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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

I'm brand new here. I used the how-to from this site to finally replace the clock spring in my '99 Concorde LXi. Thanks to this post (and forum), the job was nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be. That's also the reason I joined. I can't really afford a new car, and this site is helping me keep my car on the road.

While installing the clock spring, I ran into a problem I'm hoping you all can help me with.

My Cruise Control works now. I drive long distances and this is huge for me. :banana:

The problems I have now are that that the Air Bag light stayed on, and as soon as I tried to connect the negative on the battery, the horn goes on and stays on. So, I pulled the fuse for the horn, but I'd like to have a working horn. And, maybe a working Air Bag.

Any ideas how to start diagnosing these two issues?

Thanks everyone!
 

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Woober Goobers!
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Is it a New clock spring from the dealer or used? If used might be the cause of your issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Brand new clock spring.

The car's been in a few accidents and has had some pretty suspect work done on it; it's a hand-me-down.

For example, I had to replace all the connectors (including new wiring) for the passenger side headlight.

So, wiring issues with the horn are definitely possible.
 

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Woober Goobers!
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Your own response indicates where you should be looking.
 

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In addition to Ron’s question about new vs. used:

The single horn wire in the clock spring goes to the two switches in the press points of the steering wheel pad. Pressing either switch grounds that wire thru the steering column. Since your horn is always on, something is shorting that wire to ground - either the wire is pinched (shorting it to ground), or shorted to another wire (that is acting like a ground), mis-wired at a connector, or one of the horn switches is mechanically presser or otherwise shorted closed.

For the air bag light to be on, either the air bag controller is detecting an open circuit or a short between the two air bag wires or to ground.

The fact that you have two anomalies suggests that possibly there is a short between the horn wire and one of the two air bag wires - but that could be an erroneous assumption - there may actually be two unrelated causes in the two circuits.

A possibility is that the clock spring itself is defective (shorted internally, or short between its wires or connector) - which points back to Ron’s question about the source of the clock spring. If it is from a dealer, that is unlikely. However if it is used or is from a third-party source (ebay or other), even if it’s new, it could be defective (for example, it wouldn’t work right in an attempted repair at a dealer, and got sold off as excess inventory/new-old stock).

A lot of speculation there, but something is obviously wrong either in the clock spring itself, of in the wiring in your steering wheel. One possibility is that you somehow pinched wires under a screw when re-assembling the steering wheel cover.

It might pay to remove the steering wheel cover and inspect the installation. Are any of the wires pinched or otherwise have damaged installation. Disconnect its connectors under the dash and inspect them and the wires for visible problems.

With the clock spring totally disconnected both in the steering wheel and under the dash, you could ohm it all out to check for mis-wires or shorts between the clock spring wires. Do not connect a meter to the air bag or to any of the clock spring wires with its wires connected to the air bag.

So - what can you tell us about the source of the clock spring? Is it from a dealer? In a bag that was still sealed? Other?

It would help you to study the wiring diagrams on the clock spring circuits if you have an FSM. If you don’t have one, you can download from here: https://www.dodgeintrepid.net/113-second-generation-service-information/94402-2nd-gen-fsm-factory-service-manual-42le-transmission-service-manual.html - either one would work for the clock spring circuits.

Use caution when working with the air bag circuits. A spark or short could deploy the airbag with disastrous results if you are behind the steering column. Disconnect the battery when working in the steering wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys!

I know I'm semi-answering my own question, but please understand the depth of my knowledge ends at the high-level diagnosis. The deeper diagnosis tree is where I'm looking for some help.

The clock spring is new. I bought it from a 3rd party seller on Walmart, My Mopar Parts. It's the right Part Number for the '99 LXi, 4698304. I went to a dealer and double-checked the Part Number before ordering, but they wanted $295, so I went this route. The box was sealed. It wasn't in a sealed bag inside the box, but I've bought enough parts at dealers to believe it was originally sealed. The seller's address matches the other labels on the box, Dallas Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

One idea I thought of was getting an aux horn button and connecting it, to determine whether the horn switch in the pad is staying open.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I can't post URLs yet, I'm too new, but I used the how-to from this site, and I disconnected the negative battery cable before starting the job. The horn started sounding as soon as I attempted to reconnect the negative.

I work in aviation and know from the number of prematurely deployed floats and rafts, while the aircraft is still in the hangar, that it doesn't take a whole lot to trigger squibs.

I'm going to recheck the installation now to see if I pinched anything. I don't have a multimeter, so I'm going to have to wait to buy or borrow one, to go under the dash and check all of the wiring. I downloaded the FSM and will digest in the meantime.
 

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You probably already know this but...

The steering wheel should be locked 180 degrees to the right of center (upside down) before removing the steering wheel and installing the replacement clock spring.
The yellow strip should be visible in the clock spring window and "locked" in that position before installing the steering wheel.

Maybe pick up another 98 - 00 airbag from you local pull-a-part?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You probably already know this but...

The steering wheel should be locked 180 degrees to the right of center (upside down) before removing the steering wheel and installing the replacement clock spring.
The yellow strip should be visible in the clock spring window and "locked" in that position before installing the steering wheel.

Maybe pick up another 98 - 00 airbag from you local pull-a-part?
Yeah, I can't post URLs yet, but I'm using this thread as my guide "How To: Remove Steering Wheel and Clockspring". It's a killer write up. It's a closed thread now, but still the best how-to I've found.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
2 out of 3 ain't bad

Ok, I went back in and discovered I hadn't connected the airbag properly. I connected it correctly now, and the indicator is off, so now I'm down to just the horn staying on.

The fuse works fine, so I'm down to either a bad relay or checking all of the wiring under the dash and the wiring under the hood.

Thanks for all your help so far everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If the wiring had a bad ground somewhere, and I disconnect the clock spring from the horn switch in the airbag would it still sound?

I just disconnected it and put the fuse back and no horn blaring, but I realize I may be assuming that it would still sound if I had a bad ground; I haven't really closed the circuit with it disconnected.
 
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