Zorba's JeepCruise control installed AT LAST! The Rostra brand aftermarket cruise control wasn't bad to install at all, although it took some careful thought. "thecruisecontrolstore.com" included terse, but helpful instructions over and above what Rostra included. Most helpful were the color codes for the wires that needed to be tapped - with one exception. One wire, switched +12 volts, was listed as being an orange wire, when it really was an orange wire with a pink stripe - thank Goddess for the TJ forum providing the Factory Service Manuals (FSMs) for all years of TJs. Although it can be a bit clumsy to switch between different pages in the PDF, it nonetheless gave me the correct colors and pinouts of all relevant signals!
Cruise Control At Last!
Installing cruise control lever on top corner of steering column shroud.
Lever's angle is adjustable...
... and hides the works with this rubber boot.
Lever in place, partially blocks fuel gauge - see text.
Located for easy operation from steering wheel.
Existing holes in driver's side inner fender enlarged and primed.
Electric servo installed.
Underside of fender, showing new bolts and washers. Note small
fender washer (foreground). I had found it in the street - see text.
Cruise cable connected to throttle.
Finished cable routing.
Driver's side firewall, near steering column where new hole will be punched.
Inside of same.
Drilled, then ¾" hole punched.
Inside of same.
Underhood wiring now in loom.
All the way to the firewall.
But had to tear into the dash to be able to connect everything!
Much easier to tap into the brake switch wiring behind the instrument cluster.
Blue tach wire not used, so it was grounded per instructions. See text.
Tapped into the Vehicle Speed Sensor signal at the sensor on the transfer case.
Splice is as ugly as home made sin, but should be waterproof.
It also turned out to be much easier to tap into the brake switch wiring behind the instrument cluster (hence the above picture all torn apart) instead of the logistically impossible to reach (for a big guy like me) brake switch itself which is so far under the dash that I would have had to have removed the driver's seat to be able to lie down to get my head in there! There was also some confusion on my part regarding the need - or not - for a clutch switch. Every cruise control on a manual transmission that I've ever been involved with had a clutch switch to deactivate it on clutch depression. However, this cruise control unit has the capability to not need a clutch switch - it can detect clutch depression via a sudden increase in engine RPMs via the tachometer signal. So I didn't buy the clutch switch. Long story short, the tach signal on this particular vehicle model isn't compatible with the cruise control tach input - so a switch had to be ordered and installed. See below.
Although its possible to install the factory cruise control into a TJ that didn't come with one - and the TJ forum has instructions on how to do so - I elected not to. Mainly because the factory system follows the all too common style of having the cruise control buttons on the steering wheel. I, hate, Hate, HATE, *HATE* any buttons on the steering wheel other than the horn. I've never been able to operate steering wheel cruise control buttons without looking down at the wheel to do so - whereas a stalk of one sort or another is far easier to use (for me at least), plus the buttons are always in the same place as they don't turn with the wheel. The GM style control as found on the lever I chose is completely comfortable and intuitive to me. Cruise control is the *ONLY* "technology" I want in a vehicle - but I insist on it, I'm a very heavy user of same.
But as my late father always told me, as soon as you modify something, there's a tradeoff. The tradeoff here is a partially occulted fuel gauge. It isn't nearly as bad as it looks to be from the above picture, and its better if I lower the wheel with its height adjustment feature about ¼" from its usual position at the top of its travel. This means that I finally found a use for a tilt/height adjustable steering wheel - something else I generally think is kind of dumb.
Funny story about the washers on the inside of the fender that hold the servo bracket in place (see above picture). I needed two ¼" washers, one "regular", one "small fender". I had plenty of regular flat washers in that size, as well as plenty of fender washers. However, the fender washers I had on hand were much too large to fit in the area required. Fortunately, I had found, and picked up the smaller fender washer I ended up using from the middle of the street about a week before I used it here! A close look at the picture shows marks on the washer from lying in the street and getting run over. I love synchronicity like that...
Lastly, Rostra makes a number of different styles of control handles for their cruise controls. The outfit I purchased from supplies this:
... as their default, which I didn't care for. I requested, and received this:
... instead. Its highly angle adjustable, which the default control is (apparently) only slightly, plus it has buttons of a style that I'm used to and find intuitive to use. Best of all, the on/off is a slide switch, not a button - which means I can leave the cruise control "on" all the time. I never understood why later cruise controls suddenly starting having on/off switches - I want to be able to press "set" and go without having the damn thing defaulted off, then it doesn't engage, so I have to turn the stupid thing on and start over. Smells to high heaven of lawyers and/or government stupidity!
Don't get me wrong, the default shipped by the vendor is a nice control, it just wouldn't work for me. Unlike the one I chose, that control is also available in a right hand orientation as well. However, I'm used to the GM style control with the "set" button in the end, and "resume" on the front side. In absence of measurements, their default also looks like it would be too short for this vehicle, and I don't know where/how it could be installed as the steering column shroud already has stalks coming out both sides and there really isn't any place to mount anything else there. The angle adjustability of the control I chose let me put it on the top of the shroud and angle over to the exact "right spot". The default control does have an LED that mine does not - but I've never had an LED on a cruise control control handle before, I'd never see it as I don't look at it anyway. If I had wanted to actually look at the control rather than operate it by feel, I would have just gone with the OEM cruise unit and its steering wheel buttons...
As mentioned above, I needed to install a clutch switch for the cruise control. It was a minor pain in the ass, but I got it done. Mounting the switch was a challenge, and as such things usually turn out, I would have done it slightly different if I had to do it again - but it seems to work well enough. In addition, since the Rostra doesn't have a "cancel" feature, I installed a PBNC in series with the clutch switch to fulfill that function.
I really wanted to locate the added cancel switch on/in the steering column shroud, but the switch was too long to fit anywhere therein that was workable, so I ended up putting it on the kick panel as can be seen below. Sub-optimal, but workable. At least it'll always be in the same place and I can find it by feel. I had a momentary scare when drilling the hole in the plastic kick panel for the switch. The step drill got away from me and drilled a larger hole than I had intended. Fortunately, the hole was EXACTLY the correct size. Any larger and it wouldn't have worked - the switch doesn't have much of a flange. Athena watches over her servant!
Removed driver's seat so I could access the underside of the dash area...
Said seat spent 24 hours in the garage.
Prepping a hardware store bracket...
...which was then added to the supplied bracket that holds the switch itself.
Whole thing installed under the dash. If I had to do it over again, I would have installed
a pair of back-to-back brackets between the two existing bolts, instead of drilling a new
¼" hole (center) which was a challenge being next to the clutch master cylinder!
Added through-bolt peeking out from under the master cylinder in the engine compartment.
This was a royal pain to get drilled out. Overspray is from the primer I shot into the new hole.
Pushbutton switch for the added cancel functionality.
Cancel switch with added wiring installed on kick panel.
Wiring harness. Black plug goes to the clutch switch, the pair of whites softwire the cancel switch.
Hanging down under steering wheel...
...and plugged into the cancel switch.
Kick panel in place.
Illuminates at nite.
Gassed it up...
...and took it for a drive!
Upcoming project, Ham radio!
Read on for the next part!