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John, triple chrysler master tech
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 2251
Experience:  43 years,triple chrys ,ase master tech,l1,t2 b5 a1-a8 Hev spec.
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1990 Chrysler LeBaron: the buttons on the steering wheel and no horn

Customer Question

I have a 1990 Chrysler LeBaron that the horn no longer works on. I press the buttons on the steering wheel and no horn. I removed the button covers from the steering wheel and the buttons appear to work just fine. I checked voltage at the wiring harness that plugs into the horns and I had constant voltage (approx 8 volts) no matter if I was pressing on the horn button or not. I checked the fuse and it's fine.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.

The horn switch simply supplies a ground for the horn relay, so I think you are checking the wrong wire.......there shouldn't be any voltage.

 

Have you tested your fuses and the horn itself?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Checked THE fuse and it was fine. Are there more that one? Didn't check the horns but it would be VERY odd to have double failure I would think (car has two horns). Can I just put 12v to the horn to see if it works? Or what method should I use? Assuming the horns are good, what would be my next step?
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.

Ok, never takes things for granted when it comes to electrical issues.....but yes it would be odd to have both horns go at the same time.

 

Disconnect wire connector at horn and connect one lead of a test lamp to the wire connector and the other lead to a good body ground. . Depress the horn switch. If test light illuminates, the horn is ungrounded or faulty. Grounding can be verified by making a temporary jumper wire connection between horn bracket (scratch through paint) and negative battery terminal. If horn fails to sound with jumper intact, horn reconnected, and horn button or rim depressed, the horn is defective. If test light does illuminate, go to next step.
Check for a defective horn relay by substituting a known-good horn relay in the circuit. If the lamp illuminates when depressing the horn switch, the original relay is defective. If the lamp fails to illuminate with a known-good relay, unplug that relay and connect a jumper wire from the battery terminal to the horn terminal on the relay terminal board. . If the lamp, which is connected in place of the horns, fails to illuminate, inspect for an open circuit between the horn fuse and horn terminal on the relay terminal board and the horn terminals. Should the lamp illuminate, a defective horn switch or an open circuit in the wiring between the relay terminal and horn switch is at fault.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

When I get to the car again I'll try those things out. Don't worry about it taking awhile for me to get back to you. I'm not taking the info and running. It just takes me some time sometimes to try things out and get back to you guys. It's about 20 degrees right now so I'll be working on it in the next few days. Thanks for the info. And since I'm not an auto technician, by test lamp, can it be just a simple electrical circuit tester that I use in my house. I also have an inductive tester. I can try that also.

Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
Ok....let me know.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When I went to check the system as you described I got different results than I described before. Lets forget about having 8volts at the connector. There is none. There also isn't any when the horn buttoin is pressed. I also noticed that there are two wires in the wiring harness instead of one. I'm used to seeing only one and its for the ground. But this system as two wires. I checked for voltage between the two contacts on the wiring harness that I disconnected from the horn. Both w/o pressing the horn button and with pressing the horn button. No voltage either way. I replaced the fuse just to see I the fuse is not working but that didn't solve the issue either. Is there something else inline other than the fuse in the dash that could be blown? Relay or something? Since it's a two wire harness instead of one, how does that change the test process?
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.

Ok, here is a circuit diagram for the horn. The horn button is simply suppplying a ground to operate the relay so you won't find any voltage on that wire.

 

There is a horn relay under the drivers side of the dash and you should be able to hear it click when you push the horn button......you might need to listen carefully.

 

 

 

graphic

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

There are two wires going to each horn. One is the grn/red wire shown in the schematic. The other is black. Metering across those two contacts on the wiring harness after detaching it from one of the horns, I don't get any voltage while pressing the horn button with either the ignition on or off. I also went from each side of the wiring harness to ground and same deal. No voltage.

 

I listened for a relay under the dash in almost absolute silence and didn't hear anything...at all. I listened very intently and I do know what a relay sounds like (just so you know I'm not a total novice to this stuff. lol) Anyway, I also tested for voltage at the fuse block. I removed the fuse in position 6 (20amp) and metered both sides to ground. One side did show 12v (OK 11.89). The other...nothing. Could it be the relay? Or something else? I can't see up in the dash because Chrysler put this nice sound shield under the dash. Pro's - queiter. Con's - Can't easily access that area.

Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
It could be the relay and it could also be the horn switch on the column. If you can access the horn switch and ground that black/red wire it should make the relay click and or the horn work.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
And by horn switch I'm assuming you mean the horn button on the steering wheel. There's two of them so I'm leaning towards the horn relay since double failure is rather unusual. I'll try to access the black/red wire at the switch and ground it and see what happens. If the relay does or doesn't click, what does that mean for both scenarios?
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.

If the relay clicks......the horn should actually work since you say the fuse is good.

 

If the relay clicks doing this......but doesn't click when you use the buttons then the problem is in the switches or steering wheel area.

 

If the relay doesn't click, then there might be a wiring issue.

