Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Improve Rear Visibility

Are you tired of not being able to see what’s behind you in your JK Wrangler? You’re not alone, but thankfully some enterprising owners have come up with some solutions to the dreaded rear visibility problem.By Brett Foote – November 12, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

Wrangler JK owners don’t have a ton of complaints regarding their prized vehicles, but one sticks out as being both annoying and potentially dangerous—the poor rear visibility you experience when sitting in the driver’s seat. It makes backing up a perilous experience, and one that could lead to a fender bender. Thankfully, as automotive enthusiasts often do, Jeep owners have come up with a few solutions that can fix the problem (or at least make it a little better).

Materials Needed

  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Bungee cords (optional)

Step 1 – Turn the rear view mirror upside down

Interestingly enough, quite a few Jeep owners report experiencing much better rear visibility by simply turning their rear view mirror upside down, which places the wide part of the mirror at the bottom instead of at the top. The mirror is also about 3/4″ higher when flipped, placing it up against the interior trim piece above it. As a bonus, flipping the rear view mirror also helps with forward visibility through the windshield, especially if you’re tall. The only downside is that flipping the mirror places the dimmer control at the bottom, but the added visibility it provides is well worth it.

Figure 1. Turning your rear view mirror upside down will increase visibility.

Step 2 – Remove the rear headrests

The rear headrests in the JK Wranglers hog up a lot of space, and in turn can severely limit rear visibility. Unfortunately, Jeep engineers didn’t have the foresight to engineer the headrests, so that they could flip down when not in use and the alternative is to simply remove them. This is a no-brainer if you don’t generally have rear seat passengers, but might be a no-go if you do, since headrests help prevent whiplash in the event of an accident.

To remove the headrests on a 2-door, simple lift them up and push the buttons to release. On a 4-door, a few extra steps are required. Use a flat head screwdriver to push the spring clip off the base of the headrest post. Push the headrest down and locate the cutouts for the headrest release. Push down on the release and pull on the headrest to remove it.

Figure 2. Use a flat head screwdriver to push the spring clip off the headrest post.

Figure 3. Push down on the spring release to free the headrest.

Step 3 – Rear headrest mod

Instead of just removing the headrests, you can also use bungee cords to hold them down and out of the way until they are needed. Fold the seat forward so that you are able to fold the headrests back, then loop a bungee cord through the hook at the seat back and around the metal posts of the headrest. If you need to raise one, you can simply pull it back up even with the cord attached.

Figure 4. Use a bungee cord to hold the headrests down.

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Install Radar Detector

If you’re thinking of adding a radar detector to your Jeep Wrangler, there are two bits of good news—one is that they’re incredibly effective at picking up signals from radar guns, and the other is that they’re simple to install. To learn how to do it yourself, read on.By Jeffrey Bausch – November 12, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-present).

While just about all police officers will argue against installing a radar detector in your Jeep Wrangler, at the end of the day, it could be an investment that will wind up saving you hundreds, or in some cases, thousands of dollars down the road. These handy detectors are designed to scan the road ahead of you for radar guns. When a signal is picked up, it’ll notify you, at which point you can check your speed against the speed limit, and slow down if need be before you get clocked for going too fast. If an officer sees one in your car, you can get in some extra trouble beyond a speeding ticket, so we don’t necessarily advocate for this add-on to your Wrangler. At the same time, a majority of drivers out there think this device is worth the risk. If you fall into this crowd and have purchased a radar detector, follow these super simple instructions on how to install the system into your Wrangler.

Materials Needed

  • Radar detector
  • Flathead screwdriver or pry tool
  • Splicing knife (if necessary)
  • Heat shrink torch (if necessary)
  • Electrical tape (if necessary)

Step 1 – Place the radar detector

Ideally, you want the radar detector up high to get a better scan of the road ahead of you. As such, most Wrangler owners prefer to place their detector above the rearview mirror, right below the freedom top release handle. Most detectors will clip with either a piece of stick-on Velcro, or a suction cup.

Figure 1. Find a good mounting spot.

