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61 Lark -- turning the steering wheel and the horn goes off-- started today!

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  • Electrical: 61 Lark -- turning the steering wheel and the horn goes off-- started today!

    Hi everybody-- My 61 Lark developed an annoying habit today of the horn honking without pressing the horn bar or button. It was happening when turning the steering wheel to make a right hand turn into a parking space. I took the horn button and bar off by removing the 3 screws-- tried to make sure that everything was tight and no metal-to-metal contact-- it didn't solve the problem. Occasionally when I wiggled the black wire that runs down the steering column I was getting the horn to sound, so I assume it has something to do with the wire down there somewhere. Has anybody troubleshot this problem before-- how did you go about fixing it? So far all I have done is disconnect the wire at the horn, so I have solved the problem but of course-- no horn! Any help you can give Lark Novice is sure appreciated. Thank you!
    Martin in Oregon
    '61 Lark VI Deluxe 4 dr sedan


    an original Flamingo Lark

  • #2
    If you can wiggle the horn button/bar and get it to quit it is probably the springs under the button. If not it may be the wire behind the steering wheel grounding inside the column.
    To get the button off you have to carefully pry it out. It is held in by a rubber O-ring and lubrication will help.


    • #3
      Hello Martin, from the Great (more) Northwest!

      After you remove the Steering Wheel you should be able to see or test the Horn Switch to determine if you need the Wire or the Switch.

      You may need a New Horn Wire or switch from a Studebaker Vendor at:

      The insulation COULD have worn off of your wire inside the Steering Gear Jacket. By removing the Steering Wheel with a Steering Wheel Puller and attaching a "Fish" Wire to the old wire and pulling the old one out and the Fish wire in, you can attach a New wire and pull it through plugging it in on each end.

      It should be the White Wire coming out of the Column under the Dash and plugged into a connector on the mating wire coming out of the harness.

      After removing the Old wire you may be able to make a New one, by using Auto Parts Store Terminals and a 16 Ga. Plastic insulated stranded copper wire.

      It sounds like you have a Regal Lark or a Deluxe with the optional Deluxe Horn Bar type horn setup.
      Last edited by StudeRich; 05-26-2014, 11:20 PM.
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner
      SDC Member Since 1967


      • #4
        There is a brass contact plate under the wheel that a spring loaded brush makes contact with. Often the plate and the brush wears, squeaks, and the wire crimp at the base of the brush makes contact with it's holding bracket (grounding it out). You will have to pull the steering wheel clean things up, smear a thin layer of conductive grease on the brass plate, and bend the wire on the brush older so it cant contact anything . Sometimes the brush holder gets so worn that the insulating button breaks and it grounds out. Vendors should have a replacement contact assy.
        Older cars had the wire through the center of the steering shaft. They did away with that on 61-up when they went to Saginaw ricirculating ball steering boxes.
        Last edited by bezhawk; 05-27-2014, 07:28 AM.
        Bez Auto Alchemy

        "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln


        • #5
          I would have to agree with StudeRich. I had the same problem with my '59 Lark Regal a few years ago. I had to replace the horn wire which is threaded through the steering column from the horn ring down. The insulation on my horn wire was worn through and needed to be replaced. Not an easy job, but it's doable.
          '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
          Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club


          • #6
            All the above applies. But IF it is a Saginaw equipped power steering setup, there's much more to consider. You did not specify, and I am not sure if 1961 with PS used Bendix or Saginaw, or if yours is standard or PS.
            Last edited by JoeHall; 05-28-2014, 05:31 AM.