Cruise control steering wheel switch replacement | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Cruise control steering wheel switch replacement

Hello, I am new to this forum and this is my first post. I just bought a 2001 ford ranger xlt last week. I noticed that my left cruise control switch (on/off) was not lit up at night, however the cruise control did work. I wish I wouldn't have done this now, but out of curiosity I popped out both switches to take a look at them. I didn't remove the horn cover or anything, I just popped out the switches. (I hadn't found this forum at that time). Well needless to say when I popped the switches back in the cruise control no longer worked. Apparently they didn't snap back in to the wiring harnesses. Also my horn doesn't work now. Is the horn wiring and the wiring for the cruise control switches tied in together. I'm wondering if I perfom the procedure listed here to replace the switches will it fix both my cruise control and my horn? I'm frustrated at myself for jacking this up. I wish I would have left it alone. Thanks for your help.

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Second, it's very easy to reconnect the wires upside down. They snap right in, just like it's put together correctly. This is a MAJOR flaw in the design of the part. The plastic ridges on the connector go up (that is, towards the driver) and the single wire that goes to the horn goes towards the top of the steering wheel. This is true on both the left and right switches.

If you get a connector upside down, the exact symptoms will vary depending on which connector is wrong. Your first clue may be the horn honking constantly when you reconnect the battery (MNGohper said this was particularly startling in a closed garage!). For us, the green "Speed Cont" light on the dash began flashing when we turned the car on, and the "OFF" button on the switch honked the horn. Needless to say, the cruise control does not work.

Finally, if you're like my husband and want to test the installation before putting the air bag back in place, you can. It should work perfectly without the air bag module (you'll see a yellow air bag icon on the dash, though). When we had the connector wrong, we wondered if our problems were because of the air bag not being in place. That was not the problem.
swebb50,I'm guessing you hooked up a/both connectors upside down....;)

Thanks for your response. When I removed the switches I just snapped them off without taking anything else apart. I'm pretty sure that when I put them back in that they didn't slide back into the connectors on the wiring harness. It sounds like there is a wire that goes to the horn from the wiring harness. So, I'm thinking that's why the horn doesn't work now? I ordered the switches off Amazon and I'm going to replace them. I'm hoping that when I install them correctly this time (by following the procedure on this thread) that it will fix my cruise control and horn issue. If the switches did not get connected back into the wiring harness would this cause the horn not to work? I guess that's my main question at this point. Thank You for you help :)

Just finished this Job

Getting the Harness out of the New Switches is a $#%#%#^ The tip about the feeler gauage is priceless.
getting the conectors out of the old switches is simple if you pry out the circuit board it falls out and does not hurt the connector.

10 minutes total once the airbag was discharged.

I successfully installed the new switches a couple weeks ago. It went pretty smoothly. It made me nervous removing the airbag but it went smoothly. Took me about 30-45 min taking my time. It wasn't too hard for me to get the new switches off the harness. I just used my fingers and wiggled them back and forth while squeezing hard. Thank you everyone for your help.

You guys are fricken amazing - but do have a question?

Ok so like everyone else I was afraid to do this but based on all the feedback and instructions I decided to do it.

The plugs on the side of the steering wheel came right off, the two bolts (one on each side) came right off. The horn/airbag assembly came right off with one connector. Oh yeah I did disconnect the battery ahead of time.

I also took the time to understand and take off the new wiring harness from the new switches. Then when I went to replace the switches:

1. Based on my VIN number, etc, I was told to use SW-5919 where others on this post used another switch (SW-5928). Does anyone know the difference?

2. My new switch harness had the GROUND wire on the LEFT HAND SIDE where as the original had it on the RIGHT HAND SIDE. Does that matter?

So far everything is working OK so I am guessing it doesn't matter. Everything lights up and CC works as expected. But I don't like difference :-(


does any one know what each wire goes to on the cruise buttons?

No need to remove the airbag.

I just changed mine out, the cruise control on the left side of a 2000 limited.

After doing it and looking on the inside and how its all put together I dont believe you have to remove the airbag at all. My year might be different than others because my switch is held in place simply with a lip and not a screw that I remember reading earlier you had to remove.

Simply take a flat screwdriver and insert it between the hard plastic and soft rubbery plastic on the back side of the steering wheel directly behind the switch. Push it in until it hits the back of the switch and starts to push it out. At the same time you can take another flat screwdriver and help it along from the front by inserting it on the edge of the switch and pushing the rubbery steering wheel material to the side allowing the lip to clear it.

Then just unplug the wire clip, attach it to the new one and slide it right back in. Done!

Another excellent thread started by Al Franklin, may he Rest in Peace.