Step 2 – Run the wire down to the floor of the car

Obviously, you don’t want to have a wire hanging from the top of your car down to the cigarette lighter, so what you need to do is run the detector’s cord along the windshield/roof line to the passenger side of the vehicle, down through the pillar behind the glove box. Remove the pillar trim with a flathead screwdriver or pry tool to accomplish this.

Figure 2. Run the wire down through the side pillar.

Step 3 – Power up the detector

There are two options at this point—either you can plug the detector into the cigarette lighter, or hard-wire it into the vehicle.

If you are going with the latter, disconnect your vehicle’s battery and splice the detector’s wire into the positive and negative sides of the lighter. Heat shrink wire, and wrap with electrical tape. Doing this turns the detector on only when the key is in or the car is otherwise turned on (that way it’s not on all the time). Reconnect the battery and confirm the detector turns on.

Figure 3. Hard-wiring the detector.

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Engage Video in Motion

Have you ever wanted to fix your DVD system so that it will play video while your Jeep is moving? Here’s how you can get it done.By Brett Foote – November 12, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-present).

Today’s vehicles are safer to drive than ever, which is a very good thing. Unfortunately, that also means that we aren’t able to enjoy or use certain features of those vehicles, all in the name of safety. One of which is the ability to play video from the screen in the dash of your Jeep while driving down the road. Obviously, distracted driving is a bad thing and no one wants people watching movies while tooling down the highway at 80 miles per hour, but it would be nice if your passenger could. Luckily, there is a way to make your video work while you are in motion, and it isn’t too hard to do; just be sure and check if it’s illegal in your area.

While some owners have had success disabling the factory video settings by cutting wires or installing older versions of software, these are methods that can also cause a great deal of trouble down the road. The quickest, easiest and safest way to enable video in motion is by installing a Lockpick. The Lockpick is a device that bolts into the back of your factory radio and not only allows you to watch video while the vehicle is in motion, but also enables a number of other features like wireless video and audio streaming, extra audio/video inputs, and more. Keep reading and we’ll walk you through the process of installing one.

Materials Needed

  • MyGig Lockpick
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Drill or driver with assorted bits

Step 1 – Remove the factory radio

  • Use a flat head screwdriver to pry the panel below the HVAC off.
  • Remove the two bolts behind the panel using either a driver or a drill.
  • Pry off the panel on top of the dash directly above the radio.
  • Remove the two bolts located on either side of the radio.
  • Pull out on the center dash trim starting at the bottom to remove it.
  • Remove the four screws holding the radio in place and pull the radio out.

Figure 1. Pry off the bottom trim piece.

Figure 2. Remove the two screws behind the panel.

Figure 3. Pry off the top trim panel.

Figure 4. Remove the two screws.

Figure 5. Pull the center console trim piece out.

  • Figure 6. Remove the four screws holding the radio in place and pull the radio out.

Step 2 – Install the Lockpick

  • Disconnect the gray connector on the back of the factory radio, as well as the white multimedia connector if your vehicle is equipped with one.
  • Install the gray connector from the Lockpick, then install the white connector into the open multimedia slot.

Figure 7. Connect the Lockpick harness adapter into the stock harness.

  • Slide the radio back into the dash and reinstall the four screws.
  • Set the center dash trim back in place and work your way around it, pushing it in to secure the clips.
  • Reinstall the two top screws, then the top trim piece.
  • Reinstall the bottom screws in the center trim and push the bottom piece back in place.
  • Test the new in-motion abilities and plug in a coordinate/destination to make sure the lock-out is disengaged.


Figure 8. Test the new system.

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Install XM Satellite Radio

Satellite radio is a great way to ease your daily commute into and back from work. Whether it’s talk radio or a station that specializes in your preferred music taste, it makes a great add-on to any car. To learn how you can install this type of radio in your Jeep Wrangler, check out these super simple step-by-step instructions.By Jeffrey Bausch – November 12, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

Satellite radio is great for a number of reasons—the range of stations to choose from, crystal-clear sound, no commercials. Unfortunately, it’s a relatively new technology and as such, it’s not in a lot of older vehicles. The good news is that companies like XM satellite, among others, offer their radios as add-ons that you can do yourself. The installation is fairly simple, and something you can do in your spare time. To learn how, read one.

