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Cruise Controls, Connections, Micro Cruise Switch Settings

  250-3421 control arm Most of the time cruise controls are one of the easier accessories to install into a vehicle. Most only take * 45 minutes to install. Some may take longer. Vehicles with manual transmissions may add another 10 minutes to the job on average. There are usually only six electrical connections and only two mechanical connections to make when installing a cruise control into a gasoline (not diesel) powered vehicle with an automatic transmission as well as mounting the control arm and servo. 

I prefer to use the Micro Cruise, now manufactured by Rostra Precision Controls, Inc., but there are others to choose from. Each has it's pro's and con's. The information below is most relevant to the installation of the Micro Cruise, but in general will apply to most cruise controls available on the market today.

Mechanical Connections
Throttle
Vacuum

Servo & Control Switches
Micro Cruise Servo Switch Settings
Control Arms / Switches
Electrical Connections
Hot Side of Brake Switch
Cold Side of Brake Switch
Ground
Tach
VSS
Ignition
Additional Connections
Clutch Switch
Signal Generators
Pick Up Coils and Magnets
Special

Help & More Info
Cruise Controls Forum

top of page Electrical Connections
Hot and Cold side of Brake Switch
The connections to the hot and cold side of the brake switch are crucial. Do not connect to any other constant 12 volt source or ground. This is an important safety feature. The hot side of the brake switch will only supply voltage to the cruise if there is voltage going to the brake light circuit. The cold side of the brake switch in it's normal position will only show ground if the lights are grounded. When the pedal is pressed, this wire loses ground, supplies 12 volts (+) to complete the circuit to the brake lights and disengages the cruise control if the brake lights are operating correctly. If the brake lights don't work, the cruise control will not work. If you connected to a different constant 12 volt source and tried to disengage the cruise control in a vehicle with a malfunctioning brake switch or lights, the cruise may not disengage! The installation manual should provide you with the correct wire colors and location, if not click here or on the link at the bottom of this page.

Ground
This one's simple. Connect to a clean and solid chassis ground.

Tach
This provides another signal for the cruise control to monitor. Many times it is not needed for the cruise control to work. But it too, like the brake switch, provides a safety feature. If the engine RPM's reach a certain rate (usually at or above 4000) the cruise control will disengage preventing any possible harm to the engine. On some vehicles with a manual transmission, this is the only wire the cruise control needs to monitor for it to work. But, if you set the cruise while in 4th gear, then disengage with the brake, then change to 5th gear and press the resume button, the vehicle will accelerate to a higher speed than before. So I would still recommend using the VSS wire or another generated signal for monitoring speed of the vehicle in addition to the tach signal. The installation manual should provide you with the correct wire colors and location, if not click here or on the link at the bottom of this page.

VSS
Most all vehicles today have what is known as a VSS ( Vehicle Speed Signal ) wire. This wire provides the signal the cruise control will monitor to maintain a constant speed. But for those that do not have a VSS wire, including older vehicles, a signal generator or a pick up coil and magnets can be added to monitor the vehicle's speed. * Even with all that may have to be added to the vehicle, installation time rarely goes over 1 1/2 hours. I've included a link to Rostra's site for VSS and Tach info. Enter the year and make, then select the model from the list, and it will display the wiring colors and locations for you. Just click here or on the link at the bottom of this page.

Ignition
Connect to a wire from the ignition harness that only shows 12 volts (+) when the key is in the run position.

top of page Mechanical Connections
Throttle
This connection can be the easiest and the most difficult to make of all. But don't let it discourage you from installing cruises. So long as you can get a straight pull on the throttle with a smidgen of slack in the cable, then you'll be fine. Most are simple and very straight forward. Some will require a throttle adapter. And some just a little ingenuity, especially when you need to attach to the top of the pedal. Be sure to check the application guide for each vehicle you will install a cruise into. This will  give you a list of parts the vehicle requires, or even if it is recommended not to attempt the install. If the vehicle is new and not listed (usually during model year changes), contact your dealer / distributor or manufacturer for any updates.

Vacuum
Some gasoline powered vehicles will not have a sufficient vacuum supply for the cruise control to operate properly. 20 inches of vacuum is recommended. Be sure to measure vacuum while accelerating the engine. Many vehicles have a drop in vacuum when accelerating. If it does not have an adequate vacuum supply, you'll have to add a vacuum reservoir. If the vehicle has too high of a supply, you'll need to add a vacuum regulator. All of these parts are available from your dealer / distributor.

top of page Servo & Control Switches
Servo Settings
On the back of the Micro Cruise module/servo, are the 10 dip switches that must be set accordingly depending on the number of cylinders, type of  transmission, number of pulses per mile generated at the transmission on the VSS wire,  type of control switch, sensitivity, etc. If you need to change these settings, you must disconnect power to the unit for the new settings to take effect. The table below shows the 18 most common settings.

