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Thread: Box Steering Wheel compatibility

  1. #1
    Member Rock_Hound's Avatar
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    Default Box Steering Wheel compatibility

    As I am working to restore the wagon, I want to either replace or re-cover the steering wheel as the leather is in pitiful shape. I was wondering about box steering wheel compatibility, what would fit as a direct replacement? I am not in a hurry, so I might just keep my eyes open for something that might fit. My 88 CP does have working cruise control.

  2. #2
    all the CFI are belong to me
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    You should be able to use 83 (maybe partial year 82? I forget) to 89 wheels, Ford/Lincoln/Mercury, Panther platform. Additional considerations exist for 83-84 because they do not have horn buttons, but the centre pad can be swapped out. As far as I am aware, the Panther is the only vehicle that used our steering wheel in the years that can fit.

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    Thank you for such a quick answer. So, just swapping out the center pad would make the 83/84 work as well? This is a pretty wide range for me to work with!

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    On a related note, I hear that the cruise control buttons are fairly fragile. They work perfect in my current steering wheel, would they be hard to swap into one that has broken buttons?

  5. #5
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    The difference is the mounting - the older cars used a splined shaft and the newer cars used what could be called a unique shaped mounting hub. Not splined, not round but mostly round.

    I was under the impression that 83/84 used the splined shaft, but kishy owns those years and I’d take his word for it over my vague recollections. 82 and before definitely have the splined shaft.

    An upholstery shop can rewrap a steering wheel for reasonable costs. Plus it won’t be 35 year old leather.

    The old cruise buttons 82 and down pretty much explode when you look at them and consider that they might be useful. The 83-89 ones are fairly robust in my experience. I use my 88 cruise all the time and never have a problem.
    Last edited by Tiggie; 02-22-2020 at 08:05 PM.
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  6. #6
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    +1 never had any issues with cruise buttons in my '89, and ran that car for a decade using cruise frequently. I very often would accelerate the car using the cruise buttons and never touching the accelerator with my foot. (Hold coast then hit resume or set, I don't remember, and it will accelerate to a speed very slightly above where it was previously set. Repeat that enough times and you gain speed slowly.)

    As we found with Tom's '83 he originally had the slotted mount (round shaft with two sides shaved flat) just like the steering wheels through '89. Unlike my '89 the joints in his '83 steering shaft were the same as the '81 donor we got his splined shaft from.

    If you're up for swapping the steering shaft, a pre '83 steering wheel will work but that's more work than just finding an '83+ steering wheel.

    Info on the steering shaft swap:
    http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthre...aration-advice

    http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthre...ft-Interchange
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  7. #7

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    For cruise, find an add-on turn signal stalk with cruise buttons, as used in the Ford dealer-sold cruise set-ups. There are 3 basic flavors:
    Chrome (primarily Panther cars/Lincoln/etc)
    Black (Panthers, Foxes, some Escorts, etc)
    Black with bent stalk (some Escorts, Tempo)
    They are all functionally identical, and Ford did not change the remote-end wiring or button function very much from the early 80s until the late 90s (possible exception for cars with cruise in the ECM, but I think even those use the same switches). Some of them show the "push for horn" and some of them don't.

    **Edit: I forgot about the "RESUME" button. Some have it, some don't. I'm not sure what happens if you mix those. I just stick to parts that have it; I think they're more common anyway.

    That frees you up to use a non-cruise steering wheel. If you prefer the horn on the turn signal stalk (said no one ever) you can get a new switch to go with your new lever.

    The cutoff for spline-vs-non-spline steering wheel as addressed above also happened in the Fox cars, but as far as I can tell if you have a Fox steering wheel of the equivalent year and tilt/non-tilt then it *should* fit. I haven't done any interbreeding of steering wheels but I played with them a bunch on my Zephyr.

    If I didn't have this nice brown-and-chrome interior, I could be rocking a 1983 sport steering wheel and black turn and wiper switches in the LTD...
    Last edited by bgreywolf; 02-23-2020 at 01:25 AM.

  8. #8
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    Horn on the stalk.... how bad an idea was that?

    I remember as a kid my mom had a very early Escort and to this day remember her pushing on the steering wheel thinking the horn would work.

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjc78 View Post
    Horn on the stalk.... how bad an idea was that?

    I remember as a kid my mom had a very early Escort and to this day remember her pushing on the steering wheel thinking the horn would work.

    /threadjack
    I remember many times, sneaking out in my Zephyr, and big long legged me whacking the stalk with my knee as I attempted to stealthily get in the car without slamming the door.
    ...her mother certainly wasn't amused...

  10. #10
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    will the later cruise buttons swap for the old ones? Vague memory makes me think they look similar but can't honestly remember specifics.

    and yes those stalk horns suck. So glad my 84 Continental did not have that. The other thing you don't get on the stalker horn models is flash to pass. Not that big of a deal, but occasionally convenient to have.

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  11. #11

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    I think the '82-'83 stalks had horn AND flash to pass. I'll have to check my Fairmont interchange notes sheet.

  12. #12
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I have a multifunction switch from an 84 in my 86 Towncar. Hasn't had flash to pass since. It has the 86 lever so it won't push in for the horn though. That was a junkyard repair probably 15 years ago when the signal parking cams on the 86 switch broke. They are metal in 84, plastic in 86.

    either way I *think* the terminal that runs the horn on the 84 switch is the terminal that is FTP on the later switch but I have never actually bothered to confirm that.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

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