Horn Ring Hardware Take 3

As a last ditch effort to getting the horn working again, I bought new horn ring hardware and replaced the missing wire insulator.

Being too lazy (and frankly, stupid) to bother trying to thread that tinned wire tip through the tiny hole in the new plug, I just sliced it open like a hot dog bun.

It’s an insulated wire, anyway, so I’m not sure it’s even necessary. I’m just getting desperate at this point.

Throw parts at the problem if you’re not smart enough to figure it out!

Still no dice (or horn… there never were any dice).

I’m tired.

Let’s Try to Get This Horn Working

In my previous post, Replacing the Ignition Switch, I didn’t have much success getting the horn tooting again after having the steering wheel apart. This evening, I’m taking it all back apart to see if I can clean up the contacts and reassemble it correctly.

I armed myself with some emery paper and a can of WD-40 Contact Cleaner (Amazon link).

I got the copper horn contact ring polished up first.

Next I would need to move on to all of that old hardware.

And finally, cleaned off the contact ring in the wheel itself.

I have had this all apart a few times now, for different reasons, including trying to get the horn working again after taking it apart the first time. At best, I have been able to get it kinda working in one direction or the other if you hold your mouth just right.

I googled it and came up with the following image on the samba, credited to a site that doesn’t have that image up anymore.

That’s a picture I snapped with my phone off the laptop screen, so copy of a copy of a copy, but it’s clear enough for me to make sure it all went back together as intended. What a pain.

Also, it didn’t work and the horn is still nah, bro.

Replacing the Ignition Switch

As mentioned in Replacing Door Lock Cylinders (Again), I purchased a pair of door handles and ignition switch with matching key at Bugs & Buggies Kustom Autowerks in Denton, NC. I replaced the door lock cylinders in that post last month, but had moved on to other things and never got around to replacing the ignition switch.

Yesterday evening after work, I started disassembling the steering wheel/horn/turn signal assembly to be able to get to the ignition switch.

I only got so far before I found that I didn’t have the right size socket. My largest Stanley set only goes up to 22mm. Then of course, I have a 32mm impact socket for the axle nuts. Anyway, the info I found online said it was either going to be a 24mm or 27mm, with 27mm being the appropriate one for a 1968.

I went to O’Reilly and picked up both 24mm and 27mm deep well sockets. It was dusk by the time I got home and settled. So, I put it off until this evening.

It was a 27mm nut after all.

The metal cover/trim piece around the ignition switch was only held on by one screw. The other one was missing. That’s fine. One screw appears to be plenty. It isn’t exactly a comfortable fit to get back in there. When I removed the screw, it fell off the end of the screwdriver and tried to fall down into the steering column cover.

With the key in the ignition, I was able to pull the switch assembly out a little bit. From there I got a pick down into a hole and released the tumbler/switch.

The new tumbler/switch mounted up with no issues.

So I then started buttoning it all back up.

From what I have read, 1968 is a unique year in this area. The ignitions are supposed to be interchangeable 1968 through 1970. This new one is from a 1970 model. I’m not sure what’s happening. Once I got it all reassembled (with the horn working perfectly, BTW) I found that the key wouldn’t pull back out of the ignition.

I have heard that the 1969-70 models had a steering lock on the ignition and 1968 does not. That may be what’s happening here. The two cylinders appear to be physically identical. Once the new one is slotted all the way back in and tight, the key won’t come out when in the Off position.

I had to completely disassemble it, including undoing my masterful horn ring adjustment…

I found that if I don’t fully seat the switch – with just a tiny gap – everything functions properly. However, in that state, you can pull the ignition switch out with the key when the car is on. I will have to be careful not to leave the switch hanging on my key ring. It happened with the car running a couple of times already.

When I got it all buttoned up, the horn wasn’t working properly. I had this problem last time I had it apart, when replacing the horn ring. After fussing with the three screws for a long while, I could only achieve one of the following. One side works, the other side works, or constantly honking. I never actually got it fully functional again.

I’m going to put this away for now. I will tear it all back apart soon to get those contacts cleaned up. I have some WD-40 Electrical Contact cleaner spray. I’ll hose everything down with and scuff up the contact surfaces to get them all shiny.

Hopefully, I don’t need to replace the plastic/nylon isolators around the horn ring screws. They are available to order online if it comes to that.