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Old 01-24-2021, 09:32 PM   #1
Tom in TN
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Default Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

1955 Fairlane Town Sedan- bone stock one-owner
Cannot get the horns to blow. Take the horn ring off and the small bullet shaped piece (looks like graphite?), will not engage with the back or the horn ring...well, it will once I pull it out, then it scoots back down in its 'rabbit hole' and won't work until I pull it out again. Can only get a wimpy, half-hearted blow, even when I do pull it out...I guess 'cause it is headed back down the hole as it tries to blow.

Hoping someone has fought this deal before and has a solution that I can do?

TIA
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Old 01-25-2021, 08:32 AM   #2
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Post Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

You would start here - https://cgfordparts.com/ufolder/ford...er=1A-14308/WP
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

you probably have a broken spring may need to replace the whole connector( wire included.)
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Old 01-25-2021, 11:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

The contact button under the horn ring sits in a metal sleeve with a spring inside it. ...photo 1
The spring should hold the contact out of the sleeve approx 1/2 inch. ...photo 2
This one may be a new/replacement version but it should be very similar.
.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg horn wire spring.jpg (41.9 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg horn wire contact.jpg (31.3 KB, 12 views)

Last edited by dmsfrr; 01-25-2021 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 01-27-2021, 05:17 AM   #5
Tom in TN
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

Man, isn't Ford Barn great? This is exactly the info I was looking for- THANK YOU ALL!
I'll order the new part today.

Kinda looks self-explanatory: unplug it from ?? down below, pull it out the top. Poke the new one down the hole and plug it in...and let the horns work properly.

If there are any hazzards to watch out for, please don't keep 'em a secret.

Thanks again fellas...
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Old 01-27-2021, 06:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

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The hole thru the shaft inside the steering box is smaller than the hole thru the steering column.
When installing the new horn wire from the top it will most likely be caught at that joint unless guided by a small pull wire or string that you connect to the old horn wire when you remove it.
Fasten the bottom end of the new horn wire to the pull wire / string and give it a wrap of tape to help guide the new end into the hole thru the steering box shaft. Keeping that wrapped joint small will be important.

Using a long piece of wire with a matching bullet style connector as the 'pull wire' may be an even better solution.
Disclaimer: I haven't tried reinstalling a horn wire yet, only recently removed one to remove the steering column.

Last edited by dmsfrr; 01-27-2021 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

I replaced the horn wiring and switch on my '54, but never on a '55.

Personally, I'd first hook the horn up to the battery directly and see if the problem is within the horn itself. I can't remember if my original '54 horns had adjustments on them or not, but they didn't work. I now have a 6v horn from some 1930's car installed...sounds kind of cute. BTW, has your car been converted to 12 v?

Quote:
When installing the new horn wire from the top it will most likely be caught at that joint unless guided by a small pull wire or string that you connect to the old horn wire when you remove it.

dmsfrr's advice is very good. I did something like that when I rewired my '54 a couple of years ago. I was rewiring the entire car, and did the horn switch and wiring as part of my big project, but the horn prior to the rewire wasn't getting good contact. Don't discount your horn ring as being part of the problem either. I had to install a NOS horn button (my Mainline has a button instead of a ring) to finally get good consistent contact.
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimNNN View Post
I replaced the horn wiring and switch on my '54, but never on a '55.
Personally, I'd first hook the horn up to the battery directly and see if the problem is within the horn itself. I can't remember if my original '54 horns had adjustments on them or not, but they didn't work. . . .
JimNNN - I believe '54 and '55 would be the same.

Tom in TN - Assuming the horn wiring in your '55 sedan is the same as my '55 bird... the horn relay is operated by grounding the relay coil thru the wire up to the steering wheel. Grounding that wire anywhere along its path will operate the relay and horn. There is usually a connector in that wire between the steering box and relay. Grounding the relay side of that connection will test the relay and horns separately from the steering column wire and horn button contacts.

