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inkblot

Useful resources for those joining the Ford Family

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Howdy!
I'm fairly new to these forums myself, and as I look around the Welcome forums I see a lot of folks like me.
Someone who lurked here, doing research before purchasing their (next/first) Ford vehicle. Someone who has (or is about to) take the plunge, maybe even special ordering their new car or truck. Someone who can't wait to learn all about their new vehicle and don't want to pester their salesman until they get thrown out of the dealership.
So, I thought it might be nice to collect some of the useful tips I've learned the past few weeks. These are some basic information gathering tasks you can do if you've ordered a new vehicle and can't wait until it arrives. Undoubtedly, you've noticed the "Vehicle Locator By Ford Employees" forum. While it's a wonderful and generous service provided by "someone on the inside," we must always remember it's entirely voluntary and never abuse the privilege. With that in mind, here's ways to keep yourself occupied without needing to pester cyberdman. :)
New Orders
When you make a new order for sale or lease, the Dealer (or possibly a Build Manager at their dealership) enters the order into the Ford system. This will generate three things: an order number, the vehicle's VIN, and a projected build date. When tracking your vehicle through the build process, a Ford employee can look things up by either the Dealer Code + the Order Number, or by the vehicle's VIN. For most of the sleuthing we can do, we need the VIN. So when you place a special order, try to get the VIN and projected build date whenever you can.
When looking into the status of your vehicle, you might bump up against some of Ford's tracking terms. Some common ones are:
Window Stickers
One of the first ways to 'track' your order is by grabbing the Window Sticker from Ford. There are two ways to accomplish this: first, by crafting your own URL.
Put this into your web browser's address bar:
Then put your VIN at the end of it, and hit enter.
You can also click through this link:
And simply type or paste your VIN into their form. I believe they rely on the same system, but if you're paranoid use the first link; fordvehicles.com is Ford.
Now, just because you've placed a special order and gotten a VIN, doesn't mean the Window Sticker will work right away. Window Stickers don't tend to appear until 4-7 days prior to your build date. So this is the first way you can tell when your vehicle is ready to be built.
FordEtis
Aimed at auto techs, the FordEtis website is an online database for those who service and repair Ford vehicles. It also provides information about specific vehicles by VIN. And not just 'decoding' the VIN (where some basic options can be determined by the letters and numbers), but by actually pulling info from Ford's databases.

 

Go to http://www.etis.ford.com and click on the "Vehicle" tab. Enter your VIN and click "Search."

First of all, don't panic if the vehicle it finds doesn't match what you ordered. Especially would-be Fusion owners. :doh:

Like the Window Sticker generator, your vehicle's info might not show up in the system right away.

  • Early on, you might get errors that the VIN cannot be found.
  • Later, a simple entry might come up with just a few lines of data. The vehicle type might be incorrect, and the build date will show: "30.11.0002". Dates are displayed day/month/year, and 30.11.0002 seems to be a place holder until the actual build date is in the system.
  • Even more later, often on or just around your build date, the entry should fill out with more info, including your actual build date (note: it might not match the project date your Dealer gave you), as well as an expanding section called "Minor Features" which lists all the build options your order did or did not take.
Rail Tracking
And finally, if you've been on the forums awhile and use the Vehicle Locator by Ford Employees forum, eventually you'll learn when your vehicle is complete and placed on a railcar for shiping to you. Like me, you're probably bouncing off the walls at this stage wanting to get your hands on your hot, new, little car or truck. How to do it?
If you post to the tracking forum for an update, and you get a message like this:

 

In Transit - Shipped Rail - Railcar # ETTX711123 (Ferrocarril Mexicano S.a. De C.v. ) Ramp 54, Hermosillo Asy, SO Feb-07-2013, 19:00 MT.

 

Your vehicle is on the move.
  1. To track the railcar, call CSX at 1-800-235-2352
  2. When prompted for location or weight, press 1 or say "location".
  3. When prompted for the car initials, say "ETTX" or press 32-81-81-92.
  4. When prompted for the car number, say or press your 6 digit ETTX car number.
  5. When prompted for the next car, press ## or say "Done".
A recorded voice will tell you the last known arrival or depature location of your railcar. Most times, it won't provide an ETA (and anyways, it's likely not an ETA related to your vehicle specifically).
Facebook
Some friendly Customer Service reps have Facebook accounts where you can ask questions. Keep in mind, this is publicly visible, so I wouldn't go posting anything you don't want the whole world to see.