Figure 1. Satellite radio for your Jeep Wrangler.

Materials Needed

  • XM satellite hardware
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Wire cutters
  • Soldering kit

Step 1 – Mount your XM satellite antenna

Depending on what type of Wrangler you own, the location of the antenna will vary. As a Wrangler owner, chances are you’ll be removing your top during the warmer months, so mounting it in any spot that you will be removing eventually kind of defeats the purpose.

Figure 2. Choose a mounting location for the receiver.

Most installations prefer to put the antenna near the top of the vehicle, above or next to one of the car’s speakers. Given the antenna’s magnetic backing, the most popular piece of real estate is the vehicle’s sound bar.

Step 2 – Route the antenna cable

Cut a hole in the middle of the rollbar and slide the antenna wire down the rollbar past the seat belt all the way to the floor. Note, as pictured below, some Wranglers have holes in the side of the door for this exact purpose. Now run the wire under the rug up to the dashboard. Slide the wire behind dash and over to the main XM satellite unit.

Figure 3. Slip the wiring from the outside of the car to the inside.

Step 3 – Establish the power lines and test the radio

Disconnect the car battery. Rout the power and mini stereo plug output from the radio’s receiver into the center console by cutting the cigarette lighter attachment (not the power accessory, it’s 12v constant direct to battery) and splicing in the satellite radio power.

Figure 4. Backside of the cigarette lighter housing.

Now take out the head unit and pop off the front face plate. Using a mini stereo plug extension (one male and one female end), cut off the male end and then run the cut off end through the back of the head unit. Solder directly to the AUX faceplate jack solder points, and bridged the AUX connector switch connector. Note that if you don’t bridge it, it won’t work. A simple way to test this is to plug the male end into the front AUX jack and strip off the other end of the cable, and then test each wire for continuity.

Reconnect battery and turn the radio on. If it works, find a proper location on the dashboard to connect it.

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Modify Air Conditioning

Replacing or otherwise modifying your Jeep Wrangler’s A/C system might seem like an arduous task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, many Wrangler owners have taken it upon themselves to modify this particular system, and have reported back the ease with which they were able to complete this project. To learn some of the basic step-by-steps to accessing this system in your Wrangler, read on.By Jeffrey Bausch – November 12, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

There are plenty of reasons why you might need to work on the A/C system in your Jeep Wrangler—maybe it’s without one. Maybe it stopped working. Maybe you just simply want to upgrade it to something that’s unique to your vehicle. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to understand how best to go about accessing the system, so that the modification project you take on doesn’t wind up messing with other parts, components, and systems in your prized vehicle.

Figure 1. Jeep Wrangler interior.

Here are some of the basic steps to modifying the A/C system in your Jeep Wrangler, so that the air coming out of it is colder.

Figure 1. Jeep Wrangler interior.

Here are some of the basic steps to modifying the A/C system in your Jeep Wrangler, so that the air coming out of it is colder.

Figure 2. These wires go to a connector that can easily be dislodged from its mount.

Figure 3. Connector exposed.

Step 2 – Add resistor to wires

Pop the plug loose using a flat head screwdriver and back-probe a resistor into the connector, but position it across the two wires. Doing this will trick the Wrangler’s computer into thinking the coil temperature is warmer than it actually is, which, in turn, will keep the A/C’s compressor on a bit longer.

In order to do this, strip back some of the insulation on the two wires, solder the resistor in, heat shrink, and wrap in electrical tape.

A resistor that’s a bit too large (higher number) won’t make much of a difference; one that’s too small, which stays on too long, will cause the system to ice up, and impact overall air flow into the vehicle.

