After replacing the steering wheel I have Blinking airbag light, no horn or cruise control

Tiny
RUSH LINDSAY
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 NISSAN MAXIMA
  • 165,000 MILES
After removing and replacing steering wheel I found out that the horn and cruise control no longer work. Plus, I now have a blinking airbag light flashing on my dashboard.

What could have gone wrong? Did I pinch a wire, or damaged a component or what?
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Monday, November 21st, 2016 AT 6:59 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You must have done something that involved the steering gear or linkage that resulted in rotating the steering shaft. That will break the "clock spring". That is a wound-up ribbon cable in a plastic housing that sits under the steering wheel. It has circuits in it for everything on the steering wheel. That includes the horn and cruise control switches, and the air bag initiator wire, aka, "squib".

When you get the new clock spring, it comes centered and locked in some way. It is critically important that the steering system be centered, (wheels straight ahead), when the clock spring is installed. On the typical steering system, the wheel can be rotated fully from lock to lock about three revolutions. The clock spring can only go very slightly more than that without being damaged. If the steering system is off-center when the clock spring is installed, turning fully one way will cause the ribbon cable to wind up too tightly and be torn, or, turning fully the other way will cause it to fully unwind, then fold over on itself. Doing that a few times will cause it to break.

Your steering wheel should have a key way on the shaft so it can only be installed one way. Many years ago there were some vehicles that as part of an alignment, the steering wheel was centered by removing it, turning it straight, then reinstalling it that way. That got the job done, but it meant it was likely the steering wheel would turn two revolutions fully one way and one and a half revolutions the other way. We cannot get away with that today. Before you install the new clock spring, verify the steering wheel turns exactly the same amount of revolutions each way to its maximum. If the two ways are different, "toe" is misadjusted on both front wheels. That is an alignment issue and must be corrected so the steering gear and shaft are centered, and the steering wheel will be centered, then you can install the new clock spring.

Most new clock springs have a paper tape through the middle warning about the installation procedures. Do not remove that until you are ready to install it. The assembly will be unlocked when the steering wheel is installed. It pushes on a pair of buttons to unlock it.
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Monday, November 21st, 2016 AT 7:21 PM
Tiny
RUSH LINDSAY
  • MEMBER
Thank you for responding. This helps greatly.
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Sunday, December 4th, 2016 AT 2:25 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Here is a guide on how to fix it.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/steering-wheel-clock-spring-removal

Let us know how it goes.

Best, Ken
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Sunday, December 4th, 2016 AT 12:12 PM

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