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2002 Ford Focus Garmin Mount Opinions Requested!!!

Tiger-Heli 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
I drive a 2002 Ford Focus and with the help of this forum, I decided to (most likely) get a refurbished Garmin 2350LMT GPS. I then realized I don't have a lot of great mount options for the GPS, so I figured I'd see what the experts on here recommend.

For reference, the GPS will only be used occasionally for trips to unfamiliar areas, and I'm lazy enough to prefer something that can be removed as an assembly and stowed under the passenger seat. Since I'm only paying around $100 for the GPS, I'd rather not spend another $30 on a mount if something less expensive will work just as well. The interior looks something like this (not my exact car):

image

This is what I've considered and my thoughts so far:

Ruled out:

• I don't want a windshield mount for the obvious reasons of possible theft and difficult installation and removal.
• Neither of the friction (silicone or bean-bag) mounts will work, b/c they would be over the speedometer or over the passenger airbag.
• I often use the driver's cupholder, and I have a wireless thermometer in the passenger cupholder, so a cupholder mount won't work for me (and they would be lower than I want the GPS to be).
• The Arkon visor mount would be okay, but I'm not crazy about it - partly b/c I don't want a cord hanging down and partly b/c I don't want the GPS visible at night from following cars.
• I like the idea of a cigarette lighter mount, but I ruled out a Bracketron IPM-197-BL ($13 - http://www.bracketron.com/products/universal-usb-power-dock) and Scosche compact mount (virtually the same - http://www.scosche.com/consumer-tech/product/1831) b/c the GPS would probably be obscured by the steering wheel. (Not obvious in the photo above b/c the camera position is not the drivers head position).
image


Remaining options:

• I really like the concept of the Arkon GN097 ($11 - http://www.arkon.com/manuals/GN097.pdf) GPS mount. (The GN097-USB (http://www.arkon.com/manuals/GN097-USB.pdf) won't work if I want to get traffic info). I'm not sure of the length, but it should put the GPS easily viewable. Amazon reviews have been mixed from "Great Product", to "flops down and loses connection, flimsy connector wire comes loose, and fell apart and melted in my cigarette lighter". With my luck, mine will have issues - but I hate to assume that and rule out what could be a great option.
image
• I also somewhat like the concept of the stalk-mounted cigarette lighter mounts. Cellet has a pretty nice looking one for around $15 (can't find a manufacturer page - http://www.amazon.com/Cellet-Cell-Phone-Mount-Charger/dp/B004YE49ZA/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2), and Scosche (http://www.scosche.com/consumer-tech/product/2081) has one for around $25. Things I'm not crazy about with these:
image
image
o I'd prefer one with a ball mount rather then the universal "arms", but I haven't seen one. Most of the universal mounts that I have seen seem to use a "sliding tab" attachment, so if someone made a "Garmin Ball to Sliding Tab" adapter, that would eliminate the problem with the arms - although at additional cost. (Something like this, but in a single-T: http://www.arkon.com/manuals/APGN-VSM.pdf)
o I haven't been able to find great info on the Cellet, but I'm not sure how well the mount would work with the powered mount on the 2350LMT. It seems to be designed more for cel phones with the power cord coming in from the side.
o Other than the price, I don't see huge drawbacks to the Scosche, other than the universal arms, but I'm also not crazy about paying almost twice as much as my other options for a mount that I'm not absolutely sold on.
• The final option would be a vent mount (Arkon GN047 - $5 http://www.arkon.com/manuals/GN047.pdf). Initially, I wasn't crazy about this idea, but I'm thinking it might be my best choice, b/c "It's the least expensive option and I can be reasonably certain it would work, and it should be fairly compact to stow under a seat". My main question if I go with this is where to mount it. The center driver's vent would be fine, but I'd prefer the center passenger's vent - it's a bit higher, I'd rather not lose one of "my" vents, and I might want a passenger to tell me what the GPS says. The issue here is the airbag deployment area. It should be low and in front of the airbag, so I'm thinking if the airbag deployed it would (hopefully) (???) knock it down and toward the driver's knees, but I'm not sure of that. It might be better to use the center driver's vent (slinging the GPS at the driver's feet won't do the GPS any good - even if it might be safe enough for the driver), but I wanted to see what you thought.
image

Thanks in advance for reading this and any suggestions!!!

