2012 Ford SirusXM signal cutout.. Wits end.. (1 Viewer)

daveinlv

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New Member
Nov 26, 2016
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Las Vegas Nevada
We have a 2012 Ford Escape with the built-in "Sync by Microsoft" package (SirusXM reciever/Bluetooth handsfree/etc) and ever since the vehicle was new the sat radio will very frequently cut out when sitting at a red light at an intersection. In ALL cases, the sat antenna on the rear roof of the car has an unobstructed view of the sky. Sometimes the radio display will show "No Signal" and other times, the display will just blank and the sound will cut out. Sometimes, if the traffic permits, a move of a foot or so of the car will bring the display/audio back. Being a ham, I'm familiar with the term "desense", and thats precisely what this malfunction acts like. I'm not especially familiar with satellite radio, but have heard that in major metro areas, there are terrestrial repeaters on various high points that supplement the satellite signal. On trips via Interstate, away from the city, the radio works fine. And in fact, we have a tunnel under the airport, and I don't lose whatever channel I'm listening to going thru that tunnel.. Only at street intersections do I lose signal... When the vehicle was new, I took it into the dealer several times to see what they could do to fix it. The fix was "leave it here for a few days and we'll check it out.." yeah right.. I happened to mention the problem to the service writer at the local dealer recently and he told me, quietly, and not for attribution to him that the Sync by Microsoft product in Ford 2012 vehicles was a pile of excrement.. Guess he wanted to keep his job.. Anyway, I guess this is mostly a rant, but I'd like to see if others with this pile of excrement are having the same problem...

Also since the vehicle was new, I've tried to pair the handsfree with 5 different android phones with zero luck on any of them...

Thanks
Dave
 

EarDemon

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Dec 5, 2014
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There are three Fords in my garage with zero issues with SiriusXM, and while I have a few of my own problems with it, Sync is for the most part great. A ’13 Navigator, ’14 Expedition and ’15 Escape. The two big twins run the original style Microsoft Sync infotainment system, the Escape has the newer MyFord Touch. I’ve never experienced many dropouts on Sirius XM, and usually only in obvious circumstances, like when I went through the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains last year (and even that wasn't that bad), and going around a set of triple S curves near my house that have heavy enough tree cover in the spring and summer that not only cause me to those the satellite signal but make it dark enough for the headlights to turn on for a few seconds in broad daylight. I can’t really speak for the Escape as it’s not mine and hardly ever am I in it, but I don’t really even get that many dropouts when going through the car cash.

As far as paring phones, never had a problem, but using it is wonky at times. I don’t get text alerts all the time, and actually don't care if I do. And when playing music over Bluetooth on Android devices the artist/title metadata does not display on the Navigator and Expedition, but it does show on the Escape. When my buddy syncs his iPhone, the info displays. I’m and Android fanboy and have used probably about a dozen Android phones, tablets and MP3 Players with the older Sync and the info never displayed. In 3 or 4 years I'll be replacing my Navigator with either a newer but used one, or used 2018 or '19 Raptor. Ford seems to be offering (or will be offering) Android Auto in a lot of their 2017 vehicles as an alternative to Sync 3 which is powered by Blackberry not Microsoft. I'm looking forward to that.

Have you given the dealer a chance to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong with your headunit or any of the wiring? Has a firmware update ever been done?
 

osu1991

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Sep 4, 2004
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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Not with a ford as I have an Avalanche, but for the past year I have had the same problem with SiriusXm on the factory system. Clear sunny days with no clouds to obstruct signal. Display will still display channel and artist info but sound just goes blank. Doesn't happen on all channels, just certain ones. I can change the channel and others will still be working but the ones I listen to seem dead. Pull forward a little and it comes back or goes in and out while driving. Seems to happen more when I'm around all the hospitals near my house. I thought maybe the hospitals might have something interfering with certain frequencies, but my cousin just moved back here and commented her SiriusXm factory radio in her Honda was acting the same way. I'm to the point of just cancelling and using bluetooth to stream when I'm driving as I don't travel out of town as much now
 

daveinlv

Thread Starter
New Member
Nov 26, 2016
4
0
Las Vegas Nevada
Have you given the dealer a chance to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong with your headunit or any of the wiring? Has a firmware update ever been done?

As I said, several times I brought this up to the dealer right soon after we bought the vehicle, but each time they said they'd need to have the vehicle for up to a week to check it over. Since we only have one car, there was ZERO chance of me doing that. As for firmware updates, I've noticed that every month or so, when I turn the radio on, I get a "downloading update" and a percentage counter. I don't know if this is an actual firmware update or not.. Since we've had the vehicle since 2012, I've learned to live with this issue. The main reason I posted here is to see if anyone else was seeing the same problem on the same vintage Ford/Sync radios.. It sounds/acts like reciever desense, like there is a nearby transmitter on a fairly nearby frequency overloading the poorly designed receiver (last service writer I spoke to, admitted the Sync package in 2012 Fords was crap)..