Cruise control stopped working a while ago, i.e. one of the symptoms of brake deactivation switch recall. Has recall done, fuse harness installed, but not new switch. Cruise control still not working. Did the cruise control diagnostic test, the SET ACCEL button didn't flash and noticed the "ear" was very loose.

Read shop manual to get to the switch and states to remove ground cable to battery and remove battery to starter cable, then wait one minute and remove airbag from steering wheel.

I noticed the starter cable step is missing in this thread. Is the starter cable removal not necessary, but wait fifteen minutes to remove airbag after battery disconnect a substitute step ?

Note 1997: AWD 5.0L

Edit: Horn works & fuse #13 (15 Amp) in compartment fuse panel is OK, dos not appear to be a fuse in the distribution box.

Edit #2: Starter cable removal not needed, I did wait 15 min before taking airbag out. Bracket to screw was broken on RH "ear" switch, so ordered new "ear" switches (Motorcraft SW5919 Cruise Control Switch)

Edit #3: Got them in. The connectors were a real :censored: to disconnect. Did the "wiggle" method. The old ON-OFF switch plastic/rubber facing came apart while attempting to remove, so I tore the guts out. Was real easy to remove after that. :D

Anyway, ran the diagnostics and got 3 flashes at end=brake deactivation switch is bad. Just did the recall last week. Dealer put in fuse harness, but not a new switch. :mad:

Horn trouble with Cruise Control Replacement

I am working on replacing the cruise control on my 2001 explorer and when hooking the battery back up my horn starts and will not stop going off. Any suggestions on what I did wrong or how I can fix this?

Did you mess with the horn activation brackets under the airbag (i.e. tighten the star bits holding them), are the black ground wires attached to them, and check to see how far your airbag is "in" before tightening the bolts holding it... If it is too far in, the horn will be activated.

I didn't have a feeler gauge but I used a guitar pick (which I have hundreds of - medium gauge) and shoved it in on the bottom of the ribbon cable, pulled on the cable block with my index and thumb side to side and it came out in about 5 seconds.

I also used my wife's red fingernail polish and put a dot where the actual button for the 'on' switch is at (above and left of the 'ON' silkscreen) so you know exactly where to push and don't endanger the cover from becoming torn again.

What a crappy design this was. Why didn't they have removable button covers? Wait! I know the answer to that one.

Here's another tip. I just replaced the cruise control switches on my 99 Ranger. The new switches and wire harness were easy to separate with a feeler gauge. The old switches and wire harness did not want to come apart. I did not want to damage the old wire harness so I used a pair of wire cutters and broke the plastic on the old switches above where the wire harness plugs in and the wire harness lifted right out.

I just replaced the harness and the switches on my 96 explorer. The original harness is installed behind the steering wheel itself, I carefully disconnected the connectors, then cut the wiring harness out with dikes, then slid out the old wiring, to install the new harness I carefully trained the wires to bend into the edges and around the plastic shell
not behind it and away from the air bag and horn. Worked great took 20 min. My horn went off when reconnecting the battery, after an air bag adjustment it is now perfect.
Thanks for all the info here!

When I mentioned replacing my cruise switches to my ex-Ford mechanic neighbor, he also suggested disconnecting the battery, but also suggested pushing the brake pedal to "use up" any leftover electrical voltage in the electrical system...

Just finished replacing the cruise control switches on my '01 Sport. Thanks for such great guides, everyone. The only thing I'll add is that the airbag retaining bolts on the '01 aren't 8mm. Right side is 10mm; left side is #30 torx - and it was a bear to get loose!

Thanks to all who contributed, took 30 minutes, parts from Amazon.

Just finished replacing the cruise control switches on my '01 Sport. Thanks for such great guides, everyone. The only thing I'll add is that the airbag retaining bolts on the '01 aren't 8mm. Right side is 10mm; left side is #30 torx - and it was a bear to get loose!

Are you sure your airbag wasn't replaced, or had screws changed- I've never seen an Ex that had 2 different bolts in the airbag.

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Problems with CC switch/harness installation.

So I decided to do this job last week as my on/off buttons were toast. My four year old son decided to hasten the degradation process of the plastic by jabbing his iron man arm through the degraded plastic. I purchased the switches and harness from Amazon for $88. I disconnected the battery, removed the air bag retaining bolts, removed the right side switch and unplugged from existing harness, and proceeded to pull the wires out of the connector plug on the on/off switch. After removing the damaged wiring harness and installing the new one and plugging into the new right and left side switches and the steering wheel, the right side switch does not work and the right side horn spring switch does not activate the horn. The left side switch works, and the left side spring switch activates the horn. I swapped out the new right side switch with the old switch to no avail and I swapped the spring switches with one another still the right side spring switch does not activate the horn. Am I right to assume that the new wiring harness is toast or could it be installed upside down the in the switch?