Comments

  • sussamb 792 Points
    I use the supplied windshield mount in both my cars, nothing difficult whatsoever in installing it, or removing it. I sit it in bottom right corner of screen in mine, for you it would be bottom left.
  • Tiger-Heli 0 Points
    I don't want to go with the windshield mount. Partly b/c I have an Ultraguage mounted in the lower left (which negates any theft argument I could raise), but more b/c I have had issues with them being hard to get a good seal unless both the mount and glass are really clean.

    I think I'll most likely end up with a vent mount - it is the least expensive and seems like it will be the most reliable - AND - I like the overall location for my car.

    I might go with the i.trek IG-A03 since it has springs to lock to the vent.

    I wouldn't mind some feedback between these two either. The IG-A03 has a swivel for the ball mount, which I don't think I would need. The spring clips on the IG-A03 are suppose to be more secure, but the lower support on the GN047 (which supports the weight) looks beefier to me.

    The main question though is whether I can use the upper center mount to attach it to. It is supposed to be mounted clear of the airbag deployment area, but nothing really tells you how far that extends (you can see the airbag cover in the photo above).

    Thanks again!!!
  • I found a temporary (at least) solution for the Focus.

    For background:

    I contacted Cellet and they said their mount would not work with a Garmin.

    I contacted Arkon and they said the GN097 is about 8-inches long and the "riser" is about 3-inches of that. They also said that the mount shouldn't flop down, but some cigarette lighter's inserts will spin, so that might be the issue. I would prefer something longer, but the shorter length makes less stress on the device.

    I contacted Scosche and they estimated the PowerMount was about 5-inches for the flexible part.

    I ended up going with the I-Trek IG-A03 for the following reasons:

    image

    - Reviews on the comparable Arkon GN047 were about 50% positive. Reviews on the IG-A03 were about 80% positive, but many of them started with "I bought this to replace a horrible GN047."

    - I thought the spring clips would hold better than the plastic clamp clips on the GN047.

    - I thought the adjustable ball mount might be helpful since the Focus vents can swivel down. I ended up not needing to use it.

    Reviews varied from saying the ball was too large (fixed with petroleum jelly) to too loose (fixed with electrical tape). Mine was a very tight fit, but I figured it will loosen up with time, so I didn't want to mess with it.

    OTOH, the "hook" portion of the arms was too thick to fit between the vents of the Focus. I didn't want to do so, but the mount was useless otherwise, so I ended up cutting off the lower portion of the "hook" which allowed it to fit in the vent and it still managed to lock onto the vent.

    The GPS position is about perfect. I only used it once so far, but it held over potholes. Initially, the vent slid down a bit from the weight of the GPS, so I angled it back up a bit, but that was no problem.

    OTOH, for most cars, but especially for the Focus, this is really either a permanent or an occasional solution. It is too cumbersome for usage where you want to daily install and remove the GPS.

    Semi-Permanent mounting would be an option, the mount is not visible at night unless you are parked under a street lamp, or likely in the day if you had tinted windows.

    Long-term, I need to decide between the following options:

    - I might continue to use this mount - as I really only use the GPS for long trips or when I am unsure of a destination.

    - I might go with the similar Arkon GN047 vent mount (But I'm not sure if it will clear the vents either - I did read that the "arms" are interchangeable between the mounts).

    - I might go with the GN097 lighter mount - I like the simplicity and it seems like it could be quickly mounted and removed.

    - The Scosche Power Mount is also a possibility. I just hate paying 30% of the GPS cost on a mounting option.
  • Ragman 0 Points
    Arkon GN047 vent mount. That is what I use.
    I Filed down the very tip of the clips just ever so lightly. After I was sure the vent would move left to right I then used small tie wraps to keep it clamped tight. Other wise the clips did lose some grip in the heat. I'm in AZ so we have heat. Hope this helps.
  • Ragman - Thanks!

