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Thread: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

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    Jedi Warrior UmmYeahOk's Avatar
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    Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    My issue is that the horn goes off whenever you grip the wheel and pull it in any direction. You could be driving straight, and the horn could go off randomly in short bursts over a bumpy road because you are gripping the wheel.

    I have noticed that without the wheel, if you jump the gold horn ring to the outer steering wheel housing the horn will go off. I am assuming itís supposed to do that. With no horn button, wheel on, you can easily cause it to honk by pushing/pulling in the same fashion as if it were properly installed. Covering the metal silver portion of the wheel in electrical tape prevents the horn from going off, but also prevents the horn button to work. Only having electrical tape around the outer silver part, or just the inner silver part causes the same result.

    I guess what I am trying to figure out is how do I get current to the wheel without constantly posing a risk of it contacting when itís not supposed to?
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    Jedi Trainee Andy Blackley's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    The brass slip ring always has live current, and the circuit to the horn is completed by pushing the horn button which is makes the spring loaded contact touch the slip ring completing the circuit through the steel inner column to ground. Which is why there are ground cables on the rubber couplings in the lower column. Looks like you are using an after market wheel that has a raised boss in the center on the column side of the wheel. The stock wheel is flat where it meets the column, at least it is on my TR4A with the same column. It looks like the raised portion is supposed to be inside the opening of the slip ring when the wheel is installed. It may be designed with very close tolerance and that if your column bushings are worn and allowing slop then it makes the ground, sounding the horn.
    Andy Blackley
    1967 TR4A CT77156L
    2015 Mini Cooper S

    Fear God and Dreadnought

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    It may be as Andy suggested. Perhaps a couple of wraps of electrical tape around the boss on the back of the wheel will help you identify if that is the problem.

    There are two other things I would check. One may not be applicable.

    Push the splined end of the steering column sideways as best you can to determine if the column bushings have failed. If they have, there will be a lot of lateral motion possible. That might allow that steering wheel's rear boss to contact the slip ring.

    The second thing I would check may not be applicable on your Mk1 (I just don't remember). Many Triumphs have a 2-piece steering column where the inner part can move away from or towards the dash by loosening a clamp. Look under the dash where the column passes through the floor for a rectangular plate held to the column by two hex head bolts. Between those two hex heads you'll find a big set screw with a jam nut on it. You can loosen the jam nut and set screw to pull/push the steering wheel away from and towards the dash. If your car has the 2-piece column you may need to pull the wheel out a bit to gain clearance between the steering wheel's rear boss and the slip ring.

    The rectangular block and such can be seen in the bottom left corner of the exploded diagram linked below.

    https://rimmerbros.com/ItemImages/Large/GRID005790.jpg
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Jedi Warrior UmmYeahOk's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    Forgive my ignorance, but...

    1) Whatís the boss? <insert lame Tony Danza joke)

    2) Where are these bushings?

    I canít figure out where the grounding is coming from, but I definitely know that the entire column shouldnít shake around that easily. I can even shake it at the steering rack. I donít know how to tighten it. Part 122669 in your rimmerbros link is stuck tight. That doesnít need to be messed with, does it?

    https://www.canleyclassics.com/trium...i/ii-steering/

    https://www.canleyclassics.com/trium...lumn-switches/

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    You make a joke of "what the boss is". Just in case the terminology is new to you -- the raised portion at the center on the underside of the steering wheel is the boss. I had this problem on my TR4 with a moto-lita wheel. That boss is hitting the brass plate. The brass plate has a wire connected to it on the underside. The plate is energized looking for a ground (the steering wheel) , which then honks the horn. I suspect that the outer edge of that boss is what is contacting the brass plate. To stop the contact -- I would grind off the outer edge of that boss. As in reduce the diameter by enough to prevent the boss from touching the brass plate for maybe 1/8" up the boss.
    i would look under the dash for the clamp that is allowing the column to wiggle . There should be an upper (under the dash) clamp as well as the lower one. But I doubt that looseness is the cause of the horn problem.
    Charley
    1962 TR4
    1963 TR4
    1959 TR3A A work in progress.

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    Charley has answered the "boss" question.

    There are two column bushes, one at the top, one at the bottom. They are located between the rotating part of the steering column and the stationary tube that the column passes through. Using another Rimmer drawing, see part(s) 209423 in the link below.
    https://rimmerbros.com/Item--i-GRID005792

    If you determine that the new steering wheel hub is too close to the dash then yes, you will need to loosen part 122669 (unless you want to grind away part of the steering wheel hub's boss). Part 122669 will be tight for safety. If it is really super tight, loosen the two hex head bolts, then loosen the jam nut. Once the jam nut is loose you will be able to back the set screw out a bit. You should not have to completely remove any of the parts. Once the clamp is is loose you will be able to pull the column back towards the driver which will increase the distance between the steering wheel boss and the slip ring.

