View original topic: '84 Vanagon horn doesn't work - What's usually the cause? Page: 1, 2  Next
buffbuh Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:33 am

It don't work. What is usually the cause? Dirty circular contact on back side of steering wheel? I want to pass Saftey inspection.

Christopher Schimke Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:59 am

Not sure if this will answer your question directly but...........

The horn itself sees power all the time. When you depress the horn button, the contacts on the horn button make ground contact allowing the horn to energize.

The first thing I would do is check/replace the fuse. If the fuse proves good, check for power at the horn itself (black/yellow wire). If the power wire proves good, ground out the other wire on the horn to see if the horn actually works. If the horn works, remove the horn pad and ground out the wire/s on the back to see if the horn works. If the horn does not work, the check the ground wire for breaks or dissconnections. There is a connection on the steering column that is behind the lower plastic shroud. This connection can come loose or break.

It's really just a process of elimination.

buffbuh Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:23 am

Thanks Loogy - I'll go through it.

candyman Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:42 am

perhaps a bad horn, they do fail :wink:
check to see if have power at horn, if you do and it doesn't work, then horn is bad

buffbuh Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:34 pm

Checked voltage at the horn, and voltage was there! Apparently, the steering wheel has a ground-to-ground switch, so positive wire at the horn will always show voltage. I tried to arch the negative wire to ground, and nothing.

Bought new horn, and everything good! I did have to spray a little into steering column circular contact as it was a bit gunky.

Works now! Thanks!

Shabbyvan Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:38 pm

I'm having horn issues as well...

FYI, I looked up the fuse (S12) and its also linked to the backup lights.

I've gone through the paces and it looks like my +12v wire is cut or something.

Quote: There is a connection on the steering column that is behind the lower plastic shroud. This connection can come loose or break.

Where exactly is this? I popped the instrument panel cover and there's a plastic cover, but I don't see a black/yellow wire.

mightyart Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:41 pm

Ground on the steering column, make sure it's connected.
My horn was broke so I put in an inexpensive air horn.
No more "smeep, smeep"
Now is says "GET OUT OF THE WAY!"

ProvoCyclist Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:28 am

I'm going to second MightyArt here, man. Pick up a sweet hella airhorn from van-cafe. Ill let you take a look at my install sometime. The compressor, and 2 trumpets all tucked up between frame members, its pretty much ghetto-rad.

VanLife84 Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:54 pm

Is there a page or diagram for the horn, horn pad, or horn wiring in Bentley? I can't seem to locate it.

Dampcamper Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:27 pm

Water-cooled Digi-Jet, schematics start on page 97.54
If you look on that first page for "Horn" it has the number "53" next to it. That is the track number, look across the bottom of the schematics, find "53" then look up.
There are some mysterious symbols there, with a little "follow the wire" time you can make sense of some of them.
The little circle/#12 (if you look back to the index page) tells you that that particular wire is located "at steering-gear housing" - that is the brown wire across the flex coupling in the photo above.
Likewise the "T1d" tells you where that connection is made and the wires have color information abbreviated on them, along with wire gauge (18 is fairly skinny, a 10 wire is pretty fat).
Does this help?

dhaavers Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:30 pm

The exploded view is 48.2. What are you working on?

vanagonjon Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:58 am

I would take off the steering wheel and inspect the contact ring on the underside of the steering wheel and the tab on the turn signal switch assembly that makes the circuit with the contact ring. I had to replace my contact ring on one of my Vanagons. The contact tab if worn is replaced by replacing the turn signal switch assembly, since it is an integral part of that piece. I don't know if lube is needed on the ring or not.


SactoSteve Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:36 pm

My horn stopped working (again). I had replaced the horn last time, even though eventually I figured out it was the contact ring. This time, I pulled the steering wheel and checked things out, and couldn't figure it out for a bit, as the contact ring and all in that area looked OK.

Finally looked at the all-knowing Samba, and saw the post from MightyArt about the grounding wire. I checked out mine, and it was attached, although quite corroded and when I pulled the connector apart, it broke. So, a little sand paper, a new connector, and I'm back in honking heaven!