    What kind of vehicle do you have, and do you remove the GN047 often or do you leave it on the vent?

    Thanks again!
  • Ragman 0 Points
    I have a 07 Toy Camry. (Inside louver is Vertical - Left and Right, Outside Louver is Horizontal - Up and Down)
    I keep mount in and take Off 2555 when leaving car. If I need or feel I don't want to show any GPS equipment, the tie wraps do slid back towards the fastening of the Nuvi and a small finger to expand clips pulls it right off the vent. Does that make sense? ?
  • Thanks - I'm still kicking around what I want to do, but it's really hard to get information without someone else with the same car.

    The Focus vent louvers seem like they are about 8mm apart and 8mm deep (front to back) - but then again, the "arms" on the IG-A03 measure to be about that thick and I cut off about 2-3mm to make it work (???).

    Anyway - I played around with the IG-A03 a bit more, and I don't think it is going to work out very well long-term for me. I don't want to leave the mount up all the time, and I want something secure, but something quick to put up and down. The modified IG-A03 fails the last two things - it installs quickly, but with the GPS unit in the bracket, I could easily tap up on the bracket (removing tension from the leg), and pop the GPS off. OTOH - if I wanted to remove the GPS mount, it takes around 30 seconds of careful maneuvering and worrying that I will break the mount.

    The GN047 has a bit of an advantage in that the clips go above and below the vanes, rather then having to slide over the top like the IG-A03. The close-space vanes on the Focus are also somewhat of an advantage in that even if they loosened up, I'm not sure they would just let go (but the thinness of the vanes doesn't help) ... The release mechanism also looks a bit easier. (Overthinking this again, but I could probably glue some black plastic to the bottom of the vane to give the GPS mount more to "grip" to, without it being obvious inside the car).

    The position is ideal, though ...

    OTOH, the GN097 is mind-numbingly simple and should take no more time to mount than plugging in the power wire, but there have been some reports of it flipping down on some cars.

    What I DEFINITELY do NOT want to do is have wasted $7 on the IG-A03, spend $5 plus shipping on the GN047, $9 plus shipping on the GN097, and THEN have to spend $30 on the Scosche.

    So I'm sorta back to square one...

    UPDATE: - I finally got "smart" on this. Best Buy had the GN047 for $5 with free shipping and the GN097 for $7 with free shipping and free returns - so I will try both of them out. If either one completely fails, I can return it and not be out anything - otherwise, I'll keep the most useful one (or I might keep the vent mount for the Focus and use the lighter mount for rental/loaner cars - portable use.

    Thanks again!!!
  • Ragman 0 Points
    What ever one you get will be trail and error so good luck.
  • Correct, but this way I'm not out any $$$ if it doesn't work out.

    And thank you for the suggestions - I'll let you know how it goes!!!
  • To re-cap - I am looking for something similar in functionality to the friction mount that my son uses in his Civic. Simple to drag out and plug in and plop on the dash. Simple to pull off the dash and stow when you reach the destination. The Focus airbags don't allow a dash mount other than over the speedometer. The quest continues:

    The two Arkon Mounts arrived Tuesday, and I picked up a Scosche Power Mount yesterday. Preliminary impressions:

    GNO47 Vent Mount

    The GN047 Vent mount seems like a good design and I really "want" to be able to like this mount. The position is excellent and the mount sticks out perhaps a bit less than the IG-A03. It holds much more securely than the modified IG-A03 (and that is a big part of the problem). It would be a great solution if I wanted to attach it and leave it mounted to the vent. The Focus vents are closely spaced enough that there is just "barely" enough room for the top and bottom legs of the "arms" to fit between the vents. That means that the mount is EXTREMELY hard to remove. I can eventually do it, but I usually end up prying one set of legs apart with both hands (not exactly a discreet option to hide that there is a GPS in the car!!!). I'm really tempted to try cutting maybe 1/16-th of an inch of thickness off the "teeth" of the arms or maybe off the top and bottom of the arms - but of course that makes it non-returnable and might make it not function as well.