FYI, if the wire thru the steering column has worn insulation or there are loose or out of alignment parts on the back side of the steering wheel, the horn will honk whenever contact is made.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg copy, horn relay wiring.jpg (33.9 KB, 10 views)

Last edited by dmsfrr; 01-27-2021 at 03:04 PM. Reason: add image
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Old 01-27-2021, 01:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

I am pretty sure it was the spring no need to look for problems further just leads to confusion.he asked about pulling wire now.you need to pull from bottom (steering box)tie a string to your old one then pull from box up reverse to put new one in.easy just do not get heavy handed.yes have done it several times
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Old 01-28-2021, 08:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

Guys, Thank you for the priceless advice – DMSFRR – I hadn’t considered attaching a ‘pull wire’ but your advice makes good sense.
54VICKY – from your experience, it does work- so I’ll be using one.
JIMNNN – my horns work fine, IF I jumper a wire from the 'bullet' to ground, but with the ‘bullet’ not contacting the horn ring, not so much. I have NOT changed mine to 12v. It’s a one owner car and will remain in stock condition.
KULTULZ- Thanks for the pointer to C&G – my new horn wire is on its way.

Thanks again guys.
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Old 02-01-2021, 09:26 AM   #11
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

Thread update: (for those who are interested)
Well, the old wire is out and the ‘pull wire’ is hanging out both ends of the tube…but I have learned a few things.
The spring isn’t broke. Actually, there is/was nothing wrong with the ‘ball end’ of the horn wire. As I now understand it, my problem was that when the ‘ball’ was pushed inward, the entire horn wire moves inward as well and I discovered, as I was pulling out the old wire, at about 1/2 tube, my horn wire was covered/saturated in thick grease. It appears that this grease was what was holding the ‘ball’ in the retracted position. The upper end of the old horn wire is fine.
So, I am thinking of two things to do as I reinstall the new horn wire. 1) I’m going to spray brake parts cleaner down the tube and try to get the grease to dissolve and let it run out the bottom hole and 2) I’m going to use the pull wire to help this by pulling it out the top (except for 3-4 inches) and wipe it off, then pull it out the bottom (again except for 3-4 inches) and wipe it off, and then just go top to bottom, back and forth a few times and hopefully this will drag out as much of that grease as possible so that the new wire can move freely…even though, when it is all installed and buttoned up, the wire won’t really be moving but a fraction.
I anticipate having some good solid horns pretty soon.
Followup question: my horn ring is shaped like a D. If everything is working as it should be, can the driver push in at the center of the D’s arc (the horn button is the middle of the straight line) and get the horns to blow? I have never been able to get the horns to blow by pushing anywhere but dead center on the horn button, so I’d just like to know what to expect from it.

Til later…
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:06 AM   #12
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

I"ll be damned never would have thought from a distance.that steering box grease is very sticky as it is designed to be.knowing that now it probably would have just been a matter of pulling the wire down into the column from bottom as once in there it does not need to move.as to your other question too damned cold for me or I would check my horn not having to blow very often I pretty sure I just use the ring.the way it goes together I think it is meant to be tilted? on angle when you push on ring.when working properly I have found it does not need a great deal of pressure leading to bending of ring also I recall having used the side bars as this tilts it also.try pulling the wire down from bottom as it does not move once it is in. once you pull it down try nothing to lose that way you can leave the grease saving you a mess to try and clean
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Old 02-01-2021, 07:14 PM   #13
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Question Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom in TN View Post

Thread update: (for those who are interested)

Well, the old wire is out and the ‘pull wire’ is hanging out both ends of the tube…but I have learned a few things.

The spring isn’t broke. Actually, there is/was nothing wrong with the ‘ball end’ of the horn wire. As I now understand it, my problem was that when the ‘ball’ was pushed inward, the entire horn wire moves inward as well and I discovered, as I was pulling out the old wire, at about 1/2 tube, my horn wire was covered/saturated in thick grease. It appears that this grease was what was holding the ‘ball’ in the retracted position. The upper end of the old horn wire is fine.
So you are saying that the steering column tube itself has chassis grease inside it?

Your 55 uses 90W as a steering box lubricant.

Possibly in it's service history the box developed a leakage and rather than re-sealing the box, the owner filled it with chassis grease (through the column tube).

Now why does this not surprise me?
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Old 02-02-2021, 08:53 AM   #14
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Exclamation Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KULTULZ View Post

So you are saying that the steering column tube itself has chassis grease inside it?

Your 55 uses 90W as a steering box lubricant.