Step 3 – Adjust as needed

There are a million thermistors on the market, but most vary between 18K Ohm and 25k Ohm. You’ll be best served by starting with one that’s 22k Ohm and work from there with a digital thermometer in the vent with the fan set at middle speed in terms of air flow. Drive the Wrangler at about 40MPH and monitor the vent temperature.

A good rule of thumb is to go about eight to 10 degrees colder than the air at the vents. If it drops below 40 degrees, you run the risk of freezing the coil.

If you need to go with a different thermistor, the good news is that this particular component is cheap, so there’s no real loss if your first one is too large or too small. The goal is to find one that makes your Wrangler most comfortable to drive in.

Obviously, you’ll want to solder and heat shrink the resistor each time, so a good way to test the resistors out before committing to one is to bend the resistor leads into a tight u-shape around the resistor, then force them into the backside of the plug and wrap with electrical tape.

Figure 4. Once you find a resistor with the correct value, go with the more formal setup.

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Program Keyless Remote

Keyless remote programming instructions are easy to follow. You can even reprogram a key fob that has lost its original programming.By Charlie Gaston – November 12, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

Keyless remote entry is just one of the many features you’ll find on the 2007 to present Jeep Wrangler. Controlling who enters and exits your vehicle not only offers greater protection against injury to young children or pets that may be riding with you, but it also offers peace of mind and convenience to you while you run errands. Keep reading to learn how to program one or more of your key fobs for fast, safe and immediate keyless entry into your Jeep Wrangler.

Materials Needed

  • New batteries
  • Fuse puller

Step 1 – Check functionality of keyless remote

Before programming an existing keyless remote that no longer appears to be functioning properly, make sure the batteries are in good working order. As well, it’s recommended that you open your keyless remote and check the connectors inside for good, clean contact points. The retaining clip must also be in good shape, or your keyless remote might not work properly.

Figure 1. The motherboard in your key fob should be in good working order and free of dirt.

Step 2 – Troubleshoot Wireless Control Module (WCM)

It could be affecting the usefulness of your keyless remote.

  • Turn off your vehicle if it’s not already.
  • Remove the negative (black) connector on your car battery for up to four hours.
  • Alternatively, open your fuse box and pull out the Ignition Off Draw (IOD) fuse using a pair of fuse pullers or tweezers.
  • Wait 30 seconds and reinstall the IOD fuse, checking that it’s properly seated inside the fuse box.
  • This will reset the WCM and restore your Remote Key Entry (RKE), ignition key programming and remote start.
  • If the entire module needs to be replaced, you will need to visit a local Jeep dealership.

Figure 2. This is a WCM.

Pro Tip

It’s not necessary to remove your car battery and remove the IOD fuse. Doing one DIY solution will suffice.

Step 3 – Visit local Jeep dealership

Visit a local Jeep dealership to have one or more of your keyless remotes reprogrammed. The dealer can also troubleshoot your key fob and WCM for additional problems or failings. Expect to pay around $50 per keyless remote.

Figure 3. Make an appointment for faster service.

Related Discussion

Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Reset Check Engine Lights

A glowing check engine light could signal a number of issues. Read on to learn if your Jeep Wrangler is in need of repair, and how to reset the light once those repairs are made.By Charlie Gaston – November 11, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler (2007-Present).

While a check engine light glowing or flashing across your dashboard could create a sense of panic that you might be looking at some costly repairs soon, the truth is the issue could be as minor as a loose gas cap or low engine oil. Your best bet is to simply grab your on-board diagnostic (OBD-II) scanner and read your trouble codes. Once you’ve resolved the issue, it’s easy to reset the light. However, don’t reset the light until the problem has been completely resolved by either yourself or a professional mechanic or local Jeep dealer

Materials Needed

  • OBD-II scanner
  • Replacement fuse (optional)
  • Owner’s manual

Step 1 – Run your trouble codes

First things first. Check your trouble codes to determine what exactly is causing your check engine light to glow (or worse, flash) on your dashboard. Once the problem is resolved (and only then) will you be ready to reset the check engine light on your dashboard.

Figure 1. This is an OBD-II scanner tool.

