My cruise control will not come on

Tiny
TSCPNATE
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 FORD WINDSTAR
  • 3.8L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 37,592 MILES
My cruise control will not come on not even for the self test I've tried many times.I've replaced the brake pressure switch on the master cylinder twice, I've checked all the fuses especially fuse #10, I've already ordered the upper plenum gaskets to be replaced for the lean codes and that should fix the vacuum leak as well as the lean codes. Checked and metered the sub or engine harness the connector as well as the main harness.(I just didn't want to only one), checked the fuse boxes (under driver side and in engine well)I did test the egr egr switch, regulator, vacuum lines, egr tube, maf, tps, iac, all standard bolt- ons and sensors on the motor.I even fixed the stupid little clip deal on the intake runner control arms I just replaced them all 1 was not connected.I haven't tested the solenoid for the cruise control or the pressure switch under the dash for the brake pedal or o2 sensors .I have a spare motor complete turn what do I need to do
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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 AT 3:28 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
None of the parts you listed are involved with the cruise control. First of all, do you have a green light on the dash that turns on when the cruise is turned on? If you do, is that working? If not, the first suspect would be the clock spring. That's a wound-up ribbon cable in a plastic housing under the steering wheel. As that cable continues to break, you'll also lose the horn, and the Air Bag light will turn on.

The next thing would be to connect a scanner so you can see what's happening and what's missing. If it's like the Chrysler scanner, it will show the state of all related switches, ("pressed" or "released"), or "on" or "off", and it will list the "reason for last cutout". That is useful for intermittent problems like when the cruise stops working after you hit a bump in the road. The switches are listed as part of "inputs and outputs". It will show if the 12 volt feed is missing, (typically caused by a defective section in the ignition switch or a corroded connector pin), 12 volts is missing from the brake switch, the brake switch is turned on, if a cruise control switch is pressed, and it will show when you press a switch and what the computer is doing in regards to running the servo.
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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 AT 4:43 PM
Tiny
TSCPNATE
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You're right a lot of the stuff I listed did not have to do with the cruise control although I did pull the switches in the steering wheel out and I tested the actual switch so I know the switch works its not that. Like you said I haven't checked the the clock spring to see if that was bad or intermittent and there are a few other ideas. I do know they did a recall on the abs pressure switch which does have a lot to do with the cruise control. They also said that they were doing possible inspections to the the cruise control mod because fluid would drip down or something like that and damage either the plug or the actual module itself but when I took it in they didn't do any of that but of course this is ford we are talking about.I know that when messing around an airbag you have to disconnect the battery and let the system charge down because it has a capacitor and it has to discharge completely or you'll be buying a new one not to mention airbags don't feel good when they go off. The only thing is is that you didn't answer my original question will it keep my cruise control from working
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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 AT 6:20 PM
Tiny
TSCPNATE
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You're right a lot of the stuff I listed did not have to do with the cruise control although I did pull the switches in the steering wheel out and I tested the actual switch so I know the switch works its not that. Like you said I haven't checked the the clock spring to see if that was bad or intermittent and there are a few other ideas. I do know they did a recall on the abs pressure switch which does have a lot to do with the cruise control. They also said that they were doing possible inspections to the the cruise control mod because fluid would drip down or something like that and damage either the plug or the actual module itself but when I took it in they didn't do any of that but of course this is ford we are talking about.I know that when messing around an airbag you have to disconnect the battery and let the system charge down because it has a capacitor and it has to discharge completely or you'll be buying a new one not to mention airbags don't feel good when they go off. The only thing is is that you didn't answer my original question will the vacuum leak keep my cruise control from working
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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 AT 6:22 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You never asked anything about a vacuum leak. A small one won't affect the cruise control. A larger leak will cause running problems before or in addition to a cruise control problem. Even then, unstable vacuum typically will cause difficulty in resuming to a previously-set speed, an inability to maintain the speed on an incline, or in some cases, fluctuating speed.

To set your fears to rest about air bags, you have to work pretty hard to set one off, and there's little chance you'll do that accidentally. The capacitors you're referring to hold a charge for about two minutes after the ignition switch is turned off. All disconnecting the battery accomplishes is it erases any diagnostic fault codes, (of which there aren't any if the warning light wasn't on), and it prevents the system from initializing if you turn the ignition switch back on.

Every air bag has a two-terminal connector with gold-plated pins and a shorting bar that connects those two pins together as soon as the connector is removed. That is so you can't generate any static electricity that could set the bag off. As long as no one purposely damaged that shorting bar, static electricity won't set the bag off. You can just unplug the bag and set it off to the side.

The same is true of all the connectors in the "initiator" wire running between the air bag assembly and the computer. They all have the same shorting bars on the air bag sides of the connectors. That way no matter where you disconnect something, static electricity won't affect it. By the way, for demonstration purposes, we set them off with a nine volt transistor battery and a disabled shorting bar. When you walk across the carpeted floor, then see and feel a shock when you touch a door knob, to feel it requires at least 3000 volts. That's why they're worried about static electricity.

I should point out too, that if the ribbon cable in the clock spring breaks for the initiator circuit, there will not be anything shorting the two wires together, and static electricity could light off the bag. I've seen two vehicles where the owners ignored the warning lights for so long, the cables unraveled and actually peeked out under the steering wheel. Now you really have a hazard. Most of the clock springs are totally enclosed, but in these cases the housings had been damaged from previous crashes and someone reused them. Normally the ribbon cables are still okay, but the assembly is supposed to be replaced, (among many other parts that appear to be okay), because the connectors are melted from the burning fuel.

I'm going to share something too, but be careful how you use this information. Almost every job in the service manual starts with "disconnect the battery, ...). That is for liability purposes so when someone injures them self, they can't sue the manufacturer because they didn't "follow procedures". We joke that we're supposed to disconnect the battery to replace a wiper blade or empty the ash tray. If you use common sense with a little knowledge, there is nothing to fear about air bags. As proof, when is the last time you heard on the news about someone being hurt when working on one? So may people hated them when they first came out, and if one accidentally went off, some people would scream and point and say, "I told you so". Hasn't happened.

The only exception to this is the air bags used for two years on Jeeps in the mid '90s. They were 100 percent mechanical, extremely effective, and absolutely no electronics whatsoever. They used a spring-loaded ball to fire the rocket fuel, and you could set them off by dropping the assembly the floor. There was nothing to monitor, but the politicians who know nothing about cars, made them switch to the more complicated computer-controlled system so there could be an "Air Bag" light on the dash. If you ever pull one of those off, and you find no wires or anything attached to it, be careful to not drop it.
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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 AT 7:53 PM

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