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Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: GMC
Satisfied Customers: 35485
Experience:  35 years in the Automotive repair business.
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1996 GMC sierra 1500, 4.3. Just a basic standard cab pickup.

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1996 GMC sierra 1500, 4.3. Just a basic standard cab pickup.
Went to get my state inspection and they tell me my horn isn't working. News to me, but they are correct. I've checked the relay and it works fine in a different vehicle. The horn blows with voltage applied and I can get it to chirp from the relay box.
Seems like the problem must be from the relay box back to the horn button. a). how can I verify this? b.) how do I remove the horn button/air bag cover.
(To the latter question, I have removed the neg cable from the battery and unscrewed to 2 screws on either arm of the steering wheel. The cover still feels "locked" into place.)
I really don't want to jerry rig a button directly to the horn just to pass the inspection.

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am happy to assist you today. Give me just a moment to review your post, and I'll be right back with the help you need.

The problem may be due to the horn bad and or the slip ring is failing. I would start with grounding the black wire from the horn switch at the horn pad to the horn relay and see if the horn will sound. If it dose then this usually means the horn pad is bad. I have enclosed the steps to remove the pad as well as the wiring diagram in the link below for testing reference. Have a look and see if this will help you determine the cause.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Just to update you, Ron. Directions in the dropbox articles said to release the airbag by depressing the tabs in the slots on the rear of the steering wheel, implying that it was easy. Well, it wasn't! In fact, I never did get those tabs to release using that procedure.

Using a mirror I had handy, I discovered two Phillips head screws which hold the shroud onto the back of the steering wheel. I used a ratcheting offset screwdriver to remove those two screws. Once they were removed, there was enough play between the shroud and the steering wheel that I was able to see the other side of the tab mechanism and was able to move the tabs from that side, releasing the airbag. The tabs weren't easy to move from that side either, but I was able to get a lot more leverage on the tab mechanism from that side than I ever could have just trying to release the tabs from the back.

Another quick note: the black ground wire for the horn comes up the column as part of the multi-function switch harness. Only when the shift lock shield is removed can its connection to the horn be seen. (Actually, it connects to a button which connects to a circular contact ring on the back of the cancelling cam.) I don't know how many hours I spent looking for a black ground for the horn. You weren't the only one; my brother is a former L1 and he told me the same thing.

Ron, I am not complaining at all. I just wanted you to know the outcome.

Thank you for the update and thank you as well. Unfortunately I did not write the removal steps as that was done by the factory and they do ten to be vague at time. At either rate glad to hear you got it resolved and thank you as well.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

With the horn, all is well. BUT...

While i had the column shrouds off, I decided to go ahead and replace the key cylinder for the ignition as it had been acting really funky lately. After all, with the shrouds off it should be a piece of cake to depress the locking tab on the cylinder, remove it and insert a new cylinder. Right?

Wrong! The tab would not depress far enough to release the cylinder. I sweated off about 10 pounds before I called in the big guns. My brother, the former L1, said "no problem! I'll stop by and we'll have it out in 10 minutes." He did stop by and after 2 hours had made no more progress than I had. He sent over his MVS (Manager of Vehicle Services), another L1, who also had the "10 minutes, no more" attitude. After at least an hour and a half he finally said it would have to be drilled out.

Long story, short version, I ended up having to remove the lock housing from the column to grind off the lock positioning tab.

Somehow I now have the sector gears clocked wrong. I think it has to do with the gears being in the park/lock position when I removed the housing and the cylinder aligns to go in at the "run" position. The result is that the new cylinder will not go all the way in.

The bottom gear correctly aligns with switch/harness assembly in the off/lock position.

The upper gear doesn't kick back to run when I use a screwdriver to move the gear clockwise. Instead it just stops moving.

Yes I marked the gears with a sharpie before removing but I wore all the marks off the housing while I was manhandling it and even Magic Marker doesn't adhere to the plastic gears very well.

Any suggestions on properly clocking the gears given that they are badly out of sync now?

One more part to the question. I have a fear that before this is over something in the gears will break, Any idea where I could get either or both of the sector gears without buying the whole truck?

Thanks for your consideration of this little mess I have on my hands.

Unfortunately due to Justanswers site policy we are not allowed to address new topics in a old post. In order to be able to help you on this new topic you are going to need to open an new post.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.


Thank you as well.

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