PAC MS-FRD1 Wiring Interface

Connect a new car stereo and retain the SYNC® system and rear seat entertainment for select 2008-up Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles

Item #: 541MSFRD1

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27 Reviews

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PAC's MS-FRD1 interface lets you replace the factory radio in select 2008-up Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles that use the Microsoft SYNC® system. You'll retain use of all SYNC system functions in vehicles with Sony®, THX®, Audiophile, and Shaker audio systems, as well as audio systems without external amplifiers. The audio from the SYNC system plays through your aftermarket stereo's auxiliary input.

You can also retain use of your factory steering wheel control system (adapter required), plus keep your rear-seat entertainment system and Sirius tuner, if present. Vehicles equipped with a radio that has an internal satellite radio tuner will not be able to retain the factory satellite radio. Warranty: 1 year.

Note: Your aftermarket stereo must have an auxiliary input to hear audio from the SYNC system. Please enter your vehicle information or call an Advisor at 1-888-955-6000 to find out if this interface will work with your vehicle.

Note: Most vehicles will require additional installation parts — please identify your vehicle if you haven’t done so. You can also call an Advisor for more information.

PAC MS-FRD1 Wiring Interface Reviews

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PAC MS-FRD1 Wiring Interface

Written By Adam, Kentucky on Monday, November 23, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Need to have better instructions. I figured it out but Crutchfield claims they can help anybody install. The instructions they sent where to take my dash apart. Nothing more.

PAC MS-FRD1 Wiring Interface

Written By Anonymous, Weymouth Ma on Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Easy to use lots of wires but take one step at a time

Pros: Great directions

Cons: None

Not the best

Written By Dan K, Ohio on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Install was a real hassle. The programming instruction were completely wrong. Their web site instructions were wrong. I actually had to dig through several forums on a Saturday do figure out how to program this thing. It does not retain all the steering wheel functions, most but not all. The playback through the existing Sync system is horrible. The only thing that kept me from returning everything I bought and going with something different was that the head unit that I bought had USB and Aux input on it.

Pros: It did keep some of the original steering wheel controls. Easy install.

Cons: Outdated instructions. Misleading as to what controls it will maintain. Play back through the factory Sync USB and AUX input is horrible. scratchy and very low volume.

No good for 2009 F250 get the idatalink maestro

Written By chris, Louisiana on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I tried 3 of these and none properly worked with the 2009 F250 with steering wheel and sync. Crutchfield let me upgrade to the idatalink maestro and it works great!

Pros: none

Cons: does not work with 2009 ford f250 superduty

PAC MS-FRD1 Wiring Interface

Written By Anonymous, Texas on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Easy install. My only issue would be how Sync interfaces and turns the radio off when you get a call or text. It does come back on when the all is over or you switch the source. The steering wheel controls are not the easiest to program. I couldn't get some of them to program.


Written By Gage, FL on Friday, May 22, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Works great east install

Not sure it was needed.

Written By GregB, Nevada on Thursday, May 07, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

While this product did make the installation go smoothly, once installed i wondered whether I really needed it. The only reason I chose this product was to make sure the factory SYNC system functioned. In actuality, the radio I installed (Alpine INE-W960) does everything the SYNC system does (almost). Seems like the only thing the radio doesn't do is request a vehicle health report from Ford - not a necessary item. Installing this product required placing a small display unit on the dash to display SYNC messages. This, in my opinion, is tacky, at best. I will be relocating the display unit BEHIND the dash, out of sight, and installing a separate satellite radio tuner to completely bypass the SYNC system.

Pros: Easy install.

Cons: Tacky display unit.

Good Product

Written By TommyG, North Dakota on Friday, April 24, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Wiring and soldering was pretty easy. 99% is just finding the other color from the radio harness. Read The Instructions!over and over. All the information is there, I called Crutchfield for conformation of my wiring and I only had to change one wire (mute wire). Two thumbs up to there customer support. Lots Of Trial And Error. You have to Learn the set up. After learning the system I could set these things up all day.

Pros: Most wiring was color to color. The last time I wired a radio was 10 years ago, and I was able to figure this one out too.

