Turns out many cars nowadays ship with cruise control from the factory. Of course mine didn’t. So I set out to add it on my own.
Something funny about car manufacturers is that usually they make the same car even if it has different features (packages/extras) on them. What they usually do is instead of adding functionality to a base model, they remove functionality from the full extras model. So in other words, if you buy a car without any of the extras, it would be equivalent to the full extras car with all of the extras removed. So this means that you can add the extras again if you need to.
The cruise control package is something that usually runs about $1500 at the dealership. I’m gonna show you how to add it for $53.
In order to perform this mod your car should have throttle by wire which means your accelerator pedal is not directly linked to the throttle valve of your engine, instead the pedal position is interpreted by the ECU which in turns open or closes the throttle for you. In other words is like a digital throttle.
Here’s the tools you need.
- Philips screw driver
For the following mod you will need 2 key components, I got them from eBay:
- Steering wheel buttons with Cruise Control $35 on ebay
- Brake switch GJ6E-66-490. $18 on ebay. This switch is important because it contains two switches inside, one for the brake lights and the other to cancel the cruise control when you hit the brakes.
- Noise filter G22C-66-990B 66-990A (Optional, you can make the changes yourself)
In order to perform this mod you will have to handle the airbag system in your steering wheel. I just want to inform you that those things are dangerous, and you must take all the precautions necessary to handle it. I’m not held responsible if you damage it or accidentally activate it. Do this mod at your own risk. 😉
The process is fairly simple.
Turn off your car, park it with the wheels facing front, disconnect the battery, then try hitting the brakes a couple of times to remove all stored current in the system. Let it sit for 30 minutes after that just to play safe; we need to remove all current to prevent the airbags from activating themselves.
Remove the steering wheel. To do that, you have to remove two screws at each side of the steering wheel, that will allow you to remove the airbag. After the airbag is removed put it facing up in some place safe far from where you are working.
There will be a big nut attaching the steering wheel to the steering column, make some marks with some permanent marker so that you can leave it the same way it was before. Try not to move the steering wheel from the marks ( circled in red)
Loose the nut but don’t remove it completely, you will need to pull the steering wheel towards you with fair amount of strength, the nut will stop the steering wheel from hitting you in the face. 😛
Once removed you want start removing the existing steering wheel controls, they are attached using some screws to the back of the steering wheel, that’s why you had to remove it first. Notice the blank section at the right?, we will put the cruise control buttons there.
Once you added the new buttons, you have to put everything back the way it was. Notice the difference, we got cruise control buttons now!
Now onto the brake switch, this part is the hardest one. You have to remove the existing brake switch, and replace it with the new one. But in order to do this, you have to change the noise filter as well. You can do this easily if you find a replacement (junkyard, used), but if you can’t, you can modify the existing noise filter cable to include the missing cables and connectors, that is what I did.
The following image details the location of the brake switch and the noise filter, they are close to your break pedal, in green you can see the existing brake switch, circled on yellow you will see the noise filter.
The noise filter comes with two connectors, with 2 pins inside in each one, your goal is to increment the pins to 4 on each side.
In the following image you will see there are only 2 pins, and empty slots for the other missing two.
After adding the pins you will have the four required pins. For these pins I used a leftover fog light connector that came with some HID lights I bought at amazon, they turned out to be an exact match!
As you can see here, I zip tied the new cable (red/black) into the existing noise filter cable (white/black), with this modification you can now tell the ECU that you have a way to cancel cruise control. Also if you don’t have this switch, cruise control will not work, it is a requirement for cruise control.
Put the noise filter back in place, remove existing switch (you do this by turning the switch 90 degrees counter clockwise) and put the new switch in, then connect everything up. Just make sure to connect the brake switch connector LAST, if you don’t do this, you risk wasting your brake switch, since it will adjust itself as soon as you connect the white connector to it. ( it has a tab inside the connector that gets pushed in when you connect the noise filter connector to it. So it must be in place before you do this.)
After everything is in place, you can turn your car on, and test the buttons! If you press the On/Off button you should see the CRUISE MAIN light up in your cluster.
Test drive and feel the cruise power! If your CRUISE indicator turns on (GREEN) you are all set! In order to check if your brake switch is working, tap the brakes once when in cruise, your CRUISE indicator should turn off and the cruise control will be canceled.
So as you can see, by just adding the buttons to the steering wheel I have cruise control on a car that previously didn’t have, and would have cost me $1500 from the dealership. Car manufacturers are greedy…
Some say knowledge is power, in this case I can tell you knowledge will save you money.