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.
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:
Unscheduled - Clean: means the order has reached FoMoCo, and is clean of any production holds.
Scheduled or Segemented: means the order is scheduled to a producton segment week. Once you see this, they typically won't accept any further changes to the order.
You can find more terms here: http://themustangsource.com/timeline/05/05/DealerStatusInquiryGlossary.pdf
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.
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.
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.
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:
Your vehicle is on the move.
To track the railcar, call CSX at 1-800-235-2352 When prompted for location or weight, press 1 or say "location". When prompted for the car initials, say "ETTX" or press 32-81-81-92. When prompted for the car number, say or press your 6 digit ETTX car number. 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).
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.
Tina Megan now has the original account: http://www.facebook.com/FordCustomerService
Eric is the other: http://www.facebook.com/FordCustomerService2
This now appears to be the new 'official' page: https://www.facebook.com/FordServiceUS
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!