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Old 05-27-2011, 07:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Upper Michigan
Horn missing on truck

Here's another question for you. Our 1996 Dodge Ram pickup, when it came back from the shop (different shop than for the last question), the horn would not work. We talked to them about it and they laughed but refused to fix it without charging for labor. Duh!
Well, I found a cable hanging from where the horn is. I cannot find a place to plug it in though. Does anyone know where it should go, where I could find a wiring diagram, or anything? I checked the manual and I'm going to go pop the hood today and get a thorough look at it but a diagram would be sweet. I'd like to replace the radio (that the same shop fried and refused to replace) too so a detailed manual for this truck would be great.

If any good mechanics want to move to Upper Michigan the cost of living is cheap and we NEED!!!! a good mechanic or two.
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Last edited by raeanna74; 05-27-2011 at 08:20 AM..
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: The Great NorthWet
Just because the wire is hanging by the horn doesn't necessarily mean it goes to the horn. They use the same wiring harness on every truck (gas, diesel, Fi, Carbed, etc....) they build, so there will be some unused wires on every truck. That doesn't mean it's not the horn wire, either. So you have to do some exploring.

Is there a wire connected to the horn? If not, examine the horn until you find a connection. If the connectors match, that is likely your wire.
If there is a wire connected, check your fuse. More often than not, the fuse is the problem.

If it's not disconnected at the horn and the fuse is good, the only other point of contact is under the button/s on the steering wheel. Carefully pull it up (they usually snap into place) and check the contacts and connections there. Make sure the contacts are clean and raised enough to make contact when the horn button is pressed. Make sure the wires are connected to the contacts.

If all above is as it should be, your horn is dead. Buy a new one and install it. My personal favorite is the one that plays 'La cucaracha'.

Haynes makes good repair manuals, they're based on a complete tear down and reassemble of the vehicle. They're available at most auto parts stores and cost about $20. Chilton's make some good repair manuals too.

If you want the complete factory service manuals (the one mechanics use in the shop) scroll down to the year of your vehicle on this page Dodge Ram Repair & Service Manuals
or you can order it directly from the Mfg. They aren't cheap and you won't understand most of what you see, but it is the most comprehensive manual available.

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---------- Post added at 02:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:12 PM ----------

As far as replacing the stereo goes, you don't need or want a manual. Go down to your local Circuit City/Best Buy/Car Audio dealer and buy a harness and trim plate for your make and model of vehicle. Should cost around $40 for both.

The harness will have a schematic on the packaging for your vehicle's audio circuit and the trim plate will allow a standard single DIN stereo (standard replacements size) to neatly install where the factory head unit was removed. Make sure your ground wire is connected securely to a metal surface that connects to the frame or body of the vehicle. DO NOT connect it to the same point as another ground wire or you will get alternator noise coming through you speakers, which is really annoying.


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Old 05-27-2011, 01:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
Things that could be wrong: Horn switch could be bad, horn fuse could be blown, horn wiring could be disconnected (or shorted), horn module could be bad. Find the wiring diagram for your car, get a multimeter out and check each of these things...start by checking the fuse, then by if your horn is seeing voltage when you hit the button, then by seeing if your switch has continuity when it's hit.

If there's no voltage at the horn, but the fuse is good and the button is good, it's the wiring. There could be corrosion on the terminals or a bad splice somewhere in the harness between power, the switch, the relay (sometimes), the fuse, and the horn.
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Upper Michigan
Thanks for the advice about under the steering wheel. I will take a look at that.

The relay box with the fuses LOOKS ok. No corrosion, etc.

There is a bundle of wires that start against the firewall on the driver's side. A plug-in sprouts out there but is not plugged in to anything. This wire runs into a fuse/relay box. Then it runs from the fuses/relay box to the horns (two horns - one low, one high tones). It has 3 plugs there, two of which are connected to the horn and one (female connector) that is not plugged into anything. Then the wire continues to run along the bumper and another plug-in (male connector) sprouts out of the cable but is not plugged into anything. This means there are 3 plugs not connected to anything.

I found some diagrams and best as I can figure the harness that could be missing is the clock-switch harness, that controls the horns and the airbags. This costs anywhere between $200 and $400 depending on where you go. Once the shop that screwed up the horn looks at it (on Wed), if they refuse to fix things, I've found another shop where I'll take the truck and see what they tell me.
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