2000 Ford Ranger cruise control

Dear Ray,
I have been a fan/listener of Car Talk for many years. Thank you for sharing your extensive knowledge, wit, and entertainment.
Recently I encountered a problem with my 2000 Ford Ranger truck. It has 142,000 miles and runs great. However, the cruise control suddenly stopped working. My brother-in-law, who owns a used car dealership, offered to help which would result in significant savings for me.
Summary of repair attempt:
• Replaced the touchpads in the steering wheel.
o Instead of pulling the steering wheel off, he said he could save labor by just tucking the wiring harness underneath the horn/cushion assembly and be “A-O-K”.
o The left pads has the on/off; the right side has the RSM, Set, Accel, Coast.
o There were 2 black ground wires. He said they were the same and we only needed to use one. He snipped one of the black wires off and attached the other.
o We raised the hood of the truck to locate the solenoid actuator – the one that goes to the throttle that sets the speed.
o His son, who also works at the dealership, was assisting. He got behind the wheel and either turned the ignition and pushed the control pads or something to this affect – I was looking under the hood and could not see what happened. My brother-in-law and I heard an electrical surge – a zap like something just got fried.
o We searched for a fuse but could not locate one that was burned out.
o The cruise control still did not work and the only comment from the son was – “Not my fault”.
• Replaced the cable actuator under the hood
o Cruise control still not working.
What do you think the problem is??
• Could there be a fuse panel that I have overlooked?
• Is there a problem with the truck’s computer/brain? (Obviously there is with mine since I took it to my in-laws instead of a local Ford mechanic).
Thanks in advance for any advice/help you can provide.

Charleston, SC

PS – Do you know the difference between outlaws and in-laws? Outlaws are wanted….

I’d say the answer is right there. Your BIL tried to jury-rig a repair and made things worse. Find out what was fried first. Fix that and then try to fix the cruise.

And stop letting your BIL or his son touch it… they obviously don’t know how to fix it properly. Don’t buy a used car from him either! :wink:


Thanks for the advice. Actually he has great used cars. Should have paid his mechanic…My wife driving car bought from him 7 yrs ago and had 175,000 miles with no problems

Live and learn.

I’ll have to remember that one.

Yes keep both those Dillywacks away from your car, though I do give kudos to their mechanic if he’s getting the cars that they sell in great condition for sale.
This guy may not even let those two even touch a tool in the shop.

Here’s what I would do to repair your car;

  1. Make an appointment with that mechanic to fix the problem.

  2. Fill a spray bottle with the worse smelling…god awful… perfume you can find and bring it along to the appointment.

  3. At your appointment, follow your car into the work bay and if either of those Dillywacks even come near your car…give them a good spray.



Check that all the brake lights work.

If a brake light is out, the cruise won’t work.

If the brake lights are okay, take the truck for a drive.

Place the toe of your left foot behind the brake pedal and lift up on the pedal. Now try engaging the cruise control.

If the cruise control works, there’s a problem with the brake pedal switch.


LOL. Thanks for the laugh and advice.

Unfortunately didn’t work. Brake lights working and lifting the brake pedal while engaging cruise control had no affect. Thanks for the suggestion though.

I think that the mechanic will have to uninstall what those two did. Then investigate whatever may or not have been blown when you heard that “ZAP”.

Then fix the cruise properly.


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2000 Ranger may have been included in a Cruise Control recall. do you know if this repair was performed?

Go here and type in your VIN and see if your vehicle was affected, or call the service department at the local Ford dealership and see if the repair has been completed.
Not sure when the cruise went out, but the temp fix (if parts were not in stock,) was to deactivate the Cruise Control completely.