 

We don't see too many relay failures simply because the horn isn't used that often to wear the relay out......but it's still a possibility.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
OK. I finally got back to it. Here's what I've been able to trace out and figure out. The horns work. If I bridge between the fuse side of the horn relay socket (with the relay removed) and the wire going to the horns, the horns blow. I replaced the relay but that didn't fix the problem. So I tore the panels off of the steering column to trace out wires. I checked continuity all the way to one of the switches via the blk/red wire. I had continuity. Then, all I did was put a test lead from the ground contact (where the screw holds the switch in place) to a ground, pressed the button and viola, I heard the relay click and the horns blew. Am I safe to assume that the steering wheel does not have a ground anymore? I'm assuming that the copper plate that is used as a bracket to hold the switch in place doubles as the ground. Does this make sense? Where does the steering wheel get its ground? I'm thinking that is where the problem is. Whats my next step. Thanks.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Also, this car only has 37,000 miles on it. I've seen a lot of info on the internet about problems with these cars and their clocksprings. With only 37,000 miles I'm thinking it shouldn't be that...unless it's a time thing and not a usage thing.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Um. Is someone going to get back with me on this issue?

Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.

Sorry for the delay, I was out of town unexpectedly.

 

So, it appears you might have a clockspring issue. The way I would test it, is to ground the black/red wire at the wheel and see if it works. If it doesn't work, then I would ground the same wire on the opposite side of the clockspring. If it then works, then the clockspring would be at fault.

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response. I hope ur out-of-town trip was pleasant. Sometimes they are not.

 

How do I check to the other side of the clockspring with the steering wheel on? is there a particular color wire I need to search for? As stated above, I grounded the copper plate the switch is held on by to ground, pressed the horn button, and the horn sounded. That would tell me that everything is OK from the horns to the bracket of the switch. Only thing left would be the clockspring or after that to ground. Do I have that right? Thanks again for your help.

Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
You'll need to remove the covers from around the top of the column. There are 2 halves held in place by a couple of screws(3,4?) from the underside. Once you have the covers off you will see the wires plug into the clockspring and you are looking for the black red wire still.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I had already removed those panels and I had found the connector that the black/red wire goes through. That is the path I was taking to test all the wiring. But what color wire is coming back out of the clockspring that goes to ground. I believe there was only one blk/red wire on that harness (I could be wrong. It's not in front of me) and it was going into the clockspring and then into the steering wheel. If the bracket of the switch is used as the path to ground, I'm assuming that the metal on the steering wheel that the switch bracket is screwed onto becomes the path to ground. How is the steering wheel grounded? Through the clockspring? If so, what is the color of the wire coming out of the clockspring that goes to ground? Sorry if all that was confusing. I'm just trying to be very specific so we are on the same page. I'm really hoping I don't have to take off the steering wheel.
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
Ground the black red wire as I described earlier and that will tells us if there is a clockspring issue.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Well, I took off the steering wheel cause it looks like it's a clock spring issue. Problem is, I have no idea what to do now. How does the clockspring come off? Or do I take it off or just work on it while it's still attached. I don't see how to open it to see where the problem might be. ugh
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
I'm going to opt out of this question........and pass it on to the others.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Then how will you get paid for the help you provided me?

Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.

Just Answer works on the honor system whereby you ask questions and I supply answers in the hopes that you find my answers worthy of hitting the ACCEPT button so I get credit for my time.

 

We have had numerous replies back and forth and I have supplied you with quality answers, so far, as well as a wiring diagram for the circuit.

 

Up till now, nothing I have provided you has caused you to appreciate the replies enough to hit the accept button, so I have chosen to opt out of this particular question.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
You are mistaken. I do appreciate it and I always pay. I just wait until the job is done to do so. It's how I've handled it in the past and it's always worked fine. I'm sure there are those out there that just want a free ride. I'm not one of those. If you can, look at my history. I don't stiff anyone. And the only reason it's taking me this long to work on the car is because the car is not here. It's about 30 miles away and I don't have much time to work on it. It's obviously your choice whether or not you want to opt out but don't do it because you think I'm not going to pay or that I don't appreciate it. Neither are true.
Expert:  John replied 4 years ago.
Hi my name is John.

Here how to remove the clock spring if you have a chrysler steering wheel.

graphic
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Do not use silicone or any other lubricant spray on or near the clock spring. Lubricants are often used in the clock spring area of the steering column to eliminate noise. Lubricants may have an adverse effect on the clock spring.
^ Clock spring centering. Any repair that may disrupt the positioning of the steering wheel with the front wheels will require that the clock spring be centered. This includes clock spring replacement, steering column service, HVAC service, steering gear service, and front suspension crossmember service
Let me know what else you need.

If I have help you,please push the accept button when were done.

Thank you for choosing just answer.

Note if you have the other steering wheel let me know.
John, triple chrysler master tech
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 2251
Experience: 43 years,triple chrys ,ase master tech,l1,t2 b5 a1-a8 Hev spec.
John and 12 other Chrysler Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry for the poor quality photo but can you tell which one I have from the pic. It doesn't look exactly like the one you gave me info on.

 

BTW. I'm clicking on Accept Answer because you have patiently waited and my schedule is not your fault. It has taken me WAY too long to get this done. I hope you stay with me on this issue because I know I'm going to need more help.graphic

Expert:  John replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX other type one clockspring system.

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Let me know what else you need

John
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Well the clockspring didn't fix the problem. Horn still does not work. If I place a test lead between ground and the back of the steering wheel switch the horn blows. It still seems like there is a faulty ground somewhere. From what I can tell, the screw that screws the horn switch to the steering wheel is what is used to complete the ground so that when you press the horn button the current passes through the switch contact to the mounting bracket, to the screw, the the steering wheel, to ground somewhere. Does this sound correct? How is the steering wheel grounded cause it's really looking like it's a ground problem. UGH!!!

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