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Horn fix a real bear to do!!!!


Well-known member
Jul 20, 2005
Scituate, MA
2000 Navy targa
First I got the membrane, replaced it and that did not fix my no horn situation. Then I have a hell of a time pulling my wheel, which is likely my fault from over torquing the steering wheel lock nut before. I have new found respect for the strength of a tapered spline connection, and might even re-do my old seat frame to reinforce the pivot point spline hardware with locktite or epoxy and a hammer!

That done, I ordered a new clockspring, new cancel cam/horn brush ring, and the retaining plate, which is way different from the one I have on the car. I found it impossible to compress the spring in the column enough to pull the retaining circlip, so I ordered the GM tool. I get that, it's a help but doesn't quite fit the retaining plate I have. After much trial and error, I'm finally able to wrestle the clip off. and extract the plate, the cancel cam, and the god awful spring. There is a very discernible deep channeled groove in the horn brush ring of the cancel cam. This explains the fine gold color brass powder in the residue grease- this is why the horn is not working in the high wear, upper driving third of the wheel. This is the fix.

I get the new parts in and synthetic grease. Using the GM tool, I compress the new retaining plate enough to squeeze the circlip on the column. I used the new one, which is much larger, and the GM tool fits it better. I get it on. Then I finally figure out what the steel 1/8" button is on the right of the column head. It's the steering column lock, which GM had gone to so much work to remove years ago- 7-8 yrs. or so. The outside of the retaining plate perfectly engages that button for a very secure lock, only trouble, all of the electronics have been gutted by GM, so I'm permanently locked.

So I butcher my new $11.00 circlip removing it and ponder what I do next. I'm thinking do I get the new plate ground down to remove all the outer ring lock holes, or do I try to get my old no-lock retaining cam plate back on. I'd do the second one in a heart beat, if the expensive GM tool I just bought really held it down while I wrestled the circlip on, but it keeps slipping off it. I also fear warping my new cancel cam/brush ring.

Any tips on this conundrum?

Best always,

It is very hard to follow with no pictures. Did you start this with a locked column? Why can't you put it in an unlocked condition now? If you have not done a CL fix on the car yet you might try this:

Assuming the air bag is removed and the CL was functioning normally before this, reconnect the battery and turn the ignition ON, pull fuse #23, turn ignition OFF, turnthe steering wheel (left and right) and verify it is unlocked. Next, disconnect the negative battery terminal,re-insert fuse #23 and continue with your work.

I know one person who just cut he button off so it would not engage. It was stuck due to a failed CL motor. He used a sawzall. Could be done with a hacksaw also.
Yeah, I should do some pics, it's hard to visualize unless you see it....

My old column lock was working fine 7-8 years ago when I brought it in after 6-12 notices from GM. I did want to remove it, but they finally got my attention when they said you could be driving and have the column lock up, which could ruin your day! I tried to use the recall work as a bone to get a decent deal on doing the leaky rear end seals that were making a mess of my garage floor. No such luck, although they promised a tab of $3-400 for the rear end seal work, and they could get the full time and trouble from GM on the recall, they ended up over charging me in an exorbitant fashion. Would you believe $699?? I told them I would never come back there, even to buy an oil filter. They are the epitome of a "STEALERSHIP."

The work was well done as the seal has not weeped again, and until now there were no side issues with the column lock work. He took off the locking plate ring, which has the outer edges that have the holes in it that are engaged by the lock button. He also removed all of the solenoid electrical connections for the lock button. What replaced the lock plate is a small ring that holds down the cancel cam, and it has a finger that indexes it to the electrical connector tube of the cancel cam/horn brush plate. It slips over the column and is properly indexed by the same spline grooves of the column at 12:00 o'clock. It freely goes round and round without coming close to that column lock button.

The expensive GM puller/pusher tool has a hard time holding the small revised plate, because there just isn't a lot of metal to hold on to.

I have a tranny guy who I hope has been successful in cutting or grinding off the outer edge of my new, full size GM locking plate. Basically, cutting off the entire outer edge off the plate that engages the lock button. Then I'll still have a good stiff back bone for the cancel cam, to keep it form warping, and the fancy tool I have will have plenty of metal to get a foot hold on. Make sense?

Just so you know, the clockspring is just for the airbag. The cancel cam/brush ring, which is made of nylon and brass is where the juice gets to the horn circuit. I had the horn working without the clock spring 2 nights ago, but with the new full sized lock plate. The horn worked great, but the wheel would not turn!!!

What a PIA!


Is this an automatic tranny car? Would explain the dealer putting in a smaller diameter locking plate that would not engage the lock button. That was an allowed GM dealer CL fix but only for automatics

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