Micro Cruise Switch Settings
Switch 1Sensitivity, OFF = minimum, ON (default) = maximum
Switch 21st of 3 for VSS ppm, OFF = 1000 ppm, ON = 2000 ppm
Switch 32nd of 3 for VSS ppm, OFF = (+ 0 ppm), ON = (+ 2000 ppm)
Switch 43rd of 3 for VSS ppm, OFF = (+ 0 ppm), ON = (+ 4000 ppm)
Switch 5 & 6Number of cylinders, ON/OFF = 3 or 4, OFF/ON = 5 or 6, OFF/OFF = 8
Switch 7Switch type, OFF = normally open, ON (default) = normally closed
Switch 8Input type, OFF (default) = VSS, signal generator, or pick up coil & magnets, ON = tach only
Switch 9Transmission type, OFF = manual, ON = automatic
Switch 10is no longer used for coil type, so it is always set to the OFF position (default)
Cylinders Transmission Type Pulses per Mile (ppm) Switch Numbers
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3 or 4 Automatic 2000 on on off off on off on off on off
3 or 4 Manual 2000 on on off off on off on off off off
6 Automatic 2000 on on off off off on on off on off
6 Manual 2000 on on off off off on on off off off
8 Automatic 2000 on on off off off off on off on off
8 Manual 2000 on on off off off off on off off off
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3 or 4 Automatic 4000 on on on off on off on off on off
3 or 4 Manual 4000 on on on off on off on off off off
6 Automatic 4000 on on on off off on on off on off
6 Manual 4000 on on on off off on on off off off
8 Automatic 4000 on on on off off off on off on off
8 Manual 4000 on on on off off off on off off off
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3 or 4 Automatic 8000 on on on on on off on off on off
3 or 4 Manual 8000 on on on on on off on off off off
6 Automatic 8000 on on on on off on on off on off
6 Manual 8000 on on on on off on on off off off
8 Automatic 8000 on on on on off off on off on off
8 Manual 8000 on on on on off off on off off off

top of page Control Arms / Switches
Consult your application guide first for the recommended control switch. Most vehicles will accept a universal control arm, but an OEM type switch may be available. Only a few require additional connections to lights, ignition, etc. Most plug directly into a molex that attaches to the main harness. When running the wires down the column, I use a slender piece of welding wire. After you do a few, you'll quickly get the hang of it. Be sure to plug the wires all the way into the molex connector until they lock in (snap!). And be sure that they are in the correct order.


top of page Additional Connections
Clutch Switch
On vehicles with a manual transmission, you will have to add a clutch switch. This mounts to the arm of the pedal and is wired in series with the wire attached to the cold side of the brake. Although it is not necessary for this switch to be installed for the cruise to work, it is highly recommended. Some cruise controls sense engine RPM and will shut off at certain rates, but it is best to disengage as soon as the clutch is being pressed.

Signal Generators
If you can not get a clean signal from the VSS wire or the vehicle does not have one, the first solution is to add a signal generator if one is available for the vehicle. Consult your application guide or your dealer / distributor / manufacturer. This will provide a signal of 8000 ppm to the cruise control. Be sure to set the switches accordingly. If the unit is still plugged into the harness you will have to disconnect it first before the new settings will take effect. If a signal generator is not available, you will need to add a pick up coil and magnets. See below.

top of page Pick Up Coil & Magnets
This used to be the only source for speed signal in the past. You will only have to install this if the vehicle does not have a VSS wire and a signal generator is not available. These too can be a little tricky. As long as you secure and space the magnets evenly and position the pick up coil correctly you will have no problems. Consult the manual for the correct number of magnets to use and switch settings. These settings will be different depending on the number of magnets and wheel drive type. Don't forget safety when raising and getting underneath the vehicle.

 
top of page Special
Some vehicles may require additional parts. Ford vehicles with a Differential Speed Sensor, for example, may require an additional harness. This is nothing more than a resistor and a small capacitor. But if you don't use it, the cruise control will continue to accelerate. Be sure to consult your application guide before any cruise control installation. This will save you time and aggravation.

Rostra's VSS and Tach Info
Type in the make and year of the vehicle, then select the model from the list. This will display  wire colors and locations as well as the recommended control switch(es). If your vehicle is not listed at first, try for example, Dodge instead of Chrysler.

Mechanical Connections
Throttle
Vacuum

Servo & Control Switches
Micro Cruise Servo Switch Settings
Control Arms / Switches
Electrical Connections
Hot Side of Brake Switch
Cold Side of Brake Switch
Ground
Tach
VSS
Ignition
Additional Connections
Clutch Switch
Signal Generators
Pick Up Coils and Magnets
Special

Help & More Info
Cruise Controls Forum





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the12volt.com - Free Technical Information for Mobile Electronics Installers
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Application GuideCalculators, Charts, DiagramsDownloads/ManualsFind InstallersForumsGlossarySubwoofer WiringToolsVehicle Wiring Recent Topics
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