The bracket that supports the cruise control buttons has broken on both sides. Will it be easier to replace the steering wheel assembly, or will it be easier to replace the entire steering column? A steering wheel assembly, minus airbag, runs about $180 at a Ford dealership. I know where I can get the entire steering column for $90. I realize there may be other complications with the steering column-ie, ignition tumbler R&R and anti-theft(my Explorer has the factory anti-theft). If I replace just the steering wheel, how do I safely disable the airbag so it won't accidentally deploy during removal and installation into the new steering wheel?
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Do you have buttons on the steering wheel for the cruise control ? Does your horn work ? There is a component under the steering wheel , on top of the steering column , called a clock spring ! I will include a video on it . Chrysler Van Clock Spring
Way under your dash beneath the steering wheel you can probably feel two small buttons on either side of the steering column. One is for your cruise control I believe, and the other controls your rear brake lights. You probably noticed some broken black pieces of plastic on your floorboard. That's the broken plug that kept the button pushed in to turn your lights off. Replace the plug and the lights will go off.
Ignition Lock Cylinder
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
NOTE: On 1974-76 models, equipped with A.C.R.S. perform the special procedure for removing the air cushion module from the steering wheel if necessary, prior to removing the lock cylinder. Standard Steering Column
Remove the steering wheel.
Remove the lockplate cover assembly.
After compressing the lockplate spring, remove the snapring from the groove in the shaft.
CAUTION When the snapring is removed do not allow the shaft to slide out the bottom of the column.
Remove the lockplate, then slide the turn signal cam and the upper bearing preload spring off the upper steering shaft.
Remove the thrust washer from the shaft.
Remove the hazard warning switch from the column along with the turn signal lever.
Use the following procedure if the car is equipped with cruise control.
Attach a piece of stiff wire to the connector on the cruise control switch harness.
Gently pull the harness up and out of the column.
Remove the turn signal switch mounting screws.
Slide the switch connector out of the bracket on the steering column.
After freeing the switch wiring protector from its mounting, pull the turn signal switch straight up and remove the switch, switch harness and the connector from the column.
Turn the ignition switch to ON or RUN, then insert a small drift pin into the slot next to the switch mounting screw boss. Push the lock cylinder tab and remove the lock cylinder.
Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.
Fig. 1: Ignition lock removal - standard column
The 2001 Dodge caravan has 2 heater cores - front (the main one), and the rear. Removal of the rear heater core is a whole different procedure than the front.
Front Heater Core - Removal and Installation
Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions Section.
Align the wheels in the straight-ahead position.
Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Before working around the steering wheel or the instrument panel all 2 minutes to pass to allow the air bag module to discharge.
Drain the cooling system into a clean container for reuse.
Remove the steering column, by removing or disconnect the following:
Lower left side steering column coverParking brake release cable from the parking brake lever10 steering column cover liner-to-instrument panel bolts and the cover liner
Rotate the key to the LOCK position; then, rotate the steering wheel to the LOCKED position.
Gear selector cable and its mounting bracket as an assembly from the upper steering column mounting bracket2 instrument cluster trim bezel-to-instrument panel screws, retaining clips and bezel2 steering column shroud-to-steering column screws and the shroudSteering column-to-intermediate steering shaft coupler
Loosen but do not remove the 2 lower steering column mounting bracket nuts/washers.
2 upper steering column mounting bracket nuts/washersSteering column assembly from the vehicle
Remove or disconnect the following:
Instrument panel-to-chassis harness interconnect and bracketLower silencer boot, at the base of the steering shaft
Working in the engine compartment, pinch off the heater hoses.
Heater core cover. Position some towels under the heater core hoses.Heater core plate and the hoses
Depress the heater core retaining clips.
Lift the accelerator pedal and slide the heater core past it.
Depress the brake pedal and remove the heater core from the heater/air conditioning housing assembly.
Fig. View of the steering column assembly
Fig. View of the interconnect and bracket
Fig. View of the front heater core assembly
Depress the brake pedal and install the heater core into the heater/air conditioning housing assembly.
Lift the accelerator pedal and slide the heater core past it.
Install or connect the following:
Heater hoses (using new O-rings) and the heater core plateHeater core coverHeater hoses clamps, working in the engine compartmentLower silencer boot at the base of the steering shaftInstrument panel-to-chassis harness interconnect and bracket
Install the steering column assembly by installing or connect the following:
Steering column assembly, carefully into the vehicle.2 upper and 2 lower steering column mounting bracket nuts/washers. Torque the nuts to 105 inch lbs. (12 Nm).Steering column-to-intermediate steering shaft coupler and tighten the pinch bolt to 21 ft. lbs. (28 Nm)2 steering column shroud and the shroud-to-steering column screwsBezel, the retaining clips and the 2 instrument cluster trim bezel-to-instrument panel screwsGear selector cable and its mounting bracket as an assembly to the upper steering column mounting bracket10 steering column cover liner and the cover liner-to-instrument panel boltsParking brake release cable to the parking brake leverLower left side steering column cover.Lower left side steering column cover
Refill the cooling system.
Connect the negative battery cable.
Run the engine to normal operating temperatures; then, check the climate control operation and check for leaks.
The clockspring (AKA Contact Assembly or spiral cable) under the steering wheel is most likely broken. The clockspring is what makes the connection between the horn button and cruise control buttons in your steering wheel and the main wiring harness. (you have to have a flexible circuit so you can turn your steering wheel around in circles) The cockspring assembly also contains the circuit for the driver's airbag. If your AIRBAG light on your dash is on, this is most likely why. The steering wheel must be remove to fix it. The airbag system has to be disarmed before any work should be done to the steering column.
AllData shows a dealer list price of $77.71 and a standard labor time required to replace the clock spring at 1.0 hours.
You may have a loose shift linkage in the steering column. Remove the upper and lower plastic covers behind the steerong wheel (5 or 6 philips head) and see if you have any loose torx head or allen head screws. Ea
rlier models had this isue.
Here is an exploded view of the heating/air conditioning blower box. This contraption is located on the passengerside under the dash. I've changed heater cores on other cars but never worked on a caravan so not sure how difficult it'll be. You may need to remove a few cover panels to access this and the heater core #22 is located behind the distribution box #6 containing parts 7-18 and hopefully comes off as a unit. I wouldn't want to put it back together just looking at the pic. You may just need to remove the heater tube cover #4 to access the connections and slide out the core.....NAH couldn't be that simple!!! Hope this was of some help. Good luck.