    Try the electrical tape on the boss first. It's not a permanent solution but it should tell you if the problem is the boss hitting the slip ring.
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Jedi Warrior UmmYeahOk's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    Thank you for the part number references. It helped a lot. Im going to get new bushings because driving with the wheel that moves like that is a little unsettling.

    I wrapped the “boss” with electrical tape and nothing happened. Couldn’t get the horn to work either (the brass peg that pokes out to connect is still exposed). So far is seems that everything I do with electrical tape prevents the horn from working at all. I think I need to trouble shoot that now.

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    You said the wheel is moving. Can you describe how it is moving? The outer tube of the column should be bolted to the underside of the dash which would prevent it from moving. If the bushings have failed then the wheel will have a small amount of radial motion... maybe 1/16 to 1/8 inch.

    For the horn circuit a purple wire (fused and not switched) supplies one side of the horn relay's internal coil. The other side of that internal coil has a terminal with a purple black wire on it. That wire goes to the slip ring behind the steering wheel. The "brass pencil" rides against the slip ring with its top end in contact with a brass tab on the back of the horn button. When you press the horn button the button's contact closure effectively connects the purple/black wire with chassis ground through the steering column and rack. That allows the horn relay to close and the horns to sound.

    My point is that wrapping the boss (and only the boss) with electrical tape should not prevent the horn from operating. As long as the column has its ground, the horn button is positioned correctly over the brass pencil, and the brass pencil is riding along the slip ring... then the horn should still work.

    Make sure the brass pencil is OK. When you remove it you should find what looks like a BIC pen body with two internal brass cylinders connected with a spring. I believe there are a couple of different length versions.
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Jedi Warrior UmmYeahOk's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    Not sure what the deal is. Either the horn just doesn’t work any more, or all the times it did work, it only did because I was moving the wheel during testing. I tried wrapping the boss again, but it still goes off when moving. Only difference this time was I removed the electrical tape from the inner steering column itself. Anyway, I captured a video displaying how easy the column moves

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKxvPXgl4HQ

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    That is more play than I would like to see. Perhaps the top bushing has failed.

    The following are some basic tests. Let me know your results.

    Start by removing the steering wheel and its hub if they are installed.

    1) Make a jumper wire. Hold one end against the slip ring. Tap the other end against the steering column. Does the horn sound?

    2) Inspect the brass pencil contact. Does one contact move when you try to depress it?

    3) If the horn sounds in test #1, refit the steering wheel and its hub (nut hand tight is OK). Insert the brass pencil. Hold one end of the jumper wire against the TOP of the brass pencil. Press the brass pencil down slightly so you feel the spring pushing back. Tap the other end of the jumper wire against the bare metal inside the steering wheel hub. Does the horn sound?

    4) Inspect the horn push button. Is there a brass tab on the back of the button which will line up with the brass pencil when the horn push button is secured to the hub?
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Jedi Warrior UmmYeahOk's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    1) yes, the horn sounds

    2) is the ďpencilĒ the same thing as a ďbrush?Ē
    https://rimmerbros.com/Item--i-GRID005788
    if so, then I... ...umm... ...donít have one. Iíve attached a pic to explain why. I didnít want to drill out what it came with, and at the time couldnít figure out how to retrofit the factory button. I now have, and where the brush would connect to the horn, I pulled out, and plugged directly into it. Itís essentially just like having the aftermarket horn button. The aftermarket system should theoretically work, but I could probably add a straw and slip it over to keep it straight, pushed constant. It worked ok without anything extra, but still went off when the column moved. But now it doesnít, do not sure what changed other than possibly the positioning.

    The factory pencil/brush was removed a decade ago, and even though I found all the button components, and even the factory wheel, which looked like it suffered a fire some point in its life, I canít find the brush. Iím sure itís somewhere, but may not even work lengthwise.

    3) no, it does not

    4) refer to #2
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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: Steering Wheel Horn Troubles

    Thanks for the picture and explanation. Yes, the horn brush is the part I referred to as a pencil.

    In your first post you included a picture of the back/underside of the steering wheel hub which shows it has its own form of a brass brush. Is that brass part spring loaded?

    I suspect your steering column bushes have worn which allows enough lateral motion for the hub's boss to short against the slip ring making the horn honk. Replacing the bushes should address that.

    The remaining problem is why the horn is not honking with the push button. From your descriptions it sounds like the brass contact on the back of your wheel hub is not making contact with the slip ring. That contact needs to be spring loaded and rubbing on the slip ring. Let us know if the brush is not spring loaded. Assuming the contact is spring loaded you can either: a) move the inner portion of the steering column back "in" a bit towards the dashboard (after replacing the column bushes), or b) see if you can move the wheel hub's plastic brush insulator "down/in" a bit towards the dash. The goal of both of these is to make sure the spring loaded brush passing through the wheel is in contact with the slip ring. Once you get the hub's spring loaded brush so it is touching the slip ring the horn push button should work again.
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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