1968-2013 Full Size VansEconolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550
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Hi guys. Did Ford ever offer steering wheels with radio controls for E Series vans? Specifically around the 2004 range. This would be a nice upgrade, but I'm not sure it even exists... at least with stock parts.
They did not, but I have installed a Lincoln Navigator steering wheel to my 99 Expedition to gain the use of the redundant controls. I'm *guessing* that the E-series is about the same.
You simply replace the clock spring in the steering column with one from a vehicle that has the redundant controls with the same style steering wheel (Navigator, Blackwood, some Excursions), and then run the new redundant wiring (for radio and HVAC) to the appropriate systems.
The cruise control and airbag connectors were the same, IIRC. It's been about ten years since I did this.
I don't recall seeing any E-Series with steering wheel controls other than cruise control---its doubtful it was ever an option.
Building on OSHS's advice I'll bet such a swap would require the steering wheel, all the wiring harness from the clockspring to the dashboard from a donor vehicle along with the compatible factory radio to make this doable. Even then an EVTM from the van and the donor vehicle would be necessary to successfully add all this.
Its a cool concept, requiring only time, money and probably a lot of uttered words not appropriate for this site.
Really not a big deal. You'll need a new wire for the radio (the higher end radios were wired for it), and since we run E-Series, no HVAC wiring. Although you can adapt the EHVAC system head to a manual system. I have not done that, but I have seen it done. Not a big deal, just have to get the vacuum connections correct. It is *not* plug-n-play if I recall.
The radio's (and HVAC) redundant controls work off of impedance. Hence why one or two wires can control several functions. Aftermarket radios are starting to incorporate this, and really, the only reason I have not done it to my van is because I have not searched out an upholstery shop to dye my beige leather (and wood) wheel grey. I have a nearly new Navigator wheel sitting in the basement waiting to go in my Expy, so I can move that wheel to the E-350. Like all my other projects, I just haven't done it yet.
On the plus side, I did cut and solder in a new line for the rear reverse lights. I'm about to install three auxiliary lights from Northern Tool for reverse. Powered by relay, of course. It helps that I have 0/2 gauge welding wire powering my 5000W inverter in the back.
Sorry for the late response... but this is quite interesting. I actually already have an aftermarket radio (which has a wire available for steering wheel controls). I did imagine I would need a new clockspring and the harness that runs along the column. Would the connectors from a donor Navigator line up with the vans?
I'm still pretty interested in doing this... but like you said, just a matter of time, money, and curse words.
I know my 99 Expedition had a different clock spring than a Navigator...I had them side-by-side, because the cruise control connector was different between the two different steering wheels *and* clock springs.
I have not checked another Ford parts website. Rock Auto does not list clock springs in the pull down menu for either vehicle, you have to search and it pulls up a separate window with different ones.
I wish I still had the documentation from my old Ford Truck website where I detailed the process (with part numbers) of how I installed the Navigator steering wheel and clock spring in my Expedition, along with which wires needed to run to the ETAC and rado. My profile was lost years ago.
Just a few random thoughts about steering column etc.......
Most of the same era F-Series columns are pretty much identical to the E-Series---for some reason that fact seems almost like a state secret though. I'm curious if the Navigator etc aren't just minor cosmetic variations of that same general column design?
Clocksprings will be different depending if VSC or cruise control was part of the original build (or the chassis was pre-wired to accommodate that option.) The actual clockspring connector leading to the chassis wiring will physically be the same however Ford does change a particular circuits position on those connectors, seemingly to thwart compatibility between different years. The end result of this is no function because the required circuits aren't completed.
Having EVTM's from the affected years of donor vehicles in addition to the "new" vehicle go a long way towards demystifying which circuits need to be completed in order to establish or re-gain a function lost when different year or chassis parts physically fit but don't connect electrically.
Familiarizing oneself with the affected years EVTM's really will make this a lot more feasible.
I too am interested to see if this can be done--have just bought a '99 Volvo S80 sedan as a beater car it has SW radio controls---that's pretty easy to learn to love in short order!
My paranoia and short experience with Ford's wiring "plan" is although they'll change small things they don't really change the function of most controls and connections. This seems to do nothing more than force us into using year/chassis specific parts, hoping we buy them only from Ford.
Learning how to dismantle and re-purpose the different connectors Ford uses is a very good skill---its served me well several times when fiddling with my own van(s).
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