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Old 06-10-2012, 11:02 AM   #1
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Smile fixing my horn button

I now have a horn that works!!!! - In spite of myself.

It all started with a loose horn button… that big round muffin in the center of my steering wheel rattled like a tin can, so I set about “fixing” it. Since I do not have a garage, I decided to take full advantage of the shade tree and pulled my jeep under it to help stay cool.

I studied up and found that to remove my 94 Jeep Wrangler YJ horn button simply pulled off. It is held on with plastic clips that slide on and lock into place. So, I planted my butt firmly in the driver’s seat, locked my fingers around the horn button and yanked straight back. Viola.. (or wha-la in Texas terms), it was off.

I was now looking at a green ring that evidently serves as a spring with 3 screws inside a metal cup. I noticed that the three screws were very loose. I took my Phillips head screwdriver and tightened them down. No more rattling horn button…

Now if I had stopped there, chances are I would have been fine. But noooooo… I recalled that the horn was difficult to get to beep. You had to pound, press, cross your fingers, wink once or twice, then it would suddenly beep. By this time, the need to sound the horn usually had passed. So I decided to dig a little deeper.

So I took those three screws out and carefully laid them aside. I noted that there was a notch in the metal cup, and that it was centered approximately at the top of the steering wheel. When I pulled the cuf off, there was this thin metal plate with holes and slots cut into it. It was pretty grungy looking, so I decided I would take it out and clean it.

I took the plate off and took it into my shop where I have my grinder with one of those wire brush wheels. I cleaned it up and made it nice and shiny. I then went back out to my jeep to put it back on. That is where things went to hell. I failed to notice that there was a round pin sticking up. I barely touched it and the pin and spring shot out in different directions. My peripheral vision also saw another small black part but I was not quick enough to see what it was.

So I headed in to the computer to pull out the Jeep Shop Manual. It showed a contactor pin and spring. I went back out to the jeep and looked around. I found what I thought to be the pin. A little while later, I found a spring that I thought must be part of this solution. When I put the spring onto the pin and put it into the hole, it went fully inside. Now common sense says that if this is a switch, it has to make metal-to-metal contact to complete the circuit. This just was not going to happen.

The pin was made of a non-ferrous material, so a magnet would not pull it out of the hole. I went back into my shop to look around and decided that a finishing nail from my pneumatic nail gun would be just right to slip down into the hole to fish out the pin and spring. Sure enough, it worked.

So back to the computer. I found some postings that referred me to go to Napa and get a “horn contact repair kit,” Part Number BK 7352822. A quick trip over to the neighborhood NAPA, I was the proud owner of a repair kit that was going to solve all my problems… and just for $6.00! Sigh… it was not to be.

I tried using the pin in the kit with the spring, but the little black bead didn’t seem to fit. So I tried just going without it. During this time, I learned a couple more lessons. First, when working on your horn around 8:00 on a Sunday morning, be kind and disconnect the negative battery cable to keep from disturbing family and neighbors. Second is that the spring is metal and will complete the circuit when everything starts to get screwed together. So it was obvious that the little black bead serves as an insulator for the spring to rest on.

I used a razor and carved off the little tab on the side, but it still was a tight fit. But I managed to press it in about 3 / 4” into the tube. Now the spring had something to rest upon and compress against. However, this pin was too short to make contact with the bottom of the hole.

I set about pondering this situation. I noticed that the pin in the NAPA kit looked like a standard nail without the point. So I went back in the house and searched around to find a few nails, plus a pair of wire cutter pliers. I took a nail that was about 2” long and inserted it into the hole. It looked like I needed to cut off about 3 / 4” or so. I cut the point off of a nail and tried it. The nail was too long. So I cut a nail about 1” and it was too short.

I then took the longer one into my grinder and ground it down a little at a time until the nail would rest on the bottom and the top of the head of the nail was about the thickness of the nail head above the top of the hole.
I placed the spring on the nail and inserted it into the hole, then put the plate back on, then bolted the metal cup / green ring spring back in place. I made sure the metal cup would flex the plate underneath, but was tight enough not to rattle.

I then took the battery cable and tapped the negative terminal. I didn’t want to have the horn blow too much in case the pin was still too long. Silence. So far so good. I tightened the battery cable down, then went back around and placed my hand on the cup. I then said a silent prayer and pressed. TOOT!

I pressed the horn button back into place and tested it. I now have a horn that works and doesn't rattle! Part of me wants to tear back into it and measure the length of that nail so I can share that with folks. The smarter part of me says leave it alone since it works. So the best I can tell you is start out around 1-1/4 inch nail and trim down from there.


Tom - AKA Jeep Monkey
Arlington TX
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"If it ain't broke, I ain't got to it yet..."

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Old 06-10-2012, 11:12 AM   #2
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This is a job i have to do as my horn doesn't work.
When i got it the po put on a grant wheel and i don't think he put on the part to connect the horn to the centre push. I have changed the wheel to a raid wheel and i said at the time i'll do it later.
I did think i would just rewire the horn completely but i will get round to it.
You sound just like myself when i was changing the windshield hinges and nothing went right, but now that they are done it was an easy job!!!!!!!!!
Take care
Jim

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Old 06-10-2012, 10:50 PM   #3
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Cool Now that my horn works... taking the next step

Some people are just never happy to let things alone. After fixing the horn button, my horn works better than ever. I have to fight the urge to use it though.

That being said, there are times when you encounter someone who does something really bone headed. Like the guy that pulls halfway into your lane before looking, then stopping right in front of you causing you to have to swerve into the adjacent lane. However, my horn is way too polite... kind of like tapping them on the shoulder and whispering "excuse me..." So I began the search for something a little more intimidating.

My neighbor has a couple air horns from a locomotive. One is 24" long and the other is 18". Pretty impressive. However, neither his nor my shop air compressor would generate enough air flow to light this thing off full blast. Plus, I am not too sure something like this is really legal. So cooler heads prevailed.

I stopped by my local parts dealer and picked up a "freeway blaster" low tone horn. Now I am trying to decide to just swap out my little beeper for this honker, or if I want to wire both of them up at the same time. Any advice / suggestions?

Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:31 PM   #4
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Good humor!

Great write up! I also have a non working horn with the kit sitting in the back of the YJ.

Guess I better get along and do this, but not Sunday.

Will be watching for your master blaster horn install.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:14 PM   #5
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This was an awesome read as my horn also does not honk. However after all that, I think I'll leave it. I have a rocker switch that activates a loud siren on my YJ anyway. I'll just use that as my horn haha.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jeep_Monkey View Post
I stopped by my local parts dealer and picked up a "freeway blaster" low tone horn. Now I am trying to decide to just swap out my little beeper for this honker, or if I want to wire both of them up at the same time. Any advice / suggestions?

Thanks.
I plan on running a pair of air horns to a button on the dash, and keeping the stock horn as is. The stock one is perfect for notifying people that the light they were waiting for turned green 3 seconds ago, or getting the nice old lady's attention at the supermarket before she backs into the carriage return while trying to get out of her parking spot. The air horns are perfect for informing the dumbass doing 45mph halfway between the left and center lanes, with a burger in one hand and a cell phone in the other, that the conversation can wait.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:54 PM   #7
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That was hilarious,thanks for the laugh and the lesson.Art S.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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Ok so I bought an 88 wrangler and found out the horn didnt work either. I checked into what you did and saw my contact pin and spring and what not weren't even there. I decided to pick up the NAPA part and do the whole nail trick. Now that I have that piece set up though, the horn still doesn't work and there is no power leading to it.

Is this a fuse problem? and if so, which fuse? I can't seem to find a fuse diagram anywhere for my jeep. Thanks for the help!
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I now have a horn that works!!!! - In spite of myself.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:48 PM   #9
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Ok so I bought an 88 wrangler and found out the horn didnt work either. I checked into what you did and saw my contact pin and spring and what not weren't even there. I decided to pick up the NAPA part and do the whole nail trick. Now that I have that piece set up though, the horn still doesn't work and there is no power leading to it.

Is this a fuse problem? and if so, which fuse? I can't seem to find a fuse diagram anywhere for my jeep. Thanks for the help!
There is no fuse for the horn...it is one of those items like the brake lights that are hard wired into the harness and have power all the time.

Check the long flat wire harness clip at the bottom of the column(up under the dash) and see if the wire has come loose there. its a black wire but i dont remember what color the stripe is on it.
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Old 07-21-2012, 05:35 PM   #10
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This is what I saw under there and there's so many wires I can't tell what's what. Maybe you could point me to it in the picture if you see what I'm looking for. Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:35 PM   #11
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I'm having difficulty determining if all the parts are even there. I just got this 88 Wrangler and am in the process of fixing the PO's "fixes".

It has the sport steering wheel and the horn button pops off by pulling straight out from the wheel. The button had no "springiness", meaning it didn't sit away from the steering wheel and when you push it, it didn't go in. I took the button off and could see the cup and the green ring secured by three screws.



Under the cup and green ring was a spring plate that had been flattened out. Aha! I took it out and bent it so that it had some flex.



Yes, it is rusty. I will clean it up later. But the next thing is what has me wondering. I saw the metal pin, but it was recessed in the hole.



I pried it out and saw the white insulator. I got the insulator out, very carefully, and there was a spring that looks like it came out of a ball point pen. No black bead. I'm assuming that the bead is supposed to keep the pin from sliding down into the spring, which is what it does right now.



My question is this, if the bead separates the pin from the spring, what does the pin make contact with when it is depressed?

P.S. The NAPA part number is now NOE 7352822, but it looks exactly like what I had in my hand. No black bead. Shouldn't there be something holding the pin up?
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:47 AM   #12
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Got it working. After cleaning up the flex plate/disk spring (the thin metal disk that has three notches and is slightly coned) and the center of the steering column around the nut, I pulled the pin, insulator and spring out and twisted the spring so that the loops were tighter about half way down its length. Replaced the spring and insulator, put the pin back in, which now sticks up enough to make contact with the flex plate, put everything back together and have a working horn. You may need to check the ground at the actual horn on the fender well.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:26 AM   #13
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Yep. Sounds like my experience as well. Never thought fixing the horn would take half the day. Great write-up.
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:58 PM   #14
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1 1/4" was the perfect size.. Thanks for blazing the trail to a working horn!!!

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