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What grounds the horn ring to make horn work?

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  • What grounds the horn ring to make horn work?

    I thought it is the steering shaft, when you push down on the horn button or ring, it presses against the horn contact wire, which is hot and the ground is the shaft itself which completes the circut, causing the horn to blow (if the "hot" circuit is ok). How does the shaft itself get ground?
    64 Champ long bed V8
    55/53 Studebaker President S/R
    53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe

  • #2
    Its (indirectly) bolted to the frame.

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    • #3
      I've pulled and cleaned bolts that go directly into gear box and tried hooking up a direct ground, to no avail. Will try some more.
      64 Champ long bed V8
      55/53 Studebaker President S/R
      53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe

      Comment


      • #4
        The horn ring is basically the switch that completes the circuit to the horn relay. The horn relay activates the horn. If your horn ring is not grounding, I suspect that there is a problem with the installation of the components in the steering wheel hub. Get your manual and check for what is either out of place or missing.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975

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        • #5
          Ok--but isn't the horn ring grounded by the steering shaft? All parts look to be in the right place.
          64 Champ long bed V8
          55/53 Studebaker President S/R
          53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe

          Comment


          • #6
            OK, I have finally taken the time to pull out one of my parts manuals to get a technical look at the components before commenting further. I am not sure of which model you have, but the principles are the same with variations between models. The manual I looked at covers '47 through '50.

            If you have your horn ring off, you will notice the wire coming up through the column has a kinda domed shape contact point. A quick check of to see if the wire itself is ok would be to take a jumper wire and simply ground it. With a long enough wire, you could simply contact between the end of the horn wire and any obvious ground such as your lower steering column bolt at the dash. Avoid contact with chrome or any other surface where you don't want to make burn marks. You should also be able to jump to ground inside the center area of the steering wheel assembly. Any time you ground that wire, the horn should sound if the wire is good, relay is working, and the horns themselves are good.

            Once you have established that the horns are working and you have power to the wire coming through the steering column, it is time to look at the components of your horn ring. Most have some type of foam or rubber mechanism that keeps the horn button from making a ground contact unless pressed. the smaller horn buttons, have smaller components. An important piece for these is the little metal "contact" piece (button, wafer, washer or what you want to call it). If that is not there, the horn will never sound.

            On the larger diameter steering wheels, there is a larger foam washer do hickey (technical term) with holes and insulated spacers. Again, these need to be properly installed so that the circuit is only completed when the horn button or ring is pressed.

            In all cases, the circuit should be protected by a circuit breaker or fuse. If the installation is not made properly, either the fuse should blow, circuit breaker should trip, or a short can occur, either burning the wire up or the car down. This is the best I can do. Perhaps others can provide better explanations.
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975

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            • #7
              There should be a hot wire coming up through the steering shaft to the horn ring which when the ring is pushed should connect that wire to the car ground thus completing the circuit. This wire is actually the ground lead coming from the horn and will measure the battery voltage until it is grounded to the car body by pushing the horn ring. This ring will be insulated from ground and should only contact ground when pushed. The wire will enter with turn signal wires etc. You should be able to find it by following it back from the horn or possibly from the horn relay. These wires can break apart inside the insulation inside the steering tube. On some vehicles these wires had to flex when the wheel was turned. I would start by removing the horn riing then connect that wire to a known good ground. If it works then you know you're not making a ground connection. It is possible your ring is not making good contact . If the horn does not work then your open somewhere from there to the horn. With a little trouble shooting you'll find the problem.


              Good Luck

              Don
              don

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jclary View Post
                /Cut/In all cases, the circuit should be protected by a circuit breaker or fuse. If the installation is not made properly, either the fuse should blow, circuit breaker should trip, or a short can occur, either burning the wire up or the car down./Cut/
                Use a little CAUTION here, Studebakers do NOT have a fused or C/breaker in the power wire to the horn relay. It comes directly off of the Solenoid where the Battery Cable connects. This means not only is it ALWAYS HOT, but is NOT protected.
                Do not ask me how I know! My Transtar now has a two legged fuse holder and 20 Amp. fuse 3 inches from the Solenoid in that wire to the Horn Relay.
                StudeRich
                Second Generation Stude Driver,
                Proud '54 Starliner Owner
                SDC Member Since 1967

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