View Full Version : Cruise Control Components (1999 Prizm)

08-09-2010, 02:35 PM
I figured I would take a stab at the cruise control, which is completely non-functioning. I happen to also own an almost-identical 2000 Prizm, in which cruise control works, so I figured I could swap components until I identified which one was the problem.

Thing is that the manual (#92036) is kind of vague about what these components look like, where they are, and how they are accessed.

I think I may be able to whittle down the suspect parts just a bit in my case, because 1) nothing at all happens when you push the button, 2) the speedometer works fine (as do the brakelights), 3) the indicator light on the dashboard does not come on. I would tend to think this means you can rule out things like speed sensors and vacuum hoses.

In fact, I would tend to think based on the above symptoms that the likeliest suspect is the switch (let me know if you disagree). So I figured I would start there. Thing is that the switch is embedded in the steering wheel, and it's not clear how to take this off. There are a couple of little plastic covers in the steering wheel that you can pry out with a flat screwdriver, which exposes screws with hex heads that are embedded deep inside. I started removing these, but they were loosening but not coming out of the holes, and I got afraid that they would fall out inside the wheel and render the car unusable, so I retightened them and decided to get advice first.

So what I want to know here is: in order to remove the switch, am I supposed to be removing the steering wheel? Should I be unscrewing these screws? Do I also need to remove the steering column cover (in order to disconnect the switch)? Or in general, how do I go about removing the cruise control switch.

If this doesn't work, the other key components are the cruise control module and the actuator. The former is vaguely described in the manual as being on the right side of the instrument panel. I would appreciate more detailed instructions on how to remove and reinstall this.

The actuator is described as being on the right side of the engine compartment and connected by a cable. I think I know what this is, but am not certain (no doubt an experienced mechanic whould recognize parts like this, but I am relatively ignorant in these matters). On the right side of the engine compartment, there is a plastic covered item connected to a cable that emerges from the firewall on the driver's side, and to another cable that connects to the throttle. I removed the plastic cover, and there appear to be two components one on top of the other. The top component is connected to the cable that comes from the firewall, and the bottom on is not, but the bottom is also connected to the cable that goes to the throttle, and it has wires that connect to it. My thinking is that the top piece is the ordinary steering mechanism and the bottom one is the cruise control actuator. Is this is correct? And do I just unscrew the top component and then the bottom one as well? (For some reason it's connected via screws that screw from the bottom up versus the top down - do I unscrew these screws, or is there some other way of removing it?) Or in general, how do I go about removing the actuator?

And do you have any thoughts about the specific symptoms described above?

Sorry for the length of this message. One thing about the internet is that you get an enormous amount of information, and you can get a lot better educated by reading up. But it can be hard to get information that is specific to your situation.

Thanks a lot!

08-09-2010, 08:57 PM
Hello Fotheringay-Phipps,

We appreciate the detail of your post because we can get a clear idea of what you're working with. Give us a little time to look into this for you. We may contact you by email also.

08-11-2010, 05:17 PM
Hello Fotheringay-Phipps,

After some initial research, it appears that the cruise control switch is located on the steering column (right) and on the end of a lever. We understand that you stated in your earlier post that the switch is "embedded in the steering wheel..." Please confirm if you have a lever or a series of switches on the steering wheel itself. One other note, please review our Section in Chapter 10 for steering wheel removal along with safety warnings.

08-11-2010, 07:57 PM
Thanks. It's a lever. Here's a picture of one being sold on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/TOYOTA-COROLLA-CRUISE-CONTROL-SWITCH-1998-2002-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQitemZ260634555492QQptZMotorsQ5f CarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories.

What I wrote about being "embedded ..." I meant that it's not attached to the steering column, such that you can detach it simply by removing the steering column covers. It is attached to the steering wheel itself (it turns when the steering wheel turns etc.)

I've looked at Section 10 and it's unclear about removing the steering wheel. But I'm not completely sure you need to remove the steering wheel. From looking around a bit, it seems the the steering wheel is removed by loosening - or removing - the two hex bolts that I referred to in my OP, to the point that the airbag can be removed, at which point the steering wheel can be removed.

Here's a description of how to remove the switch from someone online who says he is a long-term Toyota technician: http://www.justanswer.com/questions/2rqjy-the-cruise-control-on-my-toyota-corolla-quit-working-how-do. This guy seems to indicate that you actually remove the two torx screws, but I've seen elsewhere that these don't come out and you only loosen them. I wonder if you know the answer.

He also indicates that you remove the airbag and disconnect the wires. I assume you also need to disconnect some wires connecting the switch itself. He says you also need to remove the steering column. Do you also need to remove the steering column cover to access the switch wire connection, or can you access this once the airbag is removed?

And in general I'd be more comfortable getting answers from Haynes rather than random posters elsewhere, so I was hoping you guys had a more detailed description of required steps available. Thanks again for your assistance.

08-11-2010, 10:23 PM
Hello Fotheringay-Phipps,

Mystery solved! The switch is attached to the steering wheel (as you said initially) but now understood to be housed in an extended lever (which is not a lever actually -but that is beside the point) which rotates with the steering wheel itself. We can send you some additional information via email for its removal. In short, the steering wheel and column stay on, the airbag module comes off in order to remove the switch. The procedure in our manual for removing the driver's airbag module is pretty straightforward -the screws need to be fully loosened, but it is not necessary to remove them from the module. It may be best for you to get a good look at the way your switch mounts before purchasing a replacement to confirm compatibility.

08-11-2010, 10:32 PM
Please email us at research@haynes.com using 1999 Prizm in the subject line so that we can send you additional information. Thanks!

08-12-2010, 08:21 PM
I've been in contact. You guys have been extremely helpful. Thanks a lot.

08-12-2010, 09:02 PM
Hello Fotheringay-Phipps,

You're welcome and thank you!

08-20-2010, 02:12 PM
Turns out it was in fact the switch. (A couple of wires had broken.) $29.49 on eBay and cruise control is working.

Thanks again for your invaluable assistance. I couldn't have done it without you.

08-20-2010, 04:51 PM
Good job! It'd be interesting to find out how much that repair would've cost at a dealer or other repair shop.