Thanks all for the replies!!

Dave
 

daveinlv

Thread Starter
New Member
Nov 26, 2016
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0
Las Vegas Nevada
Not with a ford as I have an Avalanche, but for the past year I have had the same problem with SiriusXm on the factory system. Clear sunny days with no clouds to obstruct signal. Display will still display channel and artist info but sound just goes blank. Doesn't happen on all channels, just certain ones. I can change the channel and others will still be working but the ones I listen to seem dead. Pull forward a little and it comes back or goes in and out while driving. Seems to happen more when I'm around all the hospitals near my house. I thought maybe the hospitals might have something interfering with certain frequencies, but my cousin just moved back here and commented her SiriusXm factory radio in her Honda was acting the same way. I'm to the point of just cancelling and using bluetooth to stream when I'm driving as I don't travel out of town as much now

I wonder if the sat radio "guts" on your GM are not the same "guts" as the Ford Sync.. I've never noticed whether its on all channels or just the one I happen to be listening to.. When I drive the car I have about 7 channels I listen to, and I've had the problem on all 7.. When the problem happens is just when I'm sitting at a stoplight.. As I pull up to stop the signal cuts out and sometimes comes back for a second, then as I stop its almost always gone, until I move out of the intersection. Sometimes, I get a "no signal" other times the channel info display continues to display, but the sound is missing. What makes me even more sure its desense is *sometimes* if I move a foot or so, the sound comes back.. Since we're dealing with a SHF/Microwave signal here, its not surprising. The last time I brought this up to the Ford dealer, the service writer admitted to me that the Sync package in the 2012 Ford Escape is crap.. Of course, he said that he didn't tell me that.. (wanted to keep his job I guess)...
 

EarDemon

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Dec 5, 2014
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If they are telling you they need to for a week to diagnose a radio problem, I’d take it to a different dealer. I had an intermittent problem with the rear air suspension and it was diagnosed when I dropped it off for an oil change and tire rotation.

The update that you are receiving every so other are more than likely channel updates, when channels get new locations, new names or new logos. You’ll see this again when the Christmas channels go live shortly. I forget the exact numbers but Sirius operates on a subset of frequencies inbetween 2.3-2.4 GHz.

It is highly unlikely that there are many similarities between the Ford and the GM units. GM uses XM and Ford uses Sirius.
 

daveinlv

Thread Starter
New Member
Nov 26, 2016
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0
Las Vegas Nevada
If they are telling you they need to for a week to diagnose a radio problem, I’d take it to a different dealer. I had an intermittent problem with the rear air suspension and it was diagnosed when I dropped it off for an oil change and tire rotation.

The update that you are receiving every so other are more than likely channel updates, when channels get new locations, new names or new logos. You’ll see this again when the Christmas channels go live shortly. I forget the exact numbers but Sirius operates on a subset of frequencies inbetween 2.3-2.4 GHz.

It is highly unlikely that there are many similarities between the Ford and the GM units. GM uses XM and Ford uses Sirius.

Actually, the first time I brought it for this issue, was with the dealer we bought the vehicle at, where I was told it would be up to a week. Told them this was unacceptable. Lived with it a while longer, during which time the original dealer moved from less than 2 miles from us over to the far side of town, so I went to another closer dealer who told me the same exact thing. At which time, I came to the conclusion I'd have to live with it, as my only car was NOT going be tied up for up to a week. By now the car is WAAAY out of warantee, so any fix a third dealer might apply is gonna be on my dime.

I understand that in large metro areas, which I suspect Las Vegas is, there are terrestrial repeaters supplementing the satellite signal. Since I've never heard the problem on any road trips we've taken with the car, which means the signal I'm receiving is direct from the satellite, I wonder if thats a clue.. Well anyway, thanks for the info...

Dave

So GM radios are actually using the XM satellites and Ford is using the Sirius ones... Did not know that..
 

EarDemon

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Dec 5, 2014
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Terrestrial repeaters are usually physically located at the highest point in a market. I know for a fact (I know the person who is contracted out to do the maintenance on them) here in Buffalo area, the repeaters are located at the top of our tallest skyscraper downtown, One HSBC Tower.

I was assuming this, but do you have the navigation center? If so, press the 3 and 6 buttons down simultaneously, you'll get a hidden diagnostic screen, there is an option called 'SDARS Signal'. Unfortunately it won't tell you if your receiving the signal from the satellites or the repeaters, but it will give your current signal strength. 0 = None, 1 = Poor, 2 = Moderate, 3 = Perfect. It would be interesting to see the value when you experience dropouts at a red light. I wish the diagnostics were more in-depth. On the old old old XM Delphi receivers you could press a numerical sequence and it would give you the real time BER% (bit error rate) for the two satellites and the repeaters and other geeky stats. My diagnostics on my Sony Home Theater Receiver with Sirius built in even has two signal meters, one for Sat and one for Terr.

