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Old 03-22-2020, 05:02 PM   #1
zoegrant
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Default All power all the time ?

Should the horn wires on my 36 coupe have power all the time ?
Not sure how a horns electrical should work ?
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Old 03-22-2020, 05:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

IIRC the button on the steering wheel grounds the circuit, so yes.

Drop over to vanpeltsales.com and find the wiring and circuit diagrams?

Jumper wires can be applied from a lantern battery to test the horn operation (when disconnected) vs the power circuit to the horns through the column.
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Old 03-22-2020, 05:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

A lot of circuits on early Fords are hot all the time. Actually all most all, including the horns, are. The ignition switch controls the power to the coil and instruments.
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

Not unlike the way it's done in many instances in the cars of today, where a switch merely closes a circuit's path to ground....just like your horn button was designed to do. DD
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

Ok...so by pushing down the horn button it shorts the current to the horn which makes it sound, correct ?
When sounding the horn do both wires to the horn short out ?
My horns do work when hooked directly to a battery so my problem must be in the column.
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

I would refer to it as a path to ground, but whatever. You should be able to check the horns in place using a jumper wire. Jumper the wire that goes to the lighting control switch to ground and see if they work. If so, drop the light control switch down and jumper the center wire down. And so on to isolate the problem.
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

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Originally Posted by JSeery View Post
A lot of circuits on early Fords are hot all the time. Actually all most all, including the horns, are. The ignition switch controls the power to the coil and instruments.

I agree. Being the circuit is not controlled by one switch like a key or computers. Maybe why some install battery on/off switches.


Shorts in the column are not uncommon as they require a bit of work to fix. Certainly more so in 42 on.

Last edited by Tinker; 03-22-2020 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

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Ok...so by pushing down the horn button it shorts the current to the horn which makes it sound, correct ?
Short implies a fault.

The steering wheel button completes the circuit using the ground.

Now I'ma gonna try to get my panties unbunched…
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

I'm a boxer guy. Tangled I'm not sure I wanted to know that.


Shorts usually indicate an issue that is happens without any action. But yes the button for that yr should push and complete the circuit making the horns do horn stuff.


Pull off the wiring housing at the bottom of the steering column.


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Last edited by Tinker; 03-22-2020 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

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Ok...so by pushing down the horn button it shorts the current to the horn which makes it sound, correct ?

Consider the horn button to be a spring-loaded momentary switch. In your old Ford, the wire that carries the current is already wired directly from the negative (-) side of the battery to (and through) the horn itself, with the wire which exits the horn continuing up the center of the steering shaft to a contact on the horn button. When you press's the button, it brings that connection at the bottom side of the button in contact with the metal framework of the steering column, which is grounded to the chassis and hence, continuing-on to the positive side of the battery thru the grounding battery cable, completing the circuit. So in essence, that horn ALWAYS has sparks wired to it, and thru it just waiting for the button to be pressed (like opening a valve in a water pipe), allowing the flow of electrons to continue and complete the trip on back to the ground side (+) of the battery. Technically, the button doesn't "short" the circuit...it "closes" the circuit. Like has been mentioned above, a "short" indicates an anomaly of some sort. Clear as mud, huh! DD
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

It is just nomenclature. Short/closes. But it is important to choose words. No offense to anyone. Commonly said, You can "short" out a spark plug with a screwdriver. But you are completing/closing a circuit with a different electric delivery.

I'm thinking, like some here posted you might have to pull the horn rod or at least clean the contact points with it in. Good thing is your narrowing down.

To make an example of the difference. Electricity likes to follow the least amount of resistance. So you have a bad/worn wire in the system from a to b. You turn the (a) switch to complete/ turn on something (b) (lights, etc). If that bad wire is now charged and worn creating contact to something else it will will rob you of power as it is trying to find a way to ground (-/+ don't matter). So it is shorting out.


Best of luck! let us know how its going!!

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Last edited by Tinker; 03-23-2020 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:43 AM   #12
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

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It is just nomenclature. Short/closes. But it is important to choose words. No offense to anyone. Commonly said, You can "short" out a spark plug with a screwdriver. But you are completing/closing a circuit with a different electric delivery.

Damned right it's important to choose words! I just find it utterly ridiculous when one continues to justify the use of incorrect nomenclature. It's one thing if an individual doesn't know any better, but to knowingly do so is an unforgivable sin on a forum like this which basically exists to discuss and disseminate correct and useful information regarding a given subject. The use of incorrect terms NEVER helps one to clearly understand the answer to a legitimate question. Reference my signature line below!


An electrical short or a short circuit is a problem which occurs when an accidental (or ABNORMAL) path is created in a circuit . "Shorting" a spark plug is not a NORMAL circuit. It's an intentionally-created, ABNORMAL circuit. A CLOSED circuit, or the "closing" of a circuit by CLOSING a switch (like a horn button), is a NORMAL, intended situation. DD
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:49 AM   #13
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

It was an example of the difference. Explaining shorting vs connection. Thought I explained it well.

Maybe the one example of the spark plug was problematic explaining shorts. The other was not. Yes nomenclature matters. Point was current finds the easiest path. Not a good example with the spark plug I guess or I should have added more to it. Why you are here.


"Technically, the button doesn't "short" the circuit...it "closes" the circuit. Like has been mentioned above, a "short" indicates an anomaly of some sort. Clear as mud, huh! DD"



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Old 03-25-2020, 02:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

Will 12V fry the horns or just increase the cycling of the actuator raising the tone an octave or so of the horn?
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

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Will 12V fry the horns or just increase the cycling of the actuator raising the tone an octave or so of the horn?

Going to 12v usually tends to raise that "octave thing" a level or three. DD
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:59 PM   #16
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Default Re: All power all the time ?

“Going to 12v usually tends to raise that "octave thing" a level or three. DD“
On my first car, a ’66 Dxxxx...I put on two 6V horns from one of my brothers old cars....boy could I scare the crap out of kids waiting at the buss stops!!....Mark
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