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Mustang Steering Wheel Conversion

Discussion in 'Explorer - Ranger Interior Accessories' started by BonesDT, November 28, 2007.

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    1. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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      My steering wheel was getting soggy, the leather was fading, and the cruise control buttons were leaking light. So I went out and bought the FR500 steering wheel to upgrade and billet cruise control buttons. Never judge a book by its cover. They all looked like they would fit, but I realized Ford decided to make, what would only make logical sense to create identically, completely different steering assemblies.

      I forgot to take pics of the cruise control buttons, but Mustang billet buttons will not fit the Explorer. Mustang cruise control buttons are hard plastic pieces that operate by see-sawing. The 3-buttons on the right side are separated by 2 pieces. They are also not lighted. Explorer cruise control buttons are soft and one piece on both sides and light up with the instrument panel. The rear plastic housings for the buttons are different and actually mount up to the steering wheel completely different as well, so simply getting Mustang cruise control button housings are not going to cut it.
       

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      Last edited: November 28, 2007
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    3. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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    4. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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      Last edited: November 28, 2007
    5. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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    6. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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    7. briwayjones

      briwayjones Manual Master

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      Edit:
      Opps, started asking questions before you were done posting.
       
    8. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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      Last edited: November 28, 2007
    9. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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    10. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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    11. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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    12. studd469

      studd469 Active Member

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      wow thats looks like alot of work just to change the steering wheel, Looks great thought!
       
    13. Spdrcer34

      Spdrcer34 Well-Known Member

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      That is awesome!...

      I like it!

      Ryan
       
    14. Glen4X4

      Glen4X4 Explorer Addict

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      alot of crap but cool! :thumbsup:
       
    15. Exploderpilot

      Exploderpilot Well-Known Member

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      wow that is cool. when do we get to see the billet stuff?
       
    16. Cougarstang

      Cougarstang New Member

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      Wow, I am thoroughly impressed.

      This is my first post here. I'm actually a mustang guy. I came across this post because I've been searching casually for a few answers about a steering wheel project I have in mind.

      I actually have the FR500 steering wheel too (Direct swap for us :) ). However, for years I've been trying to figure out if I could ever adapt explorer/ranger cruise buttons to my mustang. The sole purpose of this is to have the illuminated buttons. From what I could tell, your cruise buttons have a bigger connector and a little ground on one of the bolts. I was toying with the idea of finding a wiring diagram from explorers and seeing if I could adapt your cruise buttons to my FR500 mustang wheel, and maybe tap into a power source somewhere for illumination.

      Bones, since you're already familiar with the differences between mustang and explorer wheels, do you know offhand if the explorer cruise buttons can mount on the mustang? I can't tell if the angle of the bolt holes are different. From what you say, it sounds like there may be an issue with lining it up on the tupperware, but there weren't any pictures. If they don't mount on the mustang wheel, what kind of fabrication would have to be done?

      Also, any suggestions on wiring the explorer buttons to work correctly in the mustang? I realize this is a fussy and seemingly difficult project just to get a few illuminated buttons, but your resolve is better than most of the mustang guys I've spoken to.

      Finally, does anyone know which year explorers/rangers illuminated green? My 02's gauge cluster is green, so it would have to match that.
       
    17. Cougarstang

      Cougarstang New Member

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      Also, if I may offer a suggestion regarding the off center steering wheel.

      Due to the shape of the mustang shaft, when re-installing the wheel, you have to turn hard to the right as you tighten the T-50 bolt. I had the same problem when I installed the FR500. However I re-pulled it, then installed it while pulling hard to the right and tightening the bolt at the same time (ideally you want 2 people to do this).

      That should solve your off-center problem :)
       
    18. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      This is a great detailed thread for the whole steering column and air bag assembly. I had to swap clock springs when I changed from my Limited steering wheel to a normal four spoke Explore wheel. There are some delicate plastic parts in there, mainly around the lock cylinder and the small wiring connectors, PATS signal module.

      Nice work, I was considering buying a Mustang SW before checking a local yard first. I did well for $25 for my current wheel. Regards,
       
    19. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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      OK, just to finish this up in case anyone digs this up in the future. I went on a "fix the little things" surge on my Ex this weekend.

      When I reinstalled my wheel, I used the Mustang turn signal cam and it made for a frustrating operation. The cams are phased differently, but they both fit both shafts, so make sure you use the Ex's cam.
       

