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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife bought a 2014 Sport from the local dealership (terrible experience), but this was attached to the rearview mirror. It has no wires and it was stuck on, but its a FoMoCo part. Any ideas?


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Hello McShaded,

Do you know the history of your truck? I'm guessing the dealership purchased this vehicle at auction as it most likely was a lease turn-in and the dealer's purchasing agent thought they could make a quick profit on this or even put it in their Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) inventory. Typically, when the original lessee's contract has ended the vehicle is returned to the manufacturer, in this case Ford. Ford then tranfers the asset in a restricted wholesale auction to any party with a dealer's license at a bargain price. Your dealer (or anyone with a dealer's license) had numerous options with the vehicle once they've won the bid. They don't even have to transfer title to themselves as they generally finance the purchase of all types of cars and juggle inventory and cash flow balance via a banks or lenders floor plan. The goal is to sell it quickly with little to no additional time or cash outlay for repairs other than maybe a quick detail by the lowest paid store employee. They know they can turn a low mileage vehicle into a highly marketable, quick profit. You'd be amazed (and pissed off) at the mark-up the dealership realizes and how quickly they transfer a truck like yours to a willing buyer.

The reason I ask if you know of the history is because the car may have been a fleet vehicle. The truck may have been used by an organization that had very sophisticated communications needs. In fact, it may be that this was used by a government agency (local, state or federal) that wanted to bypass the typical GSA acquisition and surrender process.

I think the item on your wife's mirror is some type of communications or GPS antenna. What makes you think it's a Ford part? Does it have a Ford logo or an identifiable part number?

It wouldn't be unusual for the previous owner to have also leased a comms or a GPS system that is restricted from the general public. Ford and several companies sell equipment specific to certain industries that a typical dealership would have little knowledge of unless they were in the business of selling to corporate/government buyers. Regarding the initial sale (lease) side, this is a highly specialized market with low margins and complex regulations requiring lots of effort by a dealer compared to selling cars to the general public. But once the vehicle is returned for a secondary resale it is a goldmine for dealers.

I'm thinking the previous owner either forgot to remove this antenna when it was turned in or simply removed any evidence of a corresponding transceiver or mobile interface (repeater). Antennas are cheap and generally have little security risk compared to the back end of a specialized comm or GPS system. If your curious, research Ford's fleet or first responder sales offerings. You might get lucky and find out what the specific antenna is used for and by it's frequency, have a better idea of whose truck it was.

I do not have a dealers license but I strictly buy public auction vehicles that are mostly federal assets resold when the useful government life has run its course as determined by age or mileage. Typically, these are managed through GSA on behalf of federal agencies in concert with various auction houses. Most are fleet vehicles that you can easily determine by a VIN search. Occasionally, certain agencies sell their GSA purchased vehicles without going through GSA on the back end as GSA charges a percentage of not only the initial procurement but also a percentage at the end of sale (auction price). Agencies with large fleets can save significant money by selling outdated inventory to the public directly. Other agencies, primarily federal law enforcement agencies do sell their old product via GSA but you'll never know it was a government asset. Furthermore, it is not unusual for these vehicles to be better than the typical fleet vehicles and similar to everyday manufacturer models like the XLT or an Eddie Bauer model as they may have been used in a covert manner and have dummy registrations with state DMV/BMV's.

My local auction house has had several contract sales to auction former DEA vehicles which were managed out of the Detroit or Chicago regional DEA offices. They may have been used by local law enforcement agencies for joint operations anywhere in the Midwest. Or they could have been used directly by the DEA/FBI for their own agents personal use or covert operations. I bought a DEA Jeep for my daughter which surprisingly had the agent's card buried under the front seat. It also was listed under an AutoCheck report as having several repairs performed by the local Dodge dealer just prior to delivery at the auction. I knew something was up as the report said it was a privately owned vehicle. This is a sign the government wants to conceal its use as a government asset as it could jeopardize the mission and secrecy of the agency or agent who is using this vehicle in the course of their duties.

I'm former Navy (and a service-connected disabled veteran). I specialized in communications and had a TS clearance. I have worked for defense contractors to support the military in the acquisition, integration and support of secure DOD computer networks. I'm no stranger to security and specialized equipment that's hardened to prevent unauthorized intrusions or penetration.

Well the Jeep I bought for my daughter had the AC repaired by the dealership under warranty to the DEA within weeks of my purchase as per the AutoCheck data. I knew it wasn't privately owned and the truck continued to exhibit the same issues the DEA experienced. I wanted the dealership to fix the problem properly at no cost to me. I had no grounds for action but luckily this dealer is pro military and supports many worthy veteran causes.

Also, there was an antenna like yours, but bigger, attached to the rear driver's side window. The windows were so darkly tinted it blended in quite well. I found the part number and was able to source it to a few limited contractors who didn't sell product to civilians. It was part of a secure communications/GPS location system designed for covert tracking and monitoring of the users (an agent's) phone activity, in addition, to co-existing with a traditional tmobile carrier, e.g. Verizon or Sprint. It was pretty cool.

