The Easiest Guide to Modding Sync 3 with FMods

Written by Brian Lovelace

Over the years of working with Sync 3 in cars, there has always been a constant question asked... "Can Sync 3 play video?" For a long time, the answer has been a flat NO, but with recent developments from a team of dedicated programmers and tinkerers over at FMods.net, they have come up with a way to successfully hack Sync 3 to accept modifications.

Just a disclaimer, this is not only guaranteed to void any warranty you might have, but some of the mods may be inherently dangerous. If you decide to pursue this project you may face unexpected issues that are not covered in this video & guide. NaviUpgrade makes no guarantees you'll be successful in your endeavors to apply this modification to your vehicle. You are doing these mods at your own risk. NaviUpgrade is in no way responsible for improper installation or loss caused by pursuing this project. These mods allow enabling video in motion; you are responsible for using modifications in accordance with your local, state, and federal laws. NaviUpgrade may not be held accountable for any loss or damages caused by using Sync 3 modifications in any situation.

What You'll Need

Now that's out of the way, lets get into what you'll need to successfully complete this project. Most importantly, you'll need a Sync 3 APIM. You can either buy an APIM to do this project on, or pull your current one from your car. If you're not sure if you have Sync 3, check out our post on How to Tell the Difference Between Sync 2 & Sync 3.

Next, you'll need an eMMC reader. This is a specialized tool that is designed to connect your Sync 3 Board to your PC. There are quite a few variations of this tool as there are different pin structures for different model year APIMs. Usually for 2018+ APIMs you're going to need a different tool than 2016/2017 APIMs.

Here's a small list of eMMC readers that FMods suggests (pulled directly from the FMods Forum).

  • MobiTech eMMC Reader (complete setup) (300 USD)
    • Fitment support for MY17 + MY18.5 APIMs, according to the vendor
    • This seems to be the most popular and recommended device
    • Contact "Dung" in the Telegram group or via Facebook for purchases.
  • Unknown Vendor eMMC Reader (complete setup) (250 USD)
    • Fitment support for MY17 + MY18.5 APIMs, according to the vendor
    • eBay protection
    • Contact Salam69 or directly the eBay vendor for additional informations.
  • Unknown Vendor eMMC Reader (complete setup) (110 EUR)
    • Fitment support for MY17 + MY18.5 APIMs, as it seems

      ^^^ NaviUpgrade has this reader on order and will be doing a full comparison between this reader and the U-OBD eMMC reader once it is delivered.
  • U-OBD Ford SYNC3 eMMC programming fixture (99 USD), including pogo probes, cables, eMMC adapter PCB and USB MMC reader. Fitment support for MY17 and/or MY18.5 APIMs unclear

    ^^^ This is the tool you can see us using in the NaviUpgrade video tutorial. Keep in mind this only works with older style APIMs.
  • "Basic Ford Sync3 Upgrade Tool" on AliExpress (around 50 USD), similar to U-OBD, but without cables, eMMC adapter PCB and USB MMC reader. Fitment support for MY17 and/or MY18.5 APIMs unclear
  • SD-EMMC Plus Adapter - Model SE-P1 (17 EUR), eMMC to MMC adapter only, no cables, no pogo probes, no USB MMC reader
    • SD card PCB port out on AliExpress (around 13 USD), eMMC to MMC adapter only, no cables, no pogo probes, no USB MMC reader
  • DIY Accessories that might be useful:

So here's the visual difference between the older 2016/2017 versions of the APIM daughter boards are, and the 2018+ boards. Before purchasing any of the above boards, I would HIGHLY suggest that you take your APIM out and inspect it first. Check out how the two daughter boards differ in appearance and layout below.

2016-2017 Style APIM Daughter Board
2017+ Style APIM Daughter Board

Finally, you'll need a Philips Head screwdriver, along with a 32MB+ (pretty much any size is fine) flash drive formatted to FAT32, along with a Windows PC & Oracle VirtualBox Software.

What You'll Need to Download

Steps to Modify Sync 3 with FMods Tools

Video Tutorial

Step 01 -- Removing the Sync 3 Daughter Board

In order to write directly to the daughter board using an eMMC reader, you'll first need to remove the daughter board from the Sync 3 APIM. This can be easily done using a Phillip's head screwdriver.

Step 2 -- Mount the Sync 3 Daughter Board to Your eMMC Reader

Step 3 -- Install Oracle VirtualBox to Your PC

Step 4 -- Extract the QNX Evaluation Runtime

Step 5 -- Setting Up Your QNX Virtual Machine

5a) Open VirtualBox and click "New"

5b) Name Your Virtual Operating System "QNX Sync 3"

5c) Allocate at least 512MB of system RAM to the VM

5d) Set up an existing virtual hard disk drive with the extracted QNX Runtime

Click the folder icon at the bottom right
Add a new virtual hard disk with the button in the top left
Go to your download location and enter the extracted QNX_Evval_RT folder, then enter the "Neutrino641Target" folder inside of there and select "Neutrino641Target.vmdk" and hit open.
Click choose one you've opened the virtual hard disk.
Click "Create" to finish creating your QNX Virtual Machine.

Step 6 -- Extract the FMod Daemon Installer Zip & Copy the Contents to a USB Flash Drive Formatted to FAT32

Extracting FMods Daemon Installer
FMods Daemon Installer Copied onto USB Flash Drive

Step 7 -- Open VirtualBox & Start Your QNX VM

Log into your QNX Neutrino Virtual Machine with the Login, "root" and Password, "password."

Attach your USB thumb drive by exiting your mouse out of the virtual machine by pressing your Right Ctrl key on your keyboard. Go up to Device > USB > then select your USB thumb drive in the device list there.

In my case it was listed as "USB Disk 2.0"

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