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Unread 04-28-2013, 11:23 AM   #1
sgull
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horn problem

I hadn't honked my horn for as long as I can remember. Yesterday I was driving along and all of a sudden it started randomly honking without me even touching the horn button(s) on the steering wheel. I noticed this random honking seemed to stop and start depending on the position I happened to turn the steering wheel. With the vehicle stopped, I can turn the steering wheel to certain positions and then the honking will start, then I turn the wheel a little and it'll stop honking. For now I disconnected the wire(s) at the horn to keep it from honking. What's the likely cause of this and how can I fix it? thanks

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Unread 04-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
Mickey_D
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Sounds like the clockspring has failed.
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Unread 04-28-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
sgull
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Great. To remove the clockspring my service manual says I need to remove the steering wheel and air bag first. Also says the clockspring cannot be repaired, and must be replaced if faulty. I wonder how I can tell if it's actually faulty though?
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Unread 04-28-2013, 12:50 PM   #4
Mickey_D
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You've pretty much done troubleshooting on it already. The fact that it works fine in one position of the steering wheel and fails in another means there's something screwy in the clockspring.
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Unread 04-28-2013, 01:03 PM   #5
sgull
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Just to clarify, it doesn't really work fine depending on the position of the steering wheel. If I just press either of the horn buttons on the steering wheel, I horn does not sound. But the horn will suddenly randomly sound off and on as I turn the steering wheel one way then the other, stop honking at certain positions then start honking at certain positions. So, although the horn does honk as I described, it does not work fine, or at least as it's supposed to. With this info, would you say it definitely seems like replacing the clockspring would be the fix, or is it sort of hard to say until I actually get into there where I can gain access to the clockspring wiring to see if there's anything like a loose wire or connection? thanks
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Unread 04-28-2013, 07:36 PM   #6
Mickey_D
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I would let someone like KoreaZJ or ratmonkey chime in and give their 2c worth before going and buying parts, but as an electronics technician I am very heavily leaning towards the clockspring. It's the only thing that the horn has in common with the position of the steering wheel.

Unless the wires to the horn button switch themselves have fallen off and gravity brings them together or apart depending on the steering wheel rotational position.
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Unread 04-28-2013, 08:13 PM   #7
Hvacdude
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I don't think it would be the clock spring. The clock spring is just a conductor. I would look into the horn buttons.
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Unread 04-28-2013, 10:30 PM   #8
Mickey_D
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But the clockspring is the part that transfers the stationary wiring in the steering column to the rotating steering wheel. It's a set of brushes moving over concentric contact rings. If the brushes get disturbed and contact the wrong contact rings, things go haywire.

In the worst case scenario the horn button incoming power line gets crossed with the airbag signal and it goes BOOM!! Like what happened to my wife's 95 Neon a few years ago. There were actually stringers of the contact rings coming out from between the steering wheel and the column.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 05:20 AM   #9
KoreaZJ
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Something is shorting to ground triggering the horn relay.

If you're certain that it's related to wheel rotation... then either bad horn switch, bad clock spring, or shorted horn wire in wheel. Either way, it needs to come apart to isolate the problem. Then you'll know if you need a new clock spring, switches, or simple wire repair.


Airbag removed...




Horn switch wires...




Clock spring on steering column...

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Unread 04-29-2013, 10:03 AM   #10
sgull
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoreaZJ View Post
Something is shorting to ground triggering the horn relay.
If you're certain that it's related to wheel rotation... then either bad horn switch, bad clock spring, or shorted horn wire in wheel. Either way, it needs to come apart to isolate the problem. Then you'll know if you need a new clock spring, switches, or simple wire repair.
KoreaZJ, thanks for the helpful info and photos. Yes I'd say I'm certain it's related to wheel rotation; it would stop/start honking depending on where I'd turn the wheel and hold it. Your reply that it needs to come apart to isolate the problem answers my most immediate question about the possibility of me trying to fix it. Another thing I forgot to mention is I noticed when I was turning the steering wheel I could hear something loose like it was falling around in the area inside behind the steering wheel, like a small part or wire or something. I do have the service manual for the Jeep. One thing I don't have and will have to get my hands on is a puller for the steering wheel. Then I suppose I can go from there, follow the instructions in the service manual for removing/replacing the steering wheel and clockspring as necessary. Likely I'll have some questions along the way, and I know where to ask if I do. Thanks again.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 12:07 PM   #11
sgull
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In the manual the first step given to remove the steering wheel is to have the wheels in the straight ahead position and make sure the steering wheel is in the locked position. I'm noticing even though I have the key in the lock position I can still turn the steering wheel both ways quite a bit (didn't try turning it real far). Any ideas on what I may be doing wrong or why this would be?
Also, in this picture where the screwdriver is pointing is the upper holes wherein the upper two nuts to remove the air bag module are located but they are recessed about an inch and a half in. My socket ratchet head won't fit there, so it looks as if I'd need to remove the upper half of the plastic casing of which the tilt steering column lever protrudes to get the ratchet into positon to take those nuts off.
I've removed the torx screws from underneath the bottom half of that plastic cover.
How do I get this top half of this plastic shroud to come off? What the heck is still holding it?
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Last edited by sgull; 04-29-2013 at 12:43 PM.. Reason: additional comment
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Unread 04-29-2013, 03:53 PM   #12
KoreaZJ
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Depending on the position, the wheel needs to rotate a bit to lock. Should be less than 1/2 turn.

Covers are held on by torx screws.

Tilt-wheel lever just rotates and threads out.
(tilt wheel down first for clearance to remove top cover)
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Unread 04-29-2013, 06:10 PM   #13
sgull
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Okay. In regard to getting the steering wheel to lock, I first made sure the front wheels were turned straight, then made sure the key position was turned to the lock position there on the ignition switch. Still though, I can turn the steering wheel either way quite a bit (didn't try turning very far, like half a turn, because I didn't want it to lock with the front wheels turned. I hope making sure the steering wheel is indeed "locked' isn't all that important for this procedure. And, I didn't realize I needed to tilt the wheel down first to remove that top cover. Thanks KoreaZJ for the help there. Anyway, upon removing the airbag module, first appearance was as pictured here. The only thing so far I've seen that seems in any way unusual or unexpected (to me) is perhaps this thin white wire or whatever it is showing:

I grabbed it with a needle-nose and pulled it out a little, just to maybe see what it was better:


Will have a steering wheel puller tomorrow, to remove the steering wheel. What is this white wire? Any chance this might not be normal? Thanks
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Unread 04-30-2013, 05:00 AM   #14
KoreaZJ
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White piece looks too small to be a wire. More like nylon lacing cord. Besides, all your wires are visible.

Try to eliminate bad horn switches or a simple wire short before removing the wheel.
  1. Remove the clock spring connector (white/natural)
  2. Using an ohmmeter, check for continuity between Clockspring Pin#5 (GY/OR on connector side) and chassis ground.
    There should be no continuity without a horn button pushed.
You can also pull the horn switch spade lug connection apart, then test the switches/wiring separately from the clockspring/wiring.

Check for damaged/bare horn wires on both ends where they run close to the metal framework.

Nothing should be grounded with the meter checks.



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Unread 04-30-2013, 10:24 PM   #15
Hvacdude
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I bet there is a spot on the horn switch wire where the insulation is worn thru. Probably where the wire goes thru the hole in the wheel {at the 12 or 6 o'clock wire pass}. Jeep used poor quality wire in our cars. Too thin on the copper and the insulation. The horn would be on all the time if you read continuity too ground on the horn switch wire. Turn the wheel when you are checking the wire.
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