KJ Jones Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
May 21, 2014

"Give me the address and I'll just plug it into the navigation system." These days, that statement is much more than just the latest catchy phrase. It's a declaration used thousands of times every day thanks to the Global Positioning System's world-wide coverage area.

GPS, established in 1978 by the United States Department of Defense and originally called NAVSTAR, is a round-the-clock navigation system comprised of 24 solar-powered satellites that orbit Earth and transmit information twice a day—to the hand-held and vehicle-mounted receiving devices that are part of the fabric of our lives.

These receivers process the transmitted information by comparing the time satellites' signals are sent versus the time they're received by the device. The differences tell a GPS unit how far away the satellites are; enabling it to pinpoint your position and display it on the device's screen.

On most new vehicles, navigation systems are either standard equipment or an additional-cost option. Ford began outfitting Mustangs with voice-controlled navi in 2008, with its introduction of SYNC (a $395 option at the time). This technology was developed in a partnership with Microsoft to give drivers the ability to pair and operate Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, MP3s, and other devices using voice commands, steering wheel controls, and standard radio controls.

Since its introduction, SYNC has expanded into several different subsets, with MyFord Touch being the current top-of-the-line variant. Touchscreen technology was implemented in late 2007, and today SYNC's navigation segment is light years more advanced, highlighted by MFT's optional 8-inch, color touchscreen in the center stack, and voice-activated technology that makes programming destinations and actuating other controls a hands-free process if desired.

As you might imagine, this optional technology is priced well beyond the $395 price of basic SYNC. So you can imagine our excitement when we learned of a new plug-and-play navigation upgrade for SYNC-equipped, '10-to-present Mustangs that didn't come with the OEM touchscreen, and it's considerably more affordable than the factory's whiz-bang option.

Raxiom's GPS Navigation w/Bluetooth and Back-Up Camera (PN 100300; $699.99) is offered exclusively by our friends at AmericanMuscle.com for all SYNC-equipped '10-and-up Ponies, with the exception of '10 'Stangs with six-disc CD changers.

At a meeting with principles from American Muscle at the 2013 SEMA show, we scored the change to be the first Mustang magazine to give the new Navi system a try. With the help of Eddie Rios of Addiction Motorsports, the plug-and-play unit was added to the center stack in Nick Deparseghian's twin-turbocharged '11 Mustang GT. Check out the details to see how it worked out.

1. This is the standard non-navigation, audio and HVAC control panel that’s found in the center stack of all ’10-’14 Mustangs. While Nick Deparseghian’s twin-turbocharged, ’11 Mustang GT features a single-disc CD player, which the Raxiom system supports, the upgrade is not applicable for ‘10 Mustangs equipped with six-disc CD changers.

2. After disconnecting the negative battery cable, Eddie Rios of Addiction Motorsports starts the swap project by disconnecting wires and removing the center console, as well as the control panel from the center stack. A single plug for the climate-control harness is the only wiring that must be disconnected from the back of the panel.

3. Next, Eddie disconnects wires and removes the SYNC unit, which is held in place by four 8mm bolts. Behind this processor is the Pony’s A/C module, which is taken out by unplugging its wiring, dislodging clips, then lifting the module up and gently pulling away it from its mounting bracket.

4. Extracting the OEM radio head unit is straightforward; requiring only unplugging of three wires and the antenna lead, which can be a bit difficult to separate from the radio and may require a little force.

5. Here are all the contents of Raxiom’s GPS Navigation w/Bluetooth & Back-Up Camera for ’10-’14 Mustangs (PN 100300; $699.99). The plug-and-play kit, available exclusively through AmericanMuscle.com, is highlighted by a stock-fit, center-stack bezel, a navigation unit and 7-inch LCD touchscreen, back-up camera, antenna, wiring harnesses for both the head unit and steering-wheel controls, RCA audio/video cables, foam, and zip-ties (not shown).

6. As you see in this comparative photo, the upgrade’s provisions for HVAC and audio (CD player, volume/tuning, mode selection) are identical to their counterparts in the factory piece. Despite looking slightly larger than the stock bezel, the Raxiom panel snaps directly in place, without requiring any trimming or modification of the center stack.

7. If you’ve ever wondered, “exactly what’s going on behind my Mustang’s center stack?” Here’s a look. While the new navigation setup requires taking out all of the stock SYNC, audio and air-conditioning modules, everything is returned to this same space before the new panel is installed.

8a-b. Eddie transfers the OEM radio controls to the new touch-screen bezel. Thirteen of the factory’s 15 Torx screws are reused in this process, with two screw holes at the top center of the panel left empty. Yellow clips and rubber caps from the factory control panel also are moved from old to new, and installed in their corresponding places. Here’s the comparison look at the new setup (left), and the original audio panel.

9. Connecting the kit’s FL (front-left) wires to the OEM FLIN-OUT harness requires paying close attention, as the Raxiom’s circuits are specific for ’10-’12 ‘Stangs, and ’13—’14 models. The wires are well labeled, so this task should be completed without any problem.

10. We scored the change to be the first Mustang magazine to give the new Navi system a try... The power harness follows. It piggybacks directly into the stock power circuitry.

11a-b. The kit includes several large self-adhesive pieces of foam for protecting the SYNC and A/C module. Eddie installs the foam on each, making sure to leave openings in the back of both for access to the connectors. Once the units are plugged up, they’re set (backwards) deep inside the dash pocket to ensure there’s ample space for the new touchscreen.