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How to test your horn? [Car Thread]
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Jun 14, 2010, 01:20 PM
 
Hey folks, wondering if any clever folks have a hint for me...

I've got a 1996 Subaru Outback with a few problems. I'm trying to determine if it's worth fixing them. Bumper, rust, loose heat shield, leaky gasket, etc.

The question is, the horn doesn't work. Depending on whether you trust Google or the Dealer service guy, it could be $20 for a new horn or $500 to rip out the steering column and go nuts in there. I do think it's the steering wheel button since when you push it it doesn't resist like it used to.

Is there a way I can test the horn at the source? Google says it's behind the passenger headlight.
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 01:54 PM
 
Using a jumper wire, run battery positive to the input tab on the horn. Usually, there will be only one input tab - the horn case will bolt to ground.
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:22 PM
 
another method:

use a multimeter to test for voltage when you press the horn button (probably requires two people)

-Zach
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:58 PM
 
And if what reader50 says works, you could just wire up a relay and a small push button on the dash rather than spend $500 ripping the column apart. I use these for a number of things, including briefly for the unnecessarily loud air horn on my motorcycle.

3-Amp Soft-Touch Momentary Switch - RadioShack.com
     
Posting Junkie
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:59 PM
 
Check the fuse first.
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 05:35 PM
 
Forgot to mention. All horn tests should be done while lowlifes are walking past the driveway. Besides getting the test results, this produces a more interesting day. Remember to pack brass knuckles.
     
Posting Junkie
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Jun 14, 2010, 06:16 PM
 
Check the fuse first, then phantomdragonz's method. My Volvo used to blow the fuse for the horn quite frequently. In 75k miles, it was the only fuse I ever had to replace.
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 11:32 PM
 
If your air bag light is also on it's likely a clockspring. How much do you know about wiring? I can post a wiring diagram.

Basically there are two circuits one on each side of the relay, the low power side that goes to the horn button and the high power side that goes to the horn. either could be the problem, or the horn, switch, or relay. Horn circuits are relatively simple. But if you don't know ohms law you can get lost quite quickly. Often it is easier to see results with a test light than a multimeter, but a multimeter is more versatile.
Your horn Relay should be located on the Left Hand Side of the Instrument Panel near the interior fuse block. The fuse for the horn is fuse 12 located under the dashboard, It also controls your brake lights. Your horn is located behind the Right Hand Side Headlamp lens assembly. It looks like the horn switch can be removed without removing the steering column or airbag.
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 11:42 PM
 
I'm just glad that this is just a [Car Thread]

-t
     
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Jun 15, 2010, 12:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by phantomdragonz View Post
another method:

use a multimeter to test for voltage when you press the horn button (probably requires two people)

-Zach
this.
     
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Jun 15, 2010, 02:22 AM
 
i had the odd failure that every time i turned right my horn would honk, of course this happened while the police was driving in front of me. i immediately pulled out all the wiring in the steering column to punish the car
{Animated sigs are not allowed.}
     
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Jun 15, 2010, 02:41 AM
 
Which gasket is leaky? I hope not the head gasket. If it is then try Bars Leak, but no promises. You'll have to pull the head, machine it down to be flat and replace the gasket.
     
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Jun 15, 2010, 07:47 AM
 
Thanks folks, for the good ideas. The brake lights still work and the air bag light isn't on. I'm not much for wiring but we should have a multimeter around here somewhere.
     
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Jun 25, 2010, 01:58 AM
 
Well?
     
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Jun 25, 2010, 12:11 PM
 
Insurance has now totalled the car, so sadly not worth repairing anything. Shopping time.
     
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Jun 25, 2010, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Insurance has now totalled the car, so sadly not worth repairing anything. Shopping time.
Not so! It's worth repairing it as cheaply as possible to give you more time to look for a good deal. Especially if you are looking used, you can pick what type of car you want and wait for the right used car to become available.

My dad's car got side-swiped a few months ago, and the insurance company totalled it due to a nasty dent all along the side. He simply bolted the side mirror back on, and was good to go! Not sure about MA, but this is perfectly legal in NYS (providing it passes inspection, of course): his title now says "Rebuilt Salvage",and the car is worth less than the gas he puts in it, but at least he can wait until he finds a car he likes before buying another one.
     
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Jun 25, 2010, 02:29 PM
 
Hmm.

Assuming I can bungee the bumper back on somehow, and that the horn turns out to be a $20 fuse, there is still the gaping rust hole that will fail inspection.

Inspection runs out in November, I wonder how long I can drive it for. End of summer would be good, get a little more down payment.

Then again, there's this: 2008 Subaru Outback Limited, $18,977 - Cars.com

or a hyundai sante fe.
     
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Jun 25, 2010, 03:10 PM
 
$20 fuse? more like 20 cents surely...

Also, we need pictures!
     
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Jun 25, 2010, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Hmm.