    I "really" would like for this to work - the placement of the GPS is almost perfect and it is very useable. Also, I can tuck the power cord into the "pocket" below the aftermarket stereo, so it gives a very clean look without obscuring anything.

    I tried using vise-grips on the mount arms to loosen them up, but it didn’t help. I got the arms where they would barely close and then closed them back a bit, but the mount was still VERY difficult to remove.

    I considered buying a vent at a junkyard and removing the entire vent and mount and swapping it in and out as an assembly. The Focus vents are removable by hand. It's not simple, but it's easier than wrestling the GN047 off the mount - but it's hardly an elegant solution, plus the mounts weren't designed to be removed several times a day.

    I also "could" leave the mount attached and just hope nobody realizes what it is and breaks the car window to get the GPS.

    GN097 Lighter Mount

    The GN097 lighter mount was somewhat the opposite - it might be the best solution, but I really wasn't impressed with the overall design. The good news is that the position of the GPS was "workable" - it is closer to me and lower than I would prefer, but it is not obscured by the steering wheel. It does block the channel select buttons for the radio, but I can deal with that. The bad news is some of the negative comments from the Amazon reviews seem to be correct. The mount won't flip down in the cigarette lighter from its own weight, but you can easily spin it by hand, and it doesn't seem like it would take a large bump to make it turn (on the other hand, in two days of driving, I never had a problem). Also, the Focus cig lighter is constantly powered, but the GPS did not come on immediately when I plugged this in (once), so either there was a loose connection at the lighter or at the dongle. Finally, the dongle was viewed as a weak point. I'm not seeing this (although the power wire was fairly thin), but I think the design would have been better with an integrated socket. Also - I thought I would be able to secure the dongle to the mount with electrical tape, but the dongle wire is too short to really allow this. Finally - the mount would be much better if Garmin offered a 1-foot power cord, but I don't think they do.

    This is the most functional of the mounts - i.e. I can pretty quickly plug in and remove the GPS - which is what I was after. OTOH - I'm not crazy about either the position or the way the cord hangs down while using the GPS, but it works.

    Scosche IUH12V

    I also ended up trying the Scosche mount. It has most of the features of the GN097 and perhaps some other advantages - i.e. the socket is integrated into the mount, the support is more flexible and also longer, so I might be able to zip-tie the power cord to it, etc. I got it at Wal-Mart and can take it back if it doesn't work. I had high hopes for it, and it seems like a quality piece, but I had two major problems with it:

    The combination of the mount and GPS and the lever arm means that the mount puts a fair amount of pressure on the cigarette lighter socket. (My lighter socket is somewhat loose from an earlier time when I was trying to pant the center dash trim, but still ...)

    More importantly, the "holder" will not work with the Garmin powered mount. The cable forces the mount away from the holder and then the holder has no grip.

    I was able to position the GPS a bit better than with the GN097, and Arkon makes an adapter (AP2T17MM) that would allow the plug wire to connect (but I'm not sure it will work with the power mount), and I don't want to order it and find out it doesn't work.
    http://www.scosche.com/ecom/download/IUH12V_SnglPg.pdf
    http://www.arkon.com/manuals/APGN-VSM.pdf

    I spent some more time with the mount this morning: Positioning is slightly better than with the GN097. The GPS is still closer to me than I would like, but it is not obscuring the radio or anything else any more. It would be possible to use the Garmin with the mount as is, but I would have to not use the power cord (and thus lose traffic info) and would have to either use the internal battery or use an extension cable and the USB input (if that works). My ultragauge works with the T slot on the Schosche, and it was not designed for it, so there is a fair likelihood the Arkon adapter would work or could be made to work. It also looks like the cable could be tied up neatly to the arm of the mount. (I "might" try to adapt the IG A03 to it I have nothing to lose with that at this point.) OTOH, it does NOT look like it would be easily possible to drill a hole in the Scosche "holder" to allow the cable to be used.

    Summary thoughts and things I would like advice with:

    The GN097 lighter mount is likely my best option. I'm not crazy about the placement of the GPS nor the cable management but it is a simple plug in and take down option, which is basically what I was looking for.

