The P71 Learns to Cruise

A friend of mine just picked up his own P71.  It just so happens to be a 2008 and in the same color as mine.

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Naturally I think it looks fantastic.  We put a nice new set of Firestone Firehawk 500 tires on it along with Hawk street pads and new Centric rotors.  Then all the fluids were refreshed including the brake fluid.

He drove it back home and his copilot (who has mucho track experience) said that it drove like a 4000 pound sports car!

So my friend said that there was just one other thing that he wished his P71 had – cruise control.  In fact he did a substantial amount of research on the subject and came up with the fact that since both our cars were newer than 2005 P71s all we needed was a steering wheel that had the controls on it and swap it out for the standard steering wheel.  Then we would have to take it to the Ford dealer and have the PCM programmed to realize that it was now a cruise control CVPI. 

A quick scan of what was available on eBay and we found just the wheels.  The clock spring on our cars was fitted with the correct socket for the new wheels to be plugged into so all we had to do was remove the old wheel and replace it with the one that had the cruise control switches on it.

There are plenty of YouTube videos out there showing you how to properly remove the “air bag” and then the steering wheel.  Ford recommends that you use a new bolt to hold the replacement wheel on and torque it to the proper specifications (30 lb/ft).

With the battery disconnected and the SRS capacitors discharged, it took a 4.5 mm allen wrench to push the steering wheel springs in one at a time and release each of the hooks that hold the horn button/airbag on.

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There are four holes that help you guide the allen wrench to the spring wire and push it off the hook.

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It may take some finagling, but it does work and the horn /airbag comes off the wheel.   Then you take a torx socket and remove the bolt holding the wheel on.  It takes a puller to get the wheel off.  I went to Harbor Freight and found a set of three for about $30.  I used the smallest one and the wheel popped off nicely.  Oh yes!  Leave the bolt in place but loose when you use the puller! Or the wheel will go flying!

The replacement wheel went on nicely and so did the new bolt.

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An appointment with the local Ford dealership was made and their tech used their magic software to let the car know that it now could do cruise control.  That was the most expensive part. 

So a test drive showed that the car now had the luxury of cruise control.  When the switch was turned on there was nothing indicated, but when the speed was set there was a nice indicator in the tachometer to let you know.  When you put on the brake cruise was auto disconnected as it should be.  Hitting the resume button brought back cruise.

What fun!

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