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young-blood 04-22-2011 01:38 PM

Junkyard Cruise Control Install for every TJ
Jeep Wrangler Cruise Control

Ok, so this was a long time coming but I finally got around to doing a write-up on installing cruise when you don't have the wires using only salvage yard parts.

This should cover all years more or less. If you come across something different let me know. (Other than wire color, every year seems to be different).

Going to be typing this up in parts due to work and boredom. Hope to finish the thread by the end of next week. Gives you time to get parts and work along with it if you like ;)

One day you too can have more buttons!

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:39 PM

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.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:42 PM

BTW: 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.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:43 PM

Steering wheel puller. (If you already have the proper clockspring you won't need this.)
Wire strippers.
Allen keys.
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.)

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:45 PM

The first thing to check is what parts you actually need:
If you have this plug scream HALLELUJAH! You are in for an easy install.
You will only need items # 1-7

(This is grump010 's pic. I didn't have one of these.)

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:47 PM

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.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:49 PM

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.)

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:50 PM

OK for the rest of us who do not have these parts I'm gonna go through the whole install. (The rest of you lucky ones should be able to tell where you need to skip a step.)

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:52 PM

I started under the hood. I hadn't thought to check if I had the clockspring because I assumed jeep wouldn't put one in because I didn't have the plug. (Now you know better.)
No plug here. Dang.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:53 PM

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.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:53 PM

First thing is to find a suitable mount for your solenoid. Older TJs have a charcoal canister next to the master cylinder. The solenoid will mount right up.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:54 PM

Newer TJs like mine have mounting locations for a special bracket if you get the right mount.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:55 PM

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.

Here's the backer plate.
Nice that at least one part was easy.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:56 PM

Ok, now you have it mounted, route the control cable to your throttle body. The guides should already be there for you right next to your throttle cable.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:57 PM

Clip the cable into your throttle body gently. It feels pretty fragile when you try to snap it into place.
Pretty self explanatory as all the mounting points and the square hole it clips into are already there. See the diagram above for clarity.

young-blood 04-22-2011 01:58 PM

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.)

Ok, easy part done! You have a solenoid!

Now you need something to tell it what to do.

Ageless Stranger 04-22-2011 02:07 PM

This is going to be a cool thread. :thumb:

young-blood 04-22-2011 02:12 PM

Ok, more to follow on Monday.

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.

young-blood 04-22-2011 02:13 PM


young-blood 04-25-2011 11:35 AM

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.

young-blood 04-25-2011 11:36 AM

On pre- 2003 models (I think this is the changeover year but I could be wrong) you are looking for a wire that looks like this:

young-blood 04-25-2011 11:40 AM

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.

young-blood 04-25-2011 11:45 AM

As before, you better have unplugged your battery and let the capacitor discharge for a few minutes!

If you do not have the correct clockspring you are going to have to unplug the horn and airbag wires from the airbag.

Remove the airbag and place it somewhere safe. It is a tiny bomb.

Make sure your wheels are pointed straight ahead.
Remove the steering nut in the center of the wheel with a large socket, it is in the center of the wheel.

young-blood 04-25-2011 11:49 AM

Now you get to use your steering wheel puller.
You can get a steering wheel puller from any autozone. They are less than $30 and work for multiple vehicles.

The puller has multiple pin sizes.
Look at the holes on either side of the steering nut.
Place the appropriate sized pins through the puller thread them into those holes.

young-blood 04-25-2011 11:55 AM

There is a bolt that goes through the center of the puller and sits on the steering post where you removed the steering nut.

This is going to take some effort and you may have to wiggle the wheel, but it will pop off withing just a few turns. One it pops, remove the wheel puller and the wheel should slide right off.

young-blood 04-25-2011 12:00 PM

Now remove the plastic covering that surrounds the column. There are a couple of phillips head screws on the underside of the shroud. remove them and it will pop right off.

young-blood 04-25-2011 12:03 PM

You'll need to remove the dash panel below the steering column as well.
Pretty self explanatory, but here's a pic:

Mine only has two screws, this is a diagram form an older jeep.
(Didn't think to scan this section of my service manual, too obvious.)

young-blood 04-25-2011 12:07 PM

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.

young-blood 04-25-2011 01:00 PM

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.

KP Texan 04-25-2011 01:04 PM

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! :thumb:


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