    The Scosche is probably going back to the store. It's too bad as it is slightly better than the GN097 and more convenient than the GN047, but I don't know that I want to have 5x the cost of the GN097 invested in something that is "only slightly better."

    The GN047 has the best useability if I can deal with the difficulties of taking it off. I'm thinking I "might" keep it mounted for general use of the GPS or long trips, and remove it and use the GN097 for trips in "risky" areas. My main question here is how much risk there is having a GPS mount visible in the car. Unless I am going downtown, I usually don't remove the aftermarket radio faceplate, and to me personally, I wouldn't risk stealing a GPS, but I've read reports of people breaking into cars for the spare change on the console, so I could use some advice here.
  • Okay I think I finally figured out how I want to go with this:

    First the things that I ruled out:

    I considered doing something with angle iron per this site: http://www.knology.net/~drcannon/mioc230mount/miomount.htm
    I like the concept, but I don't see the skills to make it work for me.

    Next the Scosche mount is going back. I just can't see spending $35 plus on something that REALLY isn't going to do the job for me.

    I don't think I'll use the GN097 lighter mount. It's the quickest to mount and attach but the final placement is less than ideal. I'll probably hang onto it b/c I could see it being useful for a loaner car or maybe if the lighter were someplace else on another car.

    That brings me to the GN047 Vent Mount. I looked at the car at lunch and it is a VERY tight fit getting the mount on and off the vents. I think shaving a couple mm off the top and bottom "teeth" would make it easier to take off and probably not affect function but I would then worry about it losing grip over time and or not working well if I traded cars and wanted to use it with a new vehicle.

    On the other hand, once you get the hang of it removing and replacing the entire dash vent is a 15 second process and several junk yards quoted me $5 for a replacement vent (but I haven't actually located one yet). While unorthodox, I'm thinking this might be my best bet!!!

    Still to be resolved is how I will actually pull this off but I can decide that on my own what I mean is:

    I might end up swapping the non GPS vent for the good GPS vent virtually every time I get in the car but this is unlikely. (Not sure I'll use the GPS that often).

    I might end up keeping the GPS vent in the car almost all the time, and only swapping in the non GPS vent when I get somewhere that I don't trust leaving any visible evidence (downtown parking lots, etc.).

    Most likely I'll probably only use the GPS occasionally and just swap in the GPS vent when I want to use it and using the non GPS vent most of the time.
  • My main question here is how much risk there is having a GPS mount visible in the car.
    I don't think there's going to be a good answer for this - it's one of those things, where it's perfectly safe until someone smashes your window.

    That said, I use an UltraGauge with a windshield mount permanently attached to the vehicle and I haven't had any issues with it (and I suspect it looks like a small GPS to most people that would be tempted to steal it).

    And I went by a Toyota Highlander today at a convenience store that was parked outside with the engine running and an iPod plugged into the charger, so I don't think crime is very bad in my area - but I don't see the sense in taking needless chances.
  • sviking 141 Points
    Off topic, I know, but since there's no PM function... :roll:

    Do you fly Tiger helicopters?
  • Nope - The standup arcade game was my favorite game in college and I used to be active on an arcade controls forum, so I just kept the same nick on all websites:
    http://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=10112

    Not sure that link works, but ...
  • sviking 141 Points
    Nope - The standup arcade game was my favorite game in college and I used to be active on an arcade controls forum, so I just kept the same nick on all websites:
    http://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=10112

    Not sure that link works, but ...
    Ah, I see. I was curious since I flew Seahawks in the Navy.
  • SViking have anything to do with the Lockheed S-3?
  • sviking 141 Points
    SViking have anything to do with the Lockheed S-3?
    No. I flew rotary wing ASW aircraft.
  • Got it - I did know what a SeaHawk was ...
  • sviking 141 Points
    Got it - I did know what a SeaHawk was ...
    Really? It's pretty much the only helo the U.S. Navy flies anymore. Even the venerable CH-46 Sea Knight has been retired. It's the sea going version of the Blackhawk...
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