JBugs Video Series

1966 VW Beetle - Vehicle Rewiring - Horn Troubleshooting:

Video Overview:

In our last video we had finished installing all of the wiring in a 1966 Beetle and had tested and fixed all the electrical system with the exception of the horn. In this video we’ll go over the horn wiring which confuses some people as the horn button controls the electrical ground to the horn. Follow along as we break down the horn wiring, find the issue with the grounding, fix it and finally complete the wiring harness installation.

Horn Circuit Breakdown: 1:06
Horn Grounding Breakdown: 1:51
Horn Testing: 2:28
Steering Shaft Adjustment: 3:16

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:

3/8" Ratchet
6"3/8 Extension
13mm Socket
1/2" Ratchet
9" 1/2 Extension
27mm Socket
Flathead Screwdriver
Phillips Screwdriver

Video Transcript:

Hello I’m Sam with JBugs.com
In our last video, we finished up wiring a 1966 Beetle 
and by the end had everything in the car working with the exception of the horn.
The horn wiring or more specifically grounding 
can cause the horn to either turn on as soon as the key is turned on or, as in the case with this car, not turn on at all. 
The horn wiring and grounding are the same from 1960 through 1967 
so this video is applicable for any of those year beetles.
We'll back up the installation a bit to show the horn circuit 
and with the horn temporarily hooked up, we can explain the horn wiring and how it works.
When the key is on power is sent to the horn from the ignition terminal at the fuse box 
so whenever the key is on, the horn has power. The double black/red and black/yellow wire goes through the front left harness and runs down to the horn. When you press the horn button you complete the ground, turning the horn on.
The entire steering column and the shaft are rubber-mounted and isolated from the car. 
There's a rubber steering coupler at the steering box, isolating the shaft 
and a rubber grommet at the firewall, along with the rubber grommet at the dash, keeping the column itself isolated. 
If either the column or the shaft is grounding out, as soon as you turn on your key, 
the horn would begin to honk.
The ground begins at the steering box. 
The steering column wire attaches to one of the bolts that hold the steering coupler to the steering box. 
The ground wire travels up the steering shaft 
and when the horn button is pressed the wire grounds out the steering horn ring to the steering wheel which is attached to the steering shaft. 
The steering shaft rides on a steel bearing that transmits the ground to the column tube 
and from there to the wire at the bottom of the column. That wire connects to the horn and the horn begins to honk.
Hopefully, this will help you track down the problem if your horn doesn't work 
and now we can get to the problem in our own system.
After checking for power at the horn 
and then grounding it out to make sure the horn works we know that the problem isn't our ground connection. 
We'll go back to the starting point of the ground, 
the steering box connection, and work our way up to the horn to see where the problem is.
With a continuity tester, we can hear an audible beep that tells us the wiring connection 
at the steering box and wire is good. We check continuity of the wire that runs through the steering column and it’s good. 
We ground out the wire to the steering wheel and the steering shaft itself 
and still nothing happens at our horn.
So we know the problem must be in between the steering shaft 
and the metal steering column tube. 
In other words, the bearing that the shaft rides is not transmitting the ground 
between the shaft and the column.
We pull the steering wheel, turn signal switch, and column 
and we can see the steering shaft has been painted. It is sanded down to the bare metal. 
While we are at it, we sand down the bearing race on the column 
and then reassemble the steering column. 
We reattach the wiring at the bottom of the steering column 
and then with the key on we ground out the horn button wire to the steering shaft and can see sparks and hear the horn working.
Everything on the steering column can be reinstalled. 
We press the horn ring, the horn honks, 
so we snap on the horn button. With that, all the wiring on thins 1966 Beetle is complete. 
Hopefully, this video, along with our others, 
will give you the confidence to work on your wiring or rewire your VW. 
Most Beetle wiring is similar 
and getting familiar with your VWs electrical system will help you diagnose and fix any electrical problems that come up later down the road.
Thanks for watching!
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head over to JBugs.com