Pro Tip

An OBD-II scanner can run you as little as $40 online; however, more expensive and higher quality scanners are also available for around $100+.

Step 2 – Check your fuse box

Your Ignition Off Draw (IOD) fuse might be blown or needs to be re-seated (pushed back into place). If the IDO fuse is blown or has become loose, your vehicle will quickly lose all power draw from its battery and stop working. Thus, causing your check engine light to appear on your dashboard.

Figure 2. This is a fuse box in a 2007 to present Jeep Wrangler.

Pro Tip

It’s common for fuses to sometimes work their way out of a fuse box as the odometer on a vehicle racks up mileage. Don’t panic by thinking that you are driving or handling your Jeep too roughly. Simply re-seat the fuse and presto: the issue is resolved!

Step 3 – Check your lift and tire combination

If you have installed a lift of two inches or higher with larger than normal tires of say 33 inches or above, you might notice a change in steering wheel performance. The “electronic stability control” warning light might also display on your dashboard. Have your steering wheel re-positioned to reset your Jeep. It might also be advisable to turn off the ESC feature in your Jeep if the warning light continues to reappear.

Figure 3. Does your Jeep have lifts?

Step 4 – Disconnect your battery

  • Once all your repairs are made, turn off your jeep and then disconnect your battery for 10 minutes.
  • Once the battery is back in your Jeep (after the allotted time has passed), drive your jeep for approximately 20 or so miles.
  • Your system should reset without any further incidence related to this particular issue.

Figure 4. Disconnect the negative connector, followed by the positive connector.

Pro Tip

If you continue to have problems, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance from a certified mechanic. Remember, you can always visit your local Jeep dealership for service. If your Jeep is still under warranty, all repairs will be made free of charge to you.

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Install a Push Button Starter

If turning the key is too boring to start your Jeep’s engine, then this article is for you. The instructions will show you how to install a push button starter to your Jeep Wrangler.By Jared Hammond – November 11, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

Many new vehicle models have push button start as a standard feature. The Jeep Wrangler JK sadly missed out on this feature on any of its trims. It’s not a feature that’s easily implemented, nor will it be practical for everyone. Even if you were to install a push button starter, you’ll still be required to have the key in the ignition. But there are some instances where it is useful to install a secondary push button starter. Perhaps there’s too much delay in your ignition switch, or the ignition switch is inconsistent at starting the Jeep. If you’re still interested in installing a push button starter, keep reading to learn more.

Materials Needed

  • Push button switch
  • Multimeter
  • Ratchet with socket set
  • 14 gauge wire
  • Female wire terminals
  • Drill
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire crimper
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Electrical tape

Step 1 – Remove steering wheel column panels

Pry off the lower dash panel. To remove the steering wheel column panels, remove the bolt at the bottom panel. Don’t remove the bolts on the steering wheel itself. With the bolt removed, you should be able to pull off both halves of the steering wheel column panels.

Figure 1. Remove the lower dash.

Step 2 – Install the push button switch

Find an accessible open place to install your switch. Once you’ve found a place, drill out a hole large enough to fit the switch. Once the hole is roughly cut out, smooth it out and clean it of any debris. Cut out two lengths of wire that will be long enough to reach the ignition switch wires. Don’t forget to label them. Crimp one end of each wire to a terminal that can then be connected to the switch, and then finally install the switch to the hole.

Figure 2. Switches installed to the dash.

Step 3 – Connect wires

You’ll need to identify the 12 volt power wire that connects to the ignition switch. You can find it by checking the wires at the ignition switch with a multimeter set to measure volts. Once you’ve found it, disconnect the battery. Strip off the ends of your switch wires and strip out a small part of the power wire. Wrap your switch wire around the power wire, solder them together, and cover them in electrical tape. Reconnect the battery, and then find the wire that connects to the starter motor relay. You’ll be able to identify it because it receives 12 volts whenever the key is turned in the ignition. Once you’ve found the wire, connect your switch wire to it the same way you tapped into the power wire.

Figure 3. Wiring for the ignition switch.