Assuming I can bungee the bumper back on somehow, and that the horn turns out to be a $20 fuse, there is still the gaping rust hole that will fail inspection.
I recommend that you duct tape over the gaping hole and spray paint it something close to the color of the car. If you're really interested you could bondo over the tape, but that's going for style points. The goal here isn't beauty, it's keeping it going for a little longer.

Inspection runs out in November, I wonder how long I can drive it for. End of summer would be good, get a little more down payment.

Then again, there's this: 2008 Subaru Outback Limited, $18,977 - Cars.com

or a hyundai sante fe.
Here's what I recommend. You don't need to take on that big a debt. Buy something used, a few years old, from the south where cars don't rust. The savings and transport will be a lot less than the debt.
If this post is in the Lounge forum, it is likely to be my own opinion, and not representative of the position of MacNN.com.

     
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Jun 25, 2010, 07:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
Here's what I recommend. You don't need to take on that big a debt. Buy something used, a few years old, from the south where cars don't rust. The savings and transport will be a lot less than the debt.
And let me know if you want to go this route. I know some car dealers thanks to the current job, and can put you in touch with some reputable ones.

Also, even if the car is from the south, do a Carfax. The last thing you want is a car recovered from Katrina/New Orleans.
     
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Jun 26, 2010, 06:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by -Q- View Post
And let me know if you want to go this route. I know some car dealers thanks to the current job, and can put you in touch with some reputable ones.

Also, even if the car is from the south, do a Carfax. The last thing you want is a car recovered from Katrina/New Orleans.
Or Nashville, for that matter.
If this post is in the Lounge forum, it is likely to be my own opinion, and not representative of the position of MacNN.com.

     
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Jun 26, 2010, 04:16 PM
 
Agree. 18k cars are not worth it, unless they're a used $50k+ car. Then they MIGHT be worth it. But buying a 18k subaru will only depreciate to like 7-10k in 4 years or so, meaning that it's going to cost you thousands of dollars per year. Just get something in the 3-5k range, and budget in an extra $1000 for fixing little things and doing preventative maintenance.
     
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Jun 29, 2010, 01:47 PM
 
From what I'm seeing, Subarus are not depreciating. That 18k was for a 3 year old car, the prices for 2007-2009 models are all clustering together based on trim etc. I'm seeing 2005 models go for 16k.
     
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Jun 29, 2010, 05:41 PM
 
Don't listen to Rob, he's the kind of guy that likes to buy 3 grand cars and replace things. If you don't have the patience to deal with little crap, pay for the convenience of a much newer car.
     
Posting Junkie
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Jun 29, 2010, 06:14 PM
 
Any Subaru should last forever...
     
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Jun 29, 2010, 11:23 PM
 
Do what you want. More stupid people to spend way too much on cars= more cheap cars for me.
     
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Jun 30, 2010, 12:07 AM
 
It will always be cheaper to buy a used car or fix your current car, but if you want a new car well its your choice.

That being said, many used cars have too many problems to be worth fixing, especially if you are paying someone else to do the work.
     
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Jul 15, 2010, 10:37 AM
 
We now have an estimate of $2k to repair the car with new parts. Wondering if I can get it done for less.

By popular request, my poor car.


The bumper cover seems fine, it just fell off so the clips are what's broken. I'd be happy to put it back on if we could find the under support in good condition. Rob, I used car-part.com and emailed someone in NH, hope it pans out. Then I could get a new rear quarter panel too AND working horn! The horn worked today, and then it didn't.


The rust apparently goes all the way through. MMM carbon dioxide.
( Last edited by andi*pandi; Sep 12, 2011 at 02:39 PM. )
     
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Jul 15, 2010, 11:54 AM
 
Buy new clips and have somebody handy put on your rear bumper. For the rust, buy a wire wheel at Home Depot that attaches to a power drill. Or even better, they have these rust removal wheels, it looks like a black sponge. Power away at the rusty area with the drill/rust remover. Then paint on this milky white liquid that converts rust to another compound, found at auto parts stores. Just go to an OReillys or Carquest and say you're looking for a can of stuff to brush onto rust that converts it. It turns black when it dries, like this:



Total cost should be under $100 to you, and you can then drive your car for another 5-10 years.
     
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Jul 15, 2010, 12:08 PM
 
cool
     
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Jul 15, 2010, 12:12 PM
 
Excellent... and the empty spots where the rust has eaten away completely, does Bondo still exist or will duct tape do?

yes, I know duct tape is not acceptable.
( Last edited by andi*pandi; Jul 15, 2010 at 02:37 PM. )
     
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Jul 15, 2010, 02:36 PM
 
Filler?
     
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Jul 15, 2010, 07:40 PM
 
Body filler fills small dents, not gaping holes.
     
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Jul 15, 2010, 10:14 PM
 
Time for a new Apple sticker while you're at it.
     
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Jul 16, 2010, 06:45 PM
 
I'd just leave it. I think treated rust holes look better than someone's half assed attempt to fix it. If you aren't going to cut the area out and reweld it, putting bondo on it will only trap more moisture, and bubble up in 6 months anyway.
     
   
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