Cons: The sync system still sucks (early sync on ford escape) Jumping from instruction manual to different manual was not good. Setting up the SWC took forever , you have to learn a quick press to long press depending on what button your programming. The system would go crazy and max the volume if you didnt send a "good signal" for the device to pick when programming.

Good product

Written By Travis, Blue springs on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

good product

Pros: works well

Cons: lots of wires

PAC MS-FRD1 Wiring Interface

Written By zach, United States on Monday, November 17, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great product. Works great . Lot of wiring and settings but not to bad over all

big music

Written By Claude, Bronx, NY on Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Radio is awesome worth every penny, accessories not so much

Pros: Radio makes thing much more enjoyable, easy to use

Cons: Accessories leave something to be desired, sync works but it either or, I thought it would all be come through the head unit I brought

It works great.

Written By jland, Petaluma ca on Sunday, September 01, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This unit works great, it is a little mind blowing when you first open the box because of all the wires but its not a big deal, specially because crutchfield is on your side. Its pretty much plug in play once you figure it all out.

Pros: works great, plug in play

Cons: instructions are not very descriptive

PAC MS-FRD1 Wiring Interface

Written By Anonymous, South Bend, IN on Friday, July 19, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)


Works well..but beware

Written By rkrause63, Sandy, Utah on Friday, July 12, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This unit works pretty well once you get it working but the installation instructions are AWFUL and pretty incomplete. Now that I have it working I have all of the original Sync features but with a few caveats. If you are using aftermarket amplifiers, you will need to do some additional work to get voice activation to work. PAC suggests that you install a separate speaker. You can bridge into an existing speaker but I got interference. If you want to hear Sync voice prompts and you are not using the head unit amp or original factory amps, you will need to wire a speaker to the factory LR speaker harness coming out of the unit.

Pros: Works well, keeps Sync alive, which has the best Bluetooth phone performance there is if you want voice activation.

Cons: requires an RCA aux input, which is really hard to find. Requires a separate speaker if you are pre-amping all your sound to amps. The instructions are the worst.

PAC FRD1 for F150 FX4 with Sync

Written By EdR, S'port, LA on Monday, October 29, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have used PAC harness' previously but this was the most complex installation I have encountered due to the Sync System. The harness was so completely wired for this specific installation that many of my questions prior to receiving the equipment were answered simply by looking at the harness upon its arrival. Most connections I was expecting to make were already made to the extent the peripherals only needed be plugged in. Couldn't imagine doing an install without one.

Pros: Completeness of forethought for specific gear to be used. Ease of use.

Cons: None

Not compatible with 2012 Ford SYNC

Written By Peter Dee, Vancouver, BC on Sunday, October 14, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Easy plug and play. Instructions were conflicting regarding colour of wires used and left blank. Also conflicting information regarding the Ford setup when using the PAC steering wheel interface. These two items should've been mentioned in one sentence: "Use the Ford SW interface and you don't have to worry about which colour wires will be used in this application".

I now have two Bluetooth Audio inputs, SYNC and AVHP-4400BH, for BT audio streaming. On my iPhone 4S, they show up as two separate 'Airplay' devices. SYNC automatically switches over the bluetooth, but doesn't revert it back once it's done say, taking a call. This has to be done manually. With the SYNC BT audio, since the AVHP-4400BH requires it to input through AV, the screen is black. Alternatively, I can stream BT audio through the AVHP-4400BH, but then I can't use the voice command, and resume play has to be done manually, unlike SYNC's voice command. This may not be the shortcomings of the 54MSFRD1 interface, but if you decide to buy this same setup, this unit is not entirely compatible. Other reviews may say otherwise, but this is the best setup I was able to achieve, with the help of Crutchfield's excellent tecnical support.

Pros: Almost Plug and Play. Had the instructions been clear, it would've been TOTALLY Plug and Play. All wires are there for HU input, AV input, AV output, GPS module, satellite radio module, and others. Couple wires still unknown and not connected, such as the brown wire.

