Re: Will an 04 steering wheel fit in my 01?
The clock spring plugs (at the bottom of the column) are the same from 98 up to at least 2004. I'm referring to the six pin connector (usually brown). I've seen the actual 2 wire air bag wire plugs change, they look identical but the tabs or slots are off a tad (you can just repin the plug to your old one). Someone on here has done it before (04 steering wheel w/ cruise to 2001 I think). He said there was a slight mod. The only thing I can see being a problem is if you have to change out the clockspring. That is only if the cruise button connector in the wheel to the clockspring is different.
I'm looking at putting in a Lincoln Town Car wheel (circa 1996). Its the exact same as the Eddie Bauer one from 98-01 that you've seen on rwenzing's truck. Only thing is that the air bag has the lincoln symbol on it and the bottom has a wood trim to it. Luxury truck! Also the crown vics use this wheel on the high end ones.
When looking for a steering wheel don't limit yourself to one model. Ford usually has twin models for steering wheels. Like the explorer (eddie bauer), crown vic, town car. And the ranger/explorer.
As long as the steering wheel fits the spline (which really doesn't change unless you grab a wheel from a bigger truck or a econoline van), you should be able to use the new wheel. You just may have to switch out the clock springs and do a little repinning or wiring at the bottom plugs of the steering column. The only thing that really seems like a problem is the way the wheel looks against the column shroud.
Automotive Electronics Engineer
2000 XLT 2.5L A/T
Explorer Autodim Mirrors w/ Autolamps
Explorer Sport White Face Gauges