A few weeks ago I had a post about the "Not so Ready for the Road Package," not long after that post I was called to a police department in Nothern NY to bid a new vehicle. They had already taken delivery of the vehicle, a 2014 Ford Utility, with several of the "upgraded options." You can't help but be frustrated when you see departments that have very specific budgets and they unknowingly spend a big portion on these upgrades. When I asked the customer why they had certain upgrades the answer shocked me "the dealer said we had to get them."
I don't like to consider myself a "salesman" as much as an educator of options. BUSH Electronics has a very specific mission, to educate our customers and offer the best possible quality, a mission I am all to happy to help participate in.
With that being said, in this weeks blog I'm going to go over each of the Ford options, and the pros and cons of each. There is a time and a place for some of the options, and for some departments the answer may not be as simple as "none of them." Pricing I mention is based on current list pricing, or what we would offer as a baseline of pricing.
One of the first things you need to understand is that although the lightheads are Whelen, they are "Ford" parts. Because of this Ford changed the waranty period from 5 years to 3 years, or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Think about that, 36,000 miles could be achived for some departments in a matter of months.
86P - Front Headlamp / Police interceptor Housing Only - MSRP $125.00
If I had to say one option that was "worth" the money this would be one of the few. 86P offers a cutout that will accept the twistlock Whelen Vertex LED lightheads. Although you can only purchase the "twist lock" Vertex from Ford [at a cost of nearly $430.00 each] there are other options to install a standard Vertex in its place. To give you some perspective, I can sell you 4 Vertex light heads for the same cost of one Ford Light.
66A - Front Headlamp Lighting Solution - MSRP $915.00
Given the introduction of projection headlamps the options to flash them for the most part has disapeared, however most PPV manufactures are offering standard highbeams or in Fords case, an LED alternative. 66A gives you the Vertex LED strobes and flashing headlamps, or "Wig Wags" as it's offen reffered too. Here's what the dealer isn't telling you, unless you absolutly have to have flashing headlights, work with your upfitter on different options. I've met with customers and asked if they needed this option, because if they could go with something "similar" I had what would be considered upgrades that cost the same, or less. For example, Setina offers a lighted push bumper with Whelen Ions [two forward facing, two mounted on the side as angled intersection lights]. Couple that with 2 Whelen Pioneers with a flasher and you now have a push bumper, 2 high powered flashing LED lights that double as scene lights and auxillary take downs and you have what would normally be an upgrade, but actually costs less that the Ford option.
Given the 66A Option and two Ion lights you'd spend roughly $1,155.00 [and thats with a discount] compared to about $1,085.00 for the push bumper with Pioneers. Let that sink in for you, a push bumper, 4 grill lights and 2 extra scene lights or hell use them as driving lights for the cost of two flashing headlights and some strobes.
If it didn't sink in yet.... just wait....
66B - Tail Lamp Lighting Solution - MSRP $425.00
This gives you the Vertex LED strobes in the back light housing, althought I have to say on the Sedans it looks pretty slick. I can't say the same on the Utility though, on the Sedan its a Red lighthead, but on the Utility its White and frankly just looks terrible [and don't forget if you're a Fire Department per NFPA that zone can't have flashing white]. I'd avoid this option and ask your upfitter for suggestings, like backflash.
66C - Rear Lighting Solution - MSRP $475.00
This offers two Ions in the rear window and 2 Ions on the inside trunk lid for the Sedan, or on the inside of the hatch on the Utility. One important thing to point out, Ford offers only Red & Blue Ions, and the Blue always goes on the passenger side, which in NY is backwards. It might be right for your area, or you might not care, minus the part where there is blue facing forward which in NY isn't allowed unless your a Volunteer Firefighter.
On the Sedan this option isn't terrible, but if you're using a lightbar the rear lights get lost and just feel you could use the money towards another feature. On the Utility, forget it. If you want to use a rear light like a Dominator, Traffic advisor or one of the new Inner Edge bars, the rear lights are in the way [and backwards if your in NY]. The hatch lights are the comical part. I have yet to see one with the lights actually mounted straight, and they only turn on with the emergency lights [if you purchased the ultimate wire package], which if you ask me seems to defeate the whole idea. Bottom line, ask your up-fitter, but I'd stay away from this one.
67G - Cargo Wiring Upfit Package - MSRP $1,340.00
Speaking of things to stay away from, I'm not even going to talk about it, I just don't think it makes sense. .
...Okay, I might make a few mentions. First, I know it says "pre-wire" for items, and just for reference, most PPV vehicles offer that as part of the PPV package, you know the base package. The controller unit isn't the CenCom, its just a remote lighting controller. Just trust me on this one...
67H - Ready for the Road Package - MSRP $3,415.00
Here is a package it seems like our dealerships we deal with just love, but do you really know what it comes with? Here's what it includes:
Hidden Door Lock Plunger/Rear Door InOp. - Ford MSRP - $160.00
Wiring Harness [Ultimate Wire Package] - Ford MSRP - $500.00
Total Value, 3,012.00
Now thats if you paid MSRP, which most upfitters rarely charge list [we don't]. When it comes to Whelen products usually I discount 20-35%, depending on what the job is. Unless you just don't care, you'll also need to replace the front grill light to a Red. 1,700.25 total if you ordered just the Whelen products from me at 25% off, a savings of 566.75.
Want the rear doors inoperapble? Setina offers rear door guards, MSRP $235.00. These guards slide right over the exsisting door panel, door lock and handle are covered and cannot be operated by anyone in the back seat. For another $75.00 you can have TPO door guards, and when the vehicle is decomissioned they can be removed and the doors now work as intended.
This package doesn't offer rear lighting, it doesn't provide a lightbar or the headlight option, all add ons that in many cases if you ordered it all together you're upfitter could install it all much cheaper.
67U Ultimate Wiring Package - MSRP $550.00
This one actually has some value, but only if you plan to use the CenCom, or upgrade and use a CanTrol. I've suggested customers purchase this on a few bid specs, and I've also suggested they stay away from this on others. If you plan to use a seperate siren unit, like a 295 then this option doesn't give you anything more than the standard PPV options. For those who plan to use a CenCom this option provides the heavy power plug and option plugs, which saves your upfitter some significant time, this is especially true on the Utility. The Ultimate Wiring Package also offers some pre wire for lights both in the grill and the cargo area. Although this can be helpful, it can also get in the way depending on the options you choose. The best practice is to keep your upfitter involved on this option, they can give you the best advice.
47C Police Wiring Harness Kit - Front - MSRP $105.00
Unless you are purhcasing Ford Whelen lights, or have to use every option plug they offer, there is no need to purchase this kit. There is a siren connector, and a radio speaker connector that could be helpful, but again it isn't required. Save your money.
If the front kit was one you consider, the rear kit is just one to avoid. Again, unless you're installing the Ford lights that have the connector pre installed, this literally is a waste of money, simply put.
There are dozens of other options, balistic doors, mirror lights, vinyl options and the list goes on. I'm not going to touch on those because those really depend on your application and budget, and don't really influence the cost of the upfit.
At the end of the day, keep your vehicle dealer and up-fitter informed of your needs and your budget. Have pre-build meetings with the whole team, often times the time delay will be significiantly less and the cost will be lower. Ford really tried to make the vehicle purchase for the customer a lot easier with this option, and in some cases I'm sure it does, but in most cases it can work against what you're trying to accomplish.
If you have an further questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me. email@example.com