Cons: Despite it advertised as compatible, at best, this interfaces allows 'Co-Existence' with SYNC. With the Pioneer HU and the PAC 543SWRC steering wheel interface, the 542MSFRD1 Interface requires manually switching the HU when SYNC has taken over control say, after a call.Have to hold the Media button to switch the system off SYNC, then the steering wheel controls are back for the HU.

I'm Glad I bought it. Mostly.

Written By john, Cohoes, NY on Thursday, July 12, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I installed this in my 2010 Ford F150 XLT Screw with SYNC. It did what is said it would. The directions were OK. When I first opened the package I nearly had a heart attack. The jumble of wires was quite intimidating. Carefully reviewing the directions and methodically making connections got me through it. I was very newrvous, but as I got into it I found it really wasnt that complicated. I installed it along with the PAC SWC PS and this made the installation of the SWC much easier, it truly is just a plug and play. No splicing or fiddling with resistors. DO cut the brown loop and connect to the radios ATT or MUTE wire. That way the Stereo wont turn off when the phone is active. Thats in the directions. The sync works like it always did, which im happy about. I prefer the SYNC bluetooth fone over my new Sony Nav BT fone. My biggest complaint and the reason for 4 stars? When I plug my iPod into the SYNC USB port I get an irritating static/crackle in the music. Ticks me off. I liked being able to use voice commands to select my tunes, but the static is so annoying I have to use the Sonys USB port for my iPod thereby bypassing the SYNC benefits! Bummer. At lwast the phone is still good!

Pros: SYNC works like always. Install is relatively straightforward

Cons: Crackly USB music

Good but with one BIG Issue

Written By Pauliewog63, NY on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I took a long time reading the instructions for this unit and I also added the PAC SWI (steering wheel control) so I could retain all OEM Sync functions. I spent a good full day installing the HU, MSFRD1, and the SWI testing each one for power and function along the way. I did not want to pull everything apart again if there was a problem. On the first power up with everything installed all worked well ( did not program the SWI yet other than setting it for program 2 ). The HU itself worked as advertised and so did the MSFRD1 to include the backup cam. I set everything up and put everything back together. I was happy with the fact Sync worked just as it did before the new HU (Jensen VM9424). Steering wheel buttons worked also as advertised once programed. Now for the problem, After a few days and getting use to the new HU I was fueling up my F150 and finished, started the truck and pulled forward to the parking area, shut down the truck and went into the store to pay. When I came out and started the truck the unit did not want to come on. It still has power, if I push the reset button I can hear the beep associated with it. If I press the disk eject button a disk will eject for the HU. But the HU will not come on otherwise. After pulling apart the dash to troubleshoot I noticed that the PAC SWI module is not getting power either. I eventually unpluged ALL connectors to the MSFRD1 and checked all connections. After plugging the MSFRD1 back up the HU worked.

Pros: This has been a continous problem since install. Sync still works even if the HU does not. The MSFRD1 LCD works always even if the HU does not as stated above, even the BT phone connection works. II can still make calls and recieve them. But no power to turn the stereo until I unplug the FRD1. Only once did the until come on 15 mins after I was driving down the road when this happened. Otherwise I have to pull the dash apart and unplug the FRD1 for it to work again.

Cons: It does work good when working. Not sorry I have spent the money. Just wish I could figure out the power issue to the HU. Ohh and I did cut the brown loop wire as instructed and attached one end to the HU mute wire. The unit does not power off when muted with sync.

Crutchfield response on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 We forwarded this review to our Technical Support team for follow-up. Lifetime tech support comes with every Crutchfield purchase.

sync interface

Written By m, mn on Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

might as well take back out of car. my new stereo has bluetooth built in and to play my ipod using the hands free sync my stereo needs to be in av mode so it's a solid blue screen

Pros: waste of money in my case

Cons: everything, i'm not using sync at all anymore

Crutchfield response on Monday, June 18, 2012 We forwarded this review to our Technical Support team for follow-up. Lifetime tech support comes with every Crutchfield purchase.

