Add Cruise Control for Cheap!

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murdoc

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So, in the years I've owned my Liberty it has always REALLY bugged me that it didn't have cruise control. I mean, for Pete's sake, it has the downhill descent control, but not cruise? I've done a lot of searching online and found kits for sale for upwards of $300!, or lists of part numbers for the switch, and how to cut the steering wheel opening. Well something finally dawned on me, why not just buy a used steering wheel that already has the cruise option from the factory? My steering wheel was crumbling a bit anyway, so two-birds one stone. Right?

So here are the instructions:
1. Head over to https://www.car-part.com/. Search for a steering wheel that fits your model. For me, I have a 2009, so anything from 2008-2011 should work. Find one you like that states it came with cruise control.
a. I found a grey rubber one that matched mine for $30. Called the junkyard and verified they had the part, it came with the cruise switch, and I verified the harness hadn't been cut. They shipped it right out to me for $50 total.
2. Get a loaner-tool "Steering Wheel Puller" from your local auto parts shop.
3. Disconnect your battery.
4. Turn on your headlights. (Yes, after disconnecting battery) to discharge any residual charge in the system.
5. Remove your airbag. By FAR the hardest part of this whole procedure. I actually found it easier to press in the horn-airbag, reach in and lift the retaining clips with my fingers. Hard to describe. Search Youtube for videos for "Jeep Liberty Clock Spring Replacement". Like this one: Click Here You do NOT need to remove any of the shrouding or panels like this guy did. Just rotate the wheel around until you can access the three openings from the back.
6. Now that the airbag is loose, unclip the two leads going to it. Unclip the harness that the horn buttons are connected to from the clockspring behind it.
7. Remove the 13mm bolt in the middle of the wheel. You'll notice there is an indicator at the 12 o'clock position on both the metal of the wheel and the steering shaft.
8. Use the puller you borrowed. Mine had two hooks that worked nicely to secure the puller to the wheel. Get that old wheel out-a-here! Careful you don't spin the clockspring around. Keep it in place.
9. Line up the marks of new wheel with mark on the steering shaft and slide wheel on. Be careful to line up the clockspring as you do this so you can access the connector through the wheel opening.
10. Use the retaining bolt to press-fit the wheel on and torque down.
11. Connect the horn-cruise harness to the clockspring.
12. Reconnect the airbag leads.
13. Snap the airbag back into place.
14. Reconnect battery.
Done!

Congrats! You now have cruise control! And in my case, a much better condition wheel.

Some thoughts:
- Don't just buy a cruise control switch off of amazon. Yes, they are cheap, but I doubt they'll have the wire harness with them. And yes, the wire harness is different. On the old wheel it will just have the horn wires. There isn't just a connector lying in there waiting for a cruise control switch. The cruise control wire harness combines the horn and the cruise control into one connector that plugs into the clockspring.
- If you don't like the condition of the junkyard wheel when you get it, you can always just pull the cruise control switch and wire harness from it and use in your original wheel. If that's the case, you don't need to pull your old wheel at all. Just remove the airbag and you should have enough access to install everything. Though cutting the foam hole for the new stalk would probably be easier with the wheel off.
- Since this is really just a plug-and-play upgrade without needing any programing, I'm super made I didn't do this years ago. Best $50 I've ever spent on this Jeep!

Picture Notes:
- I'm attaching a picture to illustrate a few things:
- In RED - mounting holes for cruise control switch-stalk
- In YELLOW - Holes that I used to hook behind with the steering wheel puller.
- In ORANGE - The connector for the horn button harness. This black wire harness going to the white connector at the top of the wheel is the one that changes when you add cruise. The cruise control wires splice into this harness.
- In BLUE - Where you would need to cut the foam if you are adding cruise without changing the wheel.
- Note the three tabs at the 2, 6, and 10 o'clock positions. These are the tabs the airbag clips onto.



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lfhoward

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Nice work! Amazing that it is plug and play with no reprogramming. Can you show a picture of the new steering wheel? Is it like the old one with the stalk or is it one of the new style wheels with buttons on the spokes?
 

murdoc

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I really wish I had taken a picture of the new wheel before installation. I might try to get a picture up soon. Just hate to take that darn airbag out again!. But yes, it looks exactly the same, just with a stalk hanging out. I did not try to upgrade the wheel to a newer style. I just keep it simple. The goal was to get cruise control as cheap as I could. Mission accomplished!
 

nmbluept

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Hold on a minute. That seems way too easy! Just add the switch and magic you now have cruise control? This implies all of the rest of the cruise control hardware is already present under the hood. Guess I need to go look under the hood of my 2006 Sport and see if that is in fact the case. I certainly don't recall seeing any cruise control type hardware around the throttle body.
 

murdoc

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Hold on a minute. That seems way too easy! Just add the switch and magic you now have cruise control? This implies all of the rest of the cruise control hardware is already present under the hood. Guess I need to go look under the hood of my 2006 Sport and see if that is in fact the case. I certainly don't recall seeing any cruise control type hardware around the throttle body.
Yes, just plug and play. Technically you need the switch and short wire harness (in orange in my picture). Not sure about your 2006 (KJ), but on the 2008+ series (KK), I believe it is throttle-by-wire, so no other hardware is needed. Everything's already there in the computer. There isn't an external module under the hood.
 

brucenland

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I did the same, bought the steering wheel switches and harness off amazon. Plugged all in and it worked. The dome consol and alarm were a little bit tricky as I had to buy the temperture sensor and wire into the plug at the back of the vehicle.
 

MKnight318

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I literally did almost the same last weekend on my 2009 Liberty Sport(non-Cruise Control). I needed to replace my steering wheel. I bought one that had the cruise control, mine didn't have that. It plugged right in and worked immediately, with zero issues.
 
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