go where and clean up any messes from previous stereo installations.
Alpine provides nearly everything you'll need for a complete installation. It's a good idea to give the directions a solid once over and verify that all of the necessary components for your particular installation are present.
One piece that is not included, but is a huge time saver, is the adapter to connect the Alpine wire harness to your truck's factory harness. We picked up ours for $6 from Amazon. Connecting the two harnesses is as simple as matching the wire colors and crimping them together.
Since the Alpine head unit is universal, you'll need an adapter to allow it to secure properly in your vehicle, which Alpine can provide. Ours simply screwed onto the side of the unit; however, not listed in the instructions was the need to remove the rearmost tabs.
If you plan to use the Bluetooth calling features, you'll need to mount the microphone in a place where it can best pickup the sound of your voice. For us that meant removing the overhead console, driver side visor, and A-pillar molding.
The GPS antenna also needs a home where it has a clear view of the sky. We routed the wire under the dash and out through the defrost vent at the center of the windshield. Alpine provides a metal pad with an adhesive backing to place on plastic surfaces, and the antenna mounts via magnets.
One item that's not mentioned anywhere in the installation instructions is the need for a radio antenna adapter. Oddly enough, we used one meant for an older Chrysler product.
With the wiring harness complete and all of the other cables and adapters in place, we plugged the head unit in and powered it up. It's a good idea to do this as a test before fully installing the head unit in case there is something wrong or a piece of wiring needs to be revised. It would be awful to get everything buttoned up and then have the unit not turn on.
We again followed the same test procedure after securing the head unit into the dash. After getting all of the wiring tucked into its final home, we verified that everything powered on properly, the GPS was functional, and audio could be heard from all speakers.
The installation took about four hours from start to finish and was relatively straightforward. If you're at all skittish about electrical work, however, it may be best to leave this one to a professional.
After living with the X008u for a few months we can tell you that the navigation is fantastic. Inputting destinations is quick and intuitive, and the point-of-interest menu works quite well. Traffic alerts have also been relatively quick loading and accurate.
Audio is also quite superb, with a multitude of options to tune the sound anyway you could possibly want. The built-in HD radio tuner works well in Los Angeles, where most of our stations are broadcast in HD. We had a little bit of trouble with it being slow to initiate Bluetooth audio, but that seems to have cured itself by upgrading to an iPhone 6.
Buried deep inside the unit's multitude of menus are some interesting lists, such as men's shirt size conversions, shoe sizes, women's bra sizing, and a few more. We suppose this information may be helpful to someone, somewhere, someday...maybe.
AlpineTorrance, CA 90501