Good add-on if using Nav

Written By billmc2, CT on Friday, April 27, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The instructions are succinct but not easily understood. Some of the issues other purchasers had (like the unit shutting down when you enable SYNC) are by design, but the instructions tell you that you can disable this by cutting the brown loop on the FRD1. If you also purchase a SWC unit, make sure to NOT cut that brown loop on the SWC. I found that the aux and USB connection had a lot of noise, so I'm not using them. This might be a wiring/ground issue in my car, but it appears that the unit picks up alternator noise. Frankly, I could probably get away with only the SWC and didn't need the FRD1.


Written By J.T., Riverside, CA on Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I honestly thought adding a factory head unit to my 2012 Fusion SEL was going to be impossible, but this kit allowed me to keep full functionality of my SYNC system. As with any install, take your time, read the instructions and all will go your way!

Pros: Maintaining SYNC and factory Bluetooth functionality.

Cons: HU does cycle power when after issuing SYNC command, but this is only a MINOR disturbance.

Good replacement

Written By Maepis, Bentonville, AR on Monday, March 12, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I installed this in a 2010 Focus. It retained all of my sync features just as advertised while being able to run an aftermarket head unit. I was very pleased with it. The only issues I ever really experienced were when it was extremely cold outside. It didn't want to respond when I'd push the button to activate the voice functions and would run very sluggishly and would at times cancel itself out because I'd push the button a second time not realizing that it knew I had already pushed it until it warmed up. I thought the price was a little steep, but it did everything I needed it to so I was happy with it.

Pros: Retains all Sync functions but allows for an aftermarket head unit.

Cons: For my taste it's a little over priced. Extremely cold weather makes it run and respond slowly until the car gets warmed up.

Doesn't interface with Sync as advertised.

Written By David, OKC on Saturday, September 03, 2011

It does a decent job but it is quarky and doesn't always work. Don't pay attention to the section that states vehicles with an external lcd display will not need the pac lcd panel. This is not true. It is the only way to access the system settings of the sync menu.

[Editor's Note: After confirmation with PAC: Some vehicles (such as the Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT, and 2010+ Lincoln MKZ) have buttons on the OEM LCD, which allow you to not use the PACLCD. Most factory monitors will not have these buttons, and require the PACLCD.]

Works Great

Written By Julius, McChord AFB,WA on Friday, August 19, 2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this product because i wanted to retain my sync on my 2010 ford fusion. i paired this with the Pioneer Avic-Z120BT. Everything was pretty much plug-n-play. To my opinion it was an easy install.

As Advertised

Written By Ethan, Alabama on Monday, April 25, 2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I Installed this product in a 2011 F-150. It was a simple installation with a
Pioneer AVH-P3200BT 'plug and play'. The LCD screen is not used with my
application, so I have no comment on that portion. Coupled with the SWC
interface, the Pioneer and Sync systems perform as intended. I recommend reading
the instructions thoroughly before performing install to ensure all wires are
connected properly, i.e. cutting brown loop wire for mute option when Sync is
enabled instead of turning the head unit off.

Works as advertised

Written By Dennis A, Highland, MD on Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Installed this in my 2010 F-150, XLT, adding a Kenwood DNX-9960, with the PAC SWI-JACK for the steering wheel controls. It works as advertised. The display was intermittent but one call to Crutchfield and I had a replacement right away. The one feature that I've heard others not like (that I didn't like either) was when you turn on/enable SYNC, the Head Unit (HU) is powered off (no navigation - which was a major point of the upgrade). When you turn SYNC back off (idle mode) power is restored to the HU (and you have to go through the whole start up process again). After I little trouble shooting I found that it seems to be the vehicle computer telling the MS-FRD1 to turn the HU on and off via the radio Retained Accessory Power (RAP). To fix this and keep the HU on when SYNC is enabled, I ran power to the HU red accessory wire from the RAP fuse in the fuse box (fuse 41 in my truck - had to trim the fuse box cover) using a piggy back fuse. The HU now stays on when SYNC is on, and everything works great. I love this set up!