Possibly in it's service history the box developed a leakage and rather than re-sealing the box, the owner filled it with chassis grease (through the column tube).

Now why does this not surprise me?
... or ...

... chassis grease was forced into the box fill opening with a grease gun of some type and he got carried away filling the box and excess went up into the column tube.
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Old 02-03-2021, 07:30 AM   #15
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

I cleaned as much out of there as I could- and sprayed brake parts cleaner down the tube. A lot ran out the bottom- the rest will evaporate before I install the new horn wire tonight.

KULTULZ, i think that last possibility may be the most likely...but there's less in there now, than it was... :-)
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Old 02-03-2021, 09:01 AM   #16
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Post Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

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KULTULZ, i think that last possibility may be the most likely...but there's less in there now, than it was... :-)
It makes more sense but then again some people do stranger things.

Maybe remove the fill plug on the box ans see what is in it and if there is enough lubricant.
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Old 02-03-2021, 09:42 AM   #17
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

If the steering box was pumped full of grease it should be cleaned out as best you can.
I strongly recommend you DO NOT put grease in a steering box. Grease "channels", that is, the movement of the mechanism pushes the grease to the inside of the box casting, away from the parts that need to be lubed. Use 140-weight gear oil, or for operation in a cold climate, 90-weight.

If your steering box seals leak, try the 800/900 or even 1200 weight "semi-fluid grease" (actually very heavy oil) made by Penrite, available from Restoration Supply. For ease of pouring, it helps to heat this heavy semi-fluid lube in a pan of hot water on the stove.

Straight STP also works well.
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Old 02-03-2021, 12:27 PM   #18
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Post Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

FORD SPEC calls for S.A.E. 90 for STEER BOX pre-1958 (worm gear TYPE).

1958 on SAGINAW Box (recirculating ball type) used a special STEERING GEAR LUBRICANT which is not the same as chassis grease.

If you find a grease (many types) in a pre-1958 box, you have had something done by someone previously that did not use a LUBRICANT CHART or was trying to correct/hide something.

To properly fill a 58/ box with lubricant, turn the wheels to the left. Remove the SECTOR SHAFT COVER cap screw furthest from the fill hole. Fill box with grease gun until grease flows out that removed cap screw hole. Reinstall both the cap screw and the filler plug. Turn wheels to right and repeat fill procedure.

It that cap screw is not removed to indicate full, one may overfill the box especially with a gun using air.

ADDENDUM - Fr.
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1957 GM SERVICE BULLETIN –

Lubricant recommendations for 1955-57 passenger car steering gear have been changed to discontinue the use of #8216 - Multi-Purpose Lubricant and recommend in its place Chassis Lubricant #8217.

Coincident with the change in lubricant recommendations, service personnel are advised that the steering gear lubricant level should be maintained 3/4-inch below the filler plug hole instead of level with the filler hole as previously prescribed. The reduced level lessens the possibility of lubricant being forced out of the steering gear box during the pump action that results from fast turning of the steering wheels.


GM must have used grease rather than SAE 90.
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Last edited by KULTULZ; 02-03-2021 at 07:55 PM. Reason: ADD INFO
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Old 02-05-2021, 12:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

Final Report:
Well, the new wire is in and the horns blow just fine- Woot-Woot!!
Getting there was a bit of a challenge, but I have a tip or two for those following.
The factory male bullet end is not a current standard size- it’s bigger. So I stripped the insulation off my female bullet connector and opened it up a little, then put the new/old male end in there and crimped the females edges as best as I could without hurting the wire’s male end.
The connection was ok, but still too loose for my liking. So, to firm up the ‘lock’ between the connectors, I took a piece of heat shrink and put it mostly right on the joint- that helped a LOT.
And I needed it because the wire got stopped by that ‘catch’ that was mentioned. After some praying and wiggling the wire, it got past it and came on out.
Hooked everything back up and blowed me some horns !!!
Oh, and I did check the gearbox oil level and some was needed. Added some 140wt. Now we get to see if it all drips out, or what.

Thanks again for everyone’s contributions!!
Tom
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Old 02-05-2021, 03:43 PM   #20
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Question Re: Any 1955 steering column horn experts around?

So you are saying the replacement part is not the same as OEM (doesn't surprise me)?

What was in the box, oil or grease?
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