Here is a list of the parts you'll likely need:
1) Cruise control solenoid. (Should have servo cable attached.)
2) Cruise control solenoid mounting plate (Likely already attached to the solenoid when you buy it.)
3) Bolts for mounting the solenoid bracket. (I used license plate vanity bolts I happened to have lying around, whatever works.)
4) Wiring harness pigtail for solenoid. (The 4 pin is all you need, but the more wire the better.)
5) Vacuum line. ( I used windshield washer line of the same diameter.)
6) Clockspring with cruise control pigtail.)
7) Cruise control switches. (These are different for different years. I think '03 is the changeover year.)
8) ECU pins. (I got a whole wiring harness because I didn't know what I'd need, but all I used were 4 pins from the ECU plug. If you can find them separately, post a link and I'll update this thread).
9) Spade Connectors. (Or solder or crimp, whatever you prefer).
If you don't know what these look like there will be photos in the writeup, just read on.
BTW: jeepsareus.com sells a kit for this if you have the wires installed for $300 if you don't want to expend a huge effort sourcing parts. The wiring harness is another $300 though. I couldn't justify the expense, but the time saved would have been immense. If ya got the plug, you should probably get their kit.
Steering wheel puller. (If you already have the proper clockspring you won't need this.)
Metric socket wrenches. (╝ is best for tight spaces like behind the airbag.)
32 Safety pins for if you screw up royally. (More on this later.)
Now you need to pull your airbag to see if you have the right clockspring.
Unplug your negative battery terminal and wait 5 minutes for the capacitor to discharge. You don't need to unplug any fuses. No power= no airbag. Do be careful here. I gotta admit, I felt uncomfortable until the thing was out and unplugged.
You are looking for the cruise control switch wires.
They may lead to the dummy covers where your cruise switches would be.
If you have these GREAT! You don't need a new clockspring. You won't need a steering wheel puller, and you only need parts #1-6. (This is gonna be so cheap for you.)
So I began by getting every part on the list and a full wiring harness. The harness alone is now $300 in addition to the $300 you spent for a factory cruise control kit. I spent $260 for everything at a salvage yard: the whole harness, fuse box, clockspring, everything. Deleting unnecessary items might have dropped my cost to $140 or so. Hindsight. Agh.
But, as I like to make things difficult. My donor vehicle was a '98 and mine is an '04. FUN!
Fortunately there are pre-drilled holes in the fender-well with a backer plate already there!
All I had to do was grab some old green plate mount bolts and, easy.
Lead a vacuum line (or washer fluid line, whatever) along your servo cable to a plugged T that is just below your intake manifold on the driver's side.
Cant see it? Find a vacuum line and run the length of it. You will find it. If it ain't there I'll be surprised.
Remove the plug and connect your line, soapy water helps ease the process. We're only talking 15psi max (I have heard) so it just press fits.
Zip tie the vacuum line to the control cable so it doesn't escape. (You can see this in the photos above indicating solenoid location.)
A side note: I'm pretty new here but I have had great luck on this forum with polite, thoughtful posters and I'm trying to give back by posting some info. Thanks for all your help with my other problems whether you know it or not.
I am not debating whether a TRUE jeep should have cruise. I wanted it for my long drives out of Texas to backpack or flyfish or whatever and I am so glad to have it. Thanks for understanding that some jeepers really like having this.
Ok, slow Monday morning. Lets give your cruise control some senses and then a brain!
First the senses. Your cruise must know when you are pressing its buttons. For this you will need the proper clockspring.
Remove your Airbag just like you did when you checked to see if you had one already. (If you have one, you'll have to do this anyway to install your new buttons.)
The best tool to use for this is a small 1/4" ratchet with a 10mm socket on a short extension. A 10mm spin-tite will also work.
I think 1997 had a horn cover that integrated the buttons. You need to be sure you have the right buttons for your model year. I had to source some on ebay for my '04. I have a set of 1998 buttons. They are different shapes for the different model year's wheels and worse, different resistances! So no matter what, the buttons and clockspring will have to be from your specific model run.
Here is a photo of a set from a 1998. I am selling them when I get time. PM me if interested guaranteed to work for a '98. Check for other years.
Ok, remove your old clockspring. There are tabs at the top and bottom of the clockspring.
Pry them up gently and pull the clockspring off.
Disconnect any wires running to it and remember where they went.
Install your new clockspring the reverse of how you removed the old one. Reinstall the wheel, be sure to carefully route the clockspring wires through the center hole. Reinstall the wheel nut and torque it down.
If it is a new model you will need to remove a centering pin from the top of the clockspring. It looks like a little T handle.
By "Every TJ" do you mean the '97 models too? It would be really nice to have cruise on my '97 but I remember reading about the omission of a cruise control dash light on my model. This is a cool thread, expecially if it will work for my TJ!