2015 Explorer manual climate control behavior w/remote start

Figured I’d throw this here and not spam the Discord too much.

Long story made short, my mother recently acquired a base model 2015 Explorer and I’ve been digging into it and figuring things out. One of the first things we did was get the whole remote start situation added since it is a cheap and simple process on these. All that went well. One thing I did do just out of a ‘try it and see what goes’ habit is adding the remote start climate option to the IPC. That is currently set to Auto.

One thing I noticed during a RS session today is that while RS was active, the blower was going what seemed like full blast. It was pretty cold out here with ambient in the high 20s so if any smarts were involved, it could have legitimately still been trying to get the cabin to temp. Once the key was inserted and turned to run and RS disengaged, the blower went back to normal speed where the fan knob was at minimum.

From researching these, it seems like most of the components necessary for automatic climate control like the cabin temp/humidity sensor and outlet temp sensors are there and just an HVAC module swap and FCIM bezel swap are needed to gain single zone automatic climate control (seems like this is a necessary step for 4" to 8" upgrades, likely some AsBuilt stuff going on there too which goes without saying).

I’m curious if there are enough smarts in the manual HVAC module that it is still able to run the whole remote start auto climate control procedure as I experience it on my C-Max (ie: aims for 72f cabin temp, chooses the appropriate vent mode, and adjusts the fan speed as necessary during the entire session) or if what I experienced with the blower motor at full speed may have been some sort of fallback code somewhere that the HVAC module went into when it got the RS climate activation signal.

Any ideas? I’ve had zero luck finding anything conclusive even looking through the workshop manual. I’m just taking a wild guess that likely RS equipped vehicles from the factory probably never coincided with manual climate control so that probably muddies any documentation that may exist.

I have already dug deep into this exact thing on my 15 Explorer PIU.

I started with manual also as that was the only option for a PIU. I have added an HVAC module with Ambient light from a limited and it was set for auto temp. I also have a Sony FCIM-B with the auto options, and I have told the APIM I have auto temp. All is good so far. You will get a DTC that one of your servos is not responding. This is because the manual HVAC systems lack the servo to separate left and right. It could be wired, and a servo added to complete this and I have the stuff to do it. What I think is missing is the internal door to make it work. I stuck a screw driver in the hole to see if the gear was in there but I could not tell and I am not 100% sure it is missing.

On a side note the HVAC modules for a limited will not work the heated only seats. It lacks the electronics inside. It will work the climate seats only since it feeds the signal through the Can to the Drivers seat module.

Good info to know! I’ve been really diving into this one to see how far I can go to add on some of the factory options or tweaking various things. This thing really is barebones. Every possible optional feature doesn’t exist. Seems the only addon the first owner ordered it with was the full tow package.

I actually did some brief experimentation a little bit ago and it does seem the manual HVAC module does have some level of automatic smarts compatible with the remote start feature.

I tried adjusting the climate controls in various manners including setting it to full cold, minimum fan speed, A/C on. Remote start still cranked out heat at full blast in a cold cabin. Also turned climate off completely and RS still kicked in climate control. Once I switched the climate option in the IPC to ‘Last settings’ did it follow what I had manually set.

The remaining question here is if it goes as far as to modulate fan operation to maintain 72f or is just defaulting to full fan speed. Will need a more extensive test with the cabin temp equalized to see how that goes.

But that is a nice surprise/bonus. I had fully expected the climate operation to be completely manual in regards to the OEM remote start on this one.

My next big project is seeing how feasible it is to get some Sync version added and maybe the factory RVC. This one is absolutely barebones with no Sync, just the base 4" AM/FM/CD. Seems to be a lot of info about the 4" Sync to 8" upgrade, but nothing about the base 4" to an 8" Sync upgrade. The wiring is my biggest question mark here. Hardware-wise I think I have a good idea what needs to be added/swapped.