Needs more work

Written By Fredricke, Lawton, OK on Monday, June 28, 2010

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Not what it cut out to be. PAC Audio needs to go back and re-think this. I used the MS-FRD1 for installation of a 2008 Ford Focus W/Sync without factory subwoofer. H/U is a Kenwood DNX-7100. Sync does not work properly. If U push either the Sync button or the phone button it shuts down the H/U completely. I have had to turn my vehicle off every time to get the H/U to come back on. And for the steering wheel controls, where the interface? Oh that's right it doesn't exist. So where's the additional part that has to be purchased to make it work? Only 2 stars casue the H/U works

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • SYNC retention radio replacement interface
  • SYNC retention display/controller
  • Vehicle harness
  • Radio harness
  • Display/Controller harness
  • 9" Antenna adapter
  • Installation/Operation instructions

Product Research


Overview: The PAC MS-FRD1 Radio Replacement Interface with Microsoft SYNC retention allows the replacement of the factory radio in select 2008-up Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles. The MS-FRD1 will maintain operation of the SYNC system in vehicles with Sony, THX, Audiophile, and Shaker audio systems; along with audio systems without external amplifiers. The MS-FRD1 allows audio from the SYNC system to play through the aftermarket radio's auxiliary input. This interface will also retain an external factory Sirius Satellite Radio tuner as well as Rear Seat Entertainment (if the factory satellite tuner is built into the factory radio chassis, it cannot be retained). Microsoft SYNC or the factory Sirius tuner can be controlled from the Steering Wheel Controls or from the separate multi-function LCD display.

Note: Aftermarket radio must have an auxiliary input in order for the SYNC audio to be heard.

Vehicle Compatibility Chart: last updated April 21, 2010

Ford Lincoln
Edge 2008-2010 MKS 2009-2010
Escape 2009-2010 MKT 2010
Expedition 2009-2010 MKX 2008-2010
Explorer 2008-2010 MKZ 2008-2010
Explorer Sport Trac 2008-2010 Navigator 2009-2010
F-Series 2009-2010 Mercury
Flex 2009 Mariner 2009-2010
Focus 2008-2010 Milan 2008-2010
Fusion 2008-2010 Mountaineer 2008-2010
Mustang 2010 *****
Taurus 2010 *****
Note: Provides RAP accessory output wire, reverse trigger wire, illumination output wire, parking brake wire, and VSS wire.

SYNC Functions: The PAC MS-FRD1 retains all function of the SYNC system, including:

  • Voice Recognition Music Search
  • USB
  • iPod
  • Auxiliary Input
  • Bluetooth Audio Streaming
  • Bluetooth Phone
  • Turn-by-Turn Navigation
  • 911 Assist
  • Vehicle Health Report
Note: Aftermarket radio must be set to the Auxiliary input to hear SYNC, USB, Bluetooth Media, Satellite Radio, or Line-In audio. Phone call audio and SYNC Voice Prompts will always be heard no matter what mode your aftermarket radio is in.

LCD Display/Controller: In vehicles that are equipped with an OEM external LCD display (excluding Lincoln MKS, MKT, and MKZ) all SYNC, Bluetooth, and Satellite Radio text will be displayed on the vehicle's OEM screen. In vehicles that are not equipped with an OEM external LCD display; all SYNC, Bluetooth, and Satellite Radio Text will be displayed on the included LCD Display/Controller. The LCD Display/Controller has four functions:

  • Menu Button: Pressing this button will bring up the menu of available options for the current SYNC mode.
  • Text Button: If you want to see other text options available from SYNC, pressing this button will cycle through your available text options.
  • OK Button: This will make menu selections and pause the USB/Bluetooth Audio source when not in the menu.
  • Scroll Knob: This works just like the track forward and track back buttons on the SWC (steering wheel controls). If you are in a menu mode, it will cycle through available menus.
Note: These functions only work when the interface is On and in SYNC, Phone, or Satellite Radio mode.

SWC Output Connector: The MS-FRD1 provides a SWC (steering wheel control) output connector attached to the included radio harness for use with an optional PAC steering wheel control adapter (541SWIRC, sold separately); , allowing you to retain your vehicle's steering wheel controls once your factory radio is replaced with a new aftermarket head unit.


  • SYNC Retention Radio Replacement Interface: 3.515" (w) x 0.975" (h) x 3.595" (d)
  • SYNC Retention Display/Controller: 4.435" (w) x 1.455" (h) x 1.095" (d)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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