Newer Chrysler products are the only vehicles I can think of of the top of my head that have SiriusXM units. There may be more, I'm not sure. All these years later after the merger, auto manufactures are still for the most part using the system they launched with. GM, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Hyundai are XM. Ford, Daimler, BMW, VW with Sirius. All of the imports that Ford used to have partnership with (Mazda, Jag, et al) are still Sirius, as far as I know.
 

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osu1991

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Sep 4, 2004
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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Several articles seems to point to the problem being T-Mobiles use of AWS-1 that is causing outages for SiriusXM customers nationwide, around towers that have been added or upgraded to use the new frequencies. Seems to affect older radios

Sirius, T-Mobile Spat Over Airwave Interference

http://www.wsj.com/articles/sirius-t-mobile-spat-over-airwave-interference-1443649368

Sirius XM customers in a few big cities have been complaining about losing their satellite radio signal and the company says it has found the culprit: interfering T-Mobile cellphone towers.


T-Mobile US Inc. says it isn’t doing anything wrong. Instead, it blames Sirius XM’s radios for the problem. Now Sirius XM Holdings Inc. has escalated the dispute to federal regulators, asking them to intervene.


The fight comes as the airwaves used for transmissions are getting more crowded with new services. T-Mobile has about 46 million retail wireless customers, while Sirius XM has about 28 million subscribers.


Sirius first detected a problem last year after customers in New York City reported their radios suddenly went silent during portions of their morning commute. Sirius conducted drive tests and concluded T-Mobile’s cellphone transmitters were interrupting its service.


Sirius says the disturbance is “alarmingly severe, extensive and frequent” and is happening in several large urban markets.
 
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Big Dawg 23

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Oct 13, 2008
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I have a 2016 Ford Edge with Sirius. I do lose signal at times for no reason at with clear site lines. I travel a lot for work and getting a lot of rentals. Fords by far are the worst for Bluetooth and USB connections. My frustration is with every time my iPhone via USB it always re-index.
 

dishrich

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Sep 8, 2003
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Springfield, IL
I am SO glad I stopped into this forum...I have been having the very same problem on my factory 2009 SantaFe XM radio for about the past year myself! After keeping a mental track on where the interruptions seem to always happen, they seem to happen 98% of the time in 1 particular spot here in Springfield, which is just off I72 & our westside mall area, where there are no obstructions like buildings, trees, etc...clear or cloudy days don't matter. Of course when you're at a stoplight or driving really slow, the dropouts are very long. I've been thinking about trying to replace either the roof antenna &/or the radio itself...but if either one was truly having problems, I would think the dropouts would be much worse...or the sat radio would simply not function at all.

A question for any SXM radio experts...are there active electronics in the sat radio antennas themselves on cars? If so, I'm assuming they could indeed go bad...

I recently took my 2011 Silverado w/factory XM though the same areas a couple times while XM was on a free preview & had no dropouts at all...which only make things even more perplexing - especially re: a bad antenna &/or radio in my SantaFe.

I drove my SantaFe out to Manhattan, KS for the Thanksgiving holidays...once I got past our local "trouble spot", I had maybe a couple very brief dropouts the entire trip out & back; when I was actually out in Manhattan, there again was 1 particular part of town where the dropouts were similar to my local "trouble spot".

At least a saving grace on my SantaFe...I'm not actively paying for SXM service, as I did the lifetime service back when I bought the car. Getting every channel on SXM for $400 one-time, for the past 7+ years is a bargin, even if it's now gone to crap w/the drop-out issue. At least I don't have to worry about canceling it because of this. :)
 
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Jimbo

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With my n'13 Ford Fusion, I never had any issues with my SiriusXM package at all.
As for the Sync Ford Touch, think thats what I had in the Titanium ... it was ok, most of it worked fine, however the Voice instructions were always hit and miss, particularly with the Navigation.

I traded it in for a '16 Ford F150 Laredo and the Sirus XM has worked great so far, now i will say, I don't listen to it nearly as much as I use to in the Fusion.
All my stations have been coming in great till today when I turned on a few of the Christmas Channels ... those quite for up to like 5 seconds periodically ... for some unknown reason. The rest of the channels played fine, so maybe its related to those channels.

As for the New Sync 3 I think they call it ... It works MUCH better ... more responsive, the voice works much better, not always perfect, but it does the job you want. If I just want to change a channel or an input, it works perfectly now. The Nav works much better to, you can actually talk to it and it will find what you want .... only issue is you have to remember the correct phrases it wants to hear.

I know Ford has a lot of Videos out to show how a lot of this stuff works, however, it would be nice to be able to have a manual to look at for the Nav/SYNC system.
 

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