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!