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Thread: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Luke Skywalker
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    What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Ray N. Evans
    Oak Ridge, Tennessee


    1966 Sprite HAN8 60603

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    Jedi Warrior BlueMax's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Thats funny!!

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    Jedi Warrior
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Probably an attempt to make sure the steering column is grounded so the horn will work.
    David Doan - Frisco, TX
    david at doan.us
    http://doan.us/blog/bugeye/

    1959 Bugeye - AN5L-26655

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    Jedi Warrior Branson's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Grounded to itself? Electricity is a funny thing.
    BOOMER SOONER
    '65 Austin Healey Sprite MKIII
    street ported Mazda 12a
    Motortopia
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    Jedi Knight Keith_M's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Quote Originally Posted by David_Doan View Post
    Probably an attempt to make sure the steering column is grounded so the horn will work.
    I think this is right. I seem to remember a wire from the steering column to the frame. I think this is just misplaced.
    Keith
    Keith
    '59 Bugeye (recently restored)
    '62 BT7 (recently restored)
    '65 Sprite (restored 30 yrs ago)

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    Yoda
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Actually, there is a packing between the rack and the clamp that the ground wire attempt's to get around. Making the horn's work can be difficult. My 65 had a steel cable to ground that wrapped around the steering shaft when you turned. Appeared to be factory installed.

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Darth Vader Rut's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Quote Originally Posted by nomad View Post
    Actually, there is a packing between the rack and the clamp that the ground wire attempt's to get around. Making the horn's work can be difficult. My 65 had a steel cable to ground that wrapped around the steering shaft when you turned. Appeared to be factory installed.

    Kurt.
    With the steering rack electrically isolated by the packing between the rack tube and its mounts, this was their attempt to ground it for the horn. I painted my rack mount brackets and effectively insulated it and the horn didn't work.
    Rut
    Rut, '60 Bugeye, '70 MGB, '62 TR4, '66 TR4a IRS, '67 TR4a IRS, '68 TR4a IRS, '72 TR6

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    It may be a brown wire but for commonality with Lucas color codes it should be "black". As stated above, they are fitted to some non BMC cars (especially Triumphs) to make sure the horn circuit has a path to ground through the pinion on the steering column and the rack housing. On TRs there is typically a black wire from the front wiring harness that attaches to the rack with the other end connected to the chassis somewhere.
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Luke Skywalker
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    This horn grounding thing my be the root of all my electrical issues with the Whitephrog. It wasn't unusual for the horn to operate for no reason at all. I seem to recall the horn sounding occasionally when the headlamps were turned on. I believe that all this may have fried the ignition switch.
    Ray N. Evans
    Oak Ridge, Tennessee


    1966 Sprite HAN8 60603

  10. #10
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    I think ground on my 79 is brown

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    Yoda
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    I believe that brown is supposed to be unfused hot. I'd have picked black, Doug. Unfused brown for the horn button circuit. Black after that.

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Jedi Knight smaceng's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    So I had the same problem that others had....horn would not work. Maybe I was wrong, but I insulated with fish paper the rack from the frame mounts as the factory specification. I can understand why the factory did this as the rack is steel and the mounts are aluminum. I do not think there is a good ground through the tie rods...may be they are rubber insulated? So I did what is suggested, I added the wire from the rack to the bolt which attaches the rack to the frame. What I want to know....how in the world did the factory get the horn to work reliably ????? As designed it is hit or miss.....as other have indicated.....as well as myself!
    Any input would be appreciated. I think this is one of the only areas on my "old" 60FROG that I had to modify the factory design to make the car "operatehorn grounding.jpg."
    Scott in CA
    1973 TR6

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    Yoda PAUL161's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Not sure on Sprites, but Black is a Lucas standard for ground/earth. Brown is an, I think, unfused hot wire, with or without stripes. After all these years, who knows what's been changed on these cars. PJ

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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    That's right. Brown is unfused hot and ground is black. Of course who knows what some DPO may have added.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
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  15. #15
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    I'll have to check but I'd swear all of my lights are grounded brown on my 79 and it's an original unmolested harness.
    Last edited by kellysguy; 02-22-2015 at 11:06 PM.

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    Yoda
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Quote Originally Posted by smaceng View Post
    So I had the same problem that others had....horn would not work. Maybe I was wrong, but I insulated with fish paper the rack from the frame mounts as the factory specification. I can understand why the factory did this as the rack is steel and the mounts are aluminum. I do not think there is a good ground through the tie rods...may be they are rubber insulated? So I did what is suggested, I added the wire from the rack to the bolt which attaches the rack to the frame. What I want to know....how in the world did the factory get the horn to work reliably ????? As designed it is hit or miss.....as other have indicated.....as well as myself!
    Any input would be appreciated. I think this is one of the only areas on my "old" 60FROG that I had to modify the factory design to make the car "operatehorn grounding.jpg."
    Scott in CA
    Scott, my 65 Midget had a small steel cable that attached at the steering shaft to rack pinion pinch bolt and went to the rack clamp frame attachment bolt. As you turned the wheel the cable would wrap around the steering shaft. Sure looked to be factory original.

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Obi Wan Sarastro's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    I've always seen black for grounds on LBCs. However, for what it's worth, Bosch created a standard for wire colors, which is used in my '67 Porsche, and I suspect most or all other German cars. Maybe other European ones too. In that standard, brown is ground. So, it's not a great surprise that someone might be accustomed to that standard and just automatically used brown for a ground.
    Steve Maas
    1966 Triumph TR4A, undergoing restoration: http://www.nonlintec.com/tr4a
    1952 MG TD, restoration completed 2014, sold 2016: http://www.nonlintec.com/mgtd
    1960 Austin-Healey "Bugeye" Sprite, sold 2010: http://www.nonlintec.com/sprite
    1967 Porsche 912: http://www.nonlintec.com/porsche

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    For future reference, the link below is for Lucas wiring color codes. According to it, "In the United Kingdom the British Standard BS-AU7 determines colour coding of automobile wiring."

    https://www.mgb-stuff.org.uk/colourcodes.htm
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Jedi Hopeful histerical's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    Wow . That chart is a treat. Thanks.

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    Great Pumpkin jlaird's Avatar
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    Re: What is the purpose of the brown wire on this steering rack?

    After looking at the pic several times, I think it is a trick question. LOL
    Jack Laird
    Retired USAF

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