To test the switch, put the key in the ignition and push the button. Your starter should start up now without delay. When you’re finished, bundle up the wires under the dash, then return the steering wheel column panels and the lower dash panel. Then return the bolts to the panels.

Featured Video: How to Install Start Button

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Install Cruise Control

Cruise control is one of those utilities you don’t think you need until you have to drive for hours on end. This article will show you how to install cruise control to your Jeep Wrangler.By Jared Hammond – November 11, 2015
Contributors: OoPEZoO

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

Not every Jeep Wrangler comes with cruise control. That’s understandable because not every Jeep driver needs cruise control. But if you’re driving on a straight highway for a long time, you’ll quickly start to miss it. Thankfully, Jeep made it really easy to install cruise control. It’s simple enough that anyone can install it. Follow the instructions below and you’ll have working cruise control in no time.

Materials Needed

  • Mopar cruise control kit part #82210216
  • Flat head screwdriver (S-shaped preferred)
  • Ratchet with 13mm socket and extension
  • T20 Torx screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • 10mm socket or wrench

Warning

Before beginning this tutorial, use a 10mm socket or wrench to disconnect the battery. Wait a few minutes for any stored charge to leave the car’s electrical system. This how-to involves working with the SRS system and airbags, which can be lethal when mishandled.

Step 1 – Remove the airbag

Tilt the steering wheel down as far as you can. On the back of the steering wheel you’ll see three holes. Insert a flat head screwdriver in each hole and push in the locking tabs. Because of the awkward angle, it’s better use a screwdriver with a curved end. Pushing in the tabs will result in the airbag assembly coming loose. Carefully push in the clips on the two yellow airbag connectors, then disconnect the airbag and set it aside.

Figure 1. Push in the tabs on the back of the steering wheel.

Figure 2. Disconnect the yellow airbag connectors.

Pro Tip

It’s vitally important to make sure that the battery is disconnected and the airbag drained of power. Accidentally setting off the airbag could result in self-injury.

Step 2 – Remove the steering wheel

Unplug the small white horn connector and the larger white accessories connector. With a 13mm socket and extension start loosening the center bolt holding the steering wheel to the steering column shaft, but don’t remove it entirely. Squeeze the sides of the steering wheel and start rocking it towards you. When it pops out, it should be caught by the center bolt. After that just remove the bolt and slide the steering wheel off the shaft.

Figure 3. Remove the center bolt.

Pro Tip

Once again, there is a possibility of self-injury if you’re not careful removing the steering wheel.

Step 3 – Replace the horn button harness

On the back of the steering wheel there are four Torx screws. Remove these and the back plastic panel should come off. This will reveal the back of the horn buttons. Use a pair of pliers to squeeze the ends of the horn buttons and push them in. Do this for all the horn buttons until the entire harness comes loose. Your kit should come with a new horn button harness. Push in the horn buttons until they click into the steering wheel, moving clockwise around the steering wheel starting with the last horn button on the new harness.

Figure 4. Remove the Torx screws on the back of the steering wheel.

Figure 5. Push in the clips on the back of the horn buttons.

Figure 6. Remove the horn button harness.

  • Figure 7. Install new horn button harness.

Step 4 – Install cruise control lever

There should be a new back panel for the steering wheel in your kit. Install it to the steering wheel and tighten down the four Torx screws. The new back panel leaves an opening where you can install the cruise control lever. Secure the cruise control lever to the steering wheel by tightening down three Phillips screws: two on the back and one on the front. Plug in your new wiring harness to the cruise control lever. After that you need to plug in the horn button connector and the accessories connector. Align the steering wheel with the steering column and slide it back onto the shaft. Tighten down the center bolt. Reconnect the airbag connectors. Then return the airbag assembly to the steering wheel. Reconnect the battery, and then take your jeep out to a highway to try out the cruise control.

Figure 8. Install new back panel.

Figure 9. Install cruise control lever.

Figure 10. Install cruise control lever.


  • Figure 11. Plug in the harness.

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