Horn switch problem.

Discussion in '1947-1954' started by Bill Hanlon, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. Bill Hanlon

    Bill Hanlon Member

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    Klein TX
    When I bought my new old '52 GMC 150 truck in March I noticed that the horn (among other things) didn't work. Additional inspection uncovered one of those generic after market horn buttons screwed to the bottom of the dash. Pushed it and BEEP. Good enough for the moment.

    A couple of months ago I removed the stock horn switch from the steering wheel and did some basic ohm meter testing. Found that the switch was shorted, which would result in a constantly blowing horn, thus the previous owner had the generic switch installed. I ordered a replacement switch from our host Classic Parts and just set it aside when it arrived.

    I am now in the midst of a bunch of under-dash work (electric wipers, new cowl vent gasket, radio and proper ignition switch) and decided that this would be a good time to ditch the generic button and get the horn working as General Motors intended.

    Removed the steering wheel, cleaned up the brass contact ring at the top of the steering column, checked for continuity from the horn wire to the ring (0.002 ohms), cleaned up the brass contact on each end of the spring loaded gizmo that goes through the steering wheel, mounted the steering wheel, the gizmo, the new switch, the flat washer, lock washer and the nut.

    Tried the ohms test again, this time between the horn wire and ground. Damn! No connection when I pressed the horn button. Took it back apart and tested each component individually. What I found was ....

    The black portion of the new switch has a coating (paint?) on it.

    [​IMG]

    When the horn button is pressed this black piece moves down and contacts the silver piece on the underside of the switch. Contact is made near the outer edge of the two pieces. The bad news is the black coating does not conduct electricity, therefore no BEEP.

    I "fixed" the problem by putting a piece of 240 grit sandpaper between the black and silver pieces (grit toward the black piece), squeezed the black and silver pieces gently together and moved the sandpaper to knock the coating off of this area. Did this all the way around the edge of the switch.

    Now my beep is working as designed.
     
    RidesWithYah likes this.
  2. Bilbo

    Bilbo Member

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    Magnolia, Texas
    Nobody likes a Beeper that doesn't beep! Good fix, with explanation for others who might encounter a similar problem. As it happens, I also bought a horn button from our host, but mine was correct as it came out of the package. No paint between the metal discs. ;)
     
  3. Keystoner

    Keystoner Member

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    Mar 17, 2006
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    90
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Just received the same horn button retainer from our host.
    I have the same problem with the "black metal" not conducting electricity when the contact is made when trying to BEEP. Same as you no BEEP.

    So I remove it and try a simple continuity test. I attached alligator clip to black metal touch other end of tester to bottom/underside of retainer and then squeeze the black against the bottom, like when you "blow" the horn. Bingo..... NO continuity. Also tested for continuity just using the black only. 99% of the time no continuity in the black part unless I touched a part of it that had a scratch.

    So I call our host for some guidance and got to talk to Angie. She transferred me to Brad , who is the tech guy. He had no clue how the horn retainer button worked. All he said is "we sell hundreds of these a year, and I (Brad) have never heard of one being defective. So he transfers me back to Angie, and instead Alex, a supervisor, pick up the call. Tried to explain to him I did a continuity test on the part & it's doesn't work.
    He cuts me off and tells me he's not tech and doesn't understand and I'm "wasting his time". Tells me that if I want to return the part to pay return shipping.
    I then ask if Brad will do a test on a retainer button that they have. Alex puts me on hold, then comes back and tells me Brad doesn't have a continuity tester, and will transfer me to another tech, Ben. So Ben performed the test on one of their new parts and he showed continuity.

    I asked him where he connected his tester and he said alligator clip to black metal, and other end to one of the rivets.
    Tried to explain that was not correct. Other end goes on the bottom side and then you squeeze the black part together so it touches the bottom part as if you were blowing the horn. Ben, the tech, then said that the horn button needed to be attached to the horn retainer in order for it to work. He became upset when I told him h0w to connect his tester. I then knew our conversation was over. Ben also told me "we sell hundreds of these and this is the first time I heard of one not working.

    Other than Angie,who was great......, the other three, the supervisor Alex, and two tech's were...….. VERY POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    Bill, I hope our host will read your post on "problems with the part", because they claim they don't know of any.
     
  4. Bill Hanlon

    Bill Hanlon Member

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    When it comes to electrics these guys couldn't find their butts with both hands, a mirror and a flashlight. Just use my sandpaper method to remove the paint and all should be well.

    If your Chevy doesn't have a horn relay (my '52 GMC didn't come with one) I'd recommend installing one. I don't like the horn button dealing with the high current of a horn. That plus the stock horn (in my GMC at least) has 6 volts to it all the time and the return line comes back to ground through the horn button.
     
  5. Keystoner

    Keystoner Member

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    Location:
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    Bill, thanks for the tip on how to fix a "Brand New", defective horn button retainer, that is a distributed by Counterpart, and sold by our host as part # 27-121 for 1947-1953 trucks.

    What concerned me was how I was treated by the three employees listed in my post above. I'm hoping they record their phone calls "for training purposes" because they need to hear how their employees are mis-treating customers and how the tech guys are making the company look foolish..

    All three guys, which includes the supervisor, were rude.

    When I tried to help them understand how the horn button retainer worked they became very defensive and told me I was wrong. That's when he told me that the "horn button", part # 27-015, must be attached to the (defective) "horn button retainer", part # 27-121. Again I tried to explain the horn retainer will work by itself. Just press the black part down and the horn will beep.

    They told me that I should not be correcting them. At this point they started deflecting all of my question, pointing the finger at me and challenged every thing I would say.

    Another thing customers should know is they told me that I would have to pay return shipping if I "thought" the part was defective. They followed that up by saying that I could possibly receive a "return shipping refund" if they determined the part is defective. When I asked him about his "POSSIBLE" shipping refund, if that is a guaranteed shipping refund, he wouldn't answer and started deflecting and claiming I was the bad guy.

    In my nearly 70 years, that I have been on this earth, this is the worst ever.

    BUYER BEWARE!

    This company, ClassicParts, formally ChevyDuty, also sells parts using the name AmericanClassic. Same company with 2 different names.

    Hopefully, Nick, the administrator, will take action, and attempt to resolve this "horn button retainer" issue.
    Nick, if you're out there I'd love to hear from you. Let's talk.
     
  6. Nick

    Nick Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Hi Tom,

    I'm very sorry about the experience you had, both with our customer service/tech departments and with the retainer itself, and I'll definitely make it right for you. I've sent you a private message to discuss more.

    Regarding American Classic, yep that's us--they're a different company that's been around for a long time that we bought a little while back, and we're now fulfilling their orders and taking over operations for them.
     
    RidesWithYah likes this.
  7. Keystoner

    Keystoner Member

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    Location:
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    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your reply/pm.
    Thanks for your understand and willingness to look into the matter.

    I used Bill's easy fix with sandpaper. All is well, horn retainer/switch now works.

    Thanks again.

    Regards, Tom
     
  8. Nick

    Nick Administrator Staff Member

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    Glad to hear it's working!
     

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