 

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I'd like to thank all the kind and knowledgable folk on these boards, from whom I was able to compile these tips and tricks. If anyone else has any tips or info, please post below. Mods, if you feel this would be useful, could you make this topic a sticky? Thank you!
Edited by inkblot

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inkblot - THANK YOU!! This is a great tool. I would love to have had this available to me back in December/January. I had to do a lot of reading of differant forums to get this. Nice to have it in one place. I don't know what 'sticky' means here, but I do hope they make this a perm. here so future buyers can find it in one spot. Again, thank you for this!

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Do you have the information about which facebook forum Natasha is on (I think that is the right person.) I've read several posts about people communicating with her during their order and delivery process. Thank you.

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Do you have the information about which facebook forum Natasha is on (I think that is the right person.) I've read several posts about people communicating with her during their order and delivery process. Thank you.

Natasha is no longer there, it's Trina ( Ford/Lincoln ) now

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Is it the standard Ford page on Facebook or a special page?

 

TIA.

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Is it the standard Ford page on Facebook or a special page?

 

TIA.

Try: Trina at Ford

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Hi inkblot,

 

I want to say thank you for all the great helpful information that you took the time to gather and put together- - all in one place -- for us newbies who special ordered a FORD vehicle. I placed my order for a 2013 Fusion Hybrid Titanium on 12/4/12 and still do not have a VIN, but I am very excited to begin tracking my new car if and when I do get the VIN! Thanks again!

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This is a great posting, and something that I was seriously thinking about doing. I know when I receive my MKZ in a week or so, I am taking this information to the Dealership to discuss why (as the expert) they did not educate me on the Pre Order process and provide me with as much information as these Forums have.

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Natasha is no longer there, it's Trina ( Ford/Lincoln ) now

Eric at Ford has also now joined Trina.

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There is also Trina at Lincoln

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Thanks for the information, I have been waiting 6 weeks and just got my VIN 5 days ago. Will try your sources and see how it goes.

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Thank you!

 

How accurate is the Build Date info provided by ETIS? The reason I ask is because the build date in ETIS is 1 1/2 weeks earlier than what the dealer told me.

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Thank you!

 

How accurate is the Build Date info provided by ETIS? The reason I ask is because the build date in ETIS is 1 1/2 weeks earlier than what the dealer told me.

ETIS is what everyone here uses to determine when their car was built. Cast in stone, as far as I know.

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ETIS is what everyone here uses to determine when their car was built. Cast in stone, as far as I know.

 

Okay thanks. Hopefully that means my car will arrive soon.

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Awesome thread, really explains a lot. I should have the VIN for my new Edge soon.

 

Thanks.

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Great topis and posts. Just received my VIN today on my new Ford Escape and will keep trying the sites listed until the window sticker shows up. Wish the dealerships were more willing to share this info.

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This is a great posting, and something that I was seriously thinking about doing. I know when I receive my MKZ in a week or so, I am taking this information to the Dealership to discuss why (as the expert) they did not educate me on the Pre Order process and provide me with as much information as these Forums have.

Tanner, what did the dealership have to say?

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Excellent info - it really helps having it all in one easy to reference place. thanks so much for compiling this.

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Thank you for the concise summary Inkblot. Has anyone successfully obtained a VIN through the Ford Chat feature on the Ford build page? As a new Buyer I have tried that a couple of times but have to date they haven't been able to tell me anything. I'm looking forward to using the other tools you listed once I get my VIN.

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Awesome tips on the CSX tracking, thanks!

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Thank you thank you thank you. This is so helpful. I have been sifting thru hundreds of posts trying to get this exact information

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This is great information. But I can't figure out how to post to the Ford vehicle tracking section on this site. I am hoping to get my rail car designation. The dealer can't seem to give it to me. Does the 10 post rule apply to posting anywhere on this blue forum site?

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This is great information. But I can't figure out how to post to the Ford vehicle tracking section on this site. I am hoping to get my rail car designation. The dealer can't seem to give it to me. Does the 10 post rule apply to posting anywhere on this blue forum site?

 

You need 10 posts before you can ask for vehicle tracking. You have 8 right now.

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Thanks. I actually was originally confused because cyberman's instructions had a hyperlink associated with the words "this site" when I first looked at his post 2 weeks ago. My virus checker warned me the link was suspicious. I figured out today that it meant this blue oval site.

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PS. His instructions are now fixed. No link

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