I have tons of info on the 2015 since I have one. On my bare bones PIU I have added the following and probably a lot more I have forgotten…

Sync 3
Ambient lighting
3rd row
Upgraded IPC
Tow package
Center console with 4wd controls
Auto headlights
OEM sharkfin w/Nav & SiriusXM
TCU and hotspot
Upgraded leather seating
Power liftgate
Upgraded ACM W/Sirius and HD radio
Added Sony audio system
Moved shifter to center console from column
Auto dimming rearview mirror

I may have to pick your brain at some point on some of these. :slight_smile: I did post a thread over on explorerforum but never got a response back and glancing over a lot of the content, it seems like there’s not a lot of people knowledgeable in the electronic side of these vehicles over there. But one of my big points made in said thread was figuring out how far I could get adding in various options including stuff like ACC and LKA.

Couple immediate questions for you though if you don’t mind: Did your PIU come with any form of Sync or was it the base radio like the 2015 I’m working with? If the latter, any insights on what wiring I’d have to deal with to get Sync added? I’ve got wiring diagrams, just confused trying to wrap my head around the differences between Sync and non-Sync equipped models. And sadly it seems like Ford decided to use specific harnesses for every combination of equipped features on these to make things that much more difficult.

TCU: It was my understanding that adding a TCU to the 2011-2015 MYs at least as far as remote control (start/lock/unlock) was a no-go without hefty overhauling of the vehicle, adding a GWM among other modules, etc… This was one of the first things asked of me since she drove my C-Max for a few weeks until the Explorer came in the picture and she got used to using FordPass all the time for remote start. Is this info still correct?

One thing I did try already is adding in the 19/20 KS7T ACM pulled from a Fusion Titanium that I originally bought to attempt upgrading my C-Max that went nowhere. Since I haven’t had any luck selling it yet, I decided to give it a go in the Explorer. I’ll have to try and get an approximate idea what AsBuilt changes I made but after the changes I did make including setting to CGEA 1.2 and no APIM, it behaved largely the same as the attempt with it in my C-Max: No DTCs and the FCIM/FCDIM seemed to work with it. Source changes worked, presets were there, able to change stations, but no volume control and nothing out of the speakers. I’m now 50/50 on if this ACM still remains too new or if I have something misconfigured. It is A2B equipped but that was disabled. I left 727-01-02 xxxx-****-xxxx set to all 0’s since the db mentions it only applies to A2B. Front/rear were set to Internal Amp.

Yea I stopped going to the Explorer forum because they kept telling me I couldn’t do what I had already done.

LKA and ACC are a beast! I added the ACC module and I can’t get it to work for some reasons that would not be specific to your Explorer. On the PIU it has a different calibration for the ABS that is PIU specific so you would not have the same problems here. I also learned that ACC works in conjunction with LKA and they cannot work independent. So, if you’re going to do this it would be best to replace the windshield with one that has LKA. Thats just my 2 cents on that. Otherwise, it is possible to do but you will have to upgrade the IPC to the Level 2 IPC.

Mine came with the base model 4" screen and do not have any SYNC in it. I wired it all from scratch including the rear camera. Dont be intimidated about upgrading to the 52 pin from the 16 pin. Its not that much more you need to add and the wires are all near by. When I did it I wanted it exactly like OEM so my wiring is directly from where it would have come from. I also had no mic so I bought a new headliner that had it and deleted the big Red Police light.

You are exactly right on the TCU part. The only thing I get is the vehicle location. Upgrading to a CGEA 1.3 would be very difficult and a ton of $$$ unless you have a full donor vehicle. Ford did sell a system for a hot second that allowed CGEA 1.2 vehicles to do this, but they cancelled it. It was an ODB type plug.

On the ACM from the Fusion if it has an Blue A2B port on the back it won’t work from what I have found. You have to add an A2B amp from a Fusion to get it to work. That is actually my next project for my Explorer when I can source a good A2B cable. That and adding the Noise cancelling along with it.