I love the Samba. Thanks MightyArt!

lucianosanchez Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:52 am

I know this is pretty old but I wanted to post what worked for me and say thanks to everyone who had input.

To stat, well my horn wasn't working and I get a lot of people who do stupid things while I drive my van so I really needed it... Or i guess I could say I wanted it :)

I began my troubleshooting by testing the horn. I had a spare APC battery backup battery laying around that was 12V so I took the horn out of the car and plugged it in to the battery. Got nothing.

Took a trip to Orilley's and picked up a 12V horn ($16). Not stock but it sounds awesome, and loud!

Plugged it in to the van and went to test it out but got nothing...

I then proceeded to troubleshooting the connections. Plugged in my voltmeter to the black and yellow wire at the horn and the other end to the ground star behind the steering column and got my 12 volts (I used some spare wire to reach the steering column with the volt meter).

I then proceeded by removing both my ground stars and cleaning them with the Dremel. Also crimped on new insulated female connectors to the end of all my ground wires, the old ones were not holding well and they were very corroded. This included the one in the steering column.

Plugged everything back in and tested. Nothing... :evil:

I then proceeded to troubleshooting the horn switch. Removed the steering wheel, verified the contact ring was good. While moving around the horn switch I heard a little beep... :shock: I kept fidgeting with the wires in the steering wheel and found that one of the two ground wires that connects to the ground ring was corroded. I removed it with needle nose pliers and cleaned it with the Dremel, opened the "V" shaped connection a little more, popped it back into place and tested. Beep Beep! it works!

The honking was intermittent. It did not work on every press. I separated the switch from the steering wheel by depressing the 4 clamps behind the housing, cleaned all 4 contact points with the Dremel and put it all back.

My horn works awesome now! Loud and clear. Good little project and some fun troubleshooting with my friend.

Thanks everyone.

Bee-Dub Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:24 pm

So Im a new 84 Westy owner and have some work to do on it in order to pass the out of province inspection... one of those things is the horn and Iím going bananas trying to figure out my issue.

Iíve replaced the horn and horn ring (old one was badly chewed up in there) in steering wheel... nothing... now started tracing some wires and discovered Some wires had been disconnected down the steering column (photo below I hope) not sure which wires are supposed to be connected ... tried looking in Bentley, but Iím learning as I go and canít figure out the diagrams yet...

Any opinions based on the photos?

Igeo Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:54 am

You've found the problem. That broken brown wire is the ground for that circuit. Get that connected and try it.

vwpascal Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:42 am

Reviving an old thread. 84 westy non functioning horn. I jumpered the horn to a battery and the horn works nearly blew out my ear drum. Checked for voltage and I'm not getting 12v at the horn black and yellow wire. Ran the ground back to the steering column not that i think that matters but nothing. Whats that telling me? Ground looks good fuses are all good. Is the contact o ring shot or do i need a new turn signal lever or something else? Thanks for any assistance. peace tom

Ahwahnee Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:56 pm

vwpascal wrote: ...I'm not getting 12v at the horn...

That suggests to me that the problem is not with the ring or in the steering column - just with the power supply.

How did you check the fuses. Those ceramic fuse can appear fine but fail to conduct due to corrosion on the tips. You should be checking voltage on the load side of the fuse - one of those pointy checkers that light up is ideal for this.

One of these:

vwpascal Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:49 am

Thanks for the response! I went back out and tested with my multimeter again. I initially tested without the key in the ignition. I thought that circuit was supposed to be constant 12v, I guess I was wrong the horn circuit must go through the ignition switch on these vanagons which I think I knew haha. So with the key in and ignition turned to the first position I do have 12v at the horn and the fuse. I have a contact O ring maybe I'll throw that on and if it's not that get a new turn signal? Thanks again for the help. peace tom

vwpascal Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:28 pm

Just changed out the o ring since i had it and the one in there was beat up. still no horn. I grounded the + on the horn pad and the horn beeped with the key in the ignition. I'm guessing the blinker contact where it meets the o ring went bad at this point. The contact point is definitely showing signs of wear.

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