When I googled the agent's name I saw he was responsible for taking down a major Mexican drug operation that was distributing really bad drugs in the Midwest as their national hub. Anyway, I called the cell number on the business card I had found and left a VM regarding the vehicle and the secure antenna. No one called back.

In my community the DEA has an office in the downtown Federal building also the agent lived in my community and was assigned to that office I tried to contact him again and no one ever returned my call. I eventually called the property custodian for property disposal in Detroit and told her about my Navy background, and the secure antenna. However. my priority was to see if I could get them to enforce their recent warranty service. I explained I would be grateful if they would cover my back regarding the warranty matter as my daughter was suffering in a truck with defective AC. I also explained that she was involved in helping adolescent addicts in recovery. I explained how I was trying to help her as a dad's obligation to a kid done good and she's leaning on me saying, "I bought her a sweat box". The DEA custodian lady had no idea about the antenna and when I asked her if I could speak with someone at the local office she said she wasn't a field agent and had no idea about how or who I could speak with at my local office.

I finally decided to go to the federal building and see if I could make any progress in person. On a late Friday afternoon I drove to the Federal building which was was essentially closed for the weekend. I explained to the skeptical security guards that I needed to speak with a DEA agent with the local office. They were not going to let me in and I showed them my military ID and they were less hostile.

When they requested the nature of my business I said it was dealing with secure matters that I was not at liberty to discuss with anyone outside of the agency, They finally called the DEA office and I was allowed to proceed. I was patted down like a convict and had to strip down in a secure holding room to assure I wasn't in possession of non-detectable weapons or explosives. I also had to leave my wallet, keys, pocket change and phone in a secure locker. These guys were pissed and I could tell they were ready to start their weekends.They undoubtedly thought I was a royal asshole and most likely insane as no one ever requested to visit the DEA office especially on a late Friday close to quitting time! I had to beg for them to let me use my cane and to keep a pen as I might need to take notes. They approved the cane and denied the pen. I was finally given instructions to the DEA's basement office and given my military ID and driver's license. The journey to the DEA office was exhausting and in the bowels of the basement. I was instructed by the security guards on the main level to ring their buzzer and wait for someone to come speak with me.

I did as told and an agent came out to speak with me and he had me follow him to a room outside of their very secure office. I explained my primary purpose was to see if they could assist me in getting one of their former vehicles repaired as it was not working right and still under their warranty from the previous month. He laughed as he knew exactly which vehicle it was referring to, the Gold Jeep! I gathered it was a pain in the ass for them too and I think the agent felt sorry for me as I was an old guy who could barely walk. I was sweating bullets and obviously worn out yet trying to do right by my daughter and also return a secure antenna.

He was Irish and working with the DEA on a joint international project. He said he had kids back home just starting to drive so he could appreciate my dilemma and tenacity. Also, I'm 2nd generation Irish so he realized I was hardly a threat to their mission. I showed him my military ID and he copied both my ID and driver's license. He said good luck with the dealership and to have them call their office if they wouldn't fix their screw up under warranty. I offered to bring him the antenna and he said it was a moot point. We parted ways and I thanked him for allowing me to state my case.

The following week I went to the Dodge dealer first thing in the morning, I had met some of there service-writers before as I'm also involved in veterans advocacy. Also, I had Disabled Hoosier Navy Veteran plates on the Jeep. Explaining the problem, they said I could pick it up later in the afternoon. I gave them the keys and my wife drove me home in one of our other cars. I called later and was told the Jeep was ready to go. When I got to the dealership they said they couldn't find anything wrong! I was devastated and decided to see if I could duplicate the problem to battle this issue for another day. To my surprise it was spitting icicles and I was relived.

My daughter lives in another city and she was driving one of my spare vehicles. She said she would come up over the weekend and pick up the Jeep. She said my Trailblazer was quite comfortable if I wanted to give her that truck. I laughed and told her not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I had never removed the antenna from it's initial location on the back tinted window of the Jeep. I told my daughter that maybe she could use it to get better radio reception. Two days later I thought I'd take the Jeep to the car wash to spruce it up for the hand off. To my shock and amazement, the antenna was sitting on the back carpet of the Jeep in about 100 pieces. I looked around certain I was under surveillance and turned around towards the street and saluted while loudly exclaiming "God Bless America!"

My daughter picked the Jeep up as planned and after visiting with us she drove it home (100 miles ) and said it was a cream puff and cold as can be. When I told her the story about the antenna she laughed and said I'm a crazy nut! About a year later, she was T-boned by a drunk driver coming home from work. She was okay but the Jeep was to be no more.

There's a moral to this story. If your antenna is not in the way of your driving, leave it alone! Finally, may your truck serve you well and without problems for a long time. Additionally, stay away from dealers who create nightmare problems.

Warmest regards,
Mike the Sailor
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