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    20. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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      Last edited: January 19, 2009
    21. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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      You have to use the Mustang Clockspring Assembly with the Mustang Steering Wheel, because the Explorer's will not fit. The Mustang's clockspring has less wires because the Mustang cruise control buttons are not illuminated.

      Oddly, You have to swap the horn wires like shown in the first pic unless you want your horn going off all the time so that the black wire is grounded as opposed to the purple. I swapped the connectors since the upper one is bigger.

      The Mustang's right cruise control buttons work just like the Explorer's. However the left side on/off switch does not have the resistor you need. So you need to splice in a 1000-ohm resistor in the purple wire directly after the left-side switches (the Explorer has this resistor integrated in the switch box).
       
    22. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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      The Explorer's airbag is slightly too wide to clear the Mustang's cruise control switches, which are situated narrower than the Ex's. I'm in the market for a Mustang air bag to have it work perfectly, until then, you just have to push really hard to sound the horn.

      As far as wiring up the air bag, I'm leaving mine disabled permanently, but it shouldn't be too complicated to splice the connectors. However, keep in mind air bags are designed to explode at specific timing, so an air bag that is meant for a Mustang seating position may be dangerous in an Explorer.
       
    23. Devan

      Devan Elite Explorer

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      You know rather then going and doing all that you could have just taken a grinder or cut off wheel and turned the splined shaft into a DD shaft, prolly would've been better off doing that on account of your steering wheel being slightly crooked which could be attributed to a slight rotational difference in the steering shafts. If you did use a grinder or cut off wheel, the wheel would probably be nice and straight. And you could even grind it so that you can set yourself up with a little left and right rotational play on the steering wheel so that if it is off you can just loosen the steering wheel bolt and make a slight adjustment and then tighten the bolt down hard (Make sure to use some loctite once you finally have it in position). Plus based on the pictures and what you said it seems like the explorer shaft is beefier and better quality not to mention its the right one for that column. Also based on your pictures I probably would have been able to adapt the explorer clock-spring to the stang wheel and retain proper horn, cruise control, and air bag functionality even if I had to cut into the steering wheel frame. As far as the air bag goes I dont imagine their would be to much of a difference in the timing of detonation for the RCMs in both vehicles. I have an 01 cobra and an 01 BoostedXPLR and the RCMS are almost the same. And they both operate off a longitudinal sensor inside the RCM and thats the only sensor controlling the air bags unless your explorer is equipped with side air bags then it may have more. However the bags themselves might be slightly different but I dont think it would be much. And if you really are concerned about the air bag just swap the inflators if theyll interchange that is they might not, carefully drill the rivets holding the inflators in place and i mean carefully you dont wanna damage anything in there. you may have to cut, splice, heatshrink if they have different connectors.
       
      Last edited: February 7, 2018
    24. BonesDT

      BonesDT Elite Explorer

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      Lol. Maybe a viable alternative. But my way worked flawlessly for 8 years.
       
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    25. Devan

      Devan Elite Explorer

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      OK but did you ever get the steering wheel dead centered? Do you know if they make mustang steering wheels with the air bag blank like without the cobra lettering or mustang horse? im lookin around for one now. I did manage to find this. I dont know where to get it.
      http://www.allfordmustangs.com/foru...lar-fr500-type-thunderbird_steering_wheel.jpg
      I would love that wheel and my truck is supercharged so the SC logo would kind of make sense and I like the hand holders it has.

      *UPDATE*-I just found out its a 10th anniversary cobra steering wheel with a thunderbird supercoupe air bag. Now that would be a nice touch to my truck.

      I also just found out that the air bag in that wheel is actually rare to the thunderbird supercoupes, I was only able to find 1 on ebay for $140 as opposed to like $40 or $50 for all the others. Ill prolly get one from Car-part.com from a junkyard that doesnt actually know its rare lol.

      I think Im prolly gonna do this mod myself the way I was talkin about but I want this wheel with the SC air bag Mustang flat bottom steering wheel Dam they want like $650 bux and if i get one for my truck im gonna have to get one for my cobra too, my explorer cant have a better mustang steering wheel then my actual mustang lmao

      Theirs no reason to think that without swapping the explorer steering shaft and clock spring and instead adapting the mustang steering wheel to the explorer steering shaft and clock spring wont work flawlessly for over a decade because your not even removing anything from the column aside from the wheel lol
       
      Last edited: February 20, 2018 at 9:23 AM
    26. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Remember that the truck and car wheels don't swap on the other steering shafts. The splines are different, so you have to plan ahead for that.
       

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