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Horn quit after pulling steering wheel.

12251 Views 19 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  AbandonedBronco
Hi All,
Did a search on this, but came up with nothing related to older trucks seemed to come up.

This weekend I pulled my steering wheel off my '81 to work on the turn signal switch. I didn't mess with any wiring. However, when I put the steering wheel back on, the horn didn't work. (The blinkers and other electronics on the column did though.) I've taken the steering wheel off before and didn't have this problem. (Remove horn pad, loosen nut, pull steering wheel. Reverse to install...)

I checked all of the fuses, made sure I plugged in the horn pad correctly (only two wires, nothing complicated), and pulled the steering wheel off again to be sure nothing was out of place.

Kinda stumped on this one. Anyone have any ideas?

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This actually happened to me this past weekend when I pulled the steering wheel on mine. Double check the connectors. Somehow, mine weren't seated properly and it caused the horn not to work. Just wiggled them a bit (with the ground in place) and, viola!
I remember reading up on the clockspring while doing searches yesterday, but they didn't come until quite a few years later. On the older designs, I believe it was the two spring loaded pegs on the right (in the picture above) that touched the spinning part of the steering wheel. One was positive, the other negative.

Roushstage, are you taking about the two wires that run from the horn pad to the steering wheel?
Any more ideas on this? I'm at a loss.

I bench tested the horn today and it works great. Tested it mounted by running a wire from the battery, and it worked great. So I know the horn works, and the ground is a good one. Just the button on the steering wheel isn't working.

I pulled the steering wheel again and ran a jumper wire across the two pegs in the picture above. Nothing.

I undid the screws that hold that unit in the steering wheel in place and pulled it forward to inspect the wires behind it. The wires look fine and nothing looks out of place. It looks as if the wires connected to the two pegs run straight from there to the engine bay (the negative goes to the fuse box first, but the positive is a straight shot to the positive plug on the horn.)

Again, the fuse is good.

Any ideas? I'm clueless as to why my horn isn't working...
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Relay Location in 80-86 & a 90; "...relay is mounted on the cruise control amp which on 80 - 86 is just under the dash to the right of the driver position. It has a metal cover with 3 contacts. On a 90, If you have cruise control, you have a horn relay which is located under the dash..."
Source: by Seabronc (Rosie, Fred W)

In Chilton for 81, For F 150 (should be =);
From SW, Blue to Horn Relay
Y/G to Horns

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Hey Miesk, thanks for the info, as always. :) I'll be going out in a few to see if I can find the horn relay. Before then, I had a question. All the info I've seen on the horn relay always has "cruise control" associated with it in one way or another. Parts sites on line list it as "with cruise control", etc.

Mine didn't have cruise control stock, would this make a difference?
Still no luck with this at all.

I tried to find a horn relay anywhere under the dash or the hood and came up empty handed.

Any idea where it may be? Or if I even have one?
yo, Sorry for delay;

Now, I'm trying to recall if No Cruise = No relay for horn?
Prolly Not! geez

re: the two pegs run straight from there to the engine bay (the negative goes to the fuse box first, but the positive is a straight shot to the positive plug on the horn.)

Is that diagram above correct? Show Y/Green to horn(s); can you find that wire in strg col and prick test it?
I use better half's long straight pins that have plasric knobs on end and then hook test light or meter to pin shank
So if I understand it right (I missed this part before in the diagram), it says that the BLUE wire runs from the steering wheel (labeled as the DIRECTIONAL, HAZARD, AND HORN SWITCH) to the Horn Relay. The Yellow/Green wire runs straight from the horn to the switch.
If that's the case, I'll have to diligently follow the blue wire out of the switch and see where it goes.
That's what the diagram shows friend...
I don't have anything from Ford to confirm. Wish I did!

Can you confirm the colors anywhere on your Bronco?
esp at Horns... then we'll knwo to disregard Chilton once and for all
So far, it looks about right (from what I remember). I'll have to double check after work.

A Yellow/Green and a Blue wire leave the horn switch on the steering wheel. They both then 'disappear' into the wiring harness.

At the horn, a Yellow/Green wire comes in and connects to the positive on my horn (only have one). The horn then has a ground wire simply running from it to the frame.

So, by the nature of the colors, (and confirmed by the wiring diagram), I'm assuming that the Yellow/Green wire doesn't stop anywhere between the steering wheel and the horn. I'll simply have to follow the Blue wire and see what it leads to. Not fun when it disappears into a wrapped bundle of wires.
I alos went thru this quickly w/NO info;
in Electr. Part 2 they show the horn had it's ckt breaker in Headlight switch in 66-77.. but nada for your 81 on last page of part 2

Chilton Manual for 66 - 81 Bronco, Scanned Copy
Source: by Chilton via

I also went thru Chapter 11 Troubleshooting

Ok, so far, I still have had no luck. :(
I'm clueless on this. Horn worked. Pulled my steering wheel. Put it back on. Horn no longer works.

Is it possible that the part behind the steering wheel got damaged? The big turn signal cam with the horn buttons on it.
yo, OK
ya know I'm perplexed now too? Could have damage to that part..

Yellow/Green and a Blue wire leave the horn switch on the steering wheel. They both then 'disappear' into the wiring harness.
So, have to see if you can get to that harness and pin-prick wires to test for voltage. Have you tried jumping the two pins w/wire, etc. w/STRG Wheel off yet? Assuming the pins are for da horn?
Parts Break-Out Diagram, Partial in 80-91 Tilt; part of TSB 95-23-12 Non-Tilt Key Hard to Turn in Cold
Source: by Steve83 (Steve, That dirty old truck) at

Are the horn wires in this turn sig connector in this diagram?
(diagram posted by Seabronco)
If yes, then disco it and test

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Ok, so followed the blue wire out. It runs directly to the fuse panel (fuse is good). The yellow wire goes into the wiring harness and out into the engine bay. The horn then has a yellow wire coming into it. I assume it's the same one.

I've tried jumping a wire between the two posts (both extended, and pressed in, since they're spring loaded), and nothing. I'll see if I can get in there and test for voltage next. If that doesn't work, I'll pull that whole turn signal cam out and cut the wires and just tough blue to yellow and see if the horn sounds. If it does, I know that cam switch is bad and will need to be replaced.
*sigh* I solved this over the weekend...


Last night, I tried to plug my navigation unit into my cigarette lighter, and there was no power.
Checked the fuse panel, and the fuse for the cigarette lighter and the horn shared the same fuse.

Checked the fuse again, and it looked fine. However, since neither were working and the fact they shared the same fuse was too much coincidence, I figured I'd try putting a new fuse in anyway. Everything's in working order again.

So, I investigated the fuse I took out and it had burned up, but was still completely intact. (So the fuse looked visibly good). The metal of the fuse, on further look, had white powder on it.

I must have done something while the steering wheel was off that slowly overheated the fuse, instead of a quick overamp that made it *pop* like a normal fuse does.

Never seen a fuse do that before.
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At least you know the ckt now and can jump in to help others.:thumbup

At least you know the ckt now and can jump in to help others.:thumbup
I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
You, sir, are a rare gem on this forum. It blows my mind how quickly and accurately you can provide valuable info to any ailment our trucks have.
Thank you--sincerely